If you have not yet played Final Fantasy IX and intend to do so, you can stop reading now. Final Fantasy IX, released in 2000, was one of the best games at that time describing what it meant to live.
Vivi, a character created for the purpose of being used in war, was somehow lost during transportation and picked up by Quan from the race Qu. The race Qu lost almost everything, and Quan initially planned to hatch Vivi and eat him when he grew bigger. However, Vivi never grew bigger, and Quan decided to adopt him instead.
During the game, Quan revealed that adopting Vivi gave him a broader perspective on life and food, and that Vivi taught him what imagination was and how it could be used in his passion for food, taking it to another level he never could have imagined.
Vivi, who appeared to be no older than a 9-year-old boy and had only lived a few months, met Zidane, who took him all over the world and opened his eyes to the meaning of life and living. In such a short time, he learned about the hardships in life and found his meaning.
Looking at the relationships among our heroes, none were blood-related, and everyone was adopted or raised by someone else. Their family histories were unknown, lost, or just a big question mark for all the characters. They found each other, looked after each other, and were there for one another in good and hard times.
Vivi, young in age, lived his life fully and even managed to save the whole world together with his friends. Throughout my 50 hours of gameplay, he taught me so much more than I could have imagined. It may sound silly, but this fictional character somehow made me cry at the age of 30 and question my life and my understanding of it. Yet, isn't this why we humans create heroes and role models in different shapes? To help us identify ourselves, having role models and understand our reality?
Vivi has been a beloved character in the gaming industry since 2000. Why? Perhaps because he was pure, innocent, and deep, or for whatever reasons people saw in him. But there was one thing I learned about him today that I never realized as a child. How could I? English was not my first language, and I was around 10 years old when I first encountered this beloved character. He stopped functioning at the end of the game, meaning he passed away.
It took me 20+ years to realize this, that one of my absolute favorite and lovable characters died at the end of the game. It broke my heart. I went back to my inner child and wished I had never played that game today. The feeling could be described as receiving the news that your best friend, who you know would always pick up the phone when you called and greet you with a big smile even if you hadn't seen each other for a decade, passed away two decades ago.
To someone outside, it may sound silly to listen to this, but I grew up with Vivi, and he was there for me when I felt I needed a friend. He taught me about life and asked philosophical questions that were so simple yet so important. He was scared to know the truth, but he never stopped seeking it. He showed courage even when the road was scary because he had his friends, the ones he dedicated his life to support, be there for, and even risk his life for. For that, Vivi taught many kids in the 2000s what it means to have friends, that families are essential and can take any shape or form.