Sunday, May 27, 2012

30 Years of Gaming: My First RPG

I'm going to skip ahead a few years from my last "30 Years of Gaming" post and fast forward to 1994. I was almost 2 years out of high school and neck deep in my 2nd (and last) semester at college. My good friend Chris had tried to introduce me for years to RPGs and fantasy books, which were his favorite genre if memory serves me right. But I was never interested. I liked games, and had been gaming for many years at that point. But RPGs just never appealed to me.

I had played a little Final Fantasy IV on the SNES, which was stupidly numbered II In the US. It was a lot of fun. But not enough to hold my attention to the end (I think it would now though). Give me Super Metroid any day. But that's a completely separate blog post (it deserves one).

The game that did it for me and made me an RPG fan for life was Final Fantasy VI (also stupidly numbered in the US, as III). I know a lot of articles have been written on the subject. And a lot of people tout Final Fantasy VII as their first, and favorite, RPG on a console. Some even say it's the greatest RPG ever. I'm not here to argue that point (although I disagree). It was a great game and blew everyone out of the water. Even non-RPG folks loved it (my brothers included). And the Sony Playstation was all the rage. Cartridges were dying (don't tell Nintendo). But I vowed to never buy one. I was a Nintendo guy. Until I saw FFVII. Then I bought a Playstation. But the only reason I was even remotely interested in FFVII was because of FFVI.

Final Fantasy has always been (for a good part of it's life anyway) about the story. I don't think the early games really had much of a story. They certainly didn't have the graphics to pick up the slack like games this generation do. And some would argue that the more recent games sacrificed story for spectacle. And while though I enjoyed XIII and XIII-2 a lot, I would have to agree. But for me no game in the series comes close in story and incredible characters to FFVI. Terra. Edgar. Celes. Locke. Sabin. Cyan. Relm. The list of great characters seemed to go on forever. You get to know these characters and their history. You find out why they're here. Long after I finished the game and played other RPGs, if they let you name your characters, I often changed them to the FFVI characters. My monk was always Sabin. My knight was Cyan. If there was a female character, she was Terra or Celes.

Not only were the heroes great, the villain was probably the best the series has ever had (in my opinion anyway). Kefka was insane. He was a madman in a clown makeup (literally). And he had no problem tearing the world apart (also literally) to achieve his goals.

And you were in an opera.

At this point, I don't think anyone is going to be convinced what Final Fantasy is the best. Everyone has their favorite. Most will say VII. But this post isn't about that. For me FFVI introduced me to a genre I had pretty much ignored. Sadly because, in the minds of many people, if you liked RPGs you were probably weird. But if not for FFVI, I can almost safely say I wouldn't have played games like Skyrim or Dark Souls many years later (and loved every second of them). I'm glad I gave RPGs a chance 18 years ago. And I am grateful that FFVII brought them into the mainstream. Thanks to FFVI I'm an RPG fan for life. And probably a little weird.


  1. Final Fantasy VI will always be my favorite of the FF series. I loved all the characters. The chemistry between them was priceless and the world was so interesting. I have the soundtrack to the game (and some remixes as well).

    I'm glad it was the gateway to playing RPGs for you because there a lot of good ones out there, including Diablo :).

  2. I tried playing FFVI but not until much, much later and found it hard to be immersed. The first RPG I enjoyed was FFVII (on the PC of all things) but the first I actually played (but had no idea what to do) were some of the Ultima games.