A Gamer Looks At 40

Ep 101: Final Fantasy 4 (Part 1) - Introductions Into a Brave, New World

May 13, 2024 Bill Tucker Episode 101
Ep 101: Final Fantasy 4 (Part 1) - Introductions Into a Brave, New World
A Gamer Looks At 40
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A Gamer Looks At 40
Ep 101: Final Fantasy 4 (Part 1) - Introductions Into a Brave, New World
May 13, 2024 Episode 101
Bill Tucker

In the winter of 1991, Final Fantasy 2 stormed onto North American shores as an SNES launch title and was met with middling enthusiasm. US gamers were too busy stomping Goombas and driving hovercrafts  to worry about turn based combat and wandering in circles.

But for those who took the plunge, they discovered not only a love for the series but a new genre to adore. Join myself and a host of  fans as we share our earliest recollections and memories of Final Fantasy 2 - I mean, 4.

STARRING (all handles from Twitter)

Barry Carenza of Premium Edition Games (@HawkHellfire)
Greg Sewart of the Player One Podcast and Generation 16 (@sewart)
John Trenbeath (@crazyjohnt)
Julian Titus (@julian_titus) of The Stage Select Podcast (@StageSelectPod)
Mekel Kasanova (@MekelKasanova)
Mike of the Distorted Illuminations YouTube channel (@MadMonarch_DI)
Mike aka MageORage on Twitch and YouTube (@mageorage)
Mike Albertin of Games My Mom Found Podcast (@mom_found)
Moses aka @thewellredmage of the-pixels.com and Gamelogica on YouTube
Mustin, music producer (@Mustin)
Ryan Lindsay of KISS 105.3 in Ottawa (THERyanLindsay)
Wade aka (@ProfNoctis)

SONG COVERS

Final Fantasy IV - Welcome to Our Town (Harp Solo) by Harpsibored - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VvnWlk5OyO0

Main Theme of FINAL FANTASY IV (Piano Cover) by Animalisa Keys - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RlUFeCJ7T5c

FINAL FANTASY IV: 'Rydia's Theme' | Classical Guitar | John Oeth by John Oeth - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HgsyimjKsxk

My Website: agamerlooksat40.com
My Discord: https://discord.com/invite/SdaE4atGjC
My Twitter: @agamerlooksat40
My TikTok: @agamerlooksat40
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My Insta: @agamerlooksat40
My Patreon: patreon.com/agamerlooksat40
My Email: agamerlooksat40@gmail.com
My Phone Number: Ehhhhh, not gonna happen. :-D  

Support the Show.

Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

In the winter of 1991, Final Fantasy 2 stormed onto North American shores as an SNES launch title and was met with middling enthusiasm. US gamers were too busy stomping Goombas and driving hovercrafts  to worry about turn based combat and wandering in circles.

But for those who took the plunge, they discovered not only a love for the series but a new genre to adore. Join myself and a host of  fans as we share our earliest recollections and memories of Final Fantasy 2 - I mean, 4.

STARRING (all handles from Twitter)

Barry Carenza of Premium Edition Games (@HawkHellfire)
Greg Sewart of the Player One Podcast and Generation 16 (@sewart)
John Trenbeath (@crazyjohnt)
Julian Titus (@julian_titus) of The Stage Select Podcast (@StageSelectPod)
Mekel Kasanova (@MekelKasanova)
Mike of the Distorted Illuminations YouTube channel (@MadMonarch_DI)
Mike aka MageORage on Twitch and YouTube (@mageorage)
Mike Albertin of Games My Mom Found Podcast (@mom_found)
Moses aka @thewellredmage of the-pixels.com and Gamelogica on YouTube
Mustin, music producer (@Mustin)
Ryan Lindsay of KISS 105.3 in Ottawa (THERyanLindsay)
Wade aka (@ProfNoctis)

SONG COVERS

Final Fantasy IV - Welcome to Our Town (Harp Solo) by Harpsibored - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VvnWlk5OyO0

Main Theme of FINAL FANTASY IV (Piano Cover) by Animalisa Keys - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RlUFeCJ7T5c

FINAL FANTASY IV: 'Rydia's Theme' | Classical Guitar | John Oeth by John Oeth - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HgsyimjKsxk

My Website: agamerlooksat40.com
My Discord: https://discord.com/invite/SdaE4atGjC
My Twitter: @agamerlooksat40
My TikTok: @agamerlooksat40
My Facebook: facebook.com/agamerlooksat40
My Insta: @agamerlooksat40
My Patreon: patreon.com/agamerlooksat40
My Email: agamerlooksat40@gmail.com
My Phone Number: Ehhhhh, not gonna happen. :-D  

Support the Show.

