It was the summer of 2000 when a younger, thinner me walked into our local video game store known as Microplay. I had spent the better part of the spring and my whole summer cutting grass with my stepfather for the amazing wage of $20 a day. That money was burning a hole in my pocket and I was itching to try out a new game. I spoke with the clerk briefly about what games I had been playing. I told him I was bored of those games and wanted to try something different. He smiled and told me to hold on. He ran to the shelf across the store and came back with a brand new copy of Final Fantasy 9.

I had never played an FF game before and was unsure about it. I suppose he was a decent salesman… I spent the remainder of that year pouring over FF9. I beat the game, bought the guide, beat it again and unlocked just about every possible secret that I could find. I was hooked.

The preteen boy I once was remembers how special this game was at that moment in time. Vivi was especially relatable to a kid at that age, a character that seemed to always be out of place, trying to find purpose and meaning in life. Adult me misses those simpler times.

While working on this piece of art I experienced quite a few different emotions while reminiscing about my youth. Things I had long forgotten seemed to jump up out of the shadows of my mind…

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