So 2 weeks ago I was kind of doing nothing at 1 in the morning when I decided to check out the virtual console offerings. I hadn't checked the releases for the last 6 months and then I found out the Final Fantasy 6 had been released! Happiness all around since this one was the last one of the big titles I was missing! I immediately bought it and checked if it was as I remembered. Now that I own Final Fantasy 6 as well, I now own all major releases of Final Fantasy.
So now that we have established that I am a big fan and proud owner of all the titles, let's look at the problem here. The problem is that when I look back at how many of the games I have actually played all the way through I get stuck on just 4 of em. Final Fantasy, Final Fantasy 6, Final Fantasy 7 & Final Fantasy Tactics. (that last one I imported) All the other games I have started at some point (sometimes multiple times) and then stopped playing halfway through or even earlier. It's not that I don't enjoy these games, I am a sucker for RPG's and games with good stories. It's just that I am now in a different phase in my life.
Final Fantasy was my very first encounter with Fantasy themes in general. I grew up in Suriname, South America so that interest came pretty late to me. Where most people got introduced to Fantasy themes by Tolkien or Dungeons & Dragons, to me it was Final Fantasy. I remember being totally engrossed by it and all my friends were into the ninja gaidens (me as well) and the horizontal/vertical shooters at the time and they just didn't my fascination with people walking forward & hitting air. But I loved it! The battles played out in my head as many movies nowadays depict and I loved the story however flimsy it was at the time.
Then the Super nes hit and we heard about this new Final Fantasy with an insane story and the prettiest graphics ever seen. I heard that somebody got it when he visited the States and he was willing to lend me his copy for some game of mine. I cycled for 45 minutes to his house to go borrow it and played through it in a couple of days. I was 14 or so at the time.
Fast forward a bit and it's the PS1 era. I had just moved to the Netherlands (for University) and saw all these commercials for Final Fantasy 7 and got unbelievably hyped! I pre-ordered the game without even owning a PS1. I had the thing for 1 or 2 months without even having a Playstation! When visiting my folks for holidays my dad gave me 500 guilders to buy a PC for my studies. Guess what I blew it on... I was still in my first year so I explored every nook & cranny of that game. Got the Knights of the Round summon and got all my characters up to level 99. (I still have that save-file somewhere) I remember coming back from dancing and having my (then) girlfriend sleep in my lap as I ground out a couple of levels.
Final Fantasy Tactics came to me in a time where I had just switched studies. Since I had passed most of the courses of the new study already I had a lot of free time on my hands and played that thing to death. I loved the strategic challenge and the story had some great twists in it, although it was a bit hard to follow the thread at times. I replayed the remake Final Fantasy Tactics: War of the Lions when I was back home (in Suriname) for an extended period of time in 2007. I played all the way to the ending, to the part where they tell you: You won't be able to go back after this, do you want to save? And I saved OVER my original save. And then I didn't stand a chance against the last boss. 50 hours down the drain. That's how we learn right?
What do all of these playthroughs have in common? I had loads of free time! Free time is now a big luxury since me & my girlfriend run our own business. So I just don't have the time to play through those Final Fantasies. But they remind me of a time where a world of wonder had just opened up and I could lose myself to a different world. A reason why I still game and collect games to this day. Nowadays I find myself going to games I can quickly play for 15 minutes or half an hour max, Like Starcraft 2 or daily quests in WoW. But I'll play through these one day, even if I am already 60 and have more time on my hands!
Final Fantasy games I own
All the Final Fantasy games I have collected over the years