Hands up. Who here loves grinding in your RPGs? Do you have this compunction to mindlessly slaughter the same thousands of weak enemies for hours on end just to watch the EXP bars of your party members slowly creep up at the same rate that your savings account accrues interest in the bank? Do you find the tedium somewhat cathartic as you unconsciously witness those hundreds of hours disappear before your very eyes as you traverse that same catwalk for the four thousandth, six hundredth and twelfth time?
Pfft, you have nothing on a player who goes by the name of CirclMastr. His perseverance is on an entirely different plane of existence, because he has successfully over the weekend managed to bring both Cloud and Barret up to level 99...in Sector 1's reactor alone. Yes, the very first mission in the game. And guess what? He did this on PS1, so he could not use frame-skipping or save states to mitigate the tedium of it all. While most of the uhh, adventure was solo, it was partially streamed on Twitch.
What is the story of CirclMastr and what compelled him to partake in a quest to do something that most people will consider to be pointless and an ill-advised investment of your time as a being on this mortal coil with a finite period of existence?
It was back in January 2015 that he started the grind, primarily out of frustration, so he says. Another player on a private forum named Dick Tree had made the promise to hit the level cap in the same reactor at the very start of the game only to have stopped posting updates. Frustrated that this man couldn't finish the job he had set up to do, CirclMastr decided to show the world how it is done. "I got fed up with waiting and, based on my track record of meaningless accomplishments, decided I could do the whole thing before he could bother to finish", he told Kotaku.
He has also expressed the following in response to commentators who feel this achievement was entirely meaningless:
“Life does not have inherent meaning; to say that our lives are pointless and our achievements meaningless is to state the obvious. No matter how grand our achievements or how broad their scope, time turns all to dust and death destroys all memory. But that does not mean we cannot ascribe our own meaning to what we do. It is because nothing has meaning unto itself that we are free to create meaning, to make metaphor, and in doing so reflect on ourselves and our world.
"Leveling to 99 in the first reactor is pointless and meaningless. So why do I do it? I do it to express my hatred, and more importantly my disdain, for Dick Tree. I do it to express the camaraderie I feel for those of us who have followed this topic for years only to be disappointed by [Dick Tree]. I do it to prove to myself that I can persevere. The act is meaningless; I give it meaning.”
Now the bearer of this proud accolade, what will this Olympic athlete of JRPG grinding do now? “I’m probably going to start getting Terra to level 99 before Whelk in FF6 on Wednesday.”
We wish him the best of luck!