When Final Fantasy IV hit North American shores in the holiday of 1991, us westerners still weren't quite sure what to make of it. Despite a massive 14 -page feature and cover of issue 30 of Nintendo Power, role-playing games were still extremely niche. Growing up, I had two friends who played Final Fantasy or Dragon Warrior. And when I got my Super Nintendo on Christmas Day of 1992, I was playing Mario World, Turtles in Time, and Mario Paint. No room in my 12 year old brain or patience for turn -based role -playing. Turns out, I was missing out. Players who jumped into the world of Cecil, Kane, and Rosa found an adventure unlike anything available on a home console. They found a story of sacrifice and redemption wrapped in this colorful 16-bit candy shell that was a... Feasts for the senses, the soundtrack soared, the characters had personalities, and a fandom was born. It would take another six years for the series to become a cultural revolution, but for RPG fans in the early 90s, it was the start of something magical. On episode 101 of A Gamer Looks at 40 we begin our exploration of Final Fantasy IV. In part 1 we're going to share story after story of people's first encounters with the game and what about this title kept them entranced for decades. Time to shine up our armor, sharpen our sword, and make haste for Mesidia as we explore Final Fantasy IV Part 1, Introductions into a Brave New World. Everybody begins somewhere, so if you dig origin stories, the next hour or so is going to be an absolute treat. Starting us off with their first impressions of Final Fantasy IV is Julian from the Stage Select Podcast, followed by Wade aka Prof Noctis on Twitch, Twitter, and YouTube, and basically everything else, then Greg Seward of the Player One Podcast and Generation 16 series of videos chimes in, followed by content creator, Mikhail Casanova. Thank you again for joining me to talk a bit about Final Fantasy. We continue the saga. The saga continues. Tonight we're going to be talking about Final Fantasy 4, which I remember from our first conversation that this one, I think this ranks as your favorite. And without putting words in your mouth. It is my favorite Final Fantasy in my heart. The favorite Final Fantasy of my head is probably 14. if I really like stop and have like a heart to heart with myself, but I always have to couch that in. Well, but Final Fantasy XIV is like five Final Fantasies in a trench coat. So do I love Final Fantasy XIV as a whole, as my favorite one, or is it that I really love like Heaven's Ward and Stormblood, right? And then the other was I'm just like. Like I could I can almost rank all of the expansions in different parts of my list So really Final Fantasy 4 is like the one with no caveat and it's been that way since I was a kid So what was your first what was your first exposure to it? I again I know you you started with Final Fantasy 1 you're like hey and then when Final Fantasy 2 of course Which is as we all know is now Final Fantasy 4 came out you you jumped into that what tell me about that first experience when you first started playing it as I actually remember the I can, I don't remember the supermarket. I do remember the layout of the supermarket's video section. when me and my cousin David went to go rent it and, and, Corpus Christi, because he had a super Nintendo at that point. I did not actually, I didn't even have a Nintendo at that point. but I had played just enough of final fantasy one at a friend's house in Ohio that when I saw final fantasy two on that shelf, I was like, Hey, we should check this one out. Like this might be fun. And that's all I knew. I just recognized the name and it was for the Super Nintendo. So it had to be better. And we, you know, we rented it. We took it to his place. I want to say it was probably a week long rental and proceeded to pop it in the Super Nintendo and get, you know, proceeded to get taken on a ride that we would then continue to take like every time that I would come to visit for a week, like for summer break or spring break or whatever. where we would just go rent Final Fantasy 2 at a video store, start a new game, and then just see how far we could get. And it's funny in hindsight, because Final Fantasy 2 is not a long game. You can blow through that game fairly quickly. And especially when I think about like, you know, spring break time as like an 11-year -old. I don't know how we didn't finish it other than just being, you know, woefully ill-equipped for the journey. Final Fantasy IV, I mean, it was my first, you know, besides the number game. But Final Fantasy IV, as I'm playing through it, you know, I do have these great memories of sitting in my dad's lap and all this kind of stuff. But there is a moment early on, it's the story of Cecil or some people would say Cecil. I say Cecil. I'm from the good old South. So, I mean, we have these long drawn things. So Cecil. He is a dark knight and he, I mean, the game opens with him invading a city and setting fire to it, basically killing some of the key leaders in the city. It's a city of mages and he returns home. This was an order from the king that he serves. And when he returns back, he begins to question the ethics of it. And, you know, I'm seven, eight years old playing through this game and I'm like, Yeah, what if somebody of authority tells you to do something that you don't agree with? What do you do with that? And so, you continue playing, right? And you get to this moment where he's shipwrecked. And wouldn't you know it, as fate would have it, he serendipitously ends up on the shore of the town that he invaded. And they obviously are very just like standoffish to him. But they give him a chance to prove himself. And so, he has to go up this nearby mountain called the Mount of Ordeals. And at the top of it, he enters into a shrine. There's a sword that comes down and a voice envelops him. And it essentially tells him to turn from those old ways. This is a story of repentance as much as anything. And when he grasps the sword, he comes face to face with his reflection, which is still a dark knight. And then in one of the best battles in the game, you have to face off against this dark knight. But it's not a battle of like might. It's a battle of defense. And you have to actually press the defend and parry button. in order to defeat him because you are now going to bear the sacrifice, the pain that you had once inflicted. And just an incredible redemption story for Cecil. So I tell this story because, you know, when I was, I played through this game as an eight year old with my dad sitting in his lap, learning to read all that kind of stuff or learning to read harder words. And when I was in middle school, my dad went through some hard times. He made some really poor decisions and stuff that really affected me and my family. And I had anger and all of this kind of stuff. And years later, he was in a place of needing forgiveness, asking me, hey, I'm sorry for the things that I had done. And wouldn't you know it, I remembered that story from Final Fantasy IV. I remembered, hey, you know what? The worst things in life are never the last things. There's always a chance to choose something differently. And it was just a powerful moment of having this formative memory with my dad and then having to extend that same level of forgiveness and grace and second chance to him. To the point that if you look above my head, there's a painting of that scene because it is maybe the most formative scene in all of media for me. we spoke we were talking about one I think we talked about two and three a little bit but today I'd like to talk a bit about four which for me is kind of like a perfect not perfect but it's a great combination of one two and three like they took one two and three the best bits of those three games and then made four which I I really love what was what was your first experience with Final Fantasy four Final Fantasy four was first of all I agree with you a hundred percent that that's the way I've described that game In hindsight for years, obviously when I first played it, when it first came out, I'd only ever experienced the first game. But in hindsight, yeah, if you go back and play one, two, and three, they just feel like prototypes of different pieces of four, which I absolutely love. But my first experience with four was I didn't have a Super Nintendo. I didn't buy a Super Nintendo right away, because I had made the switch to Genesis. but my best friend got a Super Nintendo when it came out and This was the friend that you know I think a lot of us might have had where on the weekends We would go rent video games like that's what we did We would have a sleepover either at my place or at his place We go you know splits on renting a game or two on a Friday night And then we'd take it we'd rent it for the weekend take it back on Sunday, and we usually just hang out the whole weekend nice and That's exactly what we did with Final Fantasy 2 at the time. We rented it Friday night, and I don't think we slept that weekend. We rolled credits like a half an hour before the thing had to be returned. So yeah, we were up straight, just passing the controller back and forth, which I didn't do a whole lot. I mean, I guess I did because I used to rent games with him a lot, but it's not something that I've done for years and years, but that was how I experienced the first. Final Fantasy 2 for the first time, Final Fantasy 4 for the first time, was just passing the controller back and forth and eating a lot of snacks and drinking a lot of soda so that we could stay awake. And yeah, and then I remember distinctly, my dad took that game back and he and I just passed out. Yeah, I can't imagine. How old were you at this time? what year did this come out? 91? 