114: Midgar is Burning

Midgar is Burning

"Then, a funny thing began to happen: As their personifications of beloved characters became more absolute, they rarely spoke out-of-character at all. Those one- or two-word action descriptors became increasingly elaborate. ... In real life, they were mostly teenagers and young adults, up all night on their PCs. But online, in a chat room called Seventh Heaven Bar, they were Tifa, Cloud and Barrett, together again."

What happens when the game ends, but the fantasy lives on? Leigh Alexander looks at the Final Fantasy Role Play movement.

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I think it's so sad to see a board such as the Shinra board die like it looks like the one posted in the article is dieing. The board owners should have just turned it off instead of letting the bots take over:(

So many words, so little content.

I'm being too hard on them, I'm sure.

It's really fascinating to see what people do with the tools that are available. And the evolution of that micro society matches similar situations I have witnessed, from SCA groups to MMO guilds to rock bands. So many things are generated out of passion, its no wonder that they cannot last forever. As a veteran 'passionista', I usually know, while I am in the moment, that it is transitory and should be treasured while it is happening, it won't be around forever. Adds a bittersweet note, but makes me pay attention and try harder in the meantime.

oh my, I was wondering why this article was compelling to read. Good stuff, Leigh.

As for myself, for a few short years, I was amidst not the AOL chatrooms, but instead, the IRC. It was there where there were true macros and calculation systems being used, some so elaborate and detailed, actual RPG battles could be held, with number generations, move lists, health, magic, and turns. Sure, there was no "role playing" outside of our internet personas, but it certainly was fun.

The group I was part of was called #BOTVGH, short for "Battle of the video-game heroes." They had a website and everything, where people wrote what was essentially script-style fanfic of video game characters. Personally? It was boring as hell to read. I was more fascinated with the chatroom itself, and the personalities within. Eventually, near the end of middle school or so, I got banned, so eh. Had a great time, though. Was an interesting introduction to the internet, full of scapegoats, drama, and ostracization.

I think that world is gone now. There are remnants found through google, but it seems like it died around 2004.

Oh, thank you, Darkpen.

Interesting to hear there were things like that on IRC, too. It's funny; males and females generally had distinctly different approaches to the experience. It's worth noting that there was an equal population of males and females, and the girls were the ones writing the elaborate stories and drawing the fanart, and the boys were the ones organizing the guilds and coming up with all of the structures. Not a hard-and-fast, but generally, that's how it happened.

But yeah, the drama. I've not seen anything like it since.

I think you can find drama anywhere there are people who are passionate and far too deep in. Its true though, I think girls are more inclined to write stories and make fanart, though the boys do too. I remember back when I tried to write fan fiction, I came across a female fan fiction writer, and while I never actually read the entirety of her Gundam Wing work (despite hosting them on my site), I admired her for it.

Leigh Alexander:
By 2007 - nearly a decade after the release of the game that started it all...

Interesting article about Final Fantasy, but you seem to allude to Final Fantasy being the catalyst for FFRP on AOL.

Actually, it started a lot earlier than 1997. FFRP on AOL originated with the Red Dragon Inn, a part of the Free Form Gaming Forum, and continues to exist both on and off of AOL to this day. Granted, like most things on AOL, it is not what it once was. (and actually the RDI pre-dates AOL to late 80s and QLink).

Google "red dragon inn ffrp" and you'll find lots of sites still keeping such FFRP alive.

Wow...

I had no idea that kinda thing went on, thats actually very odd. I mean, FF7 is special to me, its the reason I chose to get into the games industry, but I really don't understand how people are able to do that to themselves.

Very interesting story, Leigh.

Sadly enough, Leigh, or should I say; NinaLangX@aol.com, your story is obtuse.

It is a sad excuse, due to the main factor; you fail to mention your OWN role in all these events. Including, that you were one of the members of these groups, and that you were within the sub-group of one of these groups, of the most racially biggoted, and harrassing members. You were what you wanted to call a veteran roleplayer, but instead, you and your cohorts were tyrants to AOL. You were racist, you were sexist, you harrased people for their age, their weight, their sex, their orientation, their skin color. You were amongst the worse that the FFRP community had to offer, Leigh, and many people will never forgot that. Next time you choose to write something; use some originality, and don't sugar coat it.

