The Rise and Fall of Final Fantasy
by Pitchfork

A while back I wrote a little article about Final Fantasy for's NES Week. I had a good time doing it, and afterwards I got an idea: maybe it would be fun to marathon through the entire Final Fantasy series, doing a write-up for each installment?

Of course, it never happened. Every so often I'd remember the idea, say to myself "wouldn't it be a neat thing to do?" and would forget about it a day or two later.

Months later, I was at my friend's place and noticed that he'd shelled out the extra cash for the special edition of Final Fantasy XII, which came with a bonus DVD containing a half-hour long video timeline of the series. I convinced him to let me borrow the disc, and sat down to watch it later that night.

It was horrendous. The narrator spoke like he was reading a storybook to handicapped Sunday school children. It was like they were deliberately going out of their way to insult long-time Final Fantasy fans. When they got up to Final Fantasy VI, there was a lot of interesting stuff they could have talked about. Amano artwork. The steampunk twist. The fact that it was the first game in the series that wasn't directed by Hironobu Sakaguchi, and the differences in its approach. Kefka. The controversial Woosley translation. Instead, they spent the majority of the time talking about the opera scene, which everyone already knows about. After that, the video expounded at length upon Cid's Final Fantasy VI incarnation -- like they did for all of his other appearances. It was maddening. EVERY FINAL FANTASY HAS A DUDE NAMED CID. I GET IT. TALK ABOUT WHAT WENT INTO DESIGNING KEFKA. TELL ME WHAT BROUGHT ABOUT THE DEPARTURE FROM CRYSTALS, SWORDS AND SORCERY AND THE MOVE TOWARDS STEAMPUNK. GIVE ME MORE INFORMATION ABOUT THOSE N64-DD SCREENSHOTS WITH FINAL FANTASY VI CHARACTERS. TELL ME SOMETHING I DON'T ALREADY KNOW, DAMMIT.

The DVD didn't just insult my intelligence -- it did much worse. It managed to make the entire Final Fantasy series seem like a trite waste of time. Which it isn't -- right? Right? Oh god.

That horrible DVD inspired me on two levels: the first was the simple realization that I could do a better job making a Final Fantasy timeline than these Squeenix USA fuckers. The second was a desire to go back and play through the series to double-check and make sure I'm not crazy for assigning Final Fantasy the level of significance I do.

So! Let's get on with the show, shall we?

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