Reliving Final Fantasy Fun

Final Fantasy 7 screenshot with Cloud and Aeris

A screenshot I took years ago playing Final Fantasy 7, featuring both Cloud and Aeris after a victory. This is probably the last time I was able to play on the PC because by then my computer was too new.

When I was a young lad, about 10, I was a proud owner of the original NES 8-bit system, complete with games like Legend of Zelda, Super Mario and such. But probably my most favorite game was Final Fantasy I, the original. My mother bought that game for me for my birthday, back before Nintendo was sued for price-fixing and games came down in price. It was an expensive gift for a single-mom working two jobs and greatly appreciated.1 I delved into the game right away, fought and clawed my way through the repetitive level-building, the long-dungeons with legions upon legions of monsters and saved the day. Then, like any good gamer, I went back and strove to do it better.

When Final Fantasy II (FF IV in Japan) came out for the Super Nintendo, I was hooked even more so. I spent much of my junior-year in high-school playing hanging out at my friend’s house as we worked our way through the game.

But then in college, I saw a Sony Playstation for the first time and Final Fantasy 7, which is still arguably the best of the entire series. I couldn’t afford a Playstation, but I had a Pentium 1 PC and Windows 95, so I managed to get the PC port of the game at Half Priced Books for $10 and was hooked like never before. Like so many fans of FF7, I was heartbroken when Aeris was killed and shocked when Cloud’s past turned out to be a lie. I relived the adventure over and over until my PC’s became too fast and too new to play the game anymore.

So, with parenting and post-college life, my gaming came to a standstill for years and years, but I never quite forgot those old adventures.

Thanks to the benefits of adult self-sufficiency (as opposed to college years spent borrowing all the time), I have begun to relive those old adventures once again. I purchased a basic bare-bones Nintendo Wii system last year, and rather than buying expensive new games, I just downloaded the classics through the Wii Store. I buy gift cards for myself so I don’t have to use my credit card online either. That let me relieve Final Fantasy I all over again, and happily so. It costs me $5 for a legitimate copy of the game, but well worth it from an ethical, frugal as well as entertainment standpoint. I just never liked the idea of downloading ROMs and playing on an emulator.

But then I got an old Playstation 1 recently for free after someone at work offered it up. I bought him a coffee for what it was worth. :) Also, if I really wanted to, I could easily get a PS1 at any used electronics store or Goodwill charity store since they’re deprecated by the PS2 and 3. Anyway, I set that PS1 up and discovered to my joy that many of the Final Fantasy games were being re-released for the Playstation 1.

  • Final Fantasy 7, which was made for the PS1, is still sold in many places, and I got mine for about $40 used. A small price to pay considering that the PS1 was essentially free.
  • I was also thrilled to see that Final Fantasy IV (FF2 for the SNES originally) was re-released with better translations and all the original Japanese features put back in. Putting this together with a Chrono Trigger was even better as CT was another classic I missed playing. The FF4 re-release is a huge improvement because the original translations were so awkward, and they made too many alterations. With the re-release, the dialogue is very natural sounding and provides needed back story that was missing in the original release. Chrono Trigger plays slower than it did on the Super Nintendo, but the game is as awesome as ever.
  • I haven’t decided yet, but I might also get the re-release of FF1 as well, even though I already own it for the Wii. Having a hard copy of the game as opposed to a digital one is kind of nice. Plus it comes with FF2 which is something I’ve never played before.
  • Lastly, I might yet get the FF9 release as well, since I never played that, and it’s the last game for the PS1 as far as I can tell, and a hit in its own right (based on feedback from the fellow who gave me the PS1 in the first place).

I also picked up recently Final Fantasy Tactics, another re-release, but I haven’t had time to play yet.2

The point of all this is that it’s nice to play old games again, and for cheap! More than 20 years have passed since I got my first Final Fantasy game, but they’re still just as fun as ever. In my younger years, it was fun to chase after the latest and greatest, but classics are classics for a reason, and it’s easy to relive them at very little cost or effort if you’re willing to wait a little.

P.S. Astute readers will note that I am in Japan (as of a few hours ago), and thus not playing FF7 or anything at the moment. This was composed before I left of course when wife and daughter were already gone and I had a lot of free time all of a sudden. ;)

1 Still is. :)

2 For all my love of gaming, I probably only play about 30-60 minutes a week, or not at all. I probably spend more time reading or blogging, but it’s just nice to know the games are there. :)

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2 Comments on “Reliving Final Fantasy Fun”

  1. Kyoshin says:

    Thanks Doug, I enjoyed this as I am a big FF fan. Right now I’m re-playing FFII. My favourite is FF7 but I preferred 8 to 9. FF Tactics is great and v. addictive.

  2. Doug M says:

    Hi Kyoushin! Always glad to meet another FF fan. :-D

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