A couple of days ago, one of gaming’s greatest franchises hit a very special milestone — Final Fantasy turned 25 years old. It’s hard to believe that a quarter of a century ago, series creator Hironobu Sakaguchi released what he believed to be his swan song, the game that would end his career as a game developer. Much to the delight of millions of RPG fans, that turned out not to be the case.
Even though the series sometimes gets a bad rap because of its current direction and its sometimes head-scratching missteps, it’s hard to argue that Final Fantasy as a whole hasn’t changed gaming for the better. Because of this series, developers dared to bring sweeping, epic stories of magic and empires, rogues and princesses to gamers everywhere. I know that in my own life, Final Fantasy is responsible for some of the more profound moments of my adolescence, from seeing the crumbling urban setting of Midgar to the rolling plains of Ivalice.
Say what you will about where RPGs stand today, its longstanding themes of camerederie, friendship and redemption were uplifting then and still are today, in a way that most modern games fail to tap into. Those kinds of experiences rank among what I miss the most about the games I played a decade ago, and I’m still waiting for the Final Fantasy experience in today’s generation.
So here’s a salute to Final Fantasy — happy birthday, you old devil. Feel free to share some of your favorite memories and moments in the series. Go!
Update: In addition, OC Remix has released a metal tribute to Final Fantasy I, with dozens of tracks dedicated to the first game’s soundtrack. Check it out.