Way Back When
Few franchises have the staying power of Final Fantasy, and with so many entries released over the past three decades, there’s obviously a long-running debate about which game reigns supreme. Among the most commonly nominated, though, is 1994’s Final Fantasy VI for the SNES, which served as one of the first games to bring JRPGs into the eyes of gamers who had previously never paid much attention to the genre. Coming late in the lifecycle of Nintendo’s 16-bit console when next-gen hardware was on the horizon, Final Fantasy VI had its work cut out for it – but you’d better believe it came prepared to get down to business.
Sidebar: Final Fantasy VI, while technically the sixth game in the series, was only the third game to be localized in the US. Therefore, it was named Final Fantasy III upon release in American territories, which created some understandable confusion throughout the last few decades for those seeking to learn about and play all of the games in the franchise. Square does weird stuff sometimes. Let’s move on.
Final Fantasy VI was a massive hit in Japan and a moderate success in America, managing to sell nearly 3.5 million copies worldwide. Reviewers utterly adored the game upon release and complimented nearly every component of the 30+ hour long role-playing experience, giving most appreciation for its exceptional soundtrack – an attribute for which virtually every game in the franchise has been praised – and its above-average visuals and heavier focus on mature themes. Final Fantasy VI quickly became one of the genre’s most beloved titles around the world, and it’s been topping a bevy of favorite game lists ever since.
If you asked the average gamer what stood out most about Final Fantasy VI back then, the majority of them probably wouldn’t pick its phenomenal menu-based combat system, incredible customization, or varied and detailed environments. All of that was fantastic, of course, but what many would insist set the game apart from its contemporaries was its dramatic tale of love, tragedy, and war and how the game handled its intriguing cast of fourteen playable characters. With memorable members like the confused and unacclimated Terra, who spent most of her life as a slave to an evil empire; to the treasure hunter Locke and his sweet protective nature; to the gambling airship owner Setzer and his tendency for theatrics; it was nearly impossible to find a more diverse cast in a video game at the time. And of course, the game is revered for its opera location part-way through the story, which presents players with both humor and emotional resonance during multiple enchanting scenes you simply have to experience to fully appreciate.
While Final Fantasy VI may not look like it today, it was a sight to behold all those years ago, and for those with nostalgic memories of its enthralling tale and lovable characters, few games can stand next to it. Nevertheless, the franchise has gone on to produce nearly countless other mainline and spin-off titles, beginning with the other most famous entry, Final Fantasy VII, which launched in 1997 on Sony’s original PlayStation console, and continuing all the way to the upcoming Final Fantasy XVI planned for release on the PlayStation 5. Many debates will keep waging over which title is superior, but one thing is for certain – regardless of which game you call your favorite, a new Final Fantasy game is always a deeply exciting moment. And we can always thank Final Fantasy VI for putting the series in the mainstream spotlight, which helped ensure its continued success and allow generations of gamers to experience that feeling together time after time.
Where You Can Play It Now
Final Fantasy VI is available on a handful of modern devices, but it’s important to note that not every edition of the game is identical. The 2014 Android and iOS versions, for instance, feature reworked graphics, mobile-adapted controls, different saving mechanics, and other notable changes from the original SNES release. Similarly, the Steam version is based on the Android release but features PC-adapted controls and some battle system tweaks.
In other words, for the purest experience, you’ll want to dive into the game via the SNES Classic Edition Console – provided you can find one, of course. As of this writing, it’s the only modern version of the title that is a direct emulation of the original.
Here’s the modern platforms on which you can access Final Fantasy VI:
- PC (via Steam)
- SNES Classic Edition Console (pre-installed)
It may not be the easiest game to round up, but at least you do have some options available to you to play Final Fantasy VI, so take your pick and have some fun. Maybe if we’re lucky, we’ll get a remake one of these days, though the way things are looking, that could be a very, very long time from now.