91, yeah. So I would have been 15. OK. Yeah. OK. That's... Prime sleepover, Prime staying up late all night to stay up for literally days playing a game. Because Final Fantasy IV, it took about 20 hours, you know? And maybe modern game for 20 hours, maybe as a kid maybe a little longer, but wow, you did not an all -nighter, you did an all -weekender. That's crazy. That's so funny. It's one of my, I can't necessarily recollect. the first time I played a lot of my favorite games. But that one sticks with me. Yeah, I can't blame you. And then you were just out for probably 12, 14 hours. Yeah, I think we had to go to school the next day, but. Nice. Great. Just like dragging into school. I played Final Fantasy 4, which for us and you know in the Western world is Final Fantasy 2. Right. And that game for me was, I actually remember when it came, when we got it, because I was living in Western South Moor at the time, and I remember my brothers brought it home and then I was like trying to figure out, because they spoke English, they were really fluent in it. For those who don't know, English is my second language. First language is Samoan. So they brought it home and then they were really into like it and then they passed it off to me because, you know, being the youngest, I get all the hand -me -downs and all that. Especially back in the day when, you know, like every, you know, your brothers had different cartridges for like, you know, Sega Genesis, Super Nintendo, the Sega Master System. You know, all that. Yeah. And so they when they they brought it home, I was like, what is this? And like my brother Devon was like, man, this is so good. You need to play this. I'm just like, so I don't like I like what I can't read English. I like, well, figure it out. And so like I was like trying to mash my way through it. And then like at the same time, like my mom was making me take like English lessons because we were eventually going to move to the US from Weston, Samoa. And so. After like a couple of months, I came back to the game after I could read it, but because I'm also dyslexic, like there's a struggle because I'm trying to translate it from English into Samoans. I can understand it. Then I'm also having to deal with the dyslexia on it as well. But then I got so captivated with the story. Like I was just so drawn into Cecil's like whole arc and everyone that came along the way, Rydia, all of them. Like I just really got into it. And I couldn't put it down. Like my mom would come in the room and she's like, did you do your homework? Yes. Why are you on the superintend? I'm learning to read it. So I'm doing mom. I'm learning to read. I literally said that too. I love that. She's like, no, come on. You're not. Come on. I love it. She's like, there's no educational value in video games. I'm like, well, I'm reading. You wanted me to read. So. And this is actually interesting as opposed to my school books. Like this is actually something I'm engaged in. Yeah. I love that. I love that. Next up, radio host on Kiss 105 .3 in Ottawa, Ryan Lindsay joins the show to talk about his first foray into Final Fantasy IV. What is with the alliteration today? Followed up by Barry Karenza of Premium Edition Games, followed by John Trenvith of the B. Crohn's Foundation. And finally, Mike of the Distorted Illuminations YouTube channel shares his first impression. but he had like all of them and had so many more games and I'd go spend months at his place in the summertime. I don't know how his parents stood me being there, but he was big into the RPG side of things and I loved it because it's storyline for me. I'm like, yeah, you know what? I'm going to get immersed in this. I'm going to watch this. We'd flip back and forth between who was going to actually play until we had the chance to play three, but we'll talk about that later. where you had the multiple controllers option. Two was the first one, and I had played the original Final Fantasy just to get this in here so much as a kid. Like, I absolutely adored it, but I didn't get to touch it on the Super Nintendo for quite some time. So when I finally got to with him, I got so immersed in the story that I ended up going out and buying my own copy, actually. Yeah, but it was that good and it's so weird because a game like this with that kind of story, you wouldn't expect it to be that replayability factor, right? Like a lot of action series, you're going to go back and do that. But this, you can't really have twists that are going to shake you to the core when you've already been through them. And yet I've replayed these games so many times. So many times. I'm halfway. I legit just made it into the world of Ruin and 3 again, but we'll get there when we get there. We have two and three, I think, are interesting games. And I think two and three all kind of coalesce to create four, which I think four is. The more I talk about four and after my recent play through, the more I love it. I don't think it's better than six for me, because six just holds a special place in my heart. It's kind of like the movie Clerks. Like I can't. I can't. I can't. I can't even like, I couldn't review that movie. It's too personal. It's too close. I play street hockey in New Jersey. Of course, it's just too close. Final Fantasy 6 is too close, I can't be objective about it. But 4 is so, so studyingly good. What was your first experience with Final Fantasy 4? So by the time I got my own personal Super Nintendo, I was in high school. So it was Christmas of 1997. And I got it from a friend who was selling his. And I played the Super Nintendo tons at friend's houses for all those years, but I finally had my own. And I didn't have Final Fantasy, but I knew that it was on there. And there was a kid in school that I was talking with, and he was like, you could borrow it. I've already beaten it. So I borrowed his cartridge of Final Fantasy II, and I played it straight through on the Super Nintendo. No save states or anything like that back in the day. With the early translations, obviously, Spoonie Bard, which they've kept. but other things like the spoon instead of the knife that deals 9 ,999 damage. And it was such a step up from Final Fantasy I. At this point, I hadn't played II and III yet because of emulation. So this was the second Final Fantasy game I did play. And it was such a step up in narrative and the characters. Even though I changed the names of the characters again, It didn't matter. They stuck with me. And now, you know, they're so near and dear to my heart. Cecil's journey from Dark Knight to Paladin gives me shivers. Like, I get goosebumps every time I see that scene, whether as a sprite or even in the four remake in the opening when they show him like lifting the sword and bringing it down. I'm getting goosebumps now just talking about it. It is such a powerful scene and such a wonderful, wonderful character development moment from the beginning when he's captain. And he's bombing cities because he's to hold to and he's starting to question the orders and to revolt to that level and to go completely from Dark Knight to Pound. It was so good. And Rosa and Edward and Tellia and the twins and the sacrifices. Final Fantasy IV and the sacrifices in that game were something of another level. And I... In my memory, and I could be wrong, but I feel in the Super Nintendo original, those characters never came back. Like, I could be wrong, but I don't remember them coming back. I know now they're like, yeah, they're all back, happy ending. But I don't remember them coming back when I played originally. Like, that was it. And I feel as a narrative, it's a better story if they don't come back. Of course, happy ending, yay, but. but I feel like they were giving up so much and every character just pretty much went through this journey, this character development. Every character had an arc. I wanted to punch Kane in the face so many times for betraying me. I kept, no, fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. Fool me three times, shame on me. Fool me four times, shame on me. You know, like he just kept betraying and it was like, man, come on. Of course, by the end it's like, are you for real? We're fighting the final boss, but I still don't trust you. which is great character writing. Like I love that tension. That tension is so good. You never know when he's going to turn back on you. And for me as a summoner fan, you know, Rydia, you know, getting her so early and working her up and then getting on the ship and her going overboard and just, I cried. I thought she was gone. And then the moment when she comes back, when you're underground as an adult or at least a teenager, And just like you're all about to die and she just comes in to save the day on a very, very far