Friday, May 5, 2006

The Final Fantasy Series's Ara-Aga

You know what I miss about the old days of Final Fantasy? Besides the fact that Square hadn't yet discovered that they could make money without trying to give the player quality, I mean. Although, then again, I can't see them spending significantly more effort in making that crap heap FF5 than they did on FF10-2. So I guess they've always known that they could be lazy and make a profit off of any poorly-written swill they slap a Final Fantasy name on.

But what I REALLY miss about the old days was that spell names made some fucking SENSE. First of all, of course, there's the fact that lightning spells were called Bolt, as in, bolt of lightning, instead of Thunder, as in, the sound that lightning discharges make that have nothing to do with the lightning itself. And for that matter, spells involving ice were called Ice, instead of Blizzard, which doesn't make all that much sense since the spell typically involves hitting a foe with/encasing a foe in a big block of ice or something. Last time I checked, blizzards were snowstorms, involving a lot of wind, a lot of cold, and a lot of snow. Not really just a big chunk of ice materializing around you.

Square's complete and total ineptitude with meteorological terms aside, though, what I miss about the old spell names was that they were reasonable. You had Fire 1. Fire 2. Fire 3. Fire 4, in FF Tactics. The numbers denoted the power of the spell. It's a working, functional system, right? I mean, it's not fantastically creative--other RPGs might actually name their increasing spells differently to show their strength, where Fire 1 would be called something like Single Match, progressing up to Fire 3's equivalent, 5000 Volcano Explosions While In The Center Of The Sun, or something. But the numbers WORK. They make some SENSE.

Nowadays, we have Ara and Aga. Want to cast Fire 3? Too bad! Instead, you get to cast Firaga! Wanna cast Bolt 2? No dice; you're gonna have to make like Liono and start yelling about Thundara (seriously, now, I can't be the only one who gets a Thundercats rush when I see that spell name, can I?). I mean, where does it even COME from? How does adding an ara at the end of Blizzard suddenly make it a more powerful ice spell? No, really, if you were to look at the spells Firaga, Fire, and Fira, what sort of reasoning would bring you to the conclusion that Firaga is the best of them? I mean, hell, if I were asked which one I thought sounded the most powerful, I'd say Fire, because it's an actual word and doesn't sound as much like something a toddler would gurgle whilst drooling gobs of sour-milk spittle all over his stale, crusty bib as Firaga does.

I miss the happy golden days of numbers. They made sense and they worked. And since Square has not started naming its games Final Fantasara and Final Fantasaga, it can still clearly see the benefits of them. So for heaven's sake, Square, stop monkeying around and bring back the days when your spells were something other than nonsensical moron-babble.


  1. The first few sentences of this were genius. It's like you read my mind, and you wrote this on my 18th Birthday in 2006 too! Awesome.

    To answer your question nearly five years down the line. Ara and Aga are suffix's that denote to a Japanese meaning essentially "Second" and "Third".

    That being said, this may make perfect sense in Japanese, but it means BUGGER ALL in the English Language, it's like suddenly writing the whole game in Romanji (that's Japanese words and their sounds written in English). Sure it makes sense in Japanese but it makes no sense to the people who read the English language. It's retarded.

    That being said, it's kind of become a staple of the series so now I'll allow it.

  2. That certainly does explain the change, but ironically, makes my belief that they should have kept numerical spell names all the more logical, since that's more or less what those suffixes translate to anyway. What, did the translation team just take a lunch break around deadline time one day, and to cover their asses they later pretended they'd meant to just leave that little bit of seemingly nonsensical Japanese in?

    At any rate, now I know. Thanks, Petros. Double thanks for commenting at all. Triple thanks for doing so on an older rant, proving to me that someone actually WILL check these things out!

  3. It alright, I think another reason may have been they thought the numbers looked messy or something especially as it started in Final Fantasy VIII where the magic spells had a limited number. You can see how it might get confusing... this all being said. Were they to retarded to have heard of Roman Numerals? Fire, Fire II, Fire III - not exactly hard. Cool to see you replied to the post.

  4. My only defense for this naming convention is it allows for more differentiation between spell levels. They come across as more individualized than Step 1 and Step 2. Baseless and meaningless, I'm aware. I'm not here to be reasonable; don't mistake me for a better man.

    FFXIII takes it to the extreme and makes the basic spells the go-to for DPS, whereas -ara and -aga are situational crowd hitters that excel at staggering groups in pre-emptive strikes. It's not world-changing, but it's pretty neat to have a list of spells that isn't 80% obsolete.

    As far as Thunder spells go, just consider it a space-friendly shortening of Thunderbolt and go from there.

  5. But being real dog, I couldn't give less of a fuck if I tried. I'm just throwing baseless stuff around as is my wont.

  6. It's kist because you are IMBECILE.
    Bolt 2 doesn't sound magical, it's sounds boring!
    I prefer those -ara, -aga and -aja names, because they sound more FANTASY-LIKE.
    So stop acting like a pussy, ya moron!

  7. I'm sorry, i was just mad at all those people who hate those ara and aga. It's your opinion, but i hate when people rant on ara and aga because of stupid reasons...

  8. Also, what the hell is "esuna" supposed to mean? Thunder for a lightning bolt is dumb, sure, but at least thunder's a real word, not some moonspeak gobbledygook. It's almost like that spell name came out of the Phantasy Star sequels, where all of the spell names are nonsense with no clue in the name what they do and you need a guide or trial an error to figure them out.

    Was heal really such a bad name? Sure heal and cure probably should have been switched around, but it sure beat esuna.

  9. You know, I actually might pass on getting the Steam release of FF5 almost exclusively because of those idiotic spell names that I'm sure they're going to include. I'm assuming we have weeaboos to thank for popularizing that crap enough to have them retroactively include them in the old games for rereleases in western markets...personally i dislike figuring out all these ara daga lady gaga nonsensex but then again I grew up on the SNES FF games when the spell tiers were named sensibly.

  10. Seems like lots of people have memory issues when it comes to names and associating them to things (or spells in this case). They usually follow the same pattern don't they? No suffix < ara < aga < aja. Is it really that hard to remember?

    1. Nope, not that hard. But you know what's even easier, and sounds a whole hell of a lot less idiotic? Numbers.