Pop Quiz: The Joker or Kefka Palazzo?

Categories: Comics, Gaming

I was messing around on the Internet the other day when I found the material possession I want more than anything else in the world. This picture is part of a series of minimalist works done to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Final Fantasy. The seller, BuddyIris213, brings out the genius and beauty of each game with each entry, but none so well as this one highlighting the villain of Final Fantasy VI, Kefka Palazzo.

Kefka is one of the most brilliant video game villains ever conceived of. He volunteered for an experimental infusion of power drained from magical beings called espers, but the process was new and something broke in his mind. Nonetheless, he served the Gestahlian Empire faithfully, if psychotically, until he eventually seized all the world's magic for himself and rose to the level of a God.

He is possibly the world's greatest cackling nihilist. There's a joke on his lips and a song in his heart even as he ends lives and poisons countries. In fact, I would argue he has only one great rival in pop culture, Batman's nemesis The Joker. Both suffered tragedies that splintered their sanity, both use that madness as a superpower, both commit atrocious acts of murder, and yet both of them also have a depth that belies their villainy. Underneath their facepaint are two broken hearts laughing at the joke that is a cruel world.

The two brilliant creations are so complementary I thought that a new pop quiz was in order. Last time I dared readers to differentiate between lines from The Legacy of Kain and plays by William Shakespeare. This time choose which line comes from Kefka and which belongs to The Joker. Answers on page 2, each is worth ten points.

1. "Nothing can beat the music of hundreds of voices screaming in unison!"

2. "Now, for my next trick, I will make you all...disappear!"

3. "In my dream, the world had suffered a terrible disaster. A black haze shut out the sun, and the darkness was alive with the moans and screams of wounded people. Suddenly, a small light glowed. A candle flickered into life, symbol of hope for millions. A single tiny candle, shining in the ugly dark. I laughed and blew it out."

4. "Madness is the emergency exit. You can just step outside, and close the door on all those dreadful things that happened. You can lock them away... forever."

5."It's all a joke! Everything anybody ever valued or struggled for... it's all a monstrous, demented gag! So why can't you see the funny side? Why aren't you laughing?"

6. "A bit of advice...don't ever apologize to no one for the way you look."

7. "Bleh! You people make me sick! You sound like lines from a self-help book! If that's how it's going to be... I'll snuff them all out! Every last one of your sickening, happy little reasons for living!"

8. After killing someone, "Oh dear... Well, I guess I was a bit hasty in calling you a useless old man before... NOW you're useless!"

9. "If I weren't crazy, I'd be insane!"

10. "This little hamlet has too much boring and not enough burning... Torch everything."

Bonus Question: In some media both The Joker and Kefka sport facial scarring along their cheeks that resemble a wide grin. What is such a scar called?

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