Overthinking It “Book” Club: Final Fantasy VI

The Overthinking It “Book” Club goes where no book clubhas gone before. Join us for an in-depth discussion of the seminal 1994 video game Final Fantasy VI!

We promised that new and exciting things were coming to the Overthinking It Book Club, and that time is here. For our next edition, we’ll be applying a very loose interpretation of the “Book” part of the Club: the next text we’ll be discussing on the book club is the 1994 classic game for the SNES, FINAL FANTASY VI. 


As much fun as we had with Ender’s Game and Slaughterhouse-Five, it’s not exactly groundbreaking to subject a novel to an extensive breakdown in a book-club style format. For our next “Book” Club, we wanted to do something a little different, and live up to the site’s motto (“it probably doesn’t deserve…”) by subjecting a new medium to the level of scrutiny usually reserved for literature and film. Video games seemed like the perfect fit, as the medium has had to battle to even be considered “art.” Most famously, film critic Roger Ebert argued in 2010 that “Video Games Can Never Be Art.

Here at OTI, we’ve discussed video games through a wide variety of different lenses. Richard Rosenbaum has discussed the philosophical implications of Zelda and the Walking Dead video game; John Perich has discussed the plotting of video games, including Saints Row and the application of a Joycean Lens to (again) Zelda; and Jordan Stokes has published a three-part magnum opus on the proper plotting of video games.


So in that grand tradition, the Book Club will be tackling the seminal gaming classic, Final Fantasy VI. FFVI is a landmark of the RPG genre, and regularly appears near (or at) the top of “all-time best games” lists. It came out almost exactly 20 years ago, debuting in North America in October of 1994, so we decided there was no better time to revisit a classic game and subject it to some intense Overthinking.

The Final Fantasy VI “Book” Club will be an exercise in testing experimentally whether video games can be art. Can a video game withstand the same sort of artistic and critical scrutiny that a novel or a film can? Does the fusion of plot with participation allow for meaningful artistic experience? Can Overthinkers actually get it together to play through a 30-hour game and talk about it for 6 months?

Get The Game

If you have the game already, great! Time to dust off the SNES and get cracking. Otherwise, the game can be acquired for iOS and Android.

The Podcast

The Book Club unfolds in weekly segments on the Book Club Podcast, released mid-week, with Ben and other Overthinking It writers. We’ll talk over the week’s reading, address some of the study questions, and highlight our favorite discussions from the forums.

Subscribe to get new episodes automatically:

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The Syllabus

As we have with our previous texts, the Book Club will break the game into chunks to discuss in detail, close-reading the plot, setting, characters, and theme, while placing the text into a wider context of philosophical and artistic thought. To give everyone time to start the game, we won’t start releasing episode and discussing until a few weeks from now.

Of course, unlike a book, FF VI does not necessarily have firmly established “Chapters” that we can use to keep everyone playing at the same pace. For convenience, we’ll be using the chapters from this strategy wiki, but of course we’ll expect that everyone will complete the game in their own unique way – that’s part of the fun!

  • Week 0: October 15 (Introduction)
  • Week 1: October 22 (Chapters 1-2: Narshe through the Returner’s Hideout)
  • Week 2: October 29 (Chapters 3-5: Locke’s Scenario, Terra’s Scenario and Sabin’s Scenario)
  • Week 3: November 5 (Chapters 6-7: From Narshe to Zozo and the Opera House to Vector)
  • Week 4: November 12 (Chapters 8-10: From Vector through the Sealed Gate, Thamasa, the Floating Island, and the World of Ruin)
  • Week 5: November 19 (Chapter 11: Cid’s Island to Darril’s Tomb)
  • Week 6: December 3 (Chapter 12: Kefka’s Tower and wrap-up)

The Forumsotis-small_thinking_FFVI

The most important part of the Book Club is getting the entire OTI community involved. For our discussion, we’re going to use a special section in the Overthinking It Forums. We’ll open up a thread for each Week of the Book Club, and everything up to and including the week’s reading is fair game for discussion—but if you’ve read the book, no spoilers for what is to come! (We’ll have a whole-book thread for those who have read it before.)

17 Comments on “Overthinking It “Book” Club: Final Fantasy VI”

  1. Coughin' Ed #

    Son of a Submariner!!

    Im reading this announcement as I prepare to fly the Blackjack towards Kefka’s tower on my 1st play through ever.

    You have no idea how jordan stoked this makes me!


  2. Pasteur #

    I’ve never played FFVI, but this seems pretty exciting.


  3. An Inside Joke #

    Dumb this down for someone who does next to no videogaming whatsoever. Do I have to buy some sort of console or device? Can this game be installed or downloaded onto my computer? How do I get these new-fangled doo-dads and why are all these kids always on my lawn?


      • Josie M. #

        Yes, unfortunately it has not yet been made available on Steam, which is the main venue by with the FF series has been ported to PC legally. They currently only have I, III, IV, VII, and VIII. Likewise, the Windows Phone 8 Xbox Store only had I and III.


  4. mezdef #

    Really excited for this one, hope I can be ready in time, as I fell behind last book club :( As a long-time FF fan (how have I never gotten around to playing this? Perfect opportunity) and RPG enthusiast I’m interested to play along with the panel and see how the ‘book club’ format stretches!


  5. Hollow_Oak #

    Note: This is Final Fantasy III if you are digging through your old SNES cartridges.


  6. Chimalpahin #

    Can’t wait to read it, better start FFVI ;)


  7. Chimalpahin #

    Also which translation will you be using?


  8. Timothy J Swann #

    FFVI is my second favourite Final Fantasy! Will you move on to doing Final Fantasy VII if this is successful?


  9. Artur Nowrot #

    Oh my god, this is the greatest thing! I’m so excited! I’d played FF6 a couple of times, so I will definitely check out your thoughts but I just might re-play it as well.


  10. Adam #

    Theres also a faithful Playstation 1 version (Final Fantasy Anthologies) that is relatively cheap on resale and will work with your Playstation Doubles and Tripples and Quadrocopters.


  11. Tim Peever #

    I’m very excited about this. This is my favorite Final Fantasy ever.


  12. Kitoudark #

    There is also a digital copy of FFVI in the Playstation Network for the PS3 or Psp Go/ PSP Vita. Its the same release as the original PS1 physical copy and much easier to find.


  13. Dennis #

    Looking forward to hear the discussion abouthis game. I’m going to play along on the mobile version. It will be interesting to compare the new design to the SNES-era graphics.


  14. Charlie X #

    I love this idea!
    I have a Game Boy Micro which I recently rediscovered and a copy of Final Fantasy VI on it. I’ve just bought a new charger as I’ve no idea where the old one went. It’ll be great to get back into the last great Final Fantasy game.


  15. midnightq2 #

    If you can’t find a way to play it, you can watch the game on Youtube: “SNES Longplay [216] Final Fantasy VI.” True to it’s name, it is quite long, but of course you can skip over bits. If I have time, I might post a list of “essential scenes” with time codes.


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