Tons of lore, an extravagant score and the girl next door

Final Fantasy VII (1997)

I’ve been trying to put some time into just why Final Fantasy VII seems to be so much more popular than the rest. Even here in Europe, where we didn’t get much in the way of RPGs, FF7 made an impact on hardcore and more casual gamers alike. We didn’t get much in the way of RPGs, including Final Fantasy I to VI, Dragon Quest I to VII, and other titles without Roman numerals like Super Mario RPG and Chrono Trigger. We didn’t get any of that stuff, check fantasy star. So why is it that Final Fantasy VII just took everything by storm? It’s a fascinating question, and I believe I’ve cracked the reason for it.

This may not explain why women also like as well but I think the story of Final Fantasy seven and why resonated because it is all about how the boy who thinks he’s great but turns out to be a geek at heart, managed to ascend with the girl next door. And the girl next door in this case has cans bigger than her head, which, you know, only adds to the pathos and the intrigue.

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A good night’s sleep is an adult’s greatest fantasy

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Final Fantasy III (1990)

Like a lot of people out there, I’m a fool to myself almost every night. No, for once I’m not talking about self-debasement – I’m talking about sleep, and that’s deprivation, not depravation. And I know you’ll sympathise with me; will have experienced that terrible moment in life, when you finally decide to try for some sleep, you set your phone alarm and it tell you, “Alarm set for 2 hours and 32 minutes from now”.

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Learning languages ain’t easy, so don’t beat yourself up over it

Final Fantasy 2

Final Fantasy II (1988)

Still looking for a New Year’s resolution? Learning to speak and write in foreign languages is a pursuit most noble, you know. It’s a sure-fire way to broaden your pathetic, shallow mind. For language learning purposes, there are all kinds of devices you can make use of that’ll make you a proverbial polyglot.

In the old days you’d have to use books, which is never ideal. That’s what they keep trying to do in schools, and school is the last place you want to try learning a language in. Case in point, I tried learning Irish for 13 years in school, and French for 6 years, and what can I show for it?

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SquareSoft aren’t clowning around anymore

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Final Fantasy VI (1994)

It’s not uncommon to want the villain to win, you know. I suppose people might look at you funny if you cheered the bad guys in Schindler’s List or Downfall. But what about Mrs. Doubtfire? They fronted Pierce Brosnan as the homewrecker villain in that one, but what about Mrs. Doubtfire him- or herself? Lying scumbag he was, exposed himself in front of children and everything.

Then he tried to kill the so-called villain via a spicy ensemble specifically designed to attack Pierce’s allergies. Not content with that, he finally goes the whole hog and ruins his ex-wife’s birthday by humiliating her in front of everyone. Christ, it’s no wonder she was reluctant to give him any sort of custody of the kids, until he had a hit-show on his hands and some good dough rolling in. Some bad guys just always win, don’t they?

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A seminal RPG! But, only find it in America of North and the Moonland Isle

Final Fantasy 4

Final Fantasy IV (SNES) (1991)

Did you know that you change your friends every seven years? That’s right, one day you’re out playing football on the road and a bit of Tip the Can for good measure, and the next moment (well, over the next seven years), they’re just left sitting on your Facebook friends list gathering more and more cobwebs. Actually, Facebook is last century’s buzz, isn’t it?

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Black Mages are promoted to their level of incompetency

Final Fantasy 1

Final Fantasy (1987)

Sometimes I have to wonder how frustrating it must be to be a manager. Obviously, as I am an unambitious layabout, I haven’t got a staff to manage. But I do have extensive experience with Football Manager, which almost counts. There’s no need to overcomplicate management, because it’s a lot more simple than people realise.

Just have a think about what it’s like for sports managers, or better yet, put yourself in their shoes. You try to empathise with the players, get on the same psychological wavelength as them to make sure the big babies aren’t on the verge of bottling it. You prepare the team as well as possible, make sure they’re conditioned, make sure they’re fit. You lay out the full strategy against your next opponents, several times and as plainly as possible. Then your players go out and act like a bunch of pilchards doing whatever they like, and you’re left tearing your hair out. And in the end, guess who gets the bullet?

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Somebody crowbarred a love story into this card collecting RPG

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Final Fantasy VIII (1999)

A year ago, when I was doing up a piece on classic gaming couples for CHUNK.ie and The R.A.G.E. for St. Valentine’s Day, I was actually struggling pretty badly. Yes, there were a whole host of tantalising will-they-won’t-theys like Link and Zelda. There were also friend-zone jobs like Mario and the Princess, and even a rare reversal with Sonic the Hedgehog and Amy Rose. And there’s even pairings that eventually turned sour, like Snake and Meryl. But proper romantic love stories? They were quite tough to shoot my arrow through.

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