Man, I knew some people disliked VIII, but I've never seen so much FF8 hate. I would say that where I went to college (Oberlin), it was probably the favorite among Final Fantasy fans. I knew quite a few people who (like me) thought it was the best in the series. I really don't understand what turns people off so much about it. Many of the same things that people love to complain about: the skill system, the cast, and dialog, I thought were some of the strongest in the series. I remember spending hours playing around with the Junction system, trying out different spells to see their effects, and eventually customizing the GFs to fit my needs, seeking out rare spells to draw, and figuring out the most efficient ways of extracting spells from items. I LOVED THAT! But I won't argue that the story is crap, but so are all the other stories in the FF series.