Oh, and wasn't that barmaid that Zack Forrester (now known as Fair, due to the correction via Advent Children) your character? We all KNOW you did your fair share of love making.

- Fin.

It would be rather odd to write about it if I'd never had experience with it, wouldn't it?

This article is littered with inaccuracies and false information. In addition to what Panther said above, it should be made known that FFRP does not stand for Final Fantasy role-playing, but for free-form role-playing.

Get your facts straight and try doing a little research.

I think you did well with this, Leigh. It's kind of hard to squish 10 years of RP history into a three-page article, but you covered some of the facts. Made me giggle more than a few times.

Ehzo, in the context of this article, FFRP does stand for "Final Fantasy RP." It's not a matter of researching the facts, it's that she's chosen to use it to reference Final Fantasy, not free-form. Had the article been about AOL RP in general, it would've maybe been more appropriate to define it as free-form, but given the content...

"Then, a funny thing began to happen: As their personifications of beloved characters became more absolute, they rarely spoke out-of-character at all. Those one- or two-word action descriptors became increasingly elaborate."

This style of play, Free Form Role-Play, or FFRP, had been taking place on AOL for 4-5 years before this Final Fantasy version came about.

A passage such as

"Thus, Final Fantasy VII roleplay on AOL - usually referred to simply as "FFRP" - was born. It started innocuously enough as an extension on somewhat common chat behavior: the interspersion of action-based descriptors with chat text."

could lead the reader that know what the true origin of FFRP to believe the author is trying to say that Final Fantasy was the start of FFRP. The term is still widely in use, that is where some 'reasearch of the facts' may have help make for a clearer presentation.

While "FFRP" does refer to free form roleplay it is ALSO the usual term we used for final fantasy role play, and is still used to this day to describe our "game" except when someone decides to not be lazy and throw a 7 in the middle of the acronym. It's pretty silly to point any of that out though..but RDI RP is pretty silly in the first place.

I liked the article. As a player in that ten year game it made me laugh and at the same time kinda sad. I don't see it ever having another growth spurt with the advances of MMORPG's such as Warcraft but it was fun while it lasted.. and still kinda fun when I do pop in for a cameo once in a blue moon.

"While "FFRP" does refer to free form roleplay it is ALSO the usual term we used for final fantasy role play,"

I don't dispute that.

And why is it "silly" to point out a clarification of the term FFRP, which started before "your Final Fantasy version", and from all accounts continues on much more prevelant than your version of it? Despite the growth of MMORPG's, FFRP (free form role-play) sites continue to grow, both in number of sites and players.

If this had been in a strictly Final Fantasy publication or site... there would be no need for such clarification, but since it's in a general RP situation, isn't it prudent for the article to verify claims such as being "first on AOL"? Final Fantasy wasn't even the first game to have free form play on AOL either, Vampire The Masqurade was huge on AOL by 1994-95.

course, the way things travel on the net, maybe this did appear in a FF based area to start with, in which case it's pretty much a wash, but would be an example of how things should be checked to make sure they fit the intended audience.

And this is exactly why everyone needs to stay far, far away from AOL role-playing. Thanks for proving Leigh's point, Panther!

And Kid -- good job.

True Seven:
Sadly enough, Leigh, or should I say; NinaLangX@aol.com, your story is obtuse.

It is a sad excuse, due to the main factor; you fail to mention your OWN role in all these events. Including, that you were one of the members of these groups, and that you were within the sub-group of one of these groups, of the most racially biggoted, and harrassing members. You were what you wanted to call a veteran roleplayer, but instead, you and your cohorts were tyrants to AOL. You were racist, you were sexist, you harrased people for their age, their weight, their sex, their orientation, their skin color. You were amongst the worse that the FFRP community had to offer, Leigh, and many people will never forgot that. Next time you choose to write something; use some originality, and don't sugar coat it.

Oh, and wasn't that barmaid that Zack Forrester (now known as Fair, due to the correction via Advent Children) your character? We all KNOW you did your fair share of love making.

- Fin.

