25 Feb

The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time vs. Final Fantasy VII.  That’s a fanboy forum flame thread just waiting to explode.

Zelda's Great Fairy never looked fantastic, even in 1998. But by today's standards she looks horrible.

Some feel that Zelda has more mass audience sex appeal. Others claim Final Fantasy VII had a better storyline and more identifiable characters. Graphically, neither has aged particularly well, especially since they were birthed on the 32-bit Sony Playstation and 64-bit Nintendo 64. By today’s standards, gamers can experience higher quality graphics on handheld devices. But for those of us who played these gems when they were in their prime, they hold a special place in our hearts.

Will Strouse is 27, and he’s absolutely an elder geek. He loves video games, Philadelphia sports team,  music, and video game music. More than just a simple hobby, he’s always had a huge interest in radio broadcasting. While in college, he was president of his college radio station. In 2003, inspired by a Philadelphia sports station that entertained listeners with an interactive March Madness tournament, Will took the concept of a bracketed radio face-off of 64 combatants and applied it to video games.

So in 2003 he took his life-long love of video games, sports, radio, and video game music and combined them all into what are now the 8bitX Tournaments. Strouse picks a video game sub-catagory — a particular genre or era —  and selects 64 games. The producer Shaun seeds them, places them within a fighting bracket, and then Will, by the power of his classic radio voice and the magic of the internet, he puts on a show every week where callers and online voters decide who is made of the sternest stuff.

In 1997, Final Fantasy VII was practically a wolrdwide religion and loved by most gamers. But today it is a very polarizing title.

The 8bitX Radio Tournaments are still raging on today. This is where Zelda and FF7 come into play.

Over the past several weeks, voters have listened to Will’s show and discussed, argued, bickered, and outright fought over which game is best of the Sony Playstation and Nintendo 64-era. Many hallowed names have fought their way through competitor after competitor like Goldeneye 007, Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, and Metal Gear Solid. But it is for Final Fantasy and Zelda that the fans have been crying for the loudest.

On March 3, 2010, at around 10pm, this competition will come a close and a victor will be decided to join the ranks of Contra and Street Fighter II, with a seat in the 8bitX Hall of Fame. At that time, Strouse will probably start scheming the next tournament. But with this tournament’s end drawing near, gamers everywhere have a choice of sitting idly by and watching their champion fall. Or they can make a difference by sitting down, logging on, and turning on their flamethrowers.

May the best game win.

17 thoughts on “The 8bitX 32 / 64-bit Tournament”

  1. People love their nostalgia… for a lot of people, FFVII was the first good RPG and LoZ:OoT was the first good Adventure game. I’m glad I started gaming earlier. The games are really good (especially for their time), but the best (Arguably), no.

    Man, there were some huge matchups… like Silent Hill vs. Resident Evil, MGS vs. SotN, Chrono Cross vs. FFVII, and Goldeneye vs. Mario 64!

    1. Sim City 2000 vs. Gran Turismo. I’m REALLY surprised that Sim City pulled it off. I was there for the Goldeneye vs. Perfect Dark debates. It got pretty heated in a totally fun way!

      1. The lack of Ape Escape in that lineup displeases me greatly. Also Resident Evil beating out Silent Hill? Ugh…

        Oh well. Nobody is perfect :/

        1. I’m surprised that Soul Reaver or Blood Omen didn’t make it on the list. C&C Red Alert would have been a great choice for the list too (but not the console version).

        2. To my knowledge, these brackets aren’t meant as a “Top 64” list. It’s just a bracket put together for entertainment sake. Certainly it would be fantastic to list EVERY game and do a fight… but that would take a damn long time.

    1. Definitely, FFVII is overrated, IX is better by a long shot. The story of VII is cliche, even for its time. It may have made the jump for RPGs to go 3D, but OoT has influenced more games then VII ever will.

  2. Ocarina actually beat Goldeneye 7-0… which made me feel a little dirty concidering how much I loved playing Goldeneye/Perfect Dark back in the day. (hate you Randy! <3)

    But hey, that's going to happen in the finals.

    However, FFVII was tied with Castlevania 3-3 before a call in was made (by me oddly enough) to put FFVII into the win column with a 4-3 score.

    Ocarina of my #1 favorite game of all time though (even with the knowledge of the content they took out of it). Naturally games are getting "better" with time, but sentimentality and impact also factor in for me. So yeah, that's my vote.

    _ _ _

    "Resident Evil beating out Silent Hill" – it was actually tied and came down to a coin flip, so don't feel too bad.

