Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest titles as ranked by Famitsu (2006)

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viking_funeral

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#1  Edited By viking_funeral

I was staring at the Famitsu readers poll of the top 100 games from 2006 when I noticed a couple things. One was that Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest are (were?) really popular in Japan. 7 of the top 10 games are Final Fantasy or Dragon Quest, and 14 of the top 25 are from those two series. Final Fantasy X takes the #1 spot, and this poll was ~5 years after it was released.

The second was that using list, one could compile a tier list of the Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest games as voted on by the reader of Famitsu from around 10 years ago.

http://vgsales.wikia.com/wiki/Famitsu_Japan's_100_favorite_video_games

(#28 incorrectly lists Final Fantasy X for the second time. That entry should actually be Chrono Trigger. You can see as much on other internet collections of this list, such as here and here. Otherwise, the list is correct.)

Why is this important? Well, it's not really. What it is interesting is that the list was made just around the beginning of the 7th generation of video games, when Japan's fall from prominence began to accelerate and JRPGS (which dominate this list) became less relevant to the wider gaming audience. So it's almost a snapshot from the peak of popularity for Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest games. Almost.

This list also happened to come out before games like Mother 3, Final Fantasy XIII, Persona 3, and Dragon Quest IX, so they are not represented here. It would be interesting to see how a modern list would look.

Onto the rankings!

Final Fantasy

  1. Final Fantasy X
  2. Final Fantasy VII
  3. Final Fantasy IV
  4. Final Fantasy III
  5. Final Fantasy V
  6. Final Fantasy VIII
  7. Final Fantasy IX
  8. Final Fantasy VI
  9. Final Fantasy X-2
  10. Final Fantasy II
  11. Final Fantasy I

Some interesting thoughts I had from looking at these rankings:

The Japanese really don't favor VI. I mean, below VIII? C'mon. We'll also see something similar in the Dragon Quest rankings, which is even more absurd. Still, it just barely made the top 25 for the top 100 list, so it's not that unpopular. It's just not their favorite Final Fantasy, like it is for many people in the West. It would explain why that is one of the few games to not get a remake.

There is (was?) apparently a lot of nostalgia for IV. I have a lot of nostalgia for that game as well, but objectively it's not amazing. At least that would explain all the grindy sequels they made.

Final Fantasy III is also fairly popular, placing #8 on the overall list. I imagine it would have been in the West as well, if it had been released here on the NES. It was the first appearance of the job system, which the West wouldn't see until Final Fantasy Tactics.

The drop-off from Final Fantasy VI (#25 on list) and Final Fantasy X-2 (#32) to Final Fantasy II (#60) and Final Fantasy I (#63) is massive.

Onto to Dragon Quest!

Dragon Quest

  1. Dragon Quest III
  2. Dragon Quest VIII
  3. Dragon Quest VII
  4. Dragon Quest V
  5. Dragon Quest IV
  6. Dragon Quest II
  7. Dragon Quest I
  8. Dragon Quest VI

I've been replaying the Dragon Quest Warrior series on the NES, so this list actually fascinated me more at the moment, despite being a much bigger fan of Final Fantasy as a series.

Dragon Quest VI (#34 on overall list) places below both DQ II (#17) and DQ I (#30).

Unbelievable. Dragon Quest II has to be the most punishing, grindy, impossible to advance JRPG I have played aside from 7th Saga, which was a rare case of the Japanese actually making a game harder for the West. (Seriously, 7th Saga can die in a fire.) To advance in DQ II, you not only have to pixel hunt in obscure locations for magic orbs that no one in the game gives you any directions to, but the entire last dungeon of the game is a grind from level ~27 to ~35 where about half the monsters have a random chance of using an instant kill attack on the entire party. How could that place above VI?

It makes one wonder if the number 6 is unlucky in Japan, or something.

Dragon Quest III placing 1st (and #3 in the overall list) is no surprise. It fixes almost everything wrong with DQ II, and it's the first time you could create your own party and change classes. Many consider it the best JRPG on the NES.

