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Fischer: Do you believe in gacha after gacha?

By Travis Fischer,

Last year marked the sad end of a long-lasting digital vice. My favorite gacha game shut down.

If you have a mobile phone, you likely know what a gacha game is. “Gacha” is the Japanese term for the toy vending machines you find at carnivals and chain restaurants. Stick a few quarters in, turn the dial, and a random toy comes out.

Fischer: Do you believe in gacha after gacha?
Travis Fischer

A gacha game is a video game that operates on a similar principal.

There is, ostensibly, a game to be played, but your characters or equipment or some critical component can only be acquired by feeding it semi-regular contributions of currency.

Most gacha games offer a sufficient amount of in-game currency to get by, but the temptation of exchanging real money for a few extra chances is always there and virtually necessary to tackle the highest levels of content.

It’s a predatory business model that is just a hair away from outright gambling and has done immeasurable harm to both the gaming industry and the wallets of its consumers.

Which is why I only ever play one at a time.

For seven years “Final Fantasy: Record Keeper” was my gacha of choice. Countless hours spent building teams, working out strategies, and trying to clear as much content as possible without spending an arm and a leg to bolster my equipment.

Then it was over. The servers shut down. Everything was gone.

Since then I’ve tried a few other gacha games as they’ve come along but none of them have really grabbed my attention.

Until recently, when a new Final Fantasy themed game launched. “Final Fantasy VII: Ever Crisis” was advertised as the modern remake of the classic “Final Fantasy VII” story that fans have been waiting for.

It was not that.

It is a gacha game through and through, with all the repetitive grinding, gated content, and microtransactions you would expect.

Many were not thrilled about this, for good reason. For me though, it has been just what I’ve been looking for. A game that gives me that quick dopamine fix when I get a good draw that I can otherwise run in the background on my computer.

It even has an auto-battle system so I can “play” it without really having to play it, which may seem counterintuitive but in a game like this most of the engagement comes from the preparation rather than the execution.

The game has been all right so far. I’m leveling up characters, getting better equipment, building teams designed to tackle specific challenges. There’re cute little stories and plenty of different materials to grind for when I have nothing better to do. All the things I want to do in a gacha game.

I’d like to say this may be the one to fill that void left behind by FFRK, but so far I’m undecided. The game looks nice and I can see the potential, but the spark just isn’t there yet.

And I’m gonna wrap this column up now because I’m just now realizing how much this is starting to parallel trying to date again after ending a relationship and that’s a whole other Christmas package to unwrap.

— Travis Fischer is a news writer for the Charles City Press and will learn to love again!

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