Final Fantasy is the world's premiere series of RPG's. In the modern RPG era's beginning, on the Nintendo Entertainment System (Family Computer in Japan), it could be said that the first big blockbuster titles were Final Fantasy and Dragon Warrior (also known as Dragon Quest).
Final Fantasy was originally intended to be Square's last game, but due to its incredible success, they went on to continue the series.
Final Fantasy 1 through 3 were made for the Famicom / NES, Final Fantasy 4 through 6 were made for the Super Famicom / Super NES, and 7 and onward were made for the Sony Playstation. Final Fantasy recently entered the subscription-based MMORPG domain with the release of Final Fantasy XI. There is also Final Fantasy: Crystal Chronicles for the Nintendo GameCube and the Final Fantasy Adventure and Final Fantasy Legend series for the Game Boy.
The Final Fantasy games are unrelated to each other in plot, however there are many common elements that return time after time. These include Chocobos, large yellow birds that are ridden like horses; Moogles, which are the equivalent of fairies but take the form of cuddly little white creatures; Atma Weapon which is both the name of a sword and of a boss creature, and a character named Cid.
The NES / Super NES titles were well enjoyed by players and sold particularly well, as did another notable Square title, Chrono Trigger, which was released in the interim between Final Fantasy 6 and Final Fantasy 7.
But thanks to a successful mass-marketing campaign by Square (now Square-Enix) in 1997, Final Fantasy 7 was an astounding success. As with any other gig whose popularity reaches critical mass, Square-Enix has since lost the "knack" of making quality new games. This is of little concern however, because the new post-1997 gaming generation had little motivation to play the prior games of the series, and instead always eagerly awaits the next mediocre Final Fantasy title. As such, Square-Enix only updates the series out of opportunity and habit, rather than artistic merit; since Final Fantasy is an easy cash cow that shows no signs of running out of milk.
Final Fantasy is now mostly seen as a subculture item, closely related to the anime / japanimation subculture.
Final Fantasy 7 is the best RPG ever.
(Yeah right. Wake up, fanboys....... Final Fantasy 6 gets my vote.)
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