Final Fantasy IV and Fighting Together

Are we battling alone? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Last Saturday, I was at my men’s group and the leader started talking about finding our own ministry. What can we bring to the cause of Christ that is ours? What are our skills? Immediately, I thought of Final Fantasy IV.

I have played the Final Fantasy games for years. IV is as far as I’m concerned the best one of them all. The story is absolutely gripping and it has tremendous replay value to me. Today when I play Brave Exvius on my phone, I get super excited when I see something coming up from Final Fantasy IV.

So for now, put the men’s group meeting on hold and let’s go with another thought. In this one, my wife has a friend who was going through a hard time and she was wanting to know how to fight alongside him. Prayer is the best way in this case, but it occurred to me that the whole theme was once again fighting together.

Now in most Final Fantasy games, there is a whole party that travels together and so one very rarely fights alone, but I thought that in IV, there is an emphasis on fighting together. I really want to try to do this without spoilers. After all, if someone hasn’t played this awesome game, I want them to play it for themselves and be as amazed by it as I was and am. I honestly sometimes wish I could have a mindwipe of sorts so I could play through the story again and be surprised.

So where are some places where this theme shows up?

One is where the best friend of the main character gets hypnotized. In this, he kidnaps the love interest of the main character for the villain and she’s held hostage. When she’s rescued, he’s broken free of the mind control at that time. He has shame for what he’s done, but the girl has forgiveness and grace and asks that they all fight together, which does happen. When the final battle comes, the best friend is one of the people there.

It happens when one of the party members who vanishes for awhile shows up again out of nowhere and rejoins. Their plea is that they have learned the greater power of evil is at work. It must be confronted together. Once again, the concept of joining forces is there.

It happens even when one of the villains who is what we call an honorable villain, in that he wants the fight to be fair, and this isn’t a trick move. He even heals the party entirely immediately before the fight. After being beaten, he says he now sees that weak people can join forces and be strong.

It happens when at the end, two characters are asked to leave the party for their own safety. Indignant, they walk off the vessel only to show up when the party arrives. Each of them points out their unique contribution to the team and states that they have to fight for their common cause, to which the leader agrees.

I notice the same thing in Christian apologetics. It is a foolish person who thinks he can answer everything. Sometimes people send me questions about science as science, for example, and I always point them to someone else. Yes, people. Just because someone is an apologist doesn’t mean they have an exhaustive knowledge of everything and can answer anything.

Instead, I just join forces with others. I try to know a specialist in most every area that I can refer someone to. Likewise, when someone needs a specialty from me in some area I am skilled in, I am able to give it.

An atheist in a debate group yesterday posted about how his life is and said Christians seem to think they live in some Marvel type universe with events going on all around them. I actually agree with that. In the universe I live in, there is a battle going on between good and evil and I am happy to take my side in the battle. I am also thankful that I am not alone. I am with my friends.

We fight together.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Christianity As An Adventure

What is really going on in the Christian life? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

We have a modded Wii now that comes with thousands of retro games. This has allowed me to play several games from my childhood that I haven’t played for years. RPGs are generally my favorite. I often think about how the hero or heroes grow from this small force that eventually goes and conquers the greatest evil out there.

When we watch movies, many men like to watch superhero movies or James Bond movies or some action flicks like that. Why is that? Most likely for the same reason many women watch romance movies and chick flicks. They want their lives to be like that. Now many men realize the adventures in some of their movies are impossible, but they like the concept anyway.

Take a look at the word adventure. How does it start? Advent. Advent marked the coming of the Christ into the world, a marvel that none could have expected. Adventure includes that with an element of risk and danger. When Christ came into this world, He really came into enemy territory. He marched straight into the place where the evil one was in charge and took him on.

And guys, let’s not forget one common aspect of the adventure films we watch. There is usually a damsel in distress, a woman that the main man wishes to save. We could just as easily say that Jesus came for His bride, the church. Jesus came to fight for the one that He loves.

What happened after that? We were given the responsibility. We were told to go through with the Great Commission. We were to march into the world into places we are not wanted and present the Good News. We are to put ourselves at risk. The marching orders will not be identical for every Christian in how they’re lived out, but they are the same.

When Final Fantasy XV came out, I wrote about how I was getting a view of how the world is from playing it. Here you have an empire that is taking over a land, and yet most of the people are going about their lives oblivious to what is going on. The only resistance one really sees is the main heroes that the player controls.

