As I’ve talked about many times before, I have this weird love/hate thing going with the whole Final Fantasy franchise. It wasn’t a defining series for my childhood or anything; I only got into it with Final Fantasy VII back when I was in college and continued on until X. I lost interest in the console versions past that, and the MMOs have been a hit-and-miss affair with me.
Yet I will confess to some affection for the series. I recently fell into a playlist of Final Fantasy restrospective videos that I found fascinating, especially since they contained a detailed look at the earlier games that I never touched. The videos stirred in me a bit of nostalgia as they reminded me of some of the elements that I liked — the music, the atmosphere, the 400-pound swords — in addition to the weirdness and the more frustrating aspects of the series. FF7, in particular, made such an imprint on my gaming history that to this day it’s the title that I associate with the original PlayStation.
There really should be an accessible term for a person who is somewhat less than a “fan” of something but more than a very casual acquaintance. Or a fan in the past tense, maybe? That’s how I’ve been with Star Trek for decades now (although I think that fandom was just about quashed thanks to Discovery) and it’s what links me to Final Fantasy.
You know how it goes. Nostalgia and awareness is raised, and the next thing you know, you’re diving headfirst into games of the past. I finally got around to starting Final Fantasy IX on my iPad (which I purchased a long time ago for a promised second playthrough and never did it), and my SNES Classic keeps reminding me that I have a date with the sixth game, which I’ve never played but probably should just to shut up people whose eyes bug out when I tell them that. And there’s always the lurking through of Final Fantasy XIV, which should totally appeal to me on paper and only partially does in play.
To scratch at this itch, I’ve started to play the two Final Fantasies that I purchased for mobile way back when with the intention to enjoy. There’s FF6, which I’ve never played all of the way through, and FF9, which I adored on PlayStation but only did a single playthrough on that console. I’ll have deeper reports in weeks to come, hopefully, but so far both have been surprisingly enjoyable, hitting the spot.
It’s probably only a passing fad. Something to indulge for a little while, to scratch that itch, and then forget about once more. But it’s harmless fun, so why not? My college self would be giving me a thumbs up in approval, and at the very least, I can enjoy these soundtracks all over again as I listen to them on loop a billion times in a row.