final fantasy

FC - square, 1987

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october 12, 2023

the ending of Stranger of Paradise put me in a mood. i haven't played many fine fantastic games, but a long time ago i decided i wanted to play through them all in order. you know like a stupid person would do. i got partway through 3 before i fell off. my obsession with chronology unfortunately extends to series with totally disconnected storylines

it also extends to games that have been re-released and remade a dozen times. this time around, like an even stupider person, i wanted to go for the original version of each game to really see the evolution over time, instead of just reading a wiki article about it. then like the possibly stupidest person, i wanted it to be the original original versions, as in the Japanese releases i have frequent trouble reading

i didn't last long here. i played enough to get it; to see the evolution i came for. i get that things used to be incredibly slow and tedious and buggy as all hell. it's the kind of game where i don't just need the manual open alongside it, i also need an article open to caution me on all the ways the game is broken. so many stats, spells and gear just do not work like they're supposed to, if at all

in ditching that, i'm back to my classic obsessing over which version of each game to play. when i played through FFI before i went for the PS1 version, which was a pretty good one from what i could tell. i've had the "Pixel Remaster" versions of I through VI downloaded, but i've been hesitant because they are PC versions of classic Final Fantasy games and therefore are likely to be terrible. i don't know what it is with Square and these games

this time around it's the font choices, and the weird omission of extra content from past versions of the games? the fonts are easily moddable so whatever, but it's something so blatantly bad that i can't help but think it indicative of the competence behind the whole package. but my small personal issue here (which doesn't affect FFI inidividually) is the unification of each games' visuals. they don't feel like the six different games they are, they feel like six campaigns of one game

it's a balance that's hard to define. a lot of what makes these remasters considered the definitive versions (by some) is the quality-of-life features, most of which are things that essentially admit the core gameplay is not fun. are these versions better because they're less time-consuming? also what's very funny is they later ported these versions to consoles with new features, which they didn't then update the PC versions with. as if they saw the "best" versions of older FFs were exclusive to PC and said oh no absolutely not

looks great

looks great

october 14, 2023

having trouble with the english version too it turns out

i've since moved back to da famicom. i got a few hours into the Pixel Remaster before figuring out why i don't like these newer versions much. with all the sped-up zip-zooming around map completion quality-of-life etc etc stuff, the flow of the game feels totally off. random encounters obviously are objectively bad (i would have said "outdated" instead but Zelda II came out the same year and knew better), but they're near-intolerable for me when paired with the pace of everything else

the Famicom version is way more chill because everything is equally tedious. i've come to appreciate the slower pace a lot more, especially with the increased need for strategy in fights. characters don't auto-target here - i have to keep track of enemies' HP or else one of my guys will target an enemy who already died before they could take their turn, and end up embarrassing themselves by attacking nothing

being able to mash 'A' through already-easier fights in the remakes, knowing my guys will always attack properly is just another thing that makes me impatient when it comes to encounters. it's a super ADHD exacerbation game. my mindset has now totally switched from "finish this game and then move onto II, then III, etc." to "this is the game i'm playing and i'll be done with it when i'm done with it". i'm on an adventure with my bros

nothing encapsulates my love for Web 1.0 like old Squaresoft fansites. there's a '90s FFI-specific site i've been relying on (due to the Famicom version giving no info on what the gear/spells i'm buying do), and it has a journal section like mine

something so cozy about "manual open on the side" type games. what the manual doesn't tell me however, is that i am stuck with the choices of magic spells i buy. of course it also doesn't tell me that some of those spells simply do not work. so i now have no way to deal with Darkness because i don't have room for the spell that cures it, and apparentlyyy the Eye Drops didn't exist in FFI until the GBA version. oowee

i only slightly regret playing the Japanese version. i thought, if i'm gonna play all these dang games and they're all either un- or poorly-translated then i may as well power through. not a big deal so far; FFI has a barely-plot with no-frills function-over-form writing. but then i remember FFII being immediately much more story-heavy and mmm i don't know. i don't know why i've been averse to fan translations but i guess i'll just go with them from now on

it varies a lot how willing i am to actively chip away at Japanese in media. i usually start off with an equal interest in playing/reading/watching the thing and improving my language skills, then i get tired of it and i just want to Consume the Media. i knew i shouldn't bother when i realized how long i had been reading マヒ (paralysis) as ヒマ (time off) and being like. why are my guys so lazy!! get up and fight the worm!!!

it brings me no joy to admit i am a purist. it's entirely an OCD thing. for the uninitiated, in older FFs exist these "Peninsulas of Power" - small areas on the map where enemies from a much later, currently inaccessible, but physically close-by part of the game appear, due to the way the world map is programmed. it allows me to get crazy XP cash money 5000 early on from enemies way above my level range. it's arguably a glitch

i say "arguably" because there are a few things like this in older FFs that are generally accepted as how the game just is, to the point that they don't even change them when remaking the game. FFII has a crazy game-breaking exploit that's almost unavoidable, that wasn't fixed until the third time they remade it. but strangely enough, the Penis of Power was fixed, for the first time, in the new Pixel Remaster

when i started going into these games with the Pixel Remasters with all their quality-of-life changes and boosts and buffs, i thought sure i'm here anyway i may as well make use of stuff like that. but now that i'm taking the slower original route, and having learned that even the baby-easy remake chose not to include it, i was a little more hesitant. i went there and tried it out thinking maybe the fights will be super hard so it'll seem fair. they're not really! and the rewards were wild

that's like ten times the XP and gil i'd normally be getting from battles at this point! so i un-saved and chose not to go there because it felt cheap. ya gotta make your own rules with stuff like this

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