DQ VII placing top 10 in the overall and number 3 in the DQ rankings is a bit odd. That game had was very divisive in the West, usually due to how you grinded for classes. Some here consider it a low point in the series. They are wrong, of course, because the low point is Dragon Quest II. Seriously, one of your three party members is completely useless in that game, and... sorry, moving on

~~~

The full list of the Top 100 Games, just in case someone wants to see it here instead of clicking on a link.

~

  1. Final Fantasy X (2001)
  2. Final Fantasy VII (1997)
  3. Dragon Quest III (1988)
  4. Dragon Quest VIII (2004)
  5. Machi (1998)
  6. Final Fantasy IV (1991)
  7. Tactics Ogre (1995)
  8. Final Fantasy III (1990)
  9. Dragon Quest VII (2000)
  10. The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time (1998)
  11. Dragon Quest V (1992)
  12. Far East of Eden 2 (1992)
  13. Sakura Taisen (1996)
  14. Dragon Quest IV (1990)
  15. Final Fantasy V (1992)
  16. Xenogears (1998)
  17. Dragon Quest II (1987)
  18. Sakura Taisen III (2002)
  19. Kingdom Hearts (2002)
  20. Streetfighter II (1992)
  21. Super Mario Bros. (1985)
  22. Final Fantasy VIII (1999)
  23. Toki Meki Memorial (1995)
  24. Final Fantasy IX (2000)
  25. Final Fantasy VI(1994)
  26. Metal Gear Solid 3 (2004)
  27. Valkyrie Profile (1999)
  28. Chrono Trigger (1995)
  29. Kingdom Hearts II (2005)
  30. Dragon Quest (1986)
  31. Zelda 3 (1991)
  32. Final Fantasy X-2 (2003)
  33. Resident Evil (1996)
  34. Dragon Quest VI (1995)
  35. F-Zero (1990)
  36. Sakura Taisen II (1998)
  37. Mother 2 (1994)
  38. Mother (1989)
  39. Virtua Fighter (1994)
  40. Dragon Quest 5 (PS2 remake) 2004
  41. Zelda Windwaker (2002)
  42. Metal Gear Solid 2 (2001)
  43. Animal Crossing (DS) 2005
  44. Tales of the Abyss (2005)
  45. Ogre Battle (1993)
  46. Legend of Zelda (1986)
  47. Virtua Fighter 2 (1995)
  48. Mysterious Dungeon 2 (1995)
  49. Sonic the Hedgehog (1991)
  50. Metal Gear Solid (1998)
  51. Pokemon Red and Green (1996)
  52. Ys 1 and 2 (1989)
  53. Romancing Saga (1992)
  54. Toke Meke Memorial (PC Engine) 94
  55. Super Robot Taisen Alpha (2000)
  56. Resident Evil 2 (1998)
  57. Tales of Eternia (2000)
  58. Digital Devil Story Megami Tensei II (1990)
  59. Shin Megami Tensei (1992)
  60. Final Fantasy II (1988)
  61. Super Mario World (1990)
  62. To Heart II (2004)
  63. Final Fantasy (1987)
  64. Puyo Puyo (1992)
  65. Family Stadium Pro Baseball (1986)
  66. Wizardry (1987)
  67. Hokkaido Murder Mystery (1987)
  68. Fire Emblem (1994)
  69. Super Mario Kart (1992)
  70. Dynasty Warriors 4 (2003)
  71. Monster Hunter (2004)
  72. Best Play Pro Baseball (1988)
  73. Grandia (1997)
  74. Resident Evil 4 (GC) 2005
  75. Gran Turismo 4 (2004)
  76. GTA: Vice City (2004)
  77. Super Monaco GP (1990)
  78. Torneko Mysterious Dungeon (1993)
  79. Tales of Destiny (1997)
  80. Streetfighter 2 Turbo (1993)
  81. Dynasty Warriors III (2001)
  82. Final Fight (1990)
  83. Monster Hunter Portable (2005)
  84. Final Fantasy Tactics (1997)
  85. Monster Hunter G (2005)
  86. Mysterious Dungeon 2 (2000)
  87. Kung Fu (1985)
  88. Toke Meke Memorial (Saturn) (1996)
  89. Tales of Destiny II (2002)
  90. Kamaitachi No Yoru (1994)
  91. Sakura Taisen IV (2002)
  92. Tales of Rebirth (2004)
  93. Sim City (1991)
  94. Saga 2 (1990)
  95. Pro Baseball Family Stadium 87
  96. Tetris (Gameboy) (1989)
  97. Secret of Mana (1993)
  98. Gradius (1986)
  99. Super Mario Bros III (1988)
  100. Resident Evil 4 (PS2) 2005

~

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viking_funeral

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As for the top 100 list itself, instead of just focusing on the Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest series, here are some other things I noticed.

Tactics Ogre was very popular. It made the top 10 in the #7 position, which is pretty good compared to Final Fantasy Tactics, which came in at #84. It was also one of only three games in the top 10 to not be FF or DQ.

Xenogears also places well in the top 25 at #17. It's also fairly popular in the West, so it's not as much of a surprise as a nice thing fans of JRPGS from both sides of the world can agree on.

Mother and Mother 2 (Earthbound) had respectable listings at #38 and #37 respectively. I wonder how the series would do on a poll in the West, as it seems to be a cult classic, but not as popular with the wider gaming or JRPG audiences. Personally, I love the series, but that's me.

Remember, this list was voted on before Mother 3 came out.

Metal Gear Solid 3 was apparently the most popular of the three MGS games out at the time. The drop from MGS 3 (#26) to MGS 2 (#42) is not massive, but significant. For some reason the original MGS comes last (#50) and even places below Sonic: The Hedgehog (#49). Kek.

Secret of Mana (#93) barely made the list, but somehow the superior Seiken Densetsu 3 did not. I know the series fell off hard after Legend of Mana (Seiken Densetsu 4), but I didn't realize the image was hurt that badly.

Giving credence towards the idea that the Japanese only like homegrown games, only 4 games on the top 100 list are not from Japan:

  • Wizardry (#66)
  • GTA: Vice City (#76)
  • Sim City [SNES] (#93)
  • Tetris [Gameboy] (#96)

There's also a game in the top 10 I have never heard of before - Machi. It's about as obscure to me as the Sakura Taisen series, which had 3 games place in the top 25.

