FFVII's Gold Saucer: A Stand-Alone Economy?
For fans of Final Fantasy VII, the first visit to the Gold Saucer is remembered as a time of amazement. After leaving the depressing scene of North Corel behind, the player is greeted with a fireworks show and a Chocobo race as they pull into the park's entrance. After hearing North Corel residents grumble about how the nearby lift to the Gold Saucer "doesn't mean much to us poor folks", the player would begin to doubt the buying power of the measly 3,500 Gil they stockpiled during the treacherous journey through Mt. Corel. And guess what? They were right!
"Yup. This is gonna be expensive."
After forking over 3,000 Gil for a measly one-time ticket (null and void if you leave), most players opt to visit the Gold Saucer's Wonder Square. Here, the party visits a 2-part arcade room replete with games that accept Gil to play. If you happen to win, your reward is GP, the Gold Saucer's exclusive form of currency. GP can be used to purchase items, record your progress at the save point near the entrance, or stay in the "scary" hotel located in Ghost Square.
GP is also required to take in Gold Saucer's other attractions, such as Battle, Speed and Round Squares. Earning GP in Wonder Square may be too slow for most, but if you find the guy at the entrance who's willing to exchange your Gil for GP, you're in luck. Unfortunately, he rarely appears and there's speculation that he doesn't do so until after you get the Highwind! If you're lucky enough to find him, he'll exchange Gil for GP...at an insanely unfair 1 GP per 100 Gil exchange rate!
"You gotta be kidding me..."
So how can the Gold Saucer have such a poor exchange rate for currency that is accepted everywhere else in the world? Easy! They're a superior economy!
An economy is defined as a system that consists of production, distribution and/or trade and consumption of limited goods and services. The Gold Saucer has these in droves!
First of all, nowhere else on the planet will the player find a horror-themed hotel, professional Chocobo races, arcade games, roller coasters and a gondola ride. Because of this exclusivity, Gold Saucer is able to charge exorbitant prices for admission and force visitors to exchange a large amount of Gil for a relatively tiny amount of GP.
For example, the Arm Wrestling arcade game in Wonder Square awards GP, if the player is able to beat their opponents. The cost to play this game is 100 Gil and your bounty if you happen to win? 2 GP...MAXIMUM!
"Yeah. No thanks..."
Here's a pro-tip while visiting Wonder Square if you're in the market for GP: Play Mog House. It costs 100 Gil to play and it's a fairly easy game. You may not win anything, but the guy watching nearby will award you 30 GP for showing him how to play...but only after the first time you play. What happens after that? Nothing! So the Gold Saucer will take your Gil, give nothing in return at times, and force you to use GP everywhere else?! Thanks, Dio.
"Speaking of which..."
The Gold Saucer also stands as its own country in that Dio: 1) sexually harasses everyone by simply walking into the room in a Speedo on all occassions, 2) doles out his own punishment by throwing offenders into the desert prison below, and 3) allows offenders to walk free by simply winning a Chocobo race. Did this guy ever hear of equal rights? Who does he think he is?!
Clearly, the Gold Saucer has its own criminal justice system, where Dio serves as judge and jury, and imprisons "offenders" without a proper trial. Granted, many of the locales within Final Fantasy VII seem to embrace their own judicial system, but none of them seem to operate with such an iron hand as the Gold Saucer. I guess money really does talk.
Which brings me to my final point...
"The Gold Saucer is a microeconomy"
But how? Think about it! The Gold Saucer is able to set up its own price points (which are insanely high relative to the rest of the world), their employees never leave (forcing them to ingest the Gold Saucer's products with their earnings), and high global demand to visit the park provides it with plenty of external revenue. In a sense, Dio is a shrewd entrepreneur who:
- creates his own currency
- makes it easy for his employees to spend their wages at work
- offers services found nowhere else in the world
Thus inflating demand and allowing him to charge whatever price he wants for admission!
Further, by creating his own currency and making it the exclusive instrument of trade for admission and prize redemption, Dio has created a foolproof microeconomy that is similar to Walmart employees who proceed to spend their paychecks at Walmart, because it has everything!
I Pledge Allegience, to the Saucer...
By creating a perpetually revenue-earning attraction, Dio has successfully created his own country, which has the economic power to trump the rest of the globe. With its own criminal justice system, its own private army of renegades and toadies, and its own currency, the rest of the world would do well to look into futures trading, with the GP being their choice over the Gil. Time to share some of that enormous wealth, Dio, and while you're at it, PUT SOME CLOTHES ON! That is all...