November 19, 2008 - The inhabitants of Final Fantasy had to deal with venomous beasts, malicious plots, dangerous evil magic, and other fantastic perils. They surely had their own problems to suffer through. However, in comparison to the dismal state of the failing economy and the serious impact it's having on peoples' ability to stay afloat in a sea of financial turbulence, I'd just as soon take on Bahamut without leveling up first. Hell, give me a pixilated sword, some phoenix downs, and a mission to save the virtual realm from evil. I'm there.
But I digress. The original Final Fantasy spawned a massive RPG empire that persists to this day without signs of slowing down. Set in a mystical land that, even today, is still filled with magic crystals, flying airships, adorable chocobos, grueling random encounters, hours of level-grinding, and turn-based combat, the first Final Fantasy title introducing many cornerstone tenets for the RPG genre. Forming a unique party from among the game's eight classes, equipping them with all manner of items and armaments, and venturing forth into the dark caves and monster-filled plains was a big deal back then. Especially when compared to other games at the time.
For a NES title, Final Fantasy broke new ground. It laid down the foundation for countless RPGs to come, and is responsible for innumerable sequels and spinoffs. It was one of the first hardcore RPG series I ever set hands on, and it's one I will likely continue to play for many years to come.
It is also quite ironic that Final Fantasy will be my last installment of Run Jump Shoot - at least for now. I may not have known as much when last month I selected the aptly-named NES classic from among a long potential list of quality retro titles to explore in my column this week; but here we are nonetheless. It's been a brief yet fun journey through pixelated goodness. Game over and game on!
CCC Staff Contributor / Pixel Artist