Where did all the stories go?

Jake Joy

Jake Joy | March 19, 2024

Where did all the stories go?


The last few weeks, I have been replaying a video game from my distant past. An old favourite by the name of Final Fantasy VII.

I used to play this game almost once a year; I kept going back to it again and again throughout my childhood and often used to inform my imaginative play at school. I adored this game.

But as with all good things, my time with it came to an end. I got old and time to play anything dwindled into hard to grab snippets between work, family and eventual parenthood. But I still find it an irresistible pull and it got me wondering…


There are thousands of games that I could be playing. New experiences, new worlds, new baddies to hit really hard with a sword/fireball/grenade, but I have an irresistible urge to play something I’ve played more than a hundred times already. There’s nothing new, nothing different each time I play and yet…

Why do I love this game so much?

Then it hit me like an Omnislash (repeatedly and very hard).

It’s the same reason my wife re-reads Brandon Sanderson’s Mistborn trilogy almost fanatically, and why my dad re-watches 3-10 to Yuma every Christmas, and my brother can’t stop watching Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings trilogy on repeat (Seriously, I think he may have a problem)

It’s the story.

The story in FFVII is just so phenomenal that even on the one hundred and first playthrough (and being fully aware of a number of plot holes) I can’t get enough. The characters are so well realised, and the villain is so iconic that the story pulls you in and won’t let you go.

There are few stories in any medium that can do that, and I feel it is an art that is being lost.

Recently, I’ve been reading a few best-sellers (Gasp; a writer who reads! Shocker.) and so few have grabbed me the way this game did. I read them once, enjoy it, and then move on to the next without really thinking about the story again. I remember reading the Lord of the Rings for the first time in secondary school and dragging out the last few chapters because I didn’t want the story to end. I had a big hole where Legolas and Gimli used to be once the final page was turned and I just sat in complete… emptiness.

Very few books, films, or games (A list for another time and another blog) have had that impact on me since. That’s not to say that the others were bad, they weren’t, but they just lacked… something.

Something that Final Fantasy VII had oodles of.

Maybe it’s old age embittering me, but so much of what’s produced now feels like it’s being phoned in. Like it’s following a recipe. Like it’s devoid of any soul.

I want a return to stories that I don’t want to end. I want more Final Fantasy VIIs.



Seriously, If you have any recommendations let me have it. Books, films, t.v, or games; I want to be gripped in a story again

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