hard fight. I think that was a Cappy, one of the dolls. I forget the name. I think you're right. And she comes back and it's just like, like as a kid, I was, my God, she's back. Like I told plot twists, you know, like that's the game. There's there's plot twists and every corner. You don't know who you're keeping in your party. You equip somebody and then they die in the next scene. And you're like, crap. You know where they leave And it's it's just it's a wonderful wonderful tale and I feel like at the time it was elevated and I feel you know Now in in 2024 the people who hold it to a high level or those that experienced it back then and And a lot of people won't even look back at it even even with the for remake. They won't go back to it Like it's too old. I don't care anything before seven. I'm not even gonna look at I'm like it's You're missing out. You're missing out because I'll still put Six before, but what I've realized after playing it on the remaster and talking about it a lot now is that game has no fad on it. Like it is such a trim experience. Like it's curated and it's relatively linear, relatively, but there is... There is no fat on that game. Like you can say on six there's fluff and there's stuff and you don't really need some stuff in six and there's some down. Everything hits well in four. 20 minutes to talk about four. sure. yeah. Yeah for sure. Because four you have in our side conversation you labeled as your favorite game, Full Stop. Yeah, it is my absolute favorite game of all time. I don't know that anything will ever top it. Again, like with Final Fantasy 1, it makes me happy. Like just hearing the overworld theme. Like the first time you walk out of the castle and the music starts at that. Like, I'm like, God, this is just so good. And loving one as much as I do playing two for the first time. Like it wasn't, I always call it two because that's what it was on the Super Nintendo. It was Final Fantasy two. I do try to call it four so that the internet won't be mad at me. But, You know, it's to me in my head. It's too Fair and again, you know loving one as much as I did and then playing the playing it on the Super Nintendo For the first time it was everything I loved about one times a hundred Seeing how beautiful like the the art was, you know, they're seeing the graphics the music is just outstanding and It's, it's very stre - again, it's streamlined. As far as my entry point for Final Fantasy now, my earliest life, like my first memory was getting Super Mario World for Christmas. And Final Fantasy came like very quickly after that. So I don't really have like a life, much of a life before Final Fantasy. Yeah, it was one of my half brothers would come to visit. He'd bring over his copy of Final Fantasy 2 on the Super Nintendo, which of course we now know is Final Fantasy 4. Right. I did not know this, so I had assumed Mystic Quest was actually the first Final Fantasy until... wow. I found out there was one before that. that's funny. Nice. So you brought it over and Final Fantasy 2. So you really started out of the gate with Final Fantasy. Were you reading or watching a lot of like fantasy type stuff other than video games? Were you like reading that kind of stuff or was this your first foray into like a fantasy genre? I think that actually might have been my first steps into fantasy. It's actually the reason I wanted to start learning to read more was so I could follow along with these games better. Yeah, you know, I've heard that a lot that this was formative and actually just learning to read. How old were you when you first got that Super Nintendo and got those games? It has to be around five, I think. wow. OK, so yeah, you're really just starting. Yeah. Yeah. Gotcha. You know, of course, he'd bring that over. I'd only play it for short periods, like once a year for that Final Fantasy because of how far away he lived at the time. I lived in a small town, Idaho. I don't know how the video shop there had all of this, but... It was like all of the best Super Nintendo RPGs in this town of what was like three to four thousand people at the time. What? That's crazy. I had Final Fantasy 6 there, Earthbound, Lufia 2, Breath of Fire 2, Ogre Battle. That's crazy. How did this get stuck here? In this tiny town, someone was a big RPG guy and thought, I'm going to bring the quality to small town Idaho. That's a maya. That's really funny. You wouldn't expect that. No Lufia 1 or Breath of Fire 1, just the sequels. But the taste, he knew. I mean, I've never played Lufia 1, but he knew the bangers were they, he knew the bangers. That's pretty great. That's cool. So you rented it. So how long did you rent Final Fantasy 4 for? god, like I know the rentals were like a week long at a time. So how we do it is basically. The parents were like, look, you can pick one thing, rent it after, you know, you bring it back and get one other thing. So it's kind of hard to tell which one I have the most or the longest because I've done them like stretches at a time. Sure, sure, sure. Eventually they did just sell us the copy of Final Fantasy six because of how much. really? Yeah. that's so cool. So they literally are like, look, kid. All right. Just 60 bucks, sure, after probably spending way more than that on rentals. I don't think he charges that much, but I think he's on price at this point. I'm sure. I'm sure. But how many times do you think you've rented Final Fantasy 6? god. I don't even know, man. Wow, that's crazy. So after a while, he just gave you a discount on it and said, here, just buy it. Were you able to keep your saves? Because it is a small town. Were you able to maintain? safe progress? No. No? So you still had... Sometimes. That's funny. I could beat it after a while. Wow. It kind of depended on when I got it. Because sometimes I'd have had that save like a couple of months after I bought it, I still got a save on there after I rented it. Then another time it might be gone. Yeah. But you had situations where you were able to keep the same save for like a month or a couple of months in order to beat it. Wow. It's not like a huge gaming population you're gonna have in a town that small. So I think yeah, I just kind of Accepted look there's three save files here We're gonna try to not to screw somebody else over like there wasn't a conversation about this, but we all kind of got it There was an unwritten rule because of a small town because I hear these guys I did the rental episode and we talked that a lot of people talked about how they would always try to get their save back But never could because of course some other kid is rented it between now and then but in a small town Three RPG fans with three copies of Final Fantasy 6. They made it work. That's so interesting. I love that. Or the same copy. Do you know what's better than an epic summon on a flock of fleeing flans? My beautiful and wonderful patrons that's who! Starting off with Terry Kinnair, Greg Seward of the Player One Podcast and Generation 16 series of videos, the one and only Games with Coffee, the Let's Play Princess, BT Gobbles, Tim Knowles formerly of the Littest and please continue checking out that show even though they are on an extended hiatus. Julian of the Stage Select Podcast, Seth Sergel of the All -End Podcast, and finally the one and only fantastic and debonair Pete Harney. If you'd like to join these titans of industry, or at least philanthropy, then go to patreon .com forward slash a gamer who looks at 40 -40, check out the tiers, and if you feel so led to, sign up today. Continuing our traipse down memory lane is Moses of the Pixels .com and GameLogica YouTube channel, followed by Mike Alberton of Games My Mom Found, followed then by Mike of the Major Rage Twitch channel, and finally music producer Mustin. So let's move on to a game that's really good. Yes. I think it's really, really good and was surprised how much I liked it on my last playthrough, Final Fantasy IV. What was your first experience with IV? That was, of course, when we were kids, it was two, but. What was your first experience with that title? Yeah. So can't remember the very first, and I know I played it a little later because again, it wasn't my first Final Fantasy. God forbid I played it after Chrono Trigger. I don't think it was that late, but I did play it at some point and you know, it's a little more antiquated. It's a launch Super Nintendo RPG, one of the first on there. and so in a lot of ways it still kind of looks and feels like an NES, RPG, which is not bad intrinsically, but like, when you're a kid and you're like, I just bought the shiny new box, you kind of want all the shiny new box stuff. So after kind of overcoming that, that kind of phase, realizing how much. And I wouldn't put it in so many words as a kid, but how much drama. Is in there how character driven it is? how many characters there are and how really complex it is? I think is really is is wonderful And a testament to what can be achieved with limited technology. I mean the game is ancient Was it over 30 years old now at this point? Yeah at that point. Yeah at this point. Yes over 30 years It's nuts. but everything is really just pitch perfect on that game for for what it is, you know for an early super nintendo rpg. I recently replayed it