about the site
It took me six years to beat Final Fantasy VIII. This is a sad but true fact.
See, the thing is, I got the game in 2007 or so — I never had any consoles growing up, so I bought it when I went off to college — and set about playing it, but I didn't make it very far. The end of Disc 1, maybe. A year or so later I played it again, and got a lot further; I think that was the time I made it to the end of Disc 3. And then, realizing I hadn't done any sidequests and that I'd reached the point where I had to do them or go ahead and do the final dungeon and all that, I got lazy and set it aside.
Over the years I went back to it a couple of times, never making it past the first or much of the second disc, but I could never get around to just beating the stupid thing. I knew how the game ended in broad strokes and I'd seen some screencaps from the ending, but I'd never seen it in full. It was just another one of those games on the "eh, I'll get to it eventually" list.
Then at the end of 2013, FFVIII was rereleased on the PC, and a good friend gifted it to me. Since it was a gift, I felt like I needed to bite the bullet and finish the damn thing already; plus, I'd recently played FFVII in full on the PC and already had my PS3 controller hooked up to use. And so I finally, finally played through the game.
I never, ever planned on making a Squall site; sure I liked the kid, but he'd never so much as made a blip on my radar of characters I'd like to analyze in essay form. As I was playing the game, though, I was liveblogging it, and as per usual I started to tl;dr. Except I started tl;dring about Squall in particular.
The next thing I knew I had the first draft of a fansite in the form of a liveblog, and, well, I wasn't about to let it go to waste. The format of this site was largely inspired by said liveblog, from the way the images are arranged on the pages to the way the site itself is set up. Sure, you can look at Squall's development as one big picture, but I had a lot of fun working through it bit by bit through the course of the game. Honestly, Squall isn't even my favorite character in FFVIII — Laguna is — but he's the most interesting to analyze.
I really hope it comes across that I had a ton of fun working on this site. All of the snarking I do on FFVIII is in good humor: it's a silly game, but it's one I enjoy a lot. And I really like Squall, for all his faults. He might start out as an asshole, but he learns some lessons that are easy to empathize with. Even if it feels like the world's turned its back on you, there's still hope out there to be found. Loneliness is awful, and good friends are hard to come by, so it's important to treasure the ones you are lucky enough to have.
To be honest, I probably would have empathized with him more had I managed to finish FFVIII all those years ago — I was 19 in 2008 — but I'm glad I played it as an adult instead. Even at 19, being a teenager sucks, and now that I'm a good five years removed from it it's a lot easier to look back at my own Squall-type years and see all the things I was missing out on. Knowing me, I probably would have totally missed the point back then.
about the name
DIVIDE obviously comes from Squall's Rough Divide limit break, but I picked it for more than just that. Specifically, I feel like "divide" embodies a lot of the themes of Squall's character and development.
He keeps a divide up between his inward and outward persona, refusing to let anyone in; he divides himself from others, as if he's not even a part of the group. The game itself is split in two between Squall's internal monologues and what he says out loud, and the player is left to bridge that divide on their own. What does Squall really mean? What does he really think? Final Fantasy VIII is about answering those questions, and so is this site.
Plus, y'know, there's the whole divide between Squall and Laguna, both in the gameplay and in the story. Everybody loves multipurpose names.
Layout Info & Credits
I'm really happy with this layout; I wasn't entirely sure what I wanted to do until I found this texture from so-ghislaine, and then it kind of made itself. I wanted to portray the "divide" theme visually along with some of the game's major concepts, so I went with the headshot of Squall and an image of him from the ending FMV to show how he changes through the game. The background is from subtlepatterns, and the clock is by x-mo12.
Images in the artwork section come from Creative Uncut, the FF wiki, and lots of googling. (Seriously, reverse image search is the best thing ever.) All caps in the gallery were taken by me. The lightbox script came from here, and unfortunately invalidates my CSS, but what can you do. Least the rest of it works.
Finally, this site would not have been possible without the game script.
DIVIDE was honored with Amassment's Shrine Spotlight in August 2014. I'm incredibly grateful to the Amassment community for the recognition. You can read what the community had to say about the site here.
I especially have to thank Kiwi, who was kind enough to read over all the pages for me. The NORG section is just for you, bird ♥ Thanks also to my dear nametwin, who was kind enough to gift the game to me on Steam C: This site wouldn't be here without you.