Such it is today. So many of us are just living our lives and not doing anything for the Kingdom. Believe it or not, just going to church and singing a few songs every Sunday and listening to a sermon is not the same as making an impact for the Kingdom. To do that, one will have to enter the territory of risk to some degree. One will have to be willing to sacrifice for the Gospel, and that sacrifice could be safety and/or personal reputation.

Yet for men like myself especially, this should be something exciting. We have been called to embark on the greatest mission we could ever be called to for the honor of God Himself. We are called to advance the Kingdom of God. We are called in the greatest battle of good vs. evil that could ever be.

As I said, when a man plays a game that has adventure or watches a movie like that, he is most often enjoying it because that is a concept he wants to enjoy more in his own life. If he wants to enjoy it, then go and enjoy it. The world is waiting and it is waiting for heroes to rise up for the Kingdom of God. We are to walk in the footsteps of Christ entering enemy territory for the church that Christ loves.

In gaming terms, this is the most dangerous one of all. There is no reset button. There are no cheat codes. Still, while that is a challenge, I hear the bonus level at the end and the reward for finishing the game are awesome.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

What I’m Learning From Final Fantasy XV

How can fantasy shape our approach to reality? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

I have been a Final Fantasy fan from the very beginning. For those who don’t know, Final Fantasy is a highly popular RPG (Role-playing game) series that started with Nintendo and now has moved over to the Sony Playstation. It was called Final Fantasy because the company that made it, SquareSoft, was sure that that would be their last game so they just gave it all they had. It became so popular that it granted them a new life and now more and more sequels have been made.

Recently, The fifteenth main game, Final Fantasy XV, came out. I got a copy of it from my parents for Christmas. I have been going through it and quite enjoying it and Allie often sits with me and watches me play. We both keep remarking about how realistic everything looks. Of course, one knows that the fantasy creatures and such aren’t real, but everything does have a great look of realism to it. The description of the game is as follows on Amazon so I can avoid spoilers.

Get ready to be at the centre of the ultimate fantasy adventure. Enter the world of FINAL FANTASY XV, and experience epic action-packed battles along your journey of discovery. You are Noctis, the Crown Prince of the Kingdom of Lucis, and your quest is to reclaim your homeland from the clutches of the imperial army. Joined by your closest friends, you will take the wheel and experience a voyage like no other, travelling through the breath-taking world of Eos encountering larger-than-life beasts and unforgiving enemies. You will learn to master the skills of weaponry and magic, channelling the power of your ancestors allowing you to effortlessly warp through the air in thrilling combat. Fresh faces and long-time fans, fulfil your destiny and experience a brand new kind of fantasy.

The realism can also be seen with the theme of the game being by Florence and the Machine. It’s a rendition of the old song Stand By Me. The opening scene in fact involves the characters pushing a car they drive in throughout the game down the road because it has run out of gas. Most quests have involved walking or airships or something of the sort. Driving a car makes it all the more realistic still. Those interested in seeing scenes of the realism can see this video with the song in it.

Okay. But this is an apologetics blog. It’s not a blog about video games. Why on Earth am I spending time posting about Final Fantasy XV?

It’s because I believe fantasy is meant to make us approach reality with new eyes. The realism aspect is something I greatly appreciate. When you walk through a restaurant area, you actually overhear the people talking making comments you would hear at a restaurant. When you drive down the road, there are other drivers that you encounter. One early sidequest (A minor quest you can do in the story but not essential to the main story) where you have to catch a fish for a cat and then the cat won’t eat it until it’s properly cooked. As a cat owner, yes, this does describe a cat well. It’s also fitting because of the rule gamers know about sidequests.

cat-sidequest

The story also involves you, Prince Noctis, traveling with three friends who seem to be both bodyguards and friends. These guys talk like regular guys. When you’re out in the wild wandering around, you hear side chatter. When you get done with a battle, you hear chatter. When you go set up camp, you hear the same. It’s just guys being guys many times.

How does that realism make me look at reality differently? Because I try often to see my own life as an adventure. God has placed me in this world to do something and I want to strive to be the best at what I do. At the same time, while we don’t have giant creatures wandering around, we could all relate to the idea of hostile powers that be. Some of us will point to political threats. Some will point to moral threats. Some will point to spiritual threats. We all have some people we think wear white hats and some who are not on the side of the angels and some who are pretty much neutral.

So I picture not the heroes in this world, but the ordinary people I’m encountering. Here you have one empire declaring war suddenly on another and what are people doing? They talk about it some, to be sure, but how many are really doing something? Only a slight few, your party being the main ones that are doing something.

