25 Years of Final Fantasy–My Story

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!

Have your own story about the series? Share it in the comments below!


    • Scott the Fuzzy Moogle on February 2, 2012 at 8:13 pm

    Playing even one of the series takes me back when I was a kid. The first one was released a year after I was born and after a few years, I started playing it when I was four…boy was that challenging. However, when I finally beaten the game after that very same year, it left me to ponder if there would be another Final Fantasy series coming until the era of the Super Nintendo came along. Final Fantasy II (IV) and III (VI) were a lot better and the functions were quite superb at the time until it hit the upcoming Sony PlayStation console.

    It left me puzzled why it was called VII, pretty much the time the internet was still around, it left many fans in question until there was a secret Japan release for the other three Final Fantasy games which were two on the NES which was actually the “real” II and III then came along V for the Super NES. When I heard about this when I was a kid, I decided to look up on the internet and found out these resources and it turned out as it was: a big secret from all the fans.

    I guess in a nutshell it given us the opportunity to get use to the linient function with the two American versions on the SNES and then decide to gain it up a knotch for VII. Then finally, another opportunity to actually play FFII on the PSX; however, remastered and it also included FFI in the process. First was tremendous and the second was much of the same, just too bad we didn’t score the chance on the NES version until it hit the ROM versions to play it at that style. FFIII on the other hand, was good to learn that there are more job classes than the casual classes you play on FFI, a lot more challenging than the rest. I still wish Nintendo did a better job with the DS version like they did with the NES without going through the process of getting the better equipment through Wi-Fi. Still, even it’s a remake but it puts the player in a spot that she/he can also try the NES version.

    After just reading the texts over and over and hearing incredible scores that was masterfully composed by the one and only Nobuo Uematsu, Square Enix decided to give FF another push until X came along and started putting voices in. I was like “wow….now we’re getting somewhere!” It followed after X and X-2. Great story, great gameplay, X gets a 10 out of 10.

    FFXI, I’m a big MMO fan, but not with this one entirely. The concept was great to get it out there and the players sharing the opportunity to feel that they can do their own FF, but to me, the controls were not as you expect from an average MMO where you can click on the menus. You gotta use certain hotkeys which were annoying as hell. But a great game, let it pass. Oh, and it has more moogles than I ever though!

    Until its time, Square Enix decided to take things even way more to the next level with XII. Playing got me thinking if this was almost like a MMO perspective, in a good way, certain challenges were brought with no limits whatsoever and I could just play this game just endlessly. Especially on the International Zodiac Job System, just like FFIII, you get to pick your job class with specific attributes for both equipment and skills that come along with the class you pick. However, it was permanent which I could see that being fair. It’s a story base so I give this game with great strides. One thing that I found humorous was playing this game, seeing the characters and structures reminded me 100% like Star Wars. Balthier and Fran = Han Solo and Chewbacca. They gotta play the game again or first to actually understand that! I give this game 100%.

    Now things were added to the kick ass list, XIII. Seeing this is still considered as a great JRPG, many fans were left in question of its different system. But I won’t go far into that until the game is played or explained further on YouTube. Just saves me the text on this reply.

    But overall, the Final Fantasy series became a great thing in my life of playing video games since I was a kid and will always cherish those moments and would be more than happy to play them over again. After noticing back in the day Square Enix’s biggest failures, FF was the last light of hope of pull them back out of the hole again and hope to see them make more Final Fantasy games for another 25 years.

    Live long and prosper.

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