Jeffrey Faden here, reporting from the Sony Metreon in San Francisco.
9:00 - I'm waiting outside. It will be one hour before the Metreon opens and four more before the Final Fantasy 9 demo even starts. Sadly, I'm the only one waiting for this event so far. Pretty pathetic, huh? Even more pathetic is me: I'm dressed as Serge from Chrono Cross.
10:30 - After giving me a complimentary muffin for being a good sport for waiting, the staff has let me into the PlayStation Store. It's the same as it is every day, only I hear that annoying ocarina bleating out its boring melody far in the background. Some Squaresoft and Sony staff members are playing FF9, mostly to demonstrate it for Sony's internal broadcasting crew. No one is allowed to play yet, but I am allowed to control one of the games! I got to actually press Start+Select+L+R!! My first command for FF9!!! (For you non-Square fans, that button combination restarts the game. I did it for a helpless staff member.)
11:30 - News crews are interrogating innocent people, making them confess dirty secrets about their infatuation with FF9. FFFreaks and Electricity-illiterates alike have conversed with me about FF9, PS2, and the meaning of life. Youth groups have included me in their scavenger hunt as "strangest-dressed-up person."
11:45 - I've reluctantly gone and gotten myself some lunch, just sitting down after all the staff members left. Hmph. Hope I don't miss any action while I'm gone. I'm reading a flyer that says I will get 5 FREAKING MINUTES to demo FF9. That's not even enough time to watch the introduction.
4:00 - WOO!! It rocked! WOO!!! ...everything but FF9, that is. Rushing to become 10th in line to play FF9 after my lunch, I met some serious Final Fantasy fans. They were close to throwing sodas at me for mentioning I do not have the Proof of Omega in FF8, and I'm glad I didn't mention not getting to the second disc of Xenogears (don't kill me). At 2, there was a big explosion as the local WILD 94.9 DJ started thumpin' out some beats, and the first few people got to step up to the machines and play FF9. I got to play a few minutes later.
I selected New Game and found myself being whisked away on the stormy open sea, when... some guy walked over and restarted the console. He said, for publicity's sake, that I have to play a savegame, because people don't want to see the same thing over and over. So, I started out in a boss fight with a giant flower. I was about to make my first attack, when... the screen broke. People rushed over and took a few minutes repairing it, but by that time, I had been eaten by the flower. I tried to start the game over again, when... my time was up. ARGHLEBARGLE. SUX0RZ. The only thing I did was walk a few steps! I got more done restarting the damn machine a few hours back! I barely even had read any dialogue! Screw it, I said. I'll go watch other people play. Fortunately, for testing the game out, I got a goody bag containing a t-shirt (good!) and three gaming magazines. And as a bonus for dressing up as Serge, I got a Chrono Cross clock.
I filled out a survey, subtly hinting that my experience with the game was pure suckyness.
It was then time for the FF Movie trailer! People crowded around, gazing at the pretty pictures, and when it was all over, I heard a deafening sigh of disappointment. I expected it, having seen the trailer already on www.finalfantasy.com. We Square fans deserve better! We don't want the sequel to Starship Troopers!
I decided to go over and headbang to some more phat DJ rappa beetz homes foo', and after standing in a daze for an hour (I was temporarily deafened), the DJ started a Final Fantasy trivia quiz, where the prizes were other Squaresoft games. I previously accidentally overlooked one question on his sheet of answers: "What is the name of the main character of Final Fantasy 8?" DUH! EVERYONE KNOWS THAT! IT'S MOG! But the first question wasn't extremely super-easy, it was just super-easy. I got to answer to "what is the name of the airship in FF8?" With a swift reply of "that depends on what your definition of 'airship' is," I had won myself Threads of Fate! I walked around the store for a bit, basking in my glory. People still in line to try FF9 cheered me on and admired my costume, including Andrew Vestal, and the only other person in costume at the time, dressed as Rinoa.
9:30 - For the next few hours, I had intellectual conversations with many rabid FF fans, mostly touching the wide subject of why Faris from FF5 should actually be called "Phallus." The line had dissipated by 5:30, and I got to demo FF9 one more time, this time from the beginning. I had already seen the beginning online, so the only thing new to me was the translation. I believe it could have been done better, but Baku, the leader of the group of thieves, had some funny moments. For example, he called the bandits "fools" in a Mr. T fashion, and he called Queen Brahne a fat-ass. It was time for me to go, so I slowly walked away from the Metreon, and as I looked back longingly, I was hit by my bus.