I’m Ben and I’ve never wanted to play a Final Fantasy game. I don’t know why that’s really the case, the series just never appealed to me. I love a lot of JRPGs, I like ridiculously big swords and dragons so Final Fantasy seems perfect for me. But it just passed me by.
I think a big reason is that I never touched the games as a kid. Many of my favorite series are the ones I first played on my trusty Game Boy Advance on long car rides or under my covers at night with a flashlight in my mouth to illuminate the screen. That’s where my love for Pokémon began, and I spent hours playing the slightly above-average GBA game The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers. I have fond memories of Super Mario World and the Bionicle game I rented out once a month when spending money hit my grubby little hands. Remind me to write about this soon, I’m sure it has aged beautifully.
My peers and colleagues have been telling me to play Final Fantasy for years. Apparently the critically acclaimed MMORPG Final Fantasy 14 has a free trial and includes the entirety of A Realm Reborn AND the award-winning Heavensward expansion up to level 60 with no playtime restrictions. But I haven’t even had time to delve into The Lord of the Rings Online and you will all know how much I love The Lord of the Rings at this point. My boss does, because I can practically hear her sigh across the country when I send her another Rings track to edit.
I was playing something from Final Fantasy 7 Remake when it came out, but I didn’t want to. I was gotten into playing it because it was the only thing my friends were talking about and one of the seminal games sites were pitching for at the time. I haven’t actually landed any pitches about FF7R, but that’s a freelancer’s bane. I liked the game well enough, the characters were interesting, the world beautiful and the story compelling, but I got stuck in a fight and didn’t try hard enough to do my best, so I never finished it. That’s what happens when you don’t really care about playing a game and only do it to join the gamer crowd.
But after watching SGDQ, I realized that this is my first time getting interested in playing a Final Fantasy game. I don’t play one for work or so I can talk to my friends about it, play one for myself. I watched Drawlith, DoctorDT, Seto Kiaba, and Jexvrok play Final Fantasy 6 and was blown away.
As with most SGDQ runs, nothing was as easy as it first seemed and this was a random four-way race to beat the game. Despite the fact that Worlds Collide’s random number generator meant I barely understood what was going on, I loved watching Terra, Locke and the crews battle their way through a steampunk setting that was more than I expected . And while I see four players square off against the final boss – who appeared as some kind of biblically correct angel – I don’t feel like the game has been spoiled for me. I guess that’s the nature of randomized speedruns.
What drew my attention to Final Fantasy 6 back then? It wasn’t the steampunk vibes, although they are cool. Part of that was the combat, the menu-based Active Time Battle really got me. It might have been the pixel art too – I’m still a sucker for those old school vibes. But much of this was the enemy’s intention. Your four puny sprites bravely face off against monstrosities like Gilgamesh and the trickster Kefka.
I won’t reveal exactly who the game’s final boss is (in case you were worried about learning the ending of a 28-year-old game), but it’s that epic fight that really sold me in FF6. It’s weird that knowing the final boss and the outcome of the fight won me over, but maybe this is the future of marketing? Maybe God of War: Ragnarok revealing its final boss is Odin, or someone will stop me from selling my PS5 before it’s released?
After doing some research on the game, I’m still having to decide which version of Final Fantasy 6 (or should that be Final Fantasy 3?) I want to play, and I’m reminded of what kept me from the series because of that long. It’s practically impenetrable. As far as I can tell there are about 11 different versions of the game, some have been discontinued and I don’t know which one to play. I might go for the GBA version for nostalgia reasons, but the Pixel Remaster is on the Steam sale right now, and I have a Steam deck… I’m excited to finally play a Final Fantasy game, and more than anything others I want it to be good.
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