~~~

So, what are your thoughts?

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roninenix

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#3  Edited By roninenix

How the hell does III, V and VIII rank higher than VI and IX?

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Fredchuckdave

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IV is the best game in the series, every Dragon Quest except VIII is garbage.

A good list is something like IV, VI, VIII, VII, X, V, IX etc. Though Tactics is on par with IV/VI if you want to count it.

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#5  Edited By Teddie

@roninenix said:

How the hell does III, V and VIII rank higher than VI and IX?

Well, FFX is also in the number 1 spot on the overall top 100, so it's clearly just a fabrication anyway.

I'm going to tell myself that, anyway.

EDIT: Oh wait this is from a decade ago? Would be interesting to see what this list looks like now, although it might just be "Puzzle and Dragons" a hundred times in a row.

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I think it's important to keep in mind that this is a list created by polling readers from 2006. As much as Japan does seem to like its awkward teenage romance plots, Final Fantasy X placing so high likely has a lot to do with it being the newest non-MMORPG main Final Fantasy entry at the time (XII released in 2006 in Japan so it was way too new or possibly not even out at the time).

I'd say the list reflects on the average age of Famitsu's readerbase more than anything else. There are a few older games on there (almost entirely NES and SNES RPG's), but it's at least a reasonable assumption to make that most of the voters at the time were teenagers and the list reflects this as, in addition to a bunch of games which would still have been considered relatively 'new' at the time, a massive chunk of that list consists of games from the mid-to-late 90's. In other words, it fits that games from the latter half of the 90's would make up a majority of the list because those would be the games teenagers in 2006 had grown up with and would have fond memories of.

All that being said, I'm pretty surprised that Chrono Cross didn't even make the list. I personally only think it's somewhere around 'ok', but I would have expected it to be more popular.

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#7  Edited By Slag

You know I bet playing FFX in Japanese to a person who grew up in Japanese culture, FFX easily would be the best in the FF series. The stuff many of us westerners may find off-putting in terms of mannerisms and such would probably resonate as note perfect in many cases over there.

It basically has the same gameplay loop the previous 9 games, but with the most astounding production values the like of which blew people way at the time. I imagine even moreso in japan which I don't think really got into Everquest and other PC games. I don't know if Final Fantasy has ever felt that far ahead of its competitors in that aspect before or since. I think that is a very legit opinion to say that's the high watermark of the series, especially if you were deciding that in 2006.

Not that surprised about Dragon Quest's ordering, III was the first to "perfect" the formula per say, and VIII was deliberately a high production value very pretty looking throwback. There may be no more ultra traditionalist fanbase in games than Japanese DQ fans. That's probably got to be a series by now that's somewhat frustrating to make games for, almost any change to the formula seems to be treated with great hostility. They don't mind if you make it prettier, but god forbid if you tinker with the mechanics or structure of the game. The only real surprise to me is that no Dragon Quest Game was ranked number one overall. The Dq games might have beaten up on each other too much, where as I think there is more of a general consensus on the which FF games are good given how different each entry is.

