Friday, June 7, 2013

Final Fantasy IV for Mobile Devices

 Growing up in the 90's I was always a huge fan of the Final Fantasy games that were produced by Squaresoft.  Every time I played a Final Fantasy game I felt like I had been transported to an epic world of melodrama, magic, and adventure.  All of this was rendered heroically in 8 bit graphics accompanied by an affecting midi soundtrack.  The Final Fantasy games always put you in the middle of an epic struggle to save the world.  The stories were simple, elemental yarns about good versus evil, chaos versus order, and technology versus nature battle yarns.  The art designs for the games were appropriated and influenced by mythology and folklore from all over the world as well new and surprising designs from Squaresoft.

Here we are in the modern world--or are we post-modern now?  Anyway, it is 2013 and Final Fantasy IV is now available on your portable device .  The game play is mostly the same, showcasing the active turn based system but the difficulty feels like it has been toned down.  The story   Then again, this game was owning me when I was twelve years old.  Hopefully I have done some leveling up since then as some kind of human being.  The graphics have been totally overhauled.  Instead of two dimensional sprites the characters are  presented in a very colorful and charming polygonal world.
I appreciate history in my pop culture.  I want each pop artifact to remain a snapshot of the time in which it was created.  I don't like the original Star Wars films with digitally added effects put in twenty years later.  I don't like guns being digitally removed from Spielberg's E.T. and being replaced with walkies-talkies.  I don't like Prince talking the synthesizers out of Let's Go Crazy and replacing them with guitar.  Generally, I don't like game remakes because instead of creating something New they mess with something Old, distracting us from examining what made the original so worthwhile.  Putting the grumpy old man persona aside for a moment, this most recent iteration of Final Fantasy IV is worthwhile in and of itself and a great effort that is faithful to the spirit of the original.  This game is definitely worth checking out for both new and experienced Final Fantasy gamers.  But please don't forget to give the original Final Fantasy IV a play through--its historically important to nerds like me!                         

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