The lights are on
Grandia was the first RPG that kept me awake at night. The skillful way in which the player is rewarded for getting through dungeons and other various enemy-infested areas is something I have rarely seen done well. Game Arts made sure that any time you were fighting battle after battle and trekking through a seemingly endless area, you learned more about Justin and friends’ story. This made even the task of literally going to “the end of the world” not only doable but also enjoyable. Admittedly, it also made it harder to put the controller down on school nights.
Set in the “old” continent of Messina, Justin grows tired of playing with the neighborhood kids of his small port town, Parm, and longs for real adventure.
From the beginning of Grandia, Justin insists that his goal of becoming a full-fledged adventurer is not pointless. Rumors reach Parm that the end of the world has been found, making the title of adventurer obsolete with no new lands to discover. Justin believes there is no end of the world, and leaves home to go to the new continent in search of undiscovered secrets of a lost civilization. He sets off for the new world with his younger cousin, Sue, in tow. The two later meet the intimidating adventurer Feena and, after gaining her trust, form a party.
Fast forward to the point where Justin, Feena, and Sue make it to the mist-filled Luc village and are presented with a massive stone wall— so far above them they cannot even see the top— blocking their path.
The three begin their journey up the wall.
After a few days of seemingly constant climbing, the trio stops for camp, doubting they will ever see the top of the wall. The normally plucky Justin has a breaking point when he laments, “Anyway, who was it who first said that we should climb this huge wall?”
Finally, the sunlight peaks through. They have reached the summit.
The end of the world exists, but it is falsely named. An impressive valley full of life is before them.
The moment when Justin stands at the top of the world is triumphant but short-lived. Odd, helicopter-like machines drop him and his party off the side— thankfully, not the side they just came from.
But for a moment, Justin discovered something no one else thought possible. The constant references to the end of the world since the start of the game were not true; they were just barriers of the mind created by others. He conquered the untruths he was confronted with and proved that he could discover more than what was ever believed to exist.
This moment for me mirrors challenges I’ve had that I thought were impossible to overcome, and has a lot to do with why Grandia is one of my favorite RPGs.
Fathoming the fact that I’ve been able to write for the website of a magazine I’ve been reading since I was a kid is still a challenge for me. But it was only possible because I took a leap and believed that I had a chance at getting this internship. Heart full of hope, mind full of worry, I dropped my resume and writing samples in the mail and made myself comprehend the possibility that a favorable outcome could occur.
Remaining positive in the face of seemingly insurmountable challenges and anxieties is taxing on anyone. But part of the reason I love Grandia so much, and that brief moment on top of the end of the world, is because the game believes in its characters.
More often than not in the real world, enemies come in the guise of those who want to discourage others with negativity. While Grandia has its fair share of foes in the classic sense of creatures or other humans wanting to battle it out, there are also frequent, similar enemies we face every day. The pessimists, the doubters, and the jerks that need to bring others down with them.
In spite of being told his dreams are pointless and his goals unreachable, Justin proves himself time and time again. He conquered the end of the world by believing nothing was impossible, and found that nothing was ever truly in his way.