We’ve got a special edition of Heart Eyes for all our Preen gamers out there. Our junior designer Tricia Guevera reminisces about their video game crushes, the girls from “Final Fantasy X-2.” (FFX-2)
They remember the year 2005 like it was only yesterday when they and their brother got home from The Marketplace in Mandaluyong after buying PS2 games and waited for him to try them out so they could watch.
After he loaded up FFX-2 on their Playstation slim, Tricia went full heart eyes and thought, “Oh my god, female protagonists..” when the cute characters flashed on their bulky TV screen. Same, Tricia, same.
For those of you who aren’t familiar with the game and their gorgeous protagonists, let me and starry-eyed Tricia give you a quick rundown. FFX-2 features the three protagonists Yuna, Rikku, and Paine (or YRP as “Final Fantasy” veterans have come to know), who would do anything to stop a war from ensuing in their world. Crazy, right? And so powerful.
The game starts off with our main gal Yuna deciding to join a group of sphere hunters when her boyfriend vanishes. She crosses paths with Rikku and Paine in the process. And it’s in their meeting that we’re shown the number one life lesson for all us girls out there, “That the cure for heartbreak is finding a girl group to go have adventures with,” Tricia says proudly.
To get a better feel of the FFX-2 girls that Tricia has devoted their heart to, they first relate Rikku and Paine to the pink and black variations of the famous strawberry dress. Rikku, like the classic pink dress, is the bubbly and upbeat character who skips around wherever she goes but probably knows more about engineering than your average mansplainer. Like the black dress, Paine is the ultimate edgy girl crush and Tricia’s number one. “She’s your quiet, mysterious, big fat blade-wielding badass. She’s calm, collected, and above everything else, cool,” they say. Who could ask for more? And if there was a white strawberry dress, that would be our final girl Yuna. She’s the laidback, kind, and empathetic girl we all strive to be like one day. She also has that unforgettable hair Tricia can’t help but squeal about, “She has the iconic bisexual hair length, wbk.”
As if Tricia’s heart could take any more, the girls showed no mercy in all the killer outfits you could choose from. “The game lets you dress them up in different ‘dress spheres’ so you get to see the characters in witch costumes, shaman costumes, and the best of all: each others’ clothes,” they shared.
Beyond the outfits and the badass personalities each of the girls had, what mattered most to Tricia then and especially now, is how important it was for them to see female protagonists shine in a male-dominated space. Even if they weren’t much of a gamer themselves, watching their brother finally play a game with female protagonists allowed them to see themselves in fantastical places and urged them to try it out too. Tricia notes, “Just being able to play as a woman in video games was huge because I could finally see myself as a heroine summoning giant flame-breathing creatures, casting spells, or wielding giant swords which are usually reserved for male protags, like Cloud from ‘FF7.’”
The girls also helped Tricia feel more powerful and confident. Rikku showed them that fun doesn’t cancel out smart, Paine showed them that a woman’s strength is not limited and Yuna showed that there is no fear or shame in reinventing yourself.
The best kind of crushes are the ones that empower you, and YRP did exactly that for Tricia. Even as the game reaches almost 17 years since first premiering, the power and the thirst Tricia feels for the girls of YRP will forever remain.
Art by Dana Calvo
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