Lightning Returns Proves Timed Games Still Suck
Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII

I'm here today with a simple plea. One I'm sure all gamers can identify with. So, lend me your voices. Let us join together and ask developers for one simple thing.

Stop making timed games!

Do you think they heard us? Maybe we should clap our hands and try saying it again? Wait, no, that's what you do when you're trying to revive a fairy. I really should have thought this through.

But that isn't important now, the message is. Some companies like to restrict players. They try to force us to follow their schedule and time, but imposing time limits on games. Sometimes, the game is so amazing and incredibly strong, like The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask, that said limitations don't matter. Other times, like with Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII, they're so overbearing that you're ready to just throw the controller down and stop playing because the voice in the back of your head keeps saying, "You're screwing it up! Look how much time you've wasted! You need to get back to the Ark in an hour."

Wait, was that last voice really in my head? Oh no. Not again.

Would you just shut up, Hope? I still have over an hour left! Stop reminding me about getting back to the freaking Ark!


Sorry, I think it's a post-traumatic stress thing. I'm still recovering from Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII. I enjoyed it, at times, but the constant clock watching and obsession with time really stressed me out. Hence, today's plea.

We spend so much of our daily lives adhering to schedules. Racing to get to work or school, meeting deadlines for work, trying to fit all of our commitments into the right spaces in our lives. The last thing we need are more games like Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII that carry over those same stressors into our virtual lives.

True, the concept isn't anything new. The Harvest Moon series and aforementioned The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask introduced these same restrictive elements into our lives. Yet, somehow, they felt more forgiving. I was aware of time constantly ticking down, but things seemed more clearly defined there. There wasn't this overarching shadow looming overhead, reminding me that I had places to be at certain times, and sidequests that could only be accomplished between certain hours, and, by the way, there are now 3 days left. It was just too much.

I mean, when I have to keep a notepad or tablet at my side, to jot down an elaborate schedule of where I should be, and at what time, and then have to restart each day, plotting out the best course of action from the "dry run" I did before, something's wrong. It isn't fun anymore, it's work.

Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII

Yet, we shouldn't be surprised by Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy's ability to bring a normally extraordinarily patient, 31 year old woman (myself) to rage-quitting fits. The Final Fantasy series is reknowned for timed, cold-sweat, you're going to die and it's all your fault because you spent over 1 minute in that menu moments. Final Fantasy V, Final Fantasy VI, Final Fantasy VII, Final Fantasy VIII, and Final Fantasy IX all had segments that could get your heart pounding and drive you to tears in fear of taking too long in a battle and getting a dreaded Game Over.

I guess this means our plea should be more specific then. Please, Square Enix, stop timing us during games! You've been timing us for over 20 years now and clearly, you're doing it wrong. Grant us a reprieve! Have mercy!

...Did it work? If yes, then clearly our next task will be begging for escort missions that don't tie us to masochistic imbeciles.

Jenni Lada
Jenni Lada

Site Editor
Date: 02/13/2014

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