I will start this short piece off my quickly stating that it’s going to be a full on love letter to the Final Fantasy series as a whole. It’s going to get pretty personal, and a lot of this is based in sadness.
You have been warned.
…Here we go then.
I often tell people that I came to the Final Fantasy series quite late. My first game of the series being Final Fantasy X but what I often forget is that, whilst that is late for many people, I actually received the game for my 12th birthday, and I feel that had I come to the series any earlier then I would not have appreciated the game the way I did.
In fact, on the eve of my 12th birthday, my then 10 year old little brother kept asking me if I liked the Final Fantasy games (I didn’t know he had chosen it for me as his gift to me at the time) to which I replied “Not really no, I don’t really like those Japanese RPG games” Oh how wrong could I have possibly been.
So there I was, on my 12th Birthday – I had unwrapped my gifts and the disappointment flooded in as I saw the subtle, plain white box art with the simple (Beautiful) illustration.
I didn’t have many friends back then, so I promised my brother I would put at an hour into it before I went out for a skate (I also got my first pair of new rollerblades as well!). I popped the game into my PS2 and was greeted by the opening cutscene: “This… is my story” I heard the main character tell me – I thought this was super cheesy at the time so I scoffed but carried on.
I went through a bit of a boring opening level and pushed on through Zanarkand… Then it happened THAT cutscene kicked in with the Rammstein-esque (I didn’t know what the Black Mages were at the time) music kicking in.
That fueled my little 12 year old brain and I started to fall in love.
Next thing I knew, My mum was calling me down for tea and I had put 10 hours into the game without moving, Final Fantasy had well and truly sunk it’s hooks into me. Over the years, I struggled to make new friends. I made the odd one or two here and there through rollerblading (Who to be fair, to this day have become my closest friends), but I never felt alone. I always had Spira to go back into and spend time with the characters in the game here.
Alongside this, I was also heavily bullied at school (A fact, that to this day ive held quite close to my chest) and would often feel too nervous to go outside – But this didn’t matter to me because I would happily spend every waking hour following Yuna and her merry band of Guardians around the world – Battling, riding Chocobos and playing Blitzball (hours and hours and hours of Blitzball).
This went on through my teenage and early adult years, a struggle I have always found was within making new friends, but throughout my life there has always been a consistent Final Fantasy on the go for me, helping me through the struggles I’ve faced. I know much of this story has been focused around Final Fantasy X, but that’s simply because that was the gateway for me – The one that started it all.
It doesn’t end there – I am a staunch defender of the Final Fantasy XIII trilogy (I love Snow and you can get in the bin if you want to argue with me), and I genuinely believe Caius is one of the best villains from any piece of media that has ever existed (Stay tuned for my in defense of FFXIII article coming soon!) right through to recently playing Final Fantasy XIV with my wife, and watching her begin to fall in love with the games as well (Read more on this here).
This love has extended beyond the games at this point. Everything about it just fills me with a warm feeling of home. I went to see the London Philharmonic play through some of the music (Which I regularly listen too anyway) and that was easily one of the best experiences of my life – Watching Nobuo Uematsu compose as I simply sat there in awe was truly breathtaking.
So here’s to you Final Fantasy. Thanks for all the help.