16 bit Inspiration

Final-Fantasy-VI-final-fantasy-vi-24610210-800-600Final Fantasy VI, originally released for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System in America as Final Fantasy III,  was one of my favorite games ever–I had it for both the SNES and the Playstation.

(From Wikipedia) “The action takes place on a large, unnamed world. During the course of the game, its geography and landscape change due to various developments in the game’s plot. During the first half of the game, the world is divided into three major continents and referred to as the World of Balance. The northern continent is punctuated by a series of mountain ranges and contains many of the locations accessible to the player. Most of the southern continent has been taken over by the Empire, while the eastern continent is home to a large patch of land called the Veldt where monsters from all over the world can be found. Halfway through the game, the world’s geographical layout is altered, resulting in its three large continents splitting into several islands of various size situated around a larger continent at their center. This altered layout of the game’s locations is referred to as the World of Ruin.

final-fantasy-vi-20060509061309295“In contrast to the medieval settings featured in previous Final Fantasy titles, Final Fantasy VI is set in a steampunk environment. The structure of society parallels that of the latter half of the 19th century, with opera and the fine arts serving as recurring motifs throughout the game, and a level of technology comparable to that of the Second Industrial Revolution. 

“Railroads and steamships are in use, and a coal mining operation is run in the northern town of Narshe. Additionally, several examples of modern engineering and weaponry (such as a chainsaw, drill and automatic crossbow) have been developed in the Kingdom of Figaro. However, communication systems have not reached significant levels of development, with letters sent by way of carrier pigeon serving as the most common means of long-distance communication.”

I loved that game!  I played it and beat it four times, and still to this day love it.  One of the things I loved the most about it is the sheer, unabashed love of FUN that the creators injected into it.

Final_Fantasy_VI_Opera_by_Saint_KaedeThere is a wonderful scene that takes place in an Opera House, complete with an entire opera, that is performed during a 12 minute race to save Terra from a demented octopus intent on killing her. The opera can be seen and heard here via YouTube, in its full glory.  In the original game, the music was performed on a midi and was really good, but the original composer has since released fully orchestrated versions of all the music he composed for the Final Fantasy empire at Square/Enix over the years, up to Final Fantasy IX.

distant worldsThe music of these games attracts me as much as the incredible story-lines and great artwork.  The primary composer of music for the main series was Nobuo Uematsu, who single-handedly composed the soundtracks for the first nine games. I just recently purchased Distant Worlds, his 2007 compilation of the work he did for the franchise, and it is part of what I listen to when writing.

There is something so evocative about his music, it helps me concentrate.

And so, today I leave you with another YouTube example of Uematsu’s work, Love Grows, from The epic Final Fantasy VIII, featuring the enigmatic Squall Leonhart as the reluctant hero.  Great stories, awesome side-quests–those early Final Fantasy games couldn’t be beaten for sheer entertainment value.

I am still playing Final Fantasy XII on the PS2, perhaps not obsessively, but still enjoying it. I have Final Fantasy XIII for my PS3 – but I have to admit that I am unable to get completely into it. The story-line seems awesome, and the graphics are gorgeous, but I can’t seem to get too far into it.

Perhaps I’ve grown up a bit, and have my own fantasies to write.

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Filed under Adventure, Battles, Books, Dragon Age, Final Fantasy, Humor, Japan, writer, writing

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