Window-shopping for the least popular Final Fantasy VIII merchandise

FFVIII was the follow-up to one of the games that defined the concept of blockbuster game marketing. Final Fantasy VII was an event, and Square marketed it that way. So when the next game in the series was due, they went all-in on merchandising it, expecting it to be a massive hit.

Now of course, in the long term, FFVII has ended up being a merchandising juggernaut with all sorts of toys, T-shirts, and accessories. But if we’re talking about the state of merchandise when the game was launched, FFVIII had a whole bunch of weird stuff that I think it’s fair to say was not very popular and likely never made it outside Japan.

Based on my scouring, here are some of the best and least successful items they rolled out for Final Fantasy VIII.

Sleeping Lion Heart Zippo lighter

A Zippo lighter emblazoned with the Griever lion symbol. It is embedded in a metal stand that looks like rocky terrain, with a replica of Squall's gunblade embedded in the earth, like in the opening sequence of the game.
Photo from an eBay listing

JESUS. This was the official lighter of Final Fantasy VIII. This thing seems like it’s no joke, and it comes with a stand that’s themed around the opening cutscene. These things aren’t uncommon but they tend to sell north of $300, so as a person whose only use for a lighter would be scented candles, I cannot justify this. Maybe if I went back in time and became a chain smoker.

I have a recurring nightmare about being forced to smoke the Klax cigarettes. If I MUST smoke the Klax cigarettes, it would be with this lighter.

Seiko Alba Spoon digital watch

An ovular silver digital wristwatch with a Y2K aesthetic.
Photo from a Yahoo! Japan Auctions listing

By far the most expensive piece of Final Fantasy VIII merchandise I’ve ever seen. This watch has been listed on Yahoo! Auctions Japan for months at the whopping, ominous price of 888,888 yen (currently about $6195). Seiko Alba Spoons typically seem to sell in the mid-$100 range, but the Final Fantasy VIII box apparently adds several thousand dollars to the asking price. At least in the photo, there doesn’t seem to be any FF8 branding on the watch itself.

According to the Final Fantasy wiki, there was also an FF8-branded Seiko Air Pro that was limited to 3000 pieces, and that one seems to have a Griever emblem on the strap! It’s possible the Alba Spoon has something similar. One of the Air Pros is on eBay right now for about $240, so it’s not totally unheard of that you could find a Final Fantasy VIII watch at a price below $6000.

Embroidered golf shirt

Listen. I don’t think I need to justify that I am an FF8 superfan. But even I wouldn’t wear this. I developed a lifelong distaste for polo shirts after the one year I attended a middle school that required a polo shirt uniform (which is closing this year, so the curse is broken). I have a story about the time a kid at that middle school bullied me for liking Final Fantasy VIII, but that is for another post.

This is in the top tier of dorkiest shirts I’ve ever seen. It’s not just that it’s an all-white polo shirt, which never looks flattering, or the fact that the collar and the CUFFS (barf) are slightly different colors than the body, but also that it’s embroidered with “Final Fantasy VIII” in a script typeface. It looks like something you would wear if you were a bartender at a church lock-in.

(Thank you Final Fortunes on eBay for listing this one!)

SV 925 sterling Griever ring

A silver ring designed after Squall's Griever ring.
Photo from a Yahoo! Auctions Japan listing

Incredibly good tie-in merch idea that I’m glad they made. This is the real stuff too, I would not be surprised if Final Fantasy VIII had more jewelry merchandise during its initial run compared to other games (it appears there was also an official Griever necklace), which might make sense because it’s a romance story, and I bet they were willing to cast a wider net with merchandise targeted to women. But anyone can wear this regardless of gender. Be a lion.

Business card holder

A business card holder with the Final Fantasy VIII logo on the front.

Dear reader… I bought this one. It’s too goddamn cool. Super solid in the hand, unbelievable build quality. Can you imagine the POWER of pulling this thing out at a professional event? Nobody would mess with you ever again.

If you see me in person at a professional event, mention this blog, and I will show you this business card holder.

Moomba mug

A mug where the handle is a ceramic Moomba figurine clinging to the side. The mug itself is decorated with goofy line drawings of the Final Fantasy VIII cast.
Photo from an eBay listing

Folks. This is a personal plea. I want this. I want this more than anything. If you know me, tea is something that is near and dear to my heart. I love exploring different teas, and I love collecting tea mugs that have personal significance to me.

This Final Fantasy VIII mug is a work of art. Not only does this have a Moomba handle, but the mug itself has a doofy drawing of the FF8 cast drawn by Tetsuya Nomura. It is a perfect object, and what I want more than anything is to drink tea out of it at least once. Then thoroughly clean it and protect it forever.

There’s one listed on eBay right now for about $200. I am serious: if you have enjoyed this site so far and want to throw money at it, I want this mug. Please contact me on my legitimate blog about this. If you buy this mug, I will make a permanent post on this blog celebrating your heroism.