Here we see a classic example of someone carrying a grudge for no reason for way too long. I'm pretty sure no one cares about what you're saying, and you're only doing so because you either feel you have something to prove or have some sort of vendetta against the writer and want to try to debase their opinions and make them look bad. This is where I tell you to grow up, but considering how long ago this probably all happened, I wouldn't be surprised if you had indeed grown up, but not matured.

Leigh Alexander, fair play. An amusing read discussing a side of the internet I haven't had any exposure to and, despite issues brought up on the comments which I am by no means expecting you to elaborate on, it was moderately informative. A good effort, I look forward to other articles which may or may not come.

Garfgarog:
Here we see a classic example of someone carrying a grudge for no reason for way too long. I'm pretty sure no one cares about what you're saying, and you're only doing so because you either feel you have something to prove or have some sort of vendetta against the writer and want to try to debase their opinions and make them look bad. This is where I tell you to grow up, but considering how long ago this probably all happened, I wouldn't be surprised if you had indeed grown up, but not matured.

Leigh Alexander's involvement with the topic at hand is of grand importance, especially if True Seven's claims regarding her behaviour are accurate. It challenges the validity of her position to discuss it under the admittedly-assumed guise of impartiality (although I don't think it unfair to assume, given the tone throughout) and the credibility of the article. There are people who "care" about True Seven's input (myself firmly included, I am quite intrigued) and there are people who do still "care" about the issue, otherwise this article wouldn't exist. You, on the other hand, seem to have 'some sort of vendetta against [True Seven] and want to try to debase their opinions' by demeaning their input and, peculiarly enough, them.

In fact, considering your unnecessarily spirited but strangely indirect defence of Leigh Alexander, I'm curious whether you were involved with the FFRP community. At least, I have to assume so otherwise you're just commenting pointlessly. That's called 'trolling', isn't it?

FFRP DRAMA COMES TO THE ESCAPIST WOOO! WOOO!!!

It's a pity people consider this article something resembling journalism, when the author spends most of the time perpetuating a series of rumors she herself has been strongly involved in creating and spreading, and lack any basis in reality. As someone already pointed out, no research was done for this. She simply wrote a fluff peice around her own resentment and fustrations, while at the same time declining to mention her own attempts at belonging to the same community. I say attempts, because as hard as she tried...she was never really accepted by anyone. Too many people wanted nothing to do with her relentless obsession with her own proported 'beauty', and her tales of what she did in airport restrooms.

And yes, some of us did find it somewhat perplexing that despite her supposed 'True Love' and 'Committed Relationship' with Joe (aka, Trent Mercy), she spent a great deal of time cybering random people under RP guises.

I was a 'veteran' of this vicarious society, and I feel its important to say that FFRP is something in my life that I regret participating in. My time could have been spent pursuing more rewarding ventures than sitting in a chatroom.

As for the article; half of it is informative, half is gossip, but I suppose that is what drives FFRP in the first place.

Yo. I am Zack Forrester, also commonly known as Ryan. Just to clarify something, I did know Leigh but no, that was not her character in which I had a love scene with. While Zack did have romps with various Tifa's over the years, Leigh's was not one of them. I didn't think she even had a Tifa? Oh well.

Interesting fact: 'Forrester' - a last name to give Zack more of an "identity" I made in 1998, spawned across the internet and many believed that for a long time to be Zack's actual last name. I had many 'clones' over time on AOL, even arguing this with -me-, the person who made up that last name, on the subject. Even going so far as to say Squarenix officially stated that to be a fact... Google "Zack Forrester" sometime, you'll still see results from cosplayers that have, or still do, use that name as well as forum trolls and the like. I lol'ed.

But anyways, I liked the article despite the shortened length, very well done for only having three pages to sum up FFRPs history. We all know it could've gone on for dozens and dozens, but the facts were hit and I had a good laugh. I feel nostalgic as well, because yes, we did spend arguably way too much time and effort on this. But I still have good friends that I'm closer with online moreso than real-life. It's funny how that works out. I don't look at it like we were doing anything 'bad' to ourselves in the slightest. For a long time it was all about creativity and letting it flow -- I know that seems contradictory as we were using Square's mammoth creations as a basis -- but disregarding that, it made many good and bad memories. I wouldn't change any of it.

