Sunday, April 13, 2014

Kefka and objective evil

“Why do people cling to life when they know they can’t live forever?” –Kefka Palazzo

While I can’t stand modern gaming, there’s one sure-fire way to get me to buy an Xbox One or PS4: Remake Final Fantasy 6. Of course, with Square Enix now dumbing down their products like reducing the Final Fantasy series to an MMO, that will probably never happen. I mean, since when did the creators of Kingdom Hearts publish games like Hitman? Whatever. The point is that FF6 ignited my childhood imagination with its wonderful characters and sense of adventure. Of course, every good story needs a good villain, right? Enter Kefka.
In all my years of gaming, I’ve never seen a more detestable villain such as Kefka. At first, you just think he’s the Emperor’s bumbling henchman. You soon discover, however, that while this guy may dress like a clown, he’s no Monty Python gag reel. Kefka burns cities, betrays his comrades, poisons children, and yes, even blows up the world. The thing that’s so disconcerting about Kefka is that he doesn’t try to justify his actions. He delights in the evil.

When the aforementioned apocalypse begins, Kekfa obtains God-like powers from three mystical statues. Now, completely unhinged, Kefka literally destroys the planet. The remnant of what emerges is called the World of Ruin. It’s here that our heroes gather together and form a resistance against seemingly impossible odds.

Why I like the older Final Fantasies, particularly FF6, over newer entries is simple: they have an objective good versus evil morality. Kefka isn’t misunderstood; it’s not that his mom didn’t raise him right. This is a man who is just pure evil. I think the changing times have grotesquely morphed our views on biblical truth. That’s why every JRPG villain now is some whiny, metrosexual-looking sadface.

Segueing back to reality, the concept of evil in our culture has become a myth. Everyone’s just a product of their genes, apparently, and can do no better because everything’s deterministic. Can’t we all just agree to disagree? That is, of course, if we can. Maybe I’m biologically predisposed to argue. Guess I’m just a victim then, huh? This is what we call bullshit, folks.

Here’s the crux of it. You can’t look at Kefka, a character who maniacally laughs while setting the world ablaze, and call him misunderstood. He’s evil. Similarly, the shooter of Sandy Hook may have had some mental health issues, but he made his own choices. He’s at fault. There is a devil… but there is a God as well.  

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