While it may seem like a faery tale to fans of gaming, it is true that 26 years ago- Square Enix was on the edges of bankruptcy. They had enough money to release one more game, a role playing game was ready so they released it. Since this could have been their final game, they chose Final Fantasy as the title. Little did they know at the time that they were launching a phenomenon unto gamers. It is the story of legend, a triumph at the 11th hour. Square Enix were beyond successful with what they thought was to be their last Nintendo Entertainment System game. Role playing game (RPG) fans are still enjoying Final Fantasy games today as the series nears 20 releases total across many platforms (not all Nintendo).
Around the time of release role playing games were not enjoying the limelight like they have for the last 15 to 20 years. They were more of an anomaly on consoles than they were a selling point. Sure in the personal computer world role playing games were popular but they were leagues more complicated. Console role playing games were more limited in scope, graphics and sound and length in comparison to computer RPG’s. Final Fantasy was no different- it was optimized for the console and did not stray too far from a simple interface.
This was a major selling point for Final Fantasy, what many would have thought would be a bad thing. By keeping the controls simple, the storyline not too convoluted and the length just right, Square Enix were able to use word of mouth advertising to make Final Fantasy a hit.
Square Enix has re-released and remade Final Fantasy I many times over. This is one of the few companies that actually does try and do “some” updates to their games on certain platforms. Graphics were updated a bit in the Playstation and GBA re-releases rather than straight ports for instance.
This is where it all started RPG fans. Final Fantasy I is now officially 26 years old in the United States.