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Role Playing (Games)

Final Fantasy Turns 20 88

1up has a massive quartet of features up this week, celebrating the 20th anniversary of the Final Fantasy series. Starting with 'Origins', the site looks at the beginning of the series, an event that was supposed to spell 'the end' for Square. The company lived on, of course, and in 'Everyone's Fantasies' series author Nadia Oxford looks at the rise of the Final Fantasy dynasty going from 8-bit obscurity to the 'mega-fame' of FFVII. Her final piece in the set 'Fertile Fantasy', examines how Square/Enix is now franchising the heck out of the name. To wrap up with 'Future Fantasy', Jeremy Parish looks at the staggering fifteen games with the FF brand due out in the next year. "Even if all of Fabula Nova Crystalis slips to 2009, that's still one title per month -- and we haven't even seen what's on the roster in the way of announcements for the new year. Clearly, Final Fantasy is going strong, but Square Enix's franchising efforts may be doing as much harm as good; of those 15 titles, only one is a new 'true' Final Fantasy game. True, the series has always supported its share of spin-offs -- even blatant name-whoring back in the Game Boy days. Still, we can't help but worry that the Final Fantasy name is being spread a bit too thin; if Square Enix really hopes to keep the series alive for another 20 years or more, they'll need to reconsider what the name Final Fantasy really means."
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Final Fantasy Turns 20

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  • by Chris Mattern ( 191822 ) on Friday December 07, 2007 @06:42PM (#21618847)

    The title "Final Fantasy" is another example of Engrish. The Japanese meaning of the title is "Fantasy of Finality,"

    OK, you've intrigued me. How can the title have a Japanese meaning when *it's not in Japanese!* (Yes, the game has the same English title in Japan. No, it's never had a Japanese title).

    Chris Mattern
  • Great Memories (Score:4, Interesting)

    by neostorm ( 462848 ) on Friday December 07, 2007 @06:44PM (#21618865)
    I've been a gamer for almost 3 decades now, but in 1987 I played Final Fantasy 1, and that game I hold responsible for inspiring me to aim my career towards the game industry (something I've since built my career out of successfuly).

    I hold that first NES FF game responsible for the direction my whole life took, so there's some serious gravity to this series for a person like myself. The series has undergone many changes, but I don't know if there will ever be a point in my life where I can't appreciate it on some, purely nostalgic level for that reason. :)
  • Re:!Final (Score:3, Interesting)

    by gknoy ( 899301 ) <gknoy AT anasazisystems DOT com> on Friday December 07, 2007 @08:07PM (#21619657)

    The original is almost devoid of story/plot, the battle engine sucks, and the graphics aren't that good. It really shows its age.

    The graphics sucked, the characters are nameless and have almost zero character development. The plot DOES exist, but it's all based on uncovering what happened (in a very linear manner), and solving the problems of the world.

    FF1 is far from perfect, and yet .. I've enjoyed playing it more than almost any other (except 6, mostly). The simplicity of its sandbox meant that it was easier to absorb. (I still know at a near-instinctive level how to get through almost the entire game, despite having not played it in 8 years) Moreover, it allowed you to try very different party setups, and play a "meta-game".

    Black Belt Challenge: Start with 4 characters, and let everyone die in the VERY FIRST fight except the single Black Belt. Play the rest of the game with only this character, and do not rez the others. This is very VERY hard. (I've never done it.)

    Variants of strange parties:
    - all white mages (how the hell do you do damage??)
    - no casters (how the hell do you heal!?)
    - ALL mages (red, red, white, black was VERY VERY fun, and was pretty much easy-mode for the ENTIRE game, with the sole exception of the end dungeon ... which was backbreaking punishment, and which I never decided to finish. Damnably fun before that, though!)

    I enjoyed the plot and character development of Final Fantasy 6 much MUCh more. I still get chills even thinking about the Celes opera scene, it was so well done. However, the massive scope of that game made it really hard to get ALL of it. Heck, I never managed to get far in the second phase of the game. So, overall, even though there are MANY weaknesses of FF1, it will always hold a warm place in my heart.

    The only games (that I can think of) I've re-played as much as FF1 were:
    - Fallout (1, 2, 2, 2, 2, 2,... 2?),
    - KOTOR 1 (light, dark, light with dark powers (FUN!)),
    - Deus Ex,
    and I think Starfleet Command (3, though they are so similar I consider it effectively the same ;)).
  • 8 bit obscurity? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by bluephone ( 200451 ) <grey@burntelectr[ ].org ['ons' in gap]> on Friday December 07, 2007 @08:07PM (#21619663) Homepage Journal
    Ok, when FF debuted, 8 bit was IT. The NES was only a couple years old, and a massive hit. Final Fantasy was Square's bet-the-house gamble, and it was a smash hit. It was THE seminal RPG for computing platforms. It solidified game systems and computers as the next great frontier for role playing games, relegating tabletop games to a mere niche in comparison. It singlehandedly saved Square, and yet again made the NES the must-have system. It was one of the top selling games on the top selling system, and changed the game (no pun intended) almost overnight for competitors. How the hell is that obscure?

Evolution is a million line computer program falling into place by accident.