You don’t realize how important maps are until you don’t have one. You end up wandering around in circles in the wilderness until, exhausted, you and your friends are eaten by bears.
In video games, maps are also important in preventing being eaten by a bear. It’s a feature I’ve always taken for granted. There’s either that helpful mini map in the corner or at least somewhere in a menu. It’s nice to have even if you don’t need it and the absence is really felt when it’s not there.
I’m still making my way through Final Fantasy and up until recently I didn’t have a map and it wasn’t so bad. I found that if I vaguely remembered the direction of places I’d been to I could stumble my way across the world but this only took me so far, about halfway through the game. Now, I’m not old enough to remember but I’m told there was a time when games came with physical maps and they weren’t packaged away in some insanely expensive collectors edition. After visiting Jay who collects retro games he showed me the map for Final Fantasy and it was then I learned I missed a whole lot of stuff and many hours could have been saved it I was given this at the start.
The map not only shows the land but it also has all the important places listed and numbered. Turns out I had missed the Ice Cave which I thought might get me another crystal. It gave me a Levistone and I think one NPC had told me next to nothing about this Levistone or what to do with it. So I looked at the handy dandy map and went to the next number on the map and voila, this patch of desert I had been to before that had absolutely nothing there birthed an air ship. So I took the airship to the next point and got a rat tail. At this point not one single NPC told me what to do with said rat tail so thankfully the map led me to the right place.
From then on I’ve been completing one area at a time making my way to the next number on the map and the game has become enjoyable to play again. I’ve been trying really hard not to look up a walk through but I’m getting really close to throwing in the towel on that one. Either I didn’t pay close enough attention to NPC dialog or they just never told me but I’ve completed the Sunken Shrine and have no idea where I’m going next even with a map!
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