Video Game memories : Final Fantasy

No, this is not turning into a retro video game blog, despite the fact that the first two posts of the year are about my memories playing video games I owned nearly three decades ago on a system I long since gave away.

Over a quarter century ago, I was thoroughly unimpressed with Dragon Warrior (more commonly known as Dragon Quest) for the Nintendo Entertainment System. I got to a certain point and got frustrated and never went back to it. With Final Fantasy, the thing I considered to be the biggest flaw in Dragon Quest was fixed: You now had multiple people in your party so you did not have to go back to your last save if one person drops. I never played any of the DQ games again until chapter VIII for the PlayStation 2, but I kept up with the Final Fantasy series until it moved to consoles I never owned.

I chose a balanced mix for my first trip through the game: A red mage, a thief, a fighter and a black belt. Right away, here is one of the interesting things about the first Final Fantasy: In every game following, you could play as every character or hold every “job” in one play through. In the first Final Fantasy, you had 6 jobs to choose from. No matter what group you chose for your first play through, you had to play a second time to play as the remaining two classes. I never did actually finish the game with a white mage and a black mage, as I moved on to other games.

The story was pretty bare-bones. Unlike later games, you did not have characters. You had blank slates that would smack things really hard. You had to defeat four arch-fiends and then the big bad. Characters did not move in and out of the party. But for what it was, it was a very good game. To this day, the games are built on the foundation laid by that game, which is pretty impressive. When you get the game for a modern platform, you find it that while it lacks a lot of the deep gameplay of modern role-playing games and has no story to speak of, it actually does hold up. If you have never played the original, it is worth checking out.

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