Some days ago, I happened upon an article about the making of Final Fantasy VI which was tweeted out by the editor-in-chief of this fine blog, and it was a pretty interesting read. It didn’t explicitly tell me much about the game I didn’t already know from having played it, outside of the fact that it was developed in just one year, but it did set my mind upon a different Squaresoft game from that same year. One overlooked in the shadow of the company’s flagship franchise, and never released for English-speaking audiences (an independent translation has since been available for years, but as to how to find it, I couldn’t possibly speculate).
When I was a very young child, I was sharply and steadfastly geared in one direction when it came to games of entertainment, and the direction was decidedly non-athletic. Not that I disliked the feeling of playing sports, exactly — though a bout of yet-undiagnosed anemia left me dizzy and feeling like my head would split open after a hard run or a tennis lesson — but I certainly disliked all the people my age who were keen on that sort of thing. It wasn’t even a matter of personal animus, in most cases, or some resentment over bullying or ostracization. I just didn’t much like most of them, and by extension I didn’t much enjoy the times when I was out running about. And moreover, I had nothing but antipathy for spectator sports, a dilemma in my household as a then-only child, suffering through seemingly endless Giants games, which I found irritating, and 49ers games, which I positively hated (meaning, sadly, that I missed out on any enjoyment of the Joe Montana era).
One of the joys of writing this review column is that it’s essentially a “whatever you want” sort of gig — you can’t make new old games, after all. As such, I’m afforded the luxury of being able to plot a certain rhythm to the games I choose, and make adjustments if I’m feeling especially aggrieved or burnt out with one sort or another.
I’ve recently been playing a bunch of old games (this statement being equally appropriate to introduce anything I’ve written here), as a means of casual fun and time passing, with a couple of friends about my own age. I’m 26, and as such was in the prime of my youthful interest in video games at the advent of the Super Nintendo era. This was also the era of the Sega Genesis for some, but I was never as taken with the console, its games I had played at friends’ houses, and its marketing tact (this remains one of the most scurrilous ads of its time). I’ve owned exactly one Sega system in my life — my ill-fated seduction by the Dreamcast, years later.
This last Christmas, my younger brother (who also happens to be the chief proprietor of this website) schemed a clever idea for his Christmas wish-list, which would ultimately come to involve me to a great extent. He sought out a Famicom on eBay, as well as a lot purchase of Japanese games — about 110, if memory serves. He did the same in procuring a Super Famicom, meaning that after the somewhat grueling process of setting it all up (while the Super Famicom was a cinch, our lack of a North American RF switch, and an RF compatible TV, was a thorn in the side) we had hours of video game exploration ahead. What games would be in that enormous box? Some we’d recognize from American release, perhaps, but surely there’d also some peculiar, Japanese-only games that we likely wouldn’t have experienced otherwise.