Aside from the fact that these games are amazingly well-made, the Final Fantasy series is important to me because I owe my childhood to those games.
I first discovered it when I watched my step brother play Final Fantasy VI on his Super NES and it captivated me with its beautiful 16-bit pixel graphics, soulful chip tunes and mature storyline.
It was the first role-playing game I had ever seen and it was the beginning of a love affair with the genre. As a kid I recognized that RPGs have a level of depth that other game genres lacked.
Dungeons & Dragons may deserve credit for popularizing the RPG, but as the first role-playing video game mega franchise, Final Fantasy deserves credit for many RPGs I loved throughout my life like Chrono Trigger, Pokémon, Kingdom Hearts, Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga, Xenoblade Chronicles and The World Ends with You.
For this reason the series has become synonymous with the genre in my mind. Whenever I see a new RPG, I always think to myself “Is this going to be as good as Final Fantasy?” It’s the same thing I do when I watch a sci-fi film and I compare it to Star Wars. In other words, it set a standard that is often met but rarely exceeded.
“Final Fantasy” may sound like an odd name for a franchise as prolific as this one, but it’s actually a fitting name. If you pitted every RPG against one another in war, which series do you think would be the last one standing?