via super nintendo version as part of streaming through the super nintendo rpgs. And there was a lot that i'd forgotten. I hadn't played it in in decades, certainly not since the 90s. And so there was a lot in there that that i'd easily forgotten. And in a lot of ways it felt like a brand new game. But I think it's a really satisfying game with a lot of themes and everything interwoven in there. I was struck on how much of a... I like games that, again, this is me playing older gamer person, but I like games that have little to no fat on them. Yeah. And Final Fantasy IV is such a trim experience. I would say more trim than VI, which is my personal favorite for a lot of subjective reasons and objective reasons. I can make an argument for it. But I was struck on how well -paced it is. And even though it is a relatively linear game, I've really enjoyed the ride it took me on. What's definitely a Final Fantasy is Final Fantasy 4. That is definitely a Final Fantasy game. And so what was your first experience with Final Fantasy 4? As I've said a couple times now, depending on what order you publish these, Blockbuster! Blockbuster! I rented it at Blockbuster as Final Fantasy 2. That was the first time I played it. I want to say I play Mystic Quest first, then I played two or I played three slash six. I don't know which one would have been first. I just know that when I played Final Fantasy 2 slash 4, as a kid, me and my father played it together a lot and I couldn't figure out, you know, we got stuck multiple times in that game and we ended up buying it somewhere down the road. I don't know where, but I know I had it and I had the instruction book, which had up into the Dwarven. Stuff the guide up to that point is in the in the in the instruction book So we were able to use a guide in the instruction book to get that far and then we got stuck Gotcha, but I I loved the game as a kid. I the game I thought was just beautiful I mean it still has such a dark story It's not as good as six but it has a very good story and just everything that happens to Cecil the four fiends are just great for me, I do have a memory of because my dad He's an older man not that much older, but like I remember he'd like tell a lot cuz tell it was an old guy And I was this young kid something I tell us stupid You know I remember was talking about that I remember him kept making fun of the spoonie Bart thing when I was a kid as you should I was so stupid and I remember one joke he's always say to me in four would have been one of those he's like There's gonna be 15 Final Fantasy. So like there's only three stop it. little did I know? Little did you know like 15 20 missed a quest found fancy four like these are games that like four especially meant a lot to me because something that Me and my dad had played over and over again trying to get through the game Before we it took us years before we did finally finish it I I I do remember one time him trying to order a guide for us And we had something in the mail. We were trying to write in to to order a guide We never did get it because it was you know years after publications. We couldn't find it, but I do remember things like that Interesting, interesting. So you were able to finish though. We did finish for... I don't remember how, what year, but we... It took us years, but we did beat it. Because I mean, again, a lot of it was there's no internet, so a lot of it was just doing the same thing over and over again until you just find the right place to go. You said that you moved on to the other titles that were out at the time, probably four and six. Four you listed when we were chatting on Twitter. You've labeled four as one of your favorites. I'd love to hear your experience with it, kind of what you experienced for the first time, how you connected with it, and just kind of that experience with four. So my story with Final Fantasy Four begins like a lot of late 90s, gaming stories the friend and the search for acquiring it and You look down different used video game stores your rental places that sell old their farmer titles stuff like that and My friend ended up picking it up at some sort of shop next to an RV park in Tennessee Wow, okay Right, the craziest off -ball place to end up with an RPG, and he comes back with Final Fantasy II at the time, that whole kerfuffle, and just from the get -go, it's so cinematic and it's engaging. The red wing sequence just grabs you by the jugular and just you go. So the pacing is tight. There's the first one with that... real huge scope of cast like that just arcing varied cat like litany of characters Let's just jump right into it. Give me a little bit about your origins with the series, kind of, and some of the stuff that you want to share about it. I was pretty poor, so I didn't get stuff when other kids got it. And I got a Super Nintendo way late in the game and some friends were having a sleepover and said I could come over too. And so they knew I was going to bring my Super Nintendo and I was so psyched because I was going to finally get to play Super Mario World. Well, they were playing like Streets of Rage 2 on the Genesis, which is awesome. It's one of my favorite games, probably my favorite soundtrack of all time. But they were playing the Super Nintendo and they had rented this game and it was absolutely stupid. It was like super crappy graphics and it was all text and It was just these little characters going on the screen and there would be these battles and numbers would show up. And I was like, dude, I want, can we please like play something that's cool? Because I would like to play Super Mario World or at least let me be skate on Streets of Rage 2. And they're like, no, dude, this game is so good. This game is so good. And so I was probably reading like a Nintendo Power and just kind of like chilling and they passed out. And then smash cut to probably six hours later, like at seven in the morning, they wake up and I'm like, dude, you got to check this out. Dude, Cecil became a Paladin. This is amazing. I could do freaking white magic. Now you got to check this out. Like I was completely hooked on this game. Final Fantasy four, then known as Final Fantasy two. And that's what just got me. So I had to go back and start it again, re-rent it and it would. be, you know, I don't even know. I don't know if I actually ever owned it. I owned Final Fantasy 3 cartridge, but never the 2 one. But yeah, so Final Fantasy 4 just got me hooked. I love it. It's so I like like movies nowadays. My son was ragging my buns about not watching The Batman. But the trailers for the Batman were pretentious and dark and I just didn't really care. And I know that Batman is kind of pretentious and dark anyway from the comics, but I did just have my second bout of COVID, which was about 99 .84 % better than my last bout. So I just kind of hung out and watched movies and I was like, well, what better time to watch the Batman, which is over three hours long for some reason than right now. And I'm glad that I did because I ended up really, really enjoying. a great, great deal of it. And I thought it was a lot of fun. However, it could have been edited down and it would still been a great movie. And that's why I love movies that are less than two hours long, because just bite sized fun. And I can get back to my stuff. I don't need all that game of Thrones and, and, you know, CSI and all, I don't need all that stuff. I just, I want to get this bite sized stuff. And that's what makes Final Fantasy four so fantastic to me is that while it's not a two hour game, it is, Bite -sized fun that's gonna be the same because it is almost completely linear and It always is rewarding and and and that's what I love about it You make a lot of really good points there I want to first go back though to that initial introduction a sleepover gotta love that There's nothing more classic than than the sleepover the sleepover secondly I think it's great that that you you played the game out of necessity and it was just sitting there and staring at it you had you wanted nothing to do with it because again, it wasn't an action game. It's got text. It's what is this? And I think it really speaks to how games like Final Fantasy really ought to be played not watched, you know, I mean games I think are like that but Final Fantasy for some reason it got hooks in you because you were engaging with it. Yeah, my my former wife really got into God of War the like the real ones not that new fake one. the real ones because like the button mashing was so satisfying. You push X and then X and then circle and Kratos would do this unholy fury that would just go on and just make you feel so incredible. That's what was so fun about it to me is just these simple commands would make your character go nuts. And it was so much fun to watch. He loved watching me play it to the point where I ended up. Somehow we lost the games or something, something happened. But one Mother's Day, I got her all the God of War games and made her breakfast in bed. And then the kids and I left so she could just hang out and play God of War all day. So that's that's fun because it is fun to watch. But definitely with one of these RPGs, it is so character driven. I hate the silent protagonist, E .G. Chrono and