Sunday, December 9, 2012

In Retrospect: Final Fantasy I

Can this game be any harder?

At least, I recall it being really hard. I first played it as a rental from the video store.

 Since there was no way for me to finish it in three days, I just played the saved game already on it. My brother who watched me play kept saying "This is just like D&D. This is just like D&D."

I thought it was a cool game. And if it was just like D&D, that made me want to play D&D even more! (I was still too young--for ages 10 and up the books said). So I got my dad to buy me the game. I must have been nine, almost the magic age of ten.

And man, Final Fantasy was difficult! For some reason, I failed to understand that you had to go around and kill monsters to level up before moving on to the next dungeon or area.

My characters were only 4th level when I reached the Cave of Marsh. By that time, I knew I had done something wrong. My characters kept dying, often before they even reached the cave. They'd get poisoned by the snakes or pummeled by the ogres. But I loved the story--four heroes meant to restore balance to the world by each gathering four elemental orbs. Yet the game was hard. 

I see why now. Being young, I just didn't have the patience to sit for hours leveling up my characters. There were other games, like Ninja Gaiden or Mega Man that were faster paced.

For a long time I only made it as far as the Earth Cave before moving on to greener pastures. In high school I finally sat down and tried playing it through in a determined effort. My characters made all the way to the last level, but always died before reaching Chaos, the final villain.

I know Final Fantasy influenced my gaming. I wanted player to explore the worlds I created and triumph over an evil mastermind bent on the world's destruction.

When I was nine, I had a dream where airships, commanded by some malevolent overlord, descended from the sky. The monsters aboard enslaved my fellow classmates and took them back to the Dark Master's castle and I had to free them, somehow. Airships have appeared in a handful of my campaigns since I started DMing. In the last campaign, the player characters managed to find one, and it helped turn the tide of a war.

Lately I've been feeling pretty nostalgic for Final Fantasy. Maybe its this blog. I keep remembering things. Video games were certainly a lot harder than they are now. I never did beat the game. Maybe I'll download an emulator if I have time and beat it. Or, if I'm feeling really plucky, find my old game cartridge and replace the lithium battery (as seen below, just skip past the plane landing bit).

What are your thoughts on Final Fantasy or similar RPG games like Dragon Warrior? Did they influence your D&D games?


  1. I had a hard time with this game when I first tried it. So it sat. Then I played Dragon Warrior but I had the players guide. That book taught me you have to "level up". Then I went back to Final Fantasy and did just that. :)

    In my current S&W game I just play smarter and hope we get enough treasure to get some good experience later on. ;)

  2. I'm replaying the original right now. I may hit up DW3 when done with that.


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