Archive for the ‘Final Fantasy’ Category

I like what I like

Sunday, January 4th, 2015

Over the weekend, I had some more free time than usual, so I decided I’d try to take my own advice and actually try to pare down my backlog a bit. The problem I run into is that lots of the games I have are so long, and my time to play them has shrunk as I’ve gotten a career that doesn’t involve me playing video games all day. That means that I look at games just sitting there waiting for me to play them that take 30+ hours to play through once, and then I think about the time commitment, the opportunity cost of doing something else (like reading something or watching something on television), and the lazier option usually wins.

But I decided that I wanted to make an effort and actually get through some of these things that have been sitting in my library (in some cases, for years). Or, if not get through them, at least try them to see if they’re any good. So, to that end, I decided to play a couple of indie darlings that weren’t too long: Fez and Journey. Both looked interesting, and I more or less knew what I was in for (and I knew that I could do a playthrough of them over the course of a long evening or two). What I found surprised me: I didn’t really like them.

Fez, I didn’t like because the primary mechanic made the game clunky and tedious. Journey, I liked a little bit better, but it seemed like it was trying too hard. I’m clearly in the minority on both accounts.

It’s been suggested to me on occasion that my tastes in games is weird and I don’t like popular games just because they’re popular and if you tell me I have to like it, I won’t like it out of spite. That’s only partially true.

It’s true that I do like weird, off-the-wall games. Always have. I also liked some popular games like the Half-Life series, or the Final Fantasy series (through 8, I haven’t played anything past that except for the MMORPGs). But there are also hugely popular games that I didn’t like for one reason or another, such as the original Halo or Dragon Age: Origins.

I won’t bore you with a blow-by-blow account of popular games that I did or didn’t like, but the point I’m trying to make is: I’m not wrong. If you like the games that I didn’t, you’re not wrong either. I know that this is going to sound corny and completely obvious, but different people like different things for lots of reasons. That’s a wonderful thing.

Your opinion is uniquely your own. And, no matter what critics or naysayers say, you owe it to yourself to form your own, and to not take the word of reviewers or experts as gospel. Consider their opinion, certainly, but never feel like you always have to agree with the herd. Just remember: if you’re honest, going up against popular opinion doesn’t necessarily make you a hipster or a troll. It just means that your opinion is not perfectly in line with everyone else’s.

That doesn’t make you weird. That makes you normal.

Don’t worry, I won’t tell anyone.

Final Fantasy Map

Tuesday, April 2nd, 2013

You may or may not know the story behind Final Fantasy, and why, if it’s got ‘final’ in the name, that there are more than 14 games in the main series and lots of offshoots. And why most of the games aren’t actually sequels to anything. And lots of other questions. It’s interesting reading in its own right, but that’s not really what we’re here to talk about today. Today we’re going to talk about the first Final Fantasy game: Final Fantasy. Pedantics would like to remind you that the game is not called “Final Fantasy 1″, since most games that aren’t conceived as a series start out with a 1 in their name, but that’s an argument for another time.

The first Final Fantasy was your prototypical fantasy hack ‘n’ slash / adventure / light role-playing game that introduced us to pretty good idea of what a JRPG could be. In your box you got your game, your manual, and a few helpful maps and charts on a poster. Like this:

Final Fantasy Map Side 1

Final Fantasy Map Side 2

It’s kind of interesting how I got this thing. I was making my typical rounds around the city on a cool Saturday morning looking for a yard sale, when I found one that had a bin full of video game goodies for $2, this map included. I thought that was a pretty sweet score, so I held on to it. Even though this guy didn’t have a Final Fantasy cartridge, I actually already had one from another transaction, so I’m most of the way to having a complete set.

Oh, I’d also like to make some higher-resolution scans of this thing, but my scanner is too small and it won’t fit. So, sorry about that. But, hey, this is better than nothing, right?

Final Fantasy Cash Cow edition

Monday, July 2nd, 2007

Eurogamer has a review up of the fourth remake of the original Final Fantasy. I enjoyed the GBA remake well enough, but I didn’t feel an overwhelming urge to play the game more than once, 20th anniversary or no. Mostly because of the stifling concentration of monsters in the game. Outside of a city, you can hardly move without stepping into a gaggle of horrors.

“The random encounter battles, abandoned at last in the most recent FF, won’t fail to grate upon even the most ardent Square devotee, however. Though losing or altering their frequency would mean FF1 departs from its original nature, this late in the day they’re a serious obstacle to enjoyment. Whatever Square’s algorithm for judging when you’re attacked out of the blue is, it’s broken. If buying a new abacus means changing history, so be it. Ambushes often happen within two or three steps of each other, and to walk for more than ten seconds before another strikes is high fortune indeed.”

Now I know why I never find NPCs outside of towns, you can’t leave the city borders without being armed to the teeth.

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