Welcome to our playthrough of Final Fantasy I and Final Fantasy II, originally released in Japan for the Famicom on 18 December 1987 and 17 December 1988, respectively, with later releases and remakes in North America and worldwide on the Nintendo Entertainment System, Wonderswan Color, PlayStation, Playstation Portable, and iOS, amongst other platforms.
Square’s release of Final Fantasy on the Famicom in 1987 has become legendary. A last-ditch effort by Hironobu Sakaguchi to revive the flagging fortunes of himself and his company, the name of the game itself alluded to the desperation of the director. However, the success was so immediate, and demand for a title so great, that Square would go on to produce two sequels for the Famicom, let alone a veritable avalanche of further titles in the series which continue to this day in media far beyond the realm of video games. However, the early days of Final Fantasy were formative for the series, establishing series concepts which would return in later games, eventually becoming central to the concept of Final Fantasy itself. The original Final Fantasy established the basics of a menu-driven battle system and a party of customisable characters which remains fundamental to most people’s conception of the Final Fantasy series, and introduced recurring themes such as elementally-aligned crystals and bosses, magical spells, character classes, airships, the dragon Bahamut, and a fantasy-medieval setting familiar to players of Advanced Dungeons & Dragons. A year later in Japan, Final Fantasy II advanced further series staples such as Chocobos and the character Cid, which helped to ensure their centrality to the Final Fantasy series.
Final Fantasy I was not released in a vacuum, borrowing concepts from previous role-playing games, including elements from tabletop RPGs. In fact, artwork and material from the Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Monstrous Manual was used as the basis for many of the enemies in Final Fantasy. ChunSoft’s Dragon Quest (published by Enix), released a year earlier, doubtless provided additional inspiration, but Final Fantasy determinedly went further, with character classes and a party of four players fighting large groups of enemies, in an attempt to emulate the party-sized combat which was a staple of tabletop role-playing games. Generic characterisation added to that feeling, with the player avatars absent any significant character development so that players could personally occupy the roles themselves. Final Fantasy II, for its part, established a lasting series shift by presenting characters with names and an established backstories, so that players would instead inhabit predefined character roles and discover the motivations, histories, and fates of those characters by playing through the game.
Although Final Fantasy II did not initially see release in North America, 2003 saw an official North American release on the PlayStation in the Final Fantasy Origins compilation. Later releases on other platforms followed, including an expanded 20th Anniversary edition of both Origins titles, released individually on the PSP.
Use the comment thread below to discuss your approach to the games, challenges you have faced, secrets you have uncovered, and what you are getting out of your playthrough. Do you feel that the Famicom presentation of Final Fantasy I and II has held up since the original releases in 1987 and 1988? Or, do you prefer the aesthetics and extra features of more recent remakes? How have your experiences with JRPGs released after Final Fantasy I and II, affected your impressions of these games? Tell us all about it and join in our discussion below! We will select some of the best comments, each week, for our podcast discussion.
The aim in this playthrough is to complete the entirety of both games in four weeks:
– Week 1: Obtain the crystals of Earth, the Airship, and the Class Change in Final Fantasy I.
– Week 2: Complete Final Fantasy I.
– Week 3: Complete the Colosseum mission with Gordon in Final Fantasy II
– Week 4: Complete Final Fantasy II.
Please join in, even if you are behind on the playthrough. Anyone and everyone is invited to participate, regardless of speed of play or familiarity with the series. Comment and tell your friends!
Without further adieu, it is our pleasure to invite you to join the The Starlight Megaphone staff members, guests,
and readers as we save the world twice over in Final Fantasy Origins: A Final Fantasy I and II Playthrough!