Sephiroth dresses in black and carries a wicked scimitar. He has awaited this moment with frightening sobriety, despite his burning madness. When you resist him, he decides to do the deed himself—and drops from the ceiling, that wicked blade in hand. What happens next will scar you for life—for the shocking crime that Sephiroth commits can never be forgiven.
 
If you’ve played  Final Fantasy 7 , you may still be reeling from the death of Aeris Gainsborough. Her murder, halfway through the game, ranks as one of the most stunning moments in video game history, a pivotal scene in what some would call the greatest RPG ever made. Even now, sixteen years later, I still get chills when I remember Aeris (well, Flosh) collapsing in my arms and dying. Her death resonates in my cells, like… well, like mako energy.
 
Let’s put this event in context. When  FF7  hit the PlayStation in 1997, video games were nowhere near the storytelling sophistication of modern titles. (Even caring about a video game character was rare in the 1990s.) The closest thing to a Final Fantasy experience was TV—but modern serialized television had yet to be invented, and shows like  Game of Thrones  and  The Walking Dead —in which the deaths of main characters are standard fare—were on nobody’s radar yet.
 
Eventually, I descended into the Northern Cave and unleashed my medieval knights on the evil man-in-black, and he was destroyed. Sephiroth died, vengeance was mine, and the game was over. But in the final moments of the final sequence, Aeris returned. Not in the flesh, but in the spirit, watching over my characters as if her life force had merged with the life stream of the planet itself. In this moment—witnessing the gorgeous ending to a perfect game—I finally cried. And as the credits rolled, I uttered the words that millions of other gamers uttered that year: “That was the best video game I’ve ever played.”

 

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Sephiroth dresses in black and carries a wicked scimitar. He has awaited this moment with frightening sobriety, despite his burning madness. When you resist him, he decides to do the deed himself—and drops from the ceiling, that wicked blade in hand. What happens next will scar you for life—for the shocking crime that Sephiroth commits can never be forgiven.
 
If you’ve played  Final Fantasy 7 , you may still be reeling from the death of Aeris Gainsborough. Her murder, halfway through the game, ranks as one of the most stunning moments in video game history, a pivotal scene in what some would call the greatest RPG ever made. Even now, sixteen years later, I still get chills when I remember Aeris (well, Flosh) collapsing in my arms and dying. Her death resonates in my cells, like… well, like mako energy.
 
Let’s put this event in context. When  FF7  hit the PlayStation in 1997, video games were nowhere near the storytelling sophistication of modern titles. (Even caring about a video game character was rare in the 1990s.) The closest thing to a Final Fantasy experience was TV—but modern serialized television had yet to be invented, and shows like  Game of Thrones  and  The Walking Dead —in which the deaths of main characters are standard fare—were on nobody’s radar yet.
 
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© 2013 by Brad Kane.