The Final Fantasy Project: Week #5

finalfantasy2I mentioned last week that Final Fantasy II was the stumbling block which caused me to quit my last attempt at a Final Fantasy series playthrough. What I don’t believe I’ve mentioned, however, is that it’s actually the only game in the series (barring, of course, the MMO titles) that I’ve never finished. As of now, that’s still the case; I did put quite a bit more time into it this week than I did last, but as far as I can tell, I’m still nowhere near the end. However, I did manage to break through the barrier that stumped me before, meaning that I’m now in the only real new Final Fantasy content I’m likely to see in this entire project.

I should be excited about this, and I am…sort of. Mostly, though, I’m still a bit paranoid, which has made me question whether these types of games are really “meant” for me anymore. Or, I suppose, if they’re meant for anyone. Continue reading

The Final Fantasy Project: Week #4

ff2mapI’m going to be honest with you guys: I haven’t played a whole lot of Final Fantasy II this week. This is mainly because I bought Ni No Kuni, which is glorious (and which I will likely ramble on about at length in the next DorkCast). And Final Fantasy II…. Well, remember how I said it’s not my favorite? Yeah, still true.

I have made some progress, however. At the time of last week’s update, I had put about four hours into Final Fantasy II after finishing the first one, but my story progress had been virtually nil, as most of my time had been spent in full-on running-around-in-tiny-circles-bashing-my-own-party-in-the-face mode. Now, although I haven’t gone very far time-wise, I have at least gone through my first dungeon, which was a relatively easy ride. I suppose I shouldn’t be terribly surprised at this, but my past history with II has made me a little paranoid. Continue reading

The Final Fantasy Project: Week #3

FFII_PSX_Title_ScreenThis week, I reached the first major milestone in my year-long journey: I completed the first game in the series, the original Final Fantasy. Immediately afterwards, I began Final Fantasy II, and before I go any further into describing that, I’d like to make a clarification for those who maybe aren’t as versed in (read as “obsessed with”) the series as I am.

Many people have played a game called Final Fantasy II. These were not, however, all the same game. In 1988, one version was released solely in Japan for the Famicom. This Final Fantasy II was the actual second game in the series, and is the one I’ve been playing this week (and therefore the one I’ll be referring to throughout these entries). It wasn’t released in North America or Europe until 2003, as part of the Origins collection for PlayStation; this is the version I’m currently playing.

The other, however, is the one which was probably played by more people, and the one which many people probably still think of when the name Final Fantasy II is brought up. This was released in 1991 for the SNES, and was actually the fourth game in the series, so in Japan (as well as in subsequent re-releases on the PlayStation, GBA, DS, and so forth), it was Final Fantasy IV, and everywhere else, it was Final Fantasy II (“to avoid confusion,” otherwise known as “Square thinks Westerners are dumb”).

That’s perfectly clear, right? Of course it is. Continue reading

The Final Fantasy Project: Week #2

final-fantasy-origins-screenshotIt’s not exactly a secret that many JRPGs, from the very old to the very new, are based on systems originated in tabletop roleplaying games, most notably Dungeons and Dragons. The Final Fantasy series is no exception here, and it’s in these first couple of games that those systems are the most apparent. You may not be able to actually see the dice rolls, and the equipment isn’t as clearly labeled as in, say, Baldur’s Gate, but there are still some pretty obvious similarities present. I’ve always sort of had in the back of my head that individual battles were inspired by D&D in this way (stats affecting whether/how hard characters are hit, random encounter tables determining enemies, loot, and experience, and so forth), but I hadn’t really considered the effect of some of the larger overarching themes until this week. Continue reading

The Final Fantasy Project: Week #1

FF1_USA_boxartNormally, a story like this would start out with me saying something like “I’ve been a fan of the Final Fantasy series for as long as I can remember.” I can’t start out that way, though, because it isn’t true at all.

I remember exactly when I started playing Final Fantasy games. I was in college, living in a dorm, and I had just bought the first console I’d ever purchased for myself—a Nintendo 64. By this point in my life, I’d been playing games since I was very young, but they’d mostly been platformers, adventure games, and the like; I hadn’t ever really played an RPG, much less become ensnared by the genre, as I would in later years. That changed when I picked up a copy of Paper Mario for my new system and proceeded to sink nearly all of my free time into it.

If you’re a fan of Final Fantasy yourself, you may have noticed something odd about where I chose to begin my story—there were no Final Fantasy titles released for the N64. There were, however, several released for the original PlayStation, and when my boyfriend at the time noticed how much I was enjoying Paper Mario, he suggested that I might like to try another popular JRPG that had, at the time, been out for several years—Final Fantasy VII. You can guess where it went from there. Continue reading