Link and... But like, I mean, with the Final Fantasy games, everybody's involved and you're a part of the story and a part of the action and it really just sucks you in. I definitely agree. You should be playing it, you know, first person RPG action. It's one thing to get a game for Christmas, stumble around for an hour, and give up hope in favor of your well-traveled copy of Pilotwings. It's quite another to get sucked into a series to the point where you want to experience it again and again and again. Let's rejoin Mustin, then Mike Alberton, and then Mikel as they share what hooked them as Final Fantasy IV fanatics. So Final Fantasy IV was a sleepover. You got hooked on it. What about the game do you think really got its hooks into you during that fateful overnight when you just binged it all the way through to where you become the Paladin as Cecil and all that? What do you think? What do you think got its hooks in you? I got to be the hero. I got to have the fawning damsel and the, the cool best friend and to save the little kid and rebel against the forces that tried to do me ill. It just, it just called me in. It got me out of the world. Like when I, I wasn't, I was pretty poor as a kid and this was the first taste of RPG and this is what got me through to my 20s was escaping the world in which I lived so that I could go and have adventures on the Super Nintendo. That's what I wanted to do more than be stuck at my home. I can see that. I can totally understand how if you were in a situation that you'd want that escape. That makes sense to me. Obviously, I don't know what your specific story was, but that makes sense that you'd want that escape. And that sense of heroism, that sense of adventure more than Mario, right? Like I can't identify as a mustache plumber. And in Streets of Rage, yes, there's a power fantasy. It's fun to, you know, of course, Streets of Rage 2 is super fun. It's fantastic. But... Being a part of a large, intense story that feels very personal, yeah, I can definitely see that being very attractive to somebody who may not have been as satisfied in the world you were living in. And again, not putting words in your mouth, but that's kind of what I'm hearing. Yep, yep, that's what got me. He thought they were so boring. So I do remember that. He used to be like, why don't you play something more fun? Like, stop doing this. Like, I like this. But I liked RPGs. And because I was bad at games. So, yeah, he hated random battles. He used to complain about it and four would have been won that had slower random battles. And I would, and he, like, I remember being in the volcano. and just leveling for hours. I think I had homework to one time where I just had my dad just sat and played for me and leveled why I went and did my homework or something else or why I was sleeping. So when we played around, I'd be strong enough to get through the game or get farther in the game. Like there were a lot of that scene. There's a lot of moments like that with four where there's a lot of moments where me and my dad playing that game. That's very sweet. See, that's that's a very it's a very nice little set to meet there. That's why I want to know what are some. Yeah, man. And it's and actually that is a phenomenal. I think it's phenomenal. I think it's a... I have the cartridge. It's one of those three cartridges I still have on my desk near me. I have the old FF2 cartridge. So it sounds like Final Fantasy IV was your first entry point and it sounds like that was a big touchstone for you. What about Final Fantasy IV? You kind of mentioned it already in a little bit of what we were discussing, but what about it really got its hooks into you? What was that piece of the game that you said, yeah, boom, this is now my thing? Especially in an environment where you didn't have a lot of friends who were into that sort of thing. It didn't sound like everyone was playing Sonic and Mario and platformers, but Final Fantasy, it... at that era was very niche. And what about it do you think just connected with you? I think it was just a sense of adventure. Like for me, like, you know, growing up back then you had Saturday morning cartoons, you had cartoons right before school started, which is the whole, there's a reason for that people. It was to get kids up so parents didn't have to fight to get them up and getting ready to school because five o 'clock, I need to go watch Mega Man. Cause that's coming up. Yes. You know, gargoyles is coming on. Let's go. It was. So like I, for me is like, you know, watching cartoons, I was always enthralled with like the sense of adventure and just the spectacle of it. But it always felt routine because we knew we had the villain of the week or whatever issue it was. It gets resolved at the end of the episode. So when I was, when I really just gave final fantasy for it's time, you know, I really started like feeling like Cecil was just, I'm like, this guy has so many layers to it that I'm not used to, you know, because we're used to one dimensional characters and there was more to them, although compared to later, found fantasies. I mean, it's not that deep and we don't want to talk about the after years. But anyways, but you know, it was just something that I wasn't used to. I wasn't seen used to characters that had layers to the motivations, you know, things that I was like at my young age of like seven, eight years old. I'm like, OK, I can kind of relate to this and understand it. And these characters, because they felt. You know real for the time people context matters. Yeah for the time they felt real and so I just was captivated by it and so I don't know if we do spoilers on here, but yeah like spoiler spoiler away all spoilers, you know until the twist which When I was a kid the twist with you know the spaceship part and all that I was like, okay that makes that's cool, but then going back to it. I'm like No No Why why why why? But you know that that it's just the spectacle the the character development and just things I just wasn't used to so once I beat it I kept going back to play it because I was like these people these characters I said people these characters felt so real, you know the struggles that Kane had you know, like with I'm I love the girl, but she's with Cecil and I'm a dark knight. Like I was just like. I can understand that because at the time that was a girl in school, I had a crush on, of course, because you're not in 10 and that's when that starts happening. You know, you know, and then my but you know, she's dating my friend and I'm just like. brooding and all this. So I related to Kane in a lot of ways. And sure. It just. They just felt real. And when I beat the game and like I said, I went back and I played it again and again, it just became a thing where I just wanted to go back to that world. Like it really, especially, you know, dealing with the dyslexia, dealing with the language barrier and everything like that. When you find something that just captures you. It's just hard to let go of it, which is why, like, you know, I was looking for another game like Final Fantasy. Or I keep wanting to say two. Yeah, you can say it's fine. Yeah. But like I was trying to find something else like that after I beat it and I couldn't because like everything else, like I try Breath of Fire, which I look no offense to Breath of Fire. I love Breath of Fire. One, two, three, four. We don't talk about five. Six never existed. But, you know, I enjoyed them. But they were so simple. The only other RPG I played that had a layer of depth to it that made me care about the characters after playing Final Fantasy IV was Fantasy Star II, Fantasy Star II, which I played three before two, and I liked three, but then I played two. Two is more grindy. Sorry, it captivated me more. But three, I went back and played it. I was like, three is trash. And four, four is great. But you know, I was just there's a level of quality and I guess this is leading to like what is Final Fantasy? Final Fantasy just, sorry. I'm so good. I'm just having like a nerogasm because I'm like, go for it. There's so much to it. The way the characters are written. Yeah. The relatability of them, how different, starkly different the way the characters were portrayed, the story and everything was compared to everything else at that time. It was just captivating for me in my young mind. And I couldn't at the time find anything that was equal to that. And, you know, waiting all these years, I was, you know, after that, I was like, okay, what's that? Final Fantasy three. All right, I'll play that. And I was like, my God, this is that's. That's meaty. That's a good way. That's a good way putting it. Yeah. Final Fantasy four. I like saying. It's of all the Final Fantasy games and I there's some holes in my in my there's some holes in my playing still. I still have to play eight and nine because I didn't have a PlayStation growing up. But of all the Final Fantasy games I've played, four is the it's like a wrestler with no fat on it. It's just trim. It's a tight, tight story. Like there is no fat on it where six it's a bulky game. And but there are bits of it where you're like, do we do we really? Do we really need Gau? I'm gonna have a whole section in the Final Fantasy VI episode on how much