I can’t stress how much I love the fantasy genre. For the nerdy kid it fit the sword and sorcery, hero and villain escape from reality. With fantasy, the geek could become the valiant knight, the wise sorcerer and so many more archetypes.
I had not yet got into the dungeons and dragons, dice throwing lifestyle until the next sections of this blog. For me it was rescuing Princess Peach from Bowser, delving into the deep dungeons of Hyrule and has been stated exploring the character driven world’s created by Square.
It started by accident, I was in what was Aardvark Video. I couldn’t really find anything I wanted to rent so I settled for a box with a red background with the words Final Fantasy II. We won’t go into the localization naming convention headache this became and has since been rectified.
The game was like nothing I had played before. I had seen the original Dragon Warriors but this had a different feel. Within the first thirty minutes I was hooked. Final fantasy became almost a religion.
The tale of Cecil, who took on the powers of a Dark Knight to serve his king. Who in turn, turned on the same king when he decided to no longer commit atrocities in his name. Who changed his path to that of the holy Paladin and fought through magic, betrayal and evil to save his world.
It wouldn’t stop there. It was a love affair that would continue on for decades. For the US, we got a renumbered version in 2 where it should have been four. So the next we got was six. Final Fantasy VI was a masterpiece that not only increased the cast went even further into character. The thing that for the most part, until X came along, always had a different world, different characters and different stories, all with original, masterwork soundtracks. It led to other games like Secret of Mana or what some consider to be the greatest video game off all time, Chrono Trigger.
Why is this important you ask. For so many reasons. Today I still look to Square for innovation and originality in story. Today, some of the fondest memories of my childhood involved a Super Nintendo. Today, I find myself wanting to develop original fantasy content in video games and print. The story I’ve held on to, crafting, molding, shaping into a novel of my own started there. Sure, other works have influenced my ideas, the wheel of time, mist born, Lord of the Rings, sword of truth and so many more. But from Cecil to Terra to cloud and more will always be the things that fostered my creativity.