Today is Guy Fawkes Night (or Bonfire Night) in the UK, and while the rest of the world may not be celebrating, that doesn’t mean you can’t join us for some beautiful fireworks!
If you missed it, Sara did a fantastic Top 5 Fireworks in Video Games feature to celebrate the 4th of July earlier this year. While she did a great job already on rating the fireworks themselves, I wanted to round up some touching and emotional scenes in video games involving some of the colourful sky explosions.
After all, fireworks are not only awesome to gawp at, but are associated with happiness, friendship and even romance.
3: The Star Festival – Super Mario Galaxy
Mario has once again been invited to the Mushroom Kingdom by the irresistible Princess Peach, who says she has something she wants to give him. The poor sap of course happily accepts the invitation, even after being tricked by Bowser and his minions last time; as well as being thrown in jail on his vacation with the Princess after the mischief caused by imposter Shadow Mario. That cake from Super Mario 64 must have been good.
Mind you, if I was invited to the Star Festival, I think I’d risk being attacked by the Koopa King too. While not fireworks in the strictest sense, the star showers are stunningly pretty as the opening of the game shows Mario gleefully running towards the festival. Look how goddamn happy the little guy is!
[Skip to 0:35 for the Star Festival]
As you first take control of Mario, you’ll get to run through the beautiful path across the grassy plains of the Mushroom Kingdom. Pretty flowers litter the ground, the sky is vastly starry and you’re greeted by a number of ecstatic Toads. The stars are falling all around you, not only creating a great cosmetic effect but introducing you to the star-shooting mechanic.
It may only be a brief few moments before Bowser inevitably ruins the scene in his never-ending quest to ruin Mario’s life, but what a beautiful few moments it is. Besides, there’s tons more stunning scenery to come in this space adventure!
2: Meeting Calista – The Last Story
The Last Story is the latest game from creator of the amazing Final Fantasy series, Hironobu Sakaguchi. Founder of the developer of this game, Mistwalker, Sakaguchi is famous for his captivating story-telling. His latest effort told the story of Zael, a member of a travelling group of mercenaries and Lady Calista, sole heir of the House of Arganon.
Zael first meets Calista as he ventures out of the tavern one night, to fetch more liquor for beer-guzzling lass, Syrenne. Running through the town, the citizens are in high spirits and you can hear the cracking of fireworks going off around you. As Zael passes a wheelbarrow, he hears a sneeze, and proceeds to investigate.
[Video 1: skip to 5:50 for the moment, 7:55 for the fireworks]
The ceremony being held that night is for the engagement of Lady Calista, the niece of the island’s ruler. Of course, upon finding the young lady hiding from the guards, he isn’t aware that he is in the company of royalty, as Calista is currently operating under the name “Lisa” to avoid attention.
She requests Zael’s help in maintaining her anonymity, later revealing that she is sick of being restricted to the walls and security of the castle she resides in and wishes to see more of the world. She loves fireworks, and is prepared to risk getting herself in trouble to see them. While the two are mostly busy hiding from and out-running the guards throughout the town, in-between the chase the couple share some sweet moments and even catch some of the fireworks together. It’s also the beginning of an evolving romantic relationship, and there’s a later scene where the pair watch the shooting stars together alone at the top of a tower. Awww!
1: Cloud and Aerith’s First Date – Final Fantasy VII
While The Last Story is a worthy contender, here we are at the real Sakaguchi moment of this feature. Cloud and his comrades are looking for a break after their travels through North Corel, and reach the Gold Saucer. Easily one of the most enjoyable locations in the game, it’s a towering amusement park that’s filled to the brim with festivities, mini-games and amazing sights. On the group’s first night, a giggling Aerith enters Cloud’s hotel room and asks him to go on a date with her.
Coincidentally, the couple are told that tonight is “Enchantment Night”, where all of the Gold Saucer’s attractions are free. After a humourous scene wherein Cloud and Aerith are forced to act in a play, they then venture on an intimate ride on the Gondola. Surrounded by the awesome light shows and events, Aerith is in awe from the spellbinding view. Most importantly, of course, is the huge fireworks display that follows, covering the entire park – if this were a list of the best fireworks, this could still easily be number one!
[Skip to 5:20 for the Gold Saucer scene, 6:20 for the fireworks]
With the scene perfectly set, the two engage in a private discussion, with a cutely-shy Aerith revealing some of her thoughts and feelings to Cloud. She wants to meet the real Cloud, the one behind the tough guy exterior, and tells him how much fun she’s had as the night comes to an end. Did I mention that the music playing throughout the whole scene is also incredibly beautiful?
Of course, FF fans will know that it’s not necessarily Aerith that Cloud will accompany on this night out. Depending on the player’s choices and actions, it could be Tifa, Yuffie or even Barret that will ride the Gondola, but Aerith is undoubtedly the greatest choice for this memorable scene. Aerith says she’d love to do it again sometime, which is all very sad for those who already know of the couple’s fate later on in the game. But while it lasted, it was very touching.