Almost 20 years after playing Kingdom Hearts, I love Final Fantasy

Almost 20 years after playing Kingdom Hearts, I love Final Fantasy

Like many kids born in the mid-’90s, I spent my childhood obsessing over Kingdom Hearts. I dove into the series for Donald, Goofy, Aladdin, and that constant tease of Mickey Mouse. But I kept bumping into characters with gunblades, big-ass swords, giant shuriken, and zippers who I knew nothing about. These were, of course, Final Fantasy staples Leon (Squall Leonhart), Cloud Strife, and Yuffie — characters who would lead me into a love for Final Fantasy 20 years later. At first, I didn’t give a damn about these humans — I bought the game for the talking duck who does magic. But over childhood years replaying the original Kingdom Hearts, weathering my old strategy guide and waiting three years for the sequel, these characters became part of my Disney canon. I didn’t fight alongside Leon, Yuffie, Cloud, Aerith, and Sephiroth from the Final Fantasy series I’d never played; it was Leon, Yuffie, Cloud, Aerith, and Sephiroth from Kingdom Hearts. Despite knowing they were from other games — just as Aladdin, Peter Pan, and Ariel were from their own movies — …
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