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A word of thanks to everyone here


Zodiac Killer 99:
So I hadn't planned to write anything in advance, but I stumbled back across the forum after searching a question on google about FF12, and I was hit by a wave of nostalgia seeing some of the old names. I don't really know how long this post will be - I have a habit of writing long posts - but I wanted to express my gratitude to everyone who's ever participated on this site.

I didn't have many friends as a child. I was a lot smarter than my classmates in my primary school, and that led to... not so much bullying as such, but isolation. It didn't really phase me at the time, because I didn't know any different, but looking back it wasn't a good time. I used games to distract myself from that and trouble at home (my parents were separated due to my dad's alcoholism (I saw him occasionally, but very rarely was he sober) and my mum (who I lived with) had more than her fair share of mental health issues - though she always tried her best).

I eventually stumbled across Final Fantasy 7 about... 12 years ago as a guess, and it was the first time I'd found a game with such a deep storyline and intricate character detail. I was only ~10 or 11, but I easily became hooked. I'm not sure why, but I easily related with the character of Cloud, to the extent that I think the way he developed in the game actually somewhat impacted my development - but I may be looking into things too much. Anyway, I played through most of the game with my brother (who is 5 years older), but as we approached the end of disc 2, he became busier with school work and lost interest. However, he remembered my love for the game and how it made me better, and when my mum was going through a particularly bad patch and we had to stay with my grandparents in the summer of 2006, he bought me final fantasy 12 - once again, I felt the same passion as I had for final fantasy 7, and it distracted me completely, not only from the isolation at school but the problems I had at home.

I was only able to play for a few weeks however, before I had to start at secondary school. I'd got into a highly-ranked school, and I was no longer one of the smartest, which suited me just fine. However, from years of not really having any friends in primary school, I didn't know how to talk to people, so I remained fairly isolated. I had a few people I would speak to and was on friendly terms with, but I was too socially awkward to have any real friendships. As soon as I got home from school, I'd continue with final fantasy 12.

Fast forward to April 2007 - school work up till this point had been fairly intense, and I hadn't had as much time for gaming as I once had. I believe I had stopped at Mt. Bur Omisace, but I may be wrong. I'm a little hazy on the timings of things, because my brother and grandparents always tried to 'protect' me from the truth, but at some point my mum had also started drinking, and this became problematic. Anyway, in April, my mum collected me from school one day and told me my dad had died from an alcohol-induced heart attack. At this point, I hadn't seen him in months (he'd previously visited every week, then every two weeks, and so on). I was, naturally, upset, but I hate to admit it - due to the isolation I had felt from such a young age, I don't feel it overly affected me, at least not in terms of an emotional response. I cried for about half an hour, visited my grandparents, and then went home, straight back to final fantasy 12.

I spent a lot of time on it over the following weeks and months. I developed irritable bowel syndrome around this time, which my mum thinks was at least partially down to the stress of my dad's death not having anywhere to go as I didn't have much of an emotional reaction. I went through numerous hospital tests and overnight stays, but as I was on a children's ward (which had a small tv by each bed), I was always able to bring the game with me. I think having FF12 with me throughout my hospital stays only made me grow more attached to it, as it became a sort of crutch for dealing with the stress.

Anyway, this is where stuff starts coming back to the forum - sorry it's taken so long! After a while, I want to say late 2007 to early 2008, I started posting on gamefaqs, wanting to get a more intricate understanding of the game and improve. I was blown away by the knowledge of a few of the people, not least FF12grandmaster. I contacted him via PM after a while, and we talked for a long time. At some point, he mentioned to me that a few of the members were setting up a new forum dedicated to FF12 - Eruyt Village - and asked if I'd like to join. I know he no longer visits this forum, but for both talking to me and giving me that initial invite, I am so grateful to him - Angel, if you happen to log on and see this post and still live near him, I'd love it if you could give him my thanks.

Anyway, I joined Eruyt Village (some of you may remember it) and all was well for a while. I honestly can't remember how long it was up, but at some point near the end of its time, I was banned by Fran (the person who set it up). Having used that forum very much as one of my few opportunities to socialise, this was a hard hit. I contacted FF12GM on gamefaqs, and asked if he could help. He told me not to worry, and that stuff wasn't going great with the website. A couple of days later, Eruyt Village was gone. A couple of days after that (may even have been only one day), Bram opened up FFTogether. I signed up as soon as I heard.

I'm not sure if anyone here remembers the early days particularly well, but for a very long time, I had the most time clocked online and one of the highest post counts - I absolutely loved this site. It became not only a great resource for one of my favourite games of all time, and a way to learn more about it, but my main mode of socialising with people with similar interests. I have no doubt that the conversations I had here, especially in the earlier days, played a very large part in improving my social skills and leading to the life I have today. As cheesy as it sounds, I'll never forget the long conversations we had in the Sandsea, the role plays, the games of Ivalice Spy - any of it.

After a little while, I transferred the social skills I had learned here into my school life. I was by no means fantastic at first, and I made more than a few horrendously embarrassing mistakes, but as time passed, I became more at ease with the people I hung around with. I'm still very introverted to this day, and get anxious when I have to talk to people I don't know particularly well, but I'm happy at my current stage, and have a really solid group of friends, a girlfriend of over 2 years, and things are working out well for me. I don't think I'd have any of it without you guys. It was this forum that first made me open up about certain things, and realise that I could talk about how I was feeling without fear of being mocked or attacked. Through that, I began to let people in my life closer to me, instead of keeping them at a distance, and went on to develop friendships that I still have to this day. I'm so grateful to all of you, with special thanks to FF12grandmaster for talking to me initially on gamefaqs and inviting me here, Bram for starting up this site in the first place (and so hastily after Eruyt Village was gone!), and also to Angel, who I've had a number of very helpful private messages with throughout the years, as well as to anyone else on here I've had particular friendships with.

My one regret is that after I started making friends at school and going out more, along with having more and more schoolwork (and then uni work after that), I lost time for this site. I know logically it's something that everyone will go through as they get older and busier, but I can't help but feel at least a little bad for it. If there's anything we can do to reinvigorate some activity, what with the release of FF12: The Zodiac Age, I'd be more than willing to play my part.

But once again, thank you to everyone here for your contributions over the past 9 years or so, and I wish you all all the best with your lives.

Too long, but I did read. :D

Sorry to hear about your childhood, but fortunately everything worked out in the end for you. I can't say I share your experience when it comes to this site, but I can say that this is the friendliest place I've ever come across on the Internet. I guess there's no need to say how dear it is to me, considering I'm still here after almost a decade. :D

Considering we are still here long after the place died must say something about the friendships this place helpt to build :D

In terms of bringing it back alive I have a hard head seeing it happen to be honest. The place would have never existed where it not for the downfall of Eruyt Village. All I did was set up a new place, the rest was mostly you guys turning it into som of the best years I've had ;)
Right now its mainly online for archive purpose as it would be a shame to lose all the stuff posted here 8)

It's great that this place helped you so much. It really was a wonderfully friendly place. Having also stumbled upon this site again after years I can relate to that incredible nostalgia. Really hits you, thinking of how things have changed, eh? Does anyone else cringe at their old posts as much as I have?  ;) I feel like a completely different person now.

I'm glad to see several of the veterans here are still doing well and I wish you all the warmest of wishes.

And much respect for Bram for keeping this place going, good to see the legend himself still active here  ;)


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