One of Plato's most famous ideas is characteristics of our reality are merely reflections of idealized concepts. These ideal things are called Platonic forms. An example of this would be a circle. A perfect circle is something that exists as an ideal, but can't be reproduced in our reality. However, we can have circles that are closer (or farther) in form to the ideal circle. It's important to note that, according to Plato, our reality comes from these forms, not vice versa.

You're probably wondering how this applies to video games. Well, I recently have noticed interesting philosophical concepts in a few games that relate to Platonic form.

For example, take the classic Super Nintendo RPG, Final Fantasy IV. Zeromus, the final boss, included some of these Platonic concepts in his dialogue. Just before the final showdown began, he spewed forth some requisite bad guy overlord rhetoric about how he is "THE ULTIMATE EVIL", or "THE EMBODIMENT OF EVIL" and such. He went on to taunt me with nonsense Engrish like "I WILL DESTROY YOU SPOONY BARD! MAKE YOUR TIME!!" Unfortunately, after I vanquished him in a hard fought battle, he began to breathe hoarsely and proclaim, "GRR... YOU CANNOT DEFEAT ME AS LONG AS EVIL LIVES ON IN THE HEARTS OF MEN! GRR... GZZ... GRAAM!"

Strangely enough, he died anyway. Peace was returned to the blue planet, but that haunting spectre of the possibly that Zeromus survived loomed over the heroes' shoulders. What a bummer. Cecil and the rest of the Final Fantasy IV gang can't live happily ever after now. They're gonna have to be on the look out for Zeromus returning.

Or are they? Plato believed all these ideal forms were always "good" in essence. Evil arose only as an incomplete, false or twisted fragment of an idea, but not as an idea itself.

Evil isn't destroyed when I kill Zeromus because evil isn't an idea in itself. Zeromus may be evil to the highest degree in our physical universe, but he can't be an embodiment of evil itself because evil just isn't an indepedent Platonic form. In fact, even if evil was an independent idea and he was a theoretical embodiment of it, he would still only be a mere shadow of the actual idea of evil as embodiments are just copies of ideas. Evil will live on, but whether it manifests the hearts of men is more at issue. And even if evil does manifest itself, Zeromus is already destroyed; it would have to take a new champion. Thus, he is ultimately destroyed and his dying breath is nothing but an unsupported threat. That leaves the world of Final Fantasy IV at peace.

In short, Cecil and friends need not worry about the possibility Zeromus' return with Plato in their party.

Many of the Zelda games, A Link To The Past in particular, have an abundance of Platonic philosophy concerning forms and reality. The roles of the physical plane being a reflection of the transcendental plane are instrumental to the series. In A Link To The Past, when the thief Gannondorf touches the Triforce, hoping to gain vast power, he is transformed into a monstrous boar type creature which reflects his dark inner nature. The whole idea of the Dark World being a parallel of the Light World is nearly the same concept of reality reflecting the ideal plane.

The three Triforces, being the distilled essences of Power, Courage and Wisdom, are like a Platonic forms that are in direct contact with the physical plane. Even though embodiments are just imitations of ideas, I think what makes the Triforce power is the fact that it is the three perfected ideas it represents. During the ending scene, the Triforce speaks to Link, asking that the "one with a pure heart" make a wish. Plato believed that there was a special Platonic form called The Good that was the source of everything positive. Having a pure heart would be, in a sense, being close in proximity to The Good. Therefore, Link, being in close contact with the most holy and noble of Platonic forms, is able to have his wish granted by the Triforce while Gannon, with an evil essence, is morphed into a monster as punishment for touching it.

In the Playstation 2 RPG Kingdom Hearts, the theme of humanity's potential for both good and evil is prevalent throughout the entire ending sequence. Like most final showdowns, there is banter between the hero, and the villain about whether humankind is worth saving/destroying. Plato would say that they aren't truly arguing over the faults and triumphs of human nature; they're arguing over the degree of humanity's corruption of ideas. And because these Platonic form of good and the twisted evil that comes as a result of human misinterpretation can be eliminated, the characters' disagreement has no resolution. Humanity will always be affected by the form of ideal good and the incomplete evil that comes from it.

In addition to Final Fantasy IV, Zelda, and Kingdom Hearts, there are a bunch of other games that I thought had notable amounts of philosophy relative to Platonic forms. Lunar 2: Eternal Blue (Lucia's debates with Zophar concerning the degree of power of human spirit), Alundra (Melzas's rants about destroying humanity and its benefits), and the Seiken Densetsus (the Mana Tree and the villains' discussions of love, hatred, good and evil) all had many ideas similiar to the ones discussed here.

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