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If I mention the words of ‘chocobo’, ‘gil’ and ‘phoenix down’ to you…what do you automatically think of? No, I swear I’m not talking in some kind of secret code. I’m here to report the 25th birthday of the Final Fantasy franchise. Yes, don’t worry I’m starting to feel a bit old too with all these long-time video game empires reaching their quarter-of-a-century birthdays.
I can remember first playing Final Fantasy when I was about 17, so that’s about 13 years ago for me. I never played any of the early games the first time round and I think I first approached the series with FF 7 (which still to this day- will always be one of my favourite games). If I could have kept every Final Fantasy game I’ve ever owned, I would have every single one from 7 onwards. I also have Final Fantasy Tactics and Tactics 2, which were released for the Game Boy Advance and Nintendo DS. When there’s nothing else for me to play, I still grab my 3DS and click in the Tactics 2 cart. It’s like a comfort blanket for me, Final Fantasy has always been there for me in good times as well as bad. I can remember one of the lowest parts of my life where I played FF9 for days on end without bothering to eat or shower. It’s certainly not my finest moment in time, but sadly depression had a grip on me and I was happy to press the POWER button on my Playstation 1 to be willingly sucked into the fantasy world for utter hours at a time. I didn’t care anymore.
These days, I just look back at the franchise with fond happy memories and not try to fret over the bad times. Just like Square Enix, things change and move forward. The company in the 25 years have seen themselves move forward from being just a Playstation-only entity to a multi platform giant. I can throw Final Fantasy XIII into my XBox 360 and play until my need to kill things with sharp, magical swords is quenched.
And for the anniversary, Square Enix has released a 25th Anniversary micro-site. It’s beautiful, with everything from special piano pieces of music to a discography of every FF game ever released. And to fulfill all your chocobo-plushie needs, there’s also an online store to purchase from. The downfall is that the whole website is in Japanese and kanji, but it’s a real treat to have a browse around. Definetely worth your time