We had just crossed the street from the Electronics Boutique in the plaza near Kyle’s house, and were settling in at Wendy’s like we often did, and started talking about future marathon plans. I don’t well remember what we were playing the day Kyle suggested it. By this point, The Marathon was not only ongoing, but it was well and truly unstoppable. You can read about them here, but in brief: we were playing through (often speed-running) series of single-player games together, swapping the controller at set points. The Marathons hadn’t started with that much fanfare. Mega Man 9 was coming out, so we took up Mega Man 1-8. It was a change from our usual schedule: a little of this, a little of that, one infamous ongoing game of Harvest Moon: Back to Nature, starring my greedy alter ego and his army of sweet potatoes and no remorse. Now it was all different, now there was direction. Hardly a conversation went by where we weren’t quoting our own Mega Man in-jokes. Over 100 Robot Masters and counting, and everything mechanical a “jerkbot.” Everything mechanical is still a “jerkbot,” actually. And if King Jet, an awful boss from Mega Man and Bass couldn’t stop The Marathon after near three hours of failure and tedium, nothing could.
Somewhere in the conversation, as I’m picking away at my fries, we’re talking about doing Kingdom Hearts next. If the Marathon is unstoppable now, it needs fresh targets, new jerkbots to steamroll. But somewhere in that conversation about KH, Kyle makes the fateful suggestion. Final Fantasy, he says.