    1. I didn’t find ocarina of time to be anything special. I felt it was one of the better Zelda games, but LttP was about 10 times better in my eyes.

      Final Fantasy 7 is my fourth favourite RPG to date, the other three not making their list. And FF7 not only taught gamers as a group to cry, but also influenced the entire lifespan of the rpg forever. It basically turned rpgs from being dirty little secrets to widely accepted mainstream titles.

      As to OoT vs Goldeneye and FF7 vs CSotN, there’s a reason the latter was closer than the former… SotN was one of the best games of all time whereas Goldeneye was influential – but in the long run d oesn’t stand up. SotN is still fun to go back and play because the gameplay holds true – goldeneye WAS fun but if you go play it now(and I have) it just doesn’t hold up. It feels terrible. Thats why the latter was much closer.

      For my money, ff7 was a better and more influential game. So thats what I’m rooting for.

      1. This is all about opinion, which is what makes this final so brutal given the games involved. Though I believe there’s a reason why Ocarina of Time is the top rated game (review wise) in video game HISTORY, unlike FFVII which scratches the top 5%.

        There’s a reason for that too, which is innovation (FFVII really didn’t stray from its predecessor the way OOT did).

        The overall gameplay was the same as the SNES games. It wasn’t like OOT, which changed drastically in the implementation to 3D.

        I think what makes people drift towards FFVII is the characters, and the memories, not the actual “gameplay,” which again wasn’t anything ultra revolutionary. The music is also highly memorable (though so is OOT’s).

        As for FFVII making RPG’s widely accepted, I don’t believe that a single bit. Sure it helped, but it wasn’t the driving force. You’re telling me that games like FFIII and Chrono Trigger didn’t get that ball rolling? The reason FFVII did as good as it did is because of all the RPG fans from the SNES.

        Within three days of its release in Japan, the game sold 2.3 million copies… that being a sales record at the time. Not RPG game sales records, I’m talking about game sales records. Did it do that because of how amazing it was (before anyone played it)? No, it’s because of an already massive Final Fantasy and RPG fanbase (in Japan especially).

        There was an enormous amount of hype going into that game, even when it was originally an N64 title. I still remember looking at pictures of it for the N64 in a magazine as a kid and being excited.

        I feel that the SNES is where RPG’s were first truly earning acceptance and spread, not the PSX or N64. The PSX was just a continuation of the SNES in large part from the RPG standpoint.

        In the end I think the votes for this comes down to preference and memories. Either you like turn base, run around, and generate a battle stuff, or you enjoy live action in the moment fighting. I myself being a bigger fan of the latter over the former.

        Both are great games… it just so happens the biggest piece of my heart rests with OOT.

        What I find most ironic is that I think Final Fantasy III was better than Final Fantasy VII and you think LTTP is better than OOT. Complete opposites lol.

        We can at least both agree all these games are damn good ^_^ !

        1. I actually felt OoT was relavely average. It wouldn’t even make my top 20 games of all times, probably not even my top 30. I agree that FF3/6 was better than 7. So was 2/4. But we’re talking 32/64 bit so… I’d have to say from that era… my two favourite games were ff9, ff7, and C:SotN.

          I put FF9 first for one simple reason: It was a better game… but it wasn’t revolutionary, nothing it did changed anything.

          FF7 DID bring rpgs into the mainstream, yes it had a big advantage of all the SNES ff fans… but if they were the majority of it, the game wouldn’t have outsold ff6 by so much. And it did. It really made rpgs something you could talk about in public and have people know what you were saying. FF6 was great, it was amazing, but it didn’t bring rpgs into the mainstream. RPGs were still a ‘dirty little secret’. Something you enjoyed but d idn’t r eally mention too much. FF7 really opened that up to the public eye and made people realize how much fun they could be. It was accessible, had a great deal of variety, and had the best cutscenes of its time just about. FMVs HAD been done before, but ff7 revolutionized them as well.

          Also, as I mentioned previously… ff7 was the first game that created such outrage… it was the first time people had really seen a character just get killed in cold blood for no good reason. A character they cared about. With no way to save her, no way to effect it, and no way to bring her back. Aerith’s death… that happy look as she looks up and sees cloud, and then… out of nowhere… dead. Prior to her, most character deaths were heroic, noble sacrifices(General Leo) or mutable(Palom/Porom)… It taught gamers to feel. That alone really made the game worthy of all its praise.

          Add to that the stellar, still lauded soundtrack; the deep story with its many twists and turns, deep characters, and near-limitless spinoff potential; and its dynamic and creative gameplay… and you have a game that will be remembered for ages and decades.

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