Over the weekend I took a trip to Boston and was looking for a game to play on my phone during the hours I spent on the train when I discovered Final Fantasy had been released for Windows Phone 7. It took my approximately no seconds to click the buy button on one of my all time favorite games. I’ve probably spent more hours playing FF1 than any other off-line RPG; Curse of the Azure Bonds for C64 is the only other contender for that record.
It made me think a little bit about why those old RPG’s could attract me for so much longer than newer titles. I used to spend days exploring every nook and cranny of those primitive games, and to be honest there wasn’t really much to find, but I kept playing them anyway. I would try beating them with different parties or with fewer characters just to keep them challenging. Current generation RPG’s haven’t encouraged me to replay them more than once and I’m not sure exactly why that is. Perhaps it’s the focus on plot and story over strategy and tactics.
When I play a game now no matter if it’s an RPG, MMO, RTS, FPS, or any other combination of letters I’m always focused on tactics, on doing the most with the least, that’s where I find my replay value in games. Does this make me unique? It definitely adds value to the games I buy since I can enjoy them for longer periods of time and it’s obviously encouraged me to buy more sequels, expansions, and DLC then I would have otherwise. I’ve purchased FF1 for four different systems over the years and I never regretted that.
While MMO’s are the best type of game I’ve found to encourage this type of replay experience I never stop looking for games in that classic style of RPG. High end graphics and seemly endless plots have ruled the RPG genre for many years and have given us some excellent game series like Elder Scrolls and the newer Final Fantasies, but I’ll have far more fun trying to beat the original with an three black mages and one white mage then I ever will one of the current generation of RPG’s.