I go out into the world then after that. I see people going about their lives. I think we can all agree that the world isn’t the way it should be. What are these people doing? Do they really see the greater battles taking place? If so, do they care? If they care, are they doing anything? If not, why? Do they think that they being who they are, probably seeing themselves as simple ordinary folk, just cannot do anything significant?

I wonder about these people. How would God like to use them in the story? I think about my own life. My wife and I met across a great distance and our age is nearly ten years apart. What role are we to play together? Among men, my closest friend lives all the way in Missouri and was my roommate for awhile before Allie and I married. What role does he play and what role does our friendship play? The internet makes this all the more real. With Facebook, I have several friends I have never met. How are we all to interact together? None of us can do everything, but can’t we all do something? Even if we are all weak individually, can’t we join forces together?

As I drive in my own car, I think of the world that I see driving. There are billboards and tall buildings and such. I drive through Atlanta and I see the city and wonder “What is the adventure that is waiting for me here?” I can see the evil all around me in the world and think “Am I going to sit by and do nothing or am I at least going to try?”

This also brings me to the idea of improving over time. At the start of any Final Fantasy, your characters are weak, and this one is no exception. While gaining experience has been a staple of Final Fantasy games, this one also has improvement in skill. Each of the main characters has a skill that you improve on over time. Those are fishing, cooking, survival, and photography. The lesson is simple. Start off where you are and you get better over time. Isn’t that what we should all do? There’s no other place you can start at other than where you are.

Noctis’s adventure is fantasy, but what about mine and yours? We live in a world where there is warfare going on. The warfare is the Kingdom of God versus the Kingdom of the devil. It can be tempted to see the giant airships of the enemy flying overhead and think “I can’t do anything about it. Might as well go about my day to day life.” Maybe we can do something. It could be a small something in your eyes, but God can take a small something and use it for a great something.

My goal then is to take the fantasy and look at reality differently. My life is a gift and adventure, and I hope to use the abilities I have, that I will improve in more and more and have as time has gone by, to face the forces out there that are in opposition to the Kingdom of God. How about you? Will you join me? Will you stand by me? Can we do more if we stand together?

In Christ,
Nick Peters

 

 

Thirty-Six

What’s going on today? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

I thought today I could continue book reviews, for while I have been reviewing McCormick’s book and I’m finally done with it, I was reading other books in the meanwhile, one of which I posted a review of Friday. That could be done, but we have a lot to do today and I want to have just a fun post today. Why? Today is the day I celebrate thirty-six years of living on this planet.

So let’s start right there. Celebrate. Why? Because life is a gift and a gift is to be celebrated. I can work to sustain my life, but I can do nothing to give myself life. That life comes from God alone. We each can view our lives as gifts from God or curses, I choose to live mine as a gift.

I was telling my wife Allie yesterday that while I am physically mature and am of age, there is still a part of me that is a boy and that part will never die. There is a part that says life is an adventure to be lived. This world can be like a big playground and I should wake up every day waiting to see what adventures the day has for me.

It really is an adventure also. Every day we get up, we have a chance to do something good for the world. In my own field of apologetics, I think of what Peter Kreeft once said. Apologetics is the closest someone comes to saving the world. I really like that quote. This is the battle of good and evil after all. I often compare it to the Matrix. Those we argue against are not really the enemy, but are unknowingly being used by the enemy. The ones we argue most often against are ironically the ones we’re fighting for.

Of course, something that makes today special is having Allie by my side. I have in my own bride a gift no one else could have ever given me. Just like in the Christian walk, in marriage, you are the gift you give to your spouse and they are the gift they give to you. In Christianity, the gift Christ gives you is Himself and you give yourself to Him.

It’s hard to believe there’s been 36 years. I still have so much more of a difference I want to make in this world and so much I want to do. Yet today I think there will be a lot of time spent with fun things. The Mrs. has already made me blueberry muffins for breakfast and this afternoon, she’ll be making me peanut butter cookies. My in-laws meanwhile are going to take me out to a pizzeria here in Atlanta. I’m definitely also looking forward to getting the mail today to seeing what all is in it. That will probably extend for a few days. Sometimes mail is late getting here after all.

Thank you to everyone who has sent birthday wishes so far! Thank you for your friendship and liking the material put out here at Deeper Waters! I owe you all so much!

In Christ,
Nick Peters