Twenty years ago, I was in the prime of my youth. I had been playing Dungeons and Dragons for several years by that point, and had even made a few forays into other tabletop games as well. There was something about the freedom and the story about these games that really made my imagination run wild. Forget girls. Forget sports. I was a nerd, through and through. As far as video games went, at that time, I had delved into the original NES games such as Legend of Zelda 1 and Legend of Zelda II: Adventures of Link, or pretty much anything with the word dragon in the name, such as Dragon Warrior / Dragon Quest.
Admittedly, I loved Dragon Warrior. I cut my teeth on this video game as far as RPG games went. I loved exploring with my knight in shimmering armor, fighting monsters and finding cool treasure and secrets. I remember my first secret in this game, too. I had come across it totally by accident, because a friend of mine from down the street told me something was there but they didn’t know what it was. I freaked out. What had I found!?
After the glory days of NES RPGs, I found amazing games like Secret of Mana, Illusion Of Gaia, Earthbound and such classics as Legend of Zelda: A Link To The Past. It wasn’t until much later that I discovered the first video game that would make me not only excited to grind and level up, but would also single-handedly become my most cherished video game rpg in my life. No game has come close to the feelings I got when I played this game, though admittedly, Final Fantasy XV is coming very close. Gamers who played the game during its release will often admit that it’s the first video game that ever truly shocked them, or made them feel genuine sadness and grief the way Final Fantasy VII did.
I have since beating this game played it several more times. And though I’ve been consistently disappointed by recent Final Fantasy releases by Square Enix, and by and large, Playstation itself has struggled to keep my attention until very recently, with great games like Elder Scrolls: Skyrim, Final Fantasy VII remains one of the best, if not the best RPG that I have ever played.
And so, 20 years later, I look back and remember it fondly. Maybe someday soon, I’ll pick it up again. Maybe even the updated and graphically enhanced reboot. If you haven’t played it, then drop what you’re doing and find a way to pick it up. It’s worth it.