Where Have All the Chocobo Farmers Gone?: An Andore Jr. Special
Tue, 07/14/2009 — Sak
The year was 1994. Al-Gaddafi withdrew Libyan troops from Chad. Yaki Kadafi finds al-Gadaffi's name fucking hilarious, and adopts a parody of it as his own. Technotronic releases the Billboard flop, "Move It To the Rhythm" (a spiritual successor to "Move This"). Square releases Final Fantasy VI to an American audience with baited breath under the nom de plume of Final Fantasy III. The effects were both immediate and long lasting. Boys destined for greatness in academia, business, entertainment, and the arts, were diverted to an equally successful life of long-standing virginity, poverty, fan fictionery, and Final Fantasy III. However, not everything was perfect in the world of Final Fantasy fandom.
Factions amongst fans quickly broke out; Scottish Enlightenment Lockeans were quick to condemn the Christian Cyanists, while the flamboyant Figaros criticized the ever-reserved Gaus for their lack of political commitment. For a year, the world, already embroiled in the arduous process of healing poor international relations was subject to the rocky in-fighting of Final Fantasy III fans.
1995 proved to be a pivotal year and provided an impetus for bringing together the diaspora of diverging viewpoints of Final Fantasies (III). Tatsushi Nakao, known affectionately, as "Tat" launched a website by the name of Illucia, which began the craze of, to borrow the parlance of the time, "Squaresoft Towns". Tat's unselfish Internet project spawned literally sevens of similar sites wishing to take place in the revolution.
No longer were bombs thrown in the streets of Jidoor, no longer was innocent blood spilled in the streets of Miranda. Tat has ushered in the Aufklärung of Squaresoftery. Now, fans that wished to dish it out, could do so according to the principle of reason on websites like, Illucia and Erandan. Instead of slaying the nearest Leafer or Mind Candy that happened to be unlucky enough to be a passer-by, fans could engage with one another through the miracle of WWWBoard, and call each other "fagets" and "pusyes". Fans could watch their favorite characters engage in ribald dialogue with one another. Uh oh! Watch Celes berate Locke for going off on a misadventure that involves thievery! "Thief? Who you calling thief!? I'm a TREASURE HUNTER!" Locke would undoubtedly reply. It truly was the gilded age of Fantasy Fans (III, Final).
Nature's first green is gold
Her hardest hue to hold
Her early leaf's a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.
-Robert Frost, 1923
In 1996, Square announced that the long-awaited sequel to Final Fantasy III (nee VI), Final Fantasy VII, would be released on a non-Nintendo system, Sony's Playstation. For most Square Town inhabitants, the correspondence between Nintendo and Square was one-to-one, and adding Sony to the equation would equal two. Although, actually, since Nintendo is being removed from the equation, it would still be one. Although, still, my original analogy was based on correspondence, not addition, so my initial conclusion is pretty non-sensical. ANYWAY IT WAS BAD.
Some town mayors attempted to salvage the remains of their now-desolate habitations, others continued naively believing that this was only a speed bump, and that towns would quickly be reinhabited by new fans, others simply descended into madness. One such story is truly the thing that tragedy as made of; as morose as "Romeo and Juliet" and as melancholic as "The Sorrows of Young Werther".
Mayor of South Figaro, Kupop, and City Ordinance Director, His Dad fell on extraordinarily harsh times. Kupop, under the pressure of a failing city, committed suicide during the early hours of the cold morning of December 28th, 1996. His Dad had the following comment to make during a recent interview: "A videogame comedy website? My son killed himself. Killed himself! He was nine years old, and the influence of a videogame caused him to fucking kill himself! And you want to interview me for a comedy website! Get the fuck out of my house before I kick your lilly white ass you motherfucker!"
Today, few traces remain of Square Towns. The bitter memories of former mayors, thirteen year old HTML files containing message board gems drifting on someone's hard drive, stored in their grandmother's attic, and the odd, uncaught reference in an IRC chat log. Despite its shortcomings, the phenomenon of Square Townery will be considered revolutionary. Even with the advent of a Final Fantasy game to be released on a non-Nintendo system, former Square Town mayors remember the idealistic movement fondly. I asked a former mayor, who wishes to remain anonymous, about the zenith of Square Townery. He took a drag of a cigarette, and looked wistfully towards the open sky, "Probably when Tat turned his site into a little mini RPG thing that was totally unplayable but the rest of us, basically just ganking his ideas, were like AW MAN HOW DO WE COMPETE WITH THAT."