The first game that drew me in to the fantasy RPG genre was Final Fantasy VII. I hadn’t played anything remotely like it before, although I did thoroughly enjoy adventure and fighting games like Tomb Raider and Tekken. Final Fantasy VII was a whole new ballgame for me, however. This was the first game that sucked me right in to an amazing fantasy world, with weapons and magic and colourful characters. I think this is where I became a crazy completionist gamer, bent on eking out every little scrap of detail from my gameplay experience.
Since those days, I have encountered many different series, but Final Fantasy is the one I hold with highest regard. I like being the hero, exploring a world rich with mythology and fantastical elements, beating the big bad guy (especially in overly dramatic and showy fashion), and searching out items that make my character more powerful. I also like the team environment that is common in the Final Fantasy series, where you command multiple characters beyond the main protagonist, allowing you to mix and match characters to suit your specific needs e.g. having a couple of strong fighters, a healer, and a black mage to cast devastating magics.
Ah Sephiroth, it was hard to hate you, as villainous as you were
image source: http://www.psu.com/forums/showthread.php?t=137575
Another beautiful thing about the Final Fantasy series is cinematics. These often drive the story and give a further way of drawing you into the game. As the series progresses (we are up to #13 now, along with a few different spinoffs), and the technology advances, these cinematics become more and more breathtaking. I can’t wait to see what the future holds.
Ultimately there are a few reasons I chose fantasy RPGs as my research topic, such as:
- an excuse to pursue my hobby academically was an opportunity I couldn’t let pass me by; and
- I love games in general and have a lot to say about them.
But primarily, I feel a strong reverence and deep-seated sense of spirituality from the fantasy and myth elements in this genre of gaming. My pagan beliefs resonate particularly with the pantheistic mythology that Final Fantasy games explore (primarily Norse in origin). There is just something primal that rises in me, particularly during summons – nothing beats the excitement of calling on Odin to ride down your enemies on Sleipnir, raising his Gungir spear and tearing apart the firmament at your command. Okay, yes, there is also an egotistical God element to it all too!
Fantasy RPGs are a great escape for me, and I find their immersive nature just the respite I need from the daily grind 🙂