I don't like Gau. How I really strongly dislike Gau. And if I met Gau... I thought I was the only person that didn't care for Gau. I don't like Gau at all. Because so many people love him and I'm like, why? Listen, that's gonna, it might have to be its own episode. There's gonna be four episodes on Final Fantasy VI, I think. This is gonna, wait till you see what this turns into. But it's, anyway, we can talk about... Gow, another day. I just, I'm not a fan of Gow, and there will be a section on the show in which I proclaim why I don't like Gow. cause it's my show, I get to do that. but yeah, the character's feeling real. I love when, when art and media meets you at a certain place in life, right? And it's gonna be a little grander, maybe talk than, than just Final Fantasy, but games especially, because they are interactive, obviously, and we play them, we get personally involved with them. when it hits you at a certain age, it becomes really personal and real. And it seems like as you were growing up and maturing, you're now 10, you're interested in different things, you're starting to see the characters in Final Fantasy IV echoes of the stuff you're now discovering about yourself. I cannot relate to a fast rodent who's fast to go fast. I can't relate to Sonic. I really can't relate to Mario too much. I don't jump on turtles all day. but I can absolutely relate to somebody who's rediscovering themselves. I can relate to somebody, to a character who loses somebody or lost, because at that age you're starting to understand what that stuff is to a certain extent, even though it's like a child, you're starting to feel that. So that makes a lot of sense. You're 10, Final Fantasy IV, it's a real story, it's not just a Saturday morning cartoon designed to make you buy toys and cereal, it's... a real story and it's cool. I think that's very interesting you had that same kind of like articulation. And finally, bringing us into the end on our initial journey into Final Fantasy IV is John, followed by Julian, and then some closing thoughts by Greg Seward. You know, one of the things I was talking about, you know, just coming out into the overworld and hearing that music for the first time, like just about any of the overworld music in that game is really good. Now, on the moon, it does get kind of weird and farty, but when you're in the caves and it's just like the Bell. I just really like that. And then, like, and here's like the first time I ever played that game or saw that game, again, my friend that let me borrow Final Fantasy one, I came over to his place and he had Final Fantasy two. And he's at the end of the game and he's like in the core. And you know how like there's that like kind of parallax scrolling with you can see the core in the bottom, but like everything's kind of moving over it. And it's got that that music playing and that was my first introduction to the game. So I'm just like, wow. I didn't know games could sound like this. And like just the way it moved and then seeing all the big enemies are fighting at the end. I was like, I cannot wait to finally play this. And then what I did, it was like everything I wanted. Yeah. it's yeah. It, again, it makes me happy. It is like, If I had like one game that I could just play forever, it'd be that because it's comfort food. It really and truly is. Yeah, you can't customize your characters. You can't customize the party. They are what they are unless you want to like try to grind out Palam and Porm really early to where you can, because they can learn nuke and all the other like super powerful spells. If you want to take the hours and hours and hours to grind them up that much, they can get there. There's a YouTube channel I watch all the time called You Can Beat Video Games and that's the game he's on right now is Final Fantasy 4 or Final Fantasy 2. cool. And he's only come out with one part of it and I've probably watched it like four times already. Just because, even though I'm watching a gameplay of it or something. Sure. You know, it makes me happy so I was like I'll just put that on in the background and I don't even have to watch. what's going on. I can hear like either the music or like just what he's talking about. I know what's going on because I've that's probably the RPG I've played the most and beaten the most is is for because yeah it's and I will not be afraid to admit it that one of my favorite things to do especially like in the 90s was to put on Final Fantasy 2 with the Game Genie and have like you know a bunch of infinite magic and you get like 65 ,000 gold after every fight and you just beat that game in like 12 hours. So like I would just cycle through that a bunch when I was a teenager and like even in my early adulthood, just go and play that because it made me happy. And I know like, yeah, some people will... go, well, yeah, but the deaths that happened were, you know, that they didn't really happen because everyone comes back. It's like, yeah, but you don't get the characters back. They're just there. They're just there. Right. One. And I'm sure a lot of people already know this, but something that I think is interesting about that game is that Uematsu had the score almost finished and then he heard what Yuzo Kishiro did on ActRaiser. and what a good job he did with the music on that. He completely scrapped the soundtrack he had already done and started over because he heard what the Super Nintendo sound chip could really do. And I don't know if he recomposed anything, but he re -recorded everything because he was like, if that's what this thing can do, I need to go back and do it again because this guy just... kinda like set the standard for what the Super Nintendo should sound. Six is a very important game to play. yeah, and that's the thing, right? I'm honestly surprised to hear that you hold it in such high regard considering how late you came to it because I can fully acknowledge that, you know, like story and characterization wise, like it's overflowing with the melodrama in a way that's almost comical because it was kind of their first stab at doing this sweeping epic of a story. You know, I mean, well, I guess after two, but... at the same and especially the original Super Nintendo American translation was rough, right? And so I can totally like, like if somebody tells me that like they play Final Fantasy four and they thought it was too cheesy or, you know, there were too many characters or whatnot. I'm like, no, I totally, I can totally acknowledge that. And yeah, I think there are, there are better Final Fantasies out there. But for me, a big part of it is obviously like when I came to it. Another part of it is just like there's certain things about four that sets it apart for me from the series. Like it's the only one in the franchise that gives you a five member party, which is really awesome. I think this first version of the active time battle system is nice and chaotic in a way that you don't really see again until Final Fantasy 10 two, which is my favorite Final Fantasy battle system. We'll get there. And. Yeah, there's a lot to love there, but then at the same time, right? There's also plenty where you can just be like, that doesn't hold up too well, or, that was always dumb, or what have you, right? But it's just a very near and dear game to my heart. And it's still within, it's in my top five games of all time. I love the fact that you had such a close connection to it. And again, a lot of that, like you said, has to do with... when you play things, right? And I'll freely admit the games that I love, I definitely have those personal connections to them, which is great, again, because that's not arguable, right? I can't argue with you on that. Which again, this show is all about not arguing. This show is about like just sharing those memories. And I, but for me, even just playing it as an adult, appreciating how tightly written it is, how tightly constructed. And yeah, it's pretty linear. As most Final Fantasies are, yeah, fair. It is pretty linear. Even compared to other entries, it still gives you this sense of scope and scale that doesn't make it feel so hemmed in. I don't know, I think maybe as an older gamer with less time on his hands, I appreciate when a game gets to the point a bit. You know what I mean? Like it gets to the point. trust me. I know this will be... the way that the nature of a gamer looks at 40 is this will be out later on, but we are currently recording this in the first quarter of 2024. The first quarter of 2024 has been lousy with incredible, super long RPGs. It is insane. They are all 100 hours long, they're all must plays, and it is too much to keep up with. So yeah, when I say that, yeah, you could go through Final Fantasy 4 in 20, 25 hours, it's like, That sounds real good right now. Sounds real nice. Real nice. 20 hours. No problem. Not a lot of friction, except for the end. The end of that game gets stupid. The ending dungeon, if I remember correctly, is pretty stupid. Well, yeah, stupid hard. But like it is one of my favorite final dungeons in the series. Like the music when you get into the deeper parts of the moon dungeon is just like... I'm actually starting to get emotional just thinking about it. Like it gets me every time. It is such a triumphant