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Final Fantasy (Japanese: ファイナルファンタジー) is a media franchise stemming from a series of fantasy role playing games (RPGs) created by game designer Hironobu Sakaguchi and developed by Square Enix. The video game series, which consists of sixteen direct sequel and spin-off titles, has also inspired numerous motion pictures, anime films and novels.
The first Final Fantasy game was released in Japan on December 18th, 1987 for the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES), which featured a turn-based combat system, experience points, an overworld map and randomly encountered enemies. Final Fantasy II was released in Japan the following year, introducing the chocobo giant bird creature and the recurring character Cid. Final Fantasy III was released in Japan on April 27th, 1990, which used a similar experience points and character class system as the original Final Fantasy. In 1991, Final Fantasy IV was released for the Super Famicom console in Japan and the SNES in North America, where it was renamed Final Fantasy II since the previous two games had not been released outside of Japan. In 1992, Final Fantasy V was released for the Super Famicom and SNES. In 1994, Final Fantasy VI was released but was named Final Fantasy III in North America. The game well received, selling over 3.48 million copies worldwide. Final Fantasy VII (1997