Excellent read, Leigh. Thanks for that.

I'd also like to add (and I'm sure this will blow your freaking mind like it did mine) that since FFRP is now basically dead as far as AOL is concerned, it is now being revived on a game called "Second Life."

It's pathetic how involved people are with FFRP x years later. While some of us (and when I say 'some', I mean <10%) are busy with real-life endeavors such as work and school, you have these idiots still stuck in thier fantasy world.

Hit me up sometime, chick. Let me know how you've been.

AIM: Krizzy

Hey, Leigh, it's been quite a long while. I hope you remember "John #2?" While I didn't read your article word for word, it was a very entertaining read. I'd like to talk to you for old times sake if possible and reminisce about the past, just for kicks.

Anyway, if there's one thing really hilarious about this whole thread, it's the comments from apparently old FFRP'ers who seem incapable of letting go of the past and just seeing the humor in what we did as a community, friends and foes alike. If those old memories are really eating away at you so much that you want to flame someone you've probably not spoken to in years, then I sure hope you can find a way to cope.

Yeah, I just said that. Let go of the past and just be amused by it.

- John #2

That's quite enough of that, thanks. -Joe

Tiffles:
Excellent read, Leigh. Thanks for that.

I'd also like to add (and I'm sure this will blow your freaking mind like it did mine) that since FFRP is now basically dead as far as AOL is concerned, it is now being revived on a game called "Second Life."

It's pathetic how involved people are with FFRP x years later. While some of us (and when I say 'some', I mean <10%) are busy with real-life endeavors such as work and school, you have these idiots still stuck in thier fantasy world.

Hit me up sometime, chick. Let me know how you've been.

AIM: Krizzy

I've never understood why people make fun of those that participate in activities that they themselves used to be absorbed in. As a user of second life, I can tell you that the majority of people on there do not limit themselves to just one SIM. Also, as someone in my last year of college, I can attest that those people that still delve into the RP scene are not all sitting in their parents' basements typing away in a dark corner. You say <10%, which is a highly ignorant statement even with the pretense that it is an exaggeration. Everyone has their enjoyable hobbies, which you and most of the people that have commented here, have enjoyed as well. So while you're lol'ing at what people still do today, can I ask what you've achieved in your life that has given you the authority to turn around in a hypocritical fashion and giggle? You're still replying to articles about FFRP, dear, we all are. Doesn't make anyone less of a person or mean their life is any less significant.

As for the article at hand, it's merely written from a tunnel vision view of what the author saw. Things that were important in her view were hardly important to other onlookers. That was the thing about FFRP though, it was all about your own fan fic, not about the whole picture. Besides, if you looked at the whole picture you'd see that final fantasy play was simply a small section of the AOL RP scene.

I have to agree with LivinginThePresent. There is absolutely nothing wrong with having a hobby, as long as it doesn't involve sleeping around with people you've met through the FFRP universe, or flashing nude photos to other role players. If showing pictures of your body to other players is a good hobby, then I suppose I am missing out. Sad Christmas.

Also, you -claim- that all people who FFRP think they are a particular character, when this is not true at all. I for one, never believed once that I was my character. A few other people I know use AOL RP just as a form of being creative.

As for Nina Lang. I remember her quite well--In fact, I do remember her coming to me on several occassions about Roleplaying in one of the AOL groups, as well as getting into the Turk unit. Interesting, very interesting.

Yeah, if only they knew, Zack.

"SOLDlER Zack: I named Zack after the movie Finding Forrester"

Sucks for them.

LOL!! True story.

LoL... shut the fuck up, you people are embarrassing to know.

-R

HI VELL!!!!1111!!!2

sorry folks, but krissy hit the nail on the head.

i want to say this is quite a good article, i used to roleplay a bit in mmos but never something like this, honestly i wish to play a game that makes me feel something for want to participate in this kind of stuff.

This world isn't gone. The room "Junon" consistently ranks high on the list. And after a five year hiatus, I've returned to my roots on AOL RP, enjoying a really great SNK vs. Capcom SL.

 

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