piece of music as you get close to Zemus slash Zero -Mis slash guy that you only knew like is the bad guy until the very, very end of the game, which is kind of a Final Fantasy tradition. I'm as I'm really realizing as I'm revisiting the entire franchise. Final Fantasy, not a series known for really well established villains. No, with some exceptions. That's why they stand out so much. Exactly. That's very fair. It's never about the villains from me in Final Fantasy. Again, some exceptions, but I definitely agree. Yes, we'll get to the ending in a little bit. I just want to kind of set up maybe more story stuff. So what about it calling you like that? Like, what about it just grabbed you as an 11 year old? I mean, the whole package, man, like obviously. the music right right from the jump, the you know, the Final Fantasy Crystal theme at the very beginning when you when you first fire it up the title screen, right? Like the the I really love those like those trends, the the logos for Final Fantasy two and three for the localizations with like the sword in the middle. Like that's like a like a very cool look at the time. And I mean, I can still look at it today and be blown away, but especially then like just being amazed by the graphics, right? Because Super Nintendo was still relatively early at this point, so, you know, there wasn't a lot to compare it to other than the original Nintendo stuff, and it just blew that out of the water. Like, I still remember, like, you know, going up one of the mountains, and they had that really cool, like, parallax effect where you could actually, it made you feel like you were actually up high, and you could see the land below, like, moving slowly, you know, as you moved along. and just being so amazed by that. And like the sprites in the battles were so cool and they were so well detailed and animated. And the fact that I never knew who was going to join our party next. And it's really amazing when you go back to it now. Like I was playing the pixel remaster and at one point, because I do rolling saves now because Final Fantasy Tactics in 1997 hurt me. and, so I had taken a screenshot of, of my rolling saves on final fantasy for the pixel remaster, because over the course of four saves over like two and a half hours, the party makeup had changed completely on each of the saves because you're just, you're just rolling through characters in that game constantly. And it made the game, especially the first couple of times through feel so, like. You never knew what was gonna be around the corner, right? You never knew who you're going to meet and who was going to join. And it was always like so exciting. Final Fantasy IV when you first played it, what about it grabbed you? Like what about it? You know, I went back and played it because I've played Final Fantasy IV a lot through the years, but I haven't played it in quite a while and the Pixel Remaster actually was a great excuse to sit down and really jam through a lot of it to try to see what the magic was for me because I fell in love with it when we first like from the power on basically and... I think for me it was just that I had played Final Fantasy, I'd played Dragon Warrior at this point, I'd played Phantasy Star 2 and 3, and they were all great games, but the fact that the narrative was what was driving the action in Final Fantasy 4 was what captured me. That and, you know, the drama and everything, I wasn't a big anime fan so much at this point, but I was a big Robotech fan. And I mean, you know, Macross in particular, that's nothing but melodrama, right? It's big robots shooting each other and then, you know, people dying and people being sad about life in general. And Final Fantasy IV just captures that, like, right off the bat. I mean, the cold open is amazing. You know, you're flying over this overworld and it's, of course, using Mode 7, which was the shiny new thing back then. So right away, it just grabs you. And then you go and you do this horrific thing and you're given no context whatsoever except that you landed somewhere, these people begged you not to hurt them, you hurt them anyway, and then you took the crystal. And then you have this whole scene where all of your soldiers are questioning the validity of the orders and the morality of their orders. And it just throws you in the deep end so fast. And that was the thing, it just grabbed me and it never lets go. And - Yeah. playing through it again this week a little bit. And by a little bit, I mean, I'm already up to the point where Cecil's a paladin and everything. It's relentless. It never stops. It's shockingly, that cold open is probably one of my favorite in the series. I really believe so because going from the traditional game one, two, and three, you play as the hero, it's the hero's journey, that usual thing. You jump off the point, you jump off as the villain, like essentially, like you're an antagonist to a certain extent, right? And you have no control over this situation. You have to kind of go forward with this thing that's obviously wrong. And the fact that it just jumps right into that action and right into that drama is really powerful. And it's, and I love, I mean, we'll talk about Cecil because I, you can't talk about, I think Cecil is also one of the best. Protagonist probably of Final Fantasy as well as far as the story arc goes. But yeah, that cold open is incredible. I mean, I think as someone that played them was playing them as they came out at least in North America. So I mean, you know, I didn't play two, three or five or anything back then. I kind of like I loved Final Fantasy four when I played it. Final Fantasy six is one of my favorite games of all time. It's my favorite Final Fantasy easy. And so in the moment, I actually remember. kind of being like, eh, four is okay, because six was so much better in my mind. But I've really, in the last like 10, 15, 20 years, come to re -appreciate four for everything that it does. And it does a lot of things. I mean, Final Fantasy VI felt like the next step along the way, really. But you had quite a bit of whiplash, I'm sure, going from one to six. Yeah. But even the leap from one to four is so massive, especially when you don't have those sort of interim games with two and three. Sure. That, yeah, it, again, that cold open just blew me away the first time I saw it. It's, and what I love about Final Fantasy IV is that it's a, and as I get older, I'm appreciating games that are shorter and smaller. I just, because of a time, it's just a thing. I... Final Fantasy IV, I think, is probably one of the best paced Final Fantasy games in the series. Because that, it starts, and like you said, it does not let you go. It just goes and it goes, and I think the pacing is fantastic. It's not terribly grindy, can if you want, but it's not terribly. And I just love a game that has no fat on it. And Final Fantasy IV is this lean, mean RPG machine, where VI is, again, it's my favorite Final Fantasy. probably a top five favorite game of mine as well. That game has some fluff to it. There are some fat you could trim off those bones. Final Fantasy IV is just, is this wonderfully curated narrative that really hits on every cylinder. I really was so impressed by it when I played it again a few years ago. Yeah, it truly is narrative driven. I mean, you know, in hindsight, you realize that that's what they were doing. They were definitely, I mean, it introduced the time. Active Time Battle system too, which was super important for the series, but it was, they were filmmaking, I guess is the only way you can say it. Like they had an idea that that story would have fit so perfectly in a weekly animated series, like a serial of some kind, but they just put it in video game form and we were also lucky to have that. And I think it, like what you're saying makes perfect sense. And I think that that's actually the reason why even today, you know, That was the first taste I had of a very narrative -driven RPG, and I still crave that to this day. When a role -playing game comes out, I want it to be a very simple set of systems that don't get in the way of the story, and I don't want to spend too much time grinding. I just want to move to the next plot point. Thank you so much for listening to this edition of A Gamer Looks At 40. If you enjoyed this episode, there's a whole bunch of Final Fantasy already out on the feed and there's way more coming in the future. So if you dig this series, this is where you should be listening every single week. And I thank you so much for making it this far on this episode. Thanks very much to Kev from the Discord and Pete Harney for helping me edit these clips. Thank you so much to my guests for taking time out of their busy schedules to chat with me about Final Fantasy IV, and thank you so much for listening to this edition of A Gamer Looks F40. See you in part two, and until next time, just be kind to yourselves and each other.

Opening
First Impressions - Julian, Wade, Greg, Mekele
First Impressions - Ryan L, Barry, John, Mike D
Patreon Shoutout
First Impressions - Moses, Mike A, MageORage, Mustin
What Kept Us Interested - Mustin, Mike A, Mekele
What Kept Us Interested - John. Julian, Greg
Outro

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