It has been 25 years since the very first Final Fantasy was released in Japan. In those 25 years, the series has gone above and beyond what one would expect. While this was before I was born (two years before in fact), the series has had a huge impact on my life.
When I was five, Final Fantasy VI (known as FFIII in North America at the time) came out. While I don’t remember it much, the game was one of my big “defining” moments. Sitting in the living room watching my family play it, I was already going on the path of becoming the gamer I am today.
While I don’t remember FFVII through FFIX as much, there is one thing that sticks out for Final Fantasy VIII. Back in the day, my mom and I used to be subscribed to PlayStation Magazine. In there, we received the demo for Final Fantasy VIII. This demo, as some might remember, wasn’t actually true to the game. You didn’t have Rinoa at that point, you didn’t have Leviathan, you weren’t in your “street” clothes. Despite all that, it led into an amazing game.
For Final Fantasy IX, while my memories of it are vague, I do remember one thing. This was around the time Squaresoft was using PlayOnline, and the strategy guide for the game revolved around it. Wanted help with a boss? You went to their site and input the code. While, at the time, it was a great idea, it did make the guide feel a bit cheap. Of course now this site is long gone, replaced with something else.
During that time, the Final Fantasy Anthology package came out, which included Final Fantasy V and Final Fantasy VI. This was when I truly solidified Final Fantasy VI as my favorite game. The world was absolutely amazing, the characters were amazing, everything was amazing. To this day that game remains my #1 game.
Then, 2001 came around. The PlayStation 2 was the console to have, and Final Fantasy X had just released. By this point my mom had pretty much accepted the fact I was going to be a gamer, and we purchased it. Now again, the PlayStation 2 was the console to have, meaning everyone was getting one. This also meant a massive shortage on a key item needed to play – a memory card.
So here I was, playing Final Fantasy X, but I couldn’t save. All those times I ran through the first two temples, did the blitzball tournament… They were all worth it. After getting several 11 hour non-stop playthroughs, we finally located a memory card in town. At long last, I could finally play and save! Of course, it was a good thing. The furthest I had ever made it was Macalania Woods, and well, considering the bosses after that, it was likely a good thing.
It was a few years later, and out one day shopping I spotted Final Fantasy XI on a shelf. Of course I’d heard about it, but hadn’t tried it. I convinced my mom to purchase it, and I excitedly came home to play it. After installing and doing all the updates, I come to find out I can’t play it. So we went and got a new video card for my computer, and I decided to join a random PlayOnline chat. I started chatting with someone and they mentioned that, “Hey, you should get on Asura when you can play.”
Of course I was excited. It was my first MMO, and here was someone suggesting a server to me. At this time though, you couldn’t select what server you wanted, but by some luck I ended up on Asura. I was also doing a sort of role play story at the time, and so I named my character after that role play person. Eight years later, I was still playing (though it was becoming a bit more sparse in the later years). After spending some time in Abyssea and reaching level 90 on several jobs, I finally put it down (mainly for financial reasons). Every now and then I still look back and reflect on all those years playing. Maybe I’ll return someday when some situations are better.
I could go on, it feels like this is getting a bit long, so I’ll sum it up with this: All those other games that came out have just continued my love for the series. Final Fantasy XII, Final Fantasy XIII, and all the sequels and spinnoffs… Just amazing.
Here’s to another 25 years of Final Fantasy!
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