I will say I though FF:T would be a lot higher, but I also think japanese gamers were probably much more aware of the SRPG genre (thanks to Tactics Ogre as well Fire Emblem and Sakura Taisen and others not localized here) when it released than American gamers. So it probably didn't blow them away as being this brand new thing like it did for a lot of us.

But the biggest surprise to me is there are no Mario Bros games on that list until 21. And that it is SMB not SMBIII or SMBW that takes it.

Really not too surprised by the whole thing, I think I may have read this particular Famitsu list before. Their preferences and tastes are kinda a well known thing by now.

@viking_funeral: I bet if you were to ask Western gamers two years ago the Mother games don't make their top 100 and it's not even close. Same would be true in 2006. They might sneak in now due to Undertale and the WiiU port, but that series always felt super super niche to me even at release.

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viking_funeral

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#8  Edited By viking_funeral

@seeric said:
I'd say the list reflects on the average age of Famitsu's readerbase more than anything else. There are a few older games on there (almost entirely NES and SNES RPG's), but it's at least a reasonable assumption to make that most of the voters at the time were teenagers and the list reflects this as, in addition to a bunch of games which would still have been considered relatively 'new' at the time, a massive chunk of that list consists of games from the mid-to-late 90's. In other words, it fits that games from the latter half of the 90's would make up a majority of the list because those would be the games teenagers in 2006 had grown up with and would have fond memories of.

I don't know if this is necessarily true.

Not that the list doesn't reflect Famitsu's fanbase, that much is obvious, but that their readership is primarily consisted of Japanese teenagers from that time. Famitsu has been around since 1986 and has gained quite a bit of reputation during that time, especially among older gamers.

In fact, I'd say that the numbers show a very even distribution.

  • 3 of the top 10 games (30%) came out in or before 1991.
  • 10 of the top 25 games (40%) came out in or before 1992.
  • The 3rd overall highest game came out in 1988.

Out of the entire list:

  • 17 games (or 17% naturally) are from the 80s.
  • 29 games are from 1990 to 1994
  • 46 games were from before 1995

A little under half the list (46%) is from before the mid-to-late 90s.

  • 30 games are from 2000 - 2005.
  • 7 games are from 2005.
  • 0 games are from 2006 (this poll came out in March 2006).

So, by that math, only 24% of the games are from the mid-to-late 90s. What is interesting is that this list perfectly covers 20 years of Japanese gaming from 1985 to 2005, and that 3 of the eras are actually very close percentage wise:

  • The most popular era seems to be the early 2000s at 30%.
  • Followed very closely by the early 1990s by 29%.
  • Mid-to-late 90s comes in third at 24%.
  • The mid-to-late 80s come in last at 17%.

Before you run the numbers yourself, remember that Final Fantasy X is incorrectly listed twice in the initial link I provided (instead of Chrono Trigger), which would artificially bump the 2000s up by 1% point. The rest of the lists linked, included the one I posted in the original post, have this corrected.

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viking_funeral

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@slag: I think Final Fantasy Tactics being the first time the West saw the Job System also had an impact here, which was already seen in Japan in Final Fantasy III & V. That system is a big reason why that game initially blew me away back in 1998, along with it being the first time I saw an SRPG, which as you mention were much more prevalent in Japan.

There's also the fact that it was released the same year as Final Fantasy VII in Japan.

Still, it wasn't a big seller in the U.S., at least initially. I remember it being fairly hard to get a hold of, and the sales figures from 2004 show that it sold nearly 1.4 million copies in Japan compared to 750k in the United States by that time. I always felt like it had a cult status until fairly recently.

As for Mother, who knows? The cult status has spiraled out of control these days, but as someone who bought it at release and who didn't know anyone else that played JRPGs at the time, it was always hard for me to judge their relative popularity. I feel like you may be right.

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@viking_funeral:

That's a very good point about the Job System (and about Vii, I didn't know they came out in the same year over there). Square definitely had it in their head back then that III and V were too "hard" for western gamers. What sold me personally on the game was the chess like gameplay coupled with political story. I feel like I must have seen the job system somewhere else before, because I liked it but it didn't amaze me. I don't know where that would have been though... Anyway FF:T scratched an itch for me that Vii and Viii really didn't (I had high hopes for Viii after that first disc but then it got into the typical fantastical save the world story most JRPGs do)

You know popularity of stuff like Xenogears, Valkyrie profile, Mother was a really tough thing to gauge back in those days. Especially if you didn't live in a big city, go to cons or use Usenet or ICQ or something. Anytime I got a chance to do any of those things, I felt like I was finding all sorts of stuff out I previously would have never guessed. I have no idea if my impression is anymore correct than yours.

It really was a different gaming world back then, I'm not sure anyone who didn't grow up then can conceive what the gaming community was like pre-internet/social media, Just how much misinformation and rumors could dominate thought.

Probably my favorite things about the Souls games is that first week when there is that mad dash to uncover things or so reminds me how my friends and I used to talk about new games but over much longer periods of time. There was a lot of secret sharing, tip advice and information brokering going on back then that instant access to FAQs, Let's plays etc have destroyed for better or for worse.

At least in my circles and stores I frequented anything Square put out for the Ps1 was instantly known and talked among RPG fans. After FF Vii's massive success it became acceptable and cool to like those kinds of games, enough so that I knew several girls who got into or got back into games because of them. They weren't as popular as the FF games, but Xenogears, Vagrant Story, FF:T etc were known commodities, decently played and respected, lot of those discs were traded around. Once you got beyond Square stuff then you were considered really hardcore RPG fan. So I was one of the few(er) who would delve in things like Legend of Dragoon or Valiant Hearts what have you. Anything Ogre Battle related was considered ultra ultra hardcore (or nerdy I guess if someone was being derogatory).

But Earthbound was just in this weird in between space where it was definitely good RPG, but it seemed a little kiddy to the circles I ran with due to the art direction (people got really fooled by appearances back then) and being a Nintendo product when Nintendo was about to lose that crowd for good didn't help. FFVi and Chrono Trigger were the games that everyone I knew talked about in 1995. Definitely once the Ps1 hit stateside pretty much only Square's SNES games were remembered it seemed like. EB just seemed forgotten and overlooked once 3d graphics were a thing. There was a definite snobbery towards 2d pixel stuff for awhile. I remember people mocking the price tag (it was like 10 bucks more than everything else if memory serves), but I didn't know a soul who actually played it.

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viking_funeral

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#11  Edited By viking_funeral

@slag: You mean Vandal Hearts?

I completely forgot about that game. First game I owned for the PS1. Damn, did I love that game. I'm afraid to replay it because it might be as good as I remember it. I remember making all the archers into flying guys, for some reason.

I guess FFTactics really wasn't my first SRPG. Huh.

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How the hell does III, V and VIII rank higher than VI and IX?

To be fair, III and V play in a far more traditional JRPG way than VI and IX do, which could lend itself better to their particular culture of gaming. With that said, X and VII are the two highest on their list, which means they are totally fine with long-winded stories of bullshit, so that could also lend itself to the placement of III and V...and especially VIII...above VI and IX. At least they have enough sense to keep IV high on the list. CECIL 4 LIFE!

As for the MGS stuff, they also had the sense to put the best MGS game at the top. I still do not get the appeal of the series as a whole, but MGS 3 was a fantastic game that I thoroughly enjoyed.

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#13  Edited By ZombiePie
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@viking_funeral: yes I totally meant Vandal Hearts. Sorry old gamer brain moment there.

VH was the first game I played after FF:T, but yeah i'm pretty sure you are right it did release before FF:T. But few seemed to go nuts over it probably since it was a Konami game and not Square it wasn't hyped up to high heaven by GamePro, EGM etc. Or maybe I missed that issue, I dunno. I just remember trawling stores for more of these after FF:T gave me the fever for SRPGs.

But yeah that game was dope man. Sucks the latest iteration was weak sauce but I bet the old one holds up alright. Maybe the story doesn't, but I'm sure mechanically it probably does.

I really wish Konami would re-release Vandal Hearts 2 and Suikoden V on PSN, but the way that company's going of late I fear that will never happen.

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#15  Edited By Error52

Final Fantasy VI's rad and all, but it's not hard to figure why Japan doesn't like it much.

A lot of the charm came from the translation, especially when it comes to Kefka - As memorable as he is in Woolsey's rendition, he was very bland in the Japanese version. Plus, it's a relatively very easy and broke ass game, which is in contrast to I-V where you often had to fight as dirty as possible.

Plus, V's better anyway

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ArbitraryWater

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Final Fantasy III over V? That seems like a weird one, given how poorly all of the NES FF games have aged compared to the SNES ones. Maybe it had something to do with the remake coming out around that time.

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Japan sucks, Vagrant Story isn't even on the list.