Kingdom Hearts 3 | Disney, Kindness, Friendship, and Good Memories

Thursday, February 7, 2019

Back on January 29, Kingdom Hearts 3, the long-awaited sequel and trilogy-ender to the Kingdom Hearts game franchise, launched to Playstation 4 and XBOX One. Needless to say, as a longtime fan of this series, I was super excited, and I preordered it the moment I could.

Kingdom Hearts is a crossover between Final Fantasy, a long-running fantasy series, and Disney. Players traverse various Disney worlds (settings from various movies such as Alice in Wonderland, Toy Story, Frozen, and SO many more) as a happy-go-lucky hero named Sora and his sidekicks Donald and Goofy (yes, the Disney duck and dog). The story gets convoluted quickly due to alternate universes, merging timelines, time travel, and a massive cast of characters who somehow mesh perfectly with the Disney universes they inhabit, but it's worth the ride for sure.

When I launched Kingdom Hearts 3, I'm 99% sure that I squealed "THAT'S SO CUTE!!" at the screen at least ten times in the first 30 minutes. The game itself is so light-hearted and fun. I mean, what game lets you attack enemies with classic Disney rides? I got to blast away some of the monsters with Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin, and I got to smash a Greek Rock Titan with the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad train. As a Disney park fanatic as well, this was exciting.  Also, there's a portion of the game where you traverse Arendelle, the kingdom in the movie Frozen, and there's sing-along portions in that level. This little Disney nerd was happy.

I played this game growing up, and to say this game is a long time coming is an understatement. The first game came out in 2002. I was ten years old. The second game came out in 2004. I was thirteen then. I even remember asking my mom if we could go to Gamestop to pick up Kingdom Hearts 2 the day it came out. I remember loving all of those characters and exploring the Disney worlds even back then. I would make up my own characters that fit into the universe as well.

Little did I know that those games actually influenced parts of my life, like my writing and my overall love of bright and colorful things, as well as great storytelling.

Now, I'm 27. I'm an adult. I've experienced a lot in the past 13 years in the real world. I graduated college. I experienced heartbreak. I have a job. And still, I experience so much joy picking up a Kingdom Hearts game and picking up a keyblade, even after all this time. I'm still working on beating this game, but I can tell you that I've learned that there's no reason to apologize for being who you are, even though it may come across as childish or too weird for some. Kindness and encouragement always wins, no matter what form it takes, Disney magic included.

I guess there's something to be said about a game that brings so much happiness, and about a game whose story aims to emphasize the importance of kindness, friendship, and staying true to yourself, even when the world around you goes dark.

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