The first semester of my sophomore year of college was a crucible for gaming unlike any other time in my life. Iíd lived game-free for my entire freshman year, having left my TV and Super NES at home in order to focus thoroughly on scholastics. (Yeah, disgusting, I know.) But I couldnít stick to my guns for a second year; every time I went home as a freshman, Iíd discover some amazing game like Secret of Mana or Super Metroid that made me realize I wasnít quite ready to cut the cord with video games just yet.

So, the following year, I took my Super Nintendo along with me to school and, thanks to a surprisingly light class load, I had tons of time to chill out in my dorm room working through my game acquisition for the current month. I didnít even have to be antisocial! I had so much free time I could hang out with my friends for hours and still have scads of time to devote to my current game fling. When I miss college, thatís why.

When Final Fantasy III (VI, whatever) arrived, it frankly blew my mind. Iíd grown accustomed to the idea of RPGs as visually unattractive, slow-paced grindfests. FFIII was visually stunning, fast-paced, and constantly engrossing. It devoured my free time for weeks, and actually stunted my social life a bit -- the friends I normally hung around with loved games, but not RPGs. So I was on my own for a while.

Due to the parochial nature of my university, I lived in gender-segregated housing for the first two years of college. I actually didnít mind, because it was much better to hang out with female friends somewhere that didnít reek of 400 college dudesí old laundry, and it also meant I never woke up in the middle of the night to hear my roommate performing a mattress stress test with his girlfriend. The sole exception to the ďno girlsĒ rule came once per semester during Open House night, wherein we were allowed to go visit other dormitories -- even those of the other sex. Gasp! The stipulation was that we had to leave our doors open the entire time for easy observation by resident assistants. God forbid we might kiss a girl while no one was looking.

I was having none of it the night of that semesterís Open House. I had reached the Floating Continent in FFIII, and I was entirely too caught up in what appeared to be the climax of the game to want to talk to random people dropping by my room, even if they had boobs. Especially if they had boobs, really. The ones I knew definitely wouldnít appreciate the finer points of a game like Final Fantasy III, or in fact of any game whatsoever. So, I did the proper thing: I lied.

Which is to say, I turned off my lights, muted the TV, locked the door, and hoped people would assume I was out and about. I kept hearing lady classmates express their disappointment that I wasnít around as they came across my sealed-up door. But I didnít care! I was gonna murderize Kefka.

But as proof that liars never prosper, my dishonest dealings did bite me in the butt: My TV was on mute, so I didnít get to enjoy ďThe Fierce Battle,Ē the incredible music that accompanies the Atma Weapon battle, until my second playthrough of the game.

Final Fantasy VI Recollections: Leaf | Open House | Kefka's Domain | Retrospective