SquareSoft and classic RPG’s
One of the most prolific game developer’s in the 1990’s ended the decade with a merger that would change the state of RPG gaming in the U.S. This developer, (Square) made the RPG genre mainstream. Games like Ultima and Dragon Warrior had a devoted following but none that I can recall where played by non-RPG gamers. After Final Fantasy VII, it seemed like most of my friends had at least one SquareSoft game in their library. Perhaps it would be Brave Fencer Musashi or Parasite Eve, but the same idea that I am reflecting on was that SquareSoft had penetrated into audiences that might not have played a turn based game otherwise. Perhaps I would like to add in that a lot of my girlfriends liked to watch and read Parasite Eve or Final Fantasy VIII as I played it. I don’t remember that with any action oriented or sports games I owned.I started gaming in the mid 90’s as I had a Sega Genesis and my sister had a SNES. Mostly I played sports games on my Genesis and Sonic, but when I switched to SNES something changed, I started playing RPG’s for some reason. It might have started with FFVI, the large cast of characters and story heavy game was so different than what I was used to, was great and though tedious at times I started to appreciate turn based combat.
After the release of Chrono Trigger I think I started playing more of Square’s games, like Secret of Evermore and Parasite Eve. Eventually I had made the jump to PS1 and something changed in my game collection. I still had the new NHL game but I also had Wild Arms and Suikoden both of which I played multiple times before the great Final Fantasy VII was released. At this point I would notice even casual gamer friends would have this game in their library.
Now, at this point I was eager for more and Final Fantasy VIII delivered with the best looking and most original system in RPG’s that I had played up to that point. The intro video was almost as exciting as the game! From here I think Final Fantasy started to slip my radar with Final Fantasy IX not being my favorite, I just didn’t like the game engine as much, I liked the story and characters and battle system. Anyways I was still very interested in the Final Fantasy movie and was really excited to see it in the theater, though there weren’t many people there it was still really interesting and I loved the ending to it, I thought it had some really good moments and a great ending song. A bit campy at times but ultimately I like it!
I started this blog post so people who might not have played Square games before the merger… did I mention the cost of the Final Fantasy movie destroyed the company to the point of a forced merger with Enix? Anyways they left us with a couple of gems before going, Kingdom Hearts… and FFX. Its a shame the Square-Enix company has exploited some of these games to a degree that has watered down the original meanings and “feel” of the games. I think Enix has added a good battle system and action feel but I don’t think they quite capture what made earlier Square games so intriguing and original or heartfelt. I think Enix has a better technical touch but the RPG immersion has decreased. So much so that I just wanted to write about the best RPG company I have ever known… SquareSoft (also known as Square… sorry not sure the details… just pre Square-Enix)!
I hope you follow the links on some of these games and give them a chance if you never have before, you might see them as simple or silly but really they could convey so many emotions with so few pixels, it’s really just too good! For modern man you do have hope as game like Trails in the Sky are still being released and still keep the class RPG mechanics in tact while attempting to blend into modern gaming mechanics.
//sorry for the poor quality but i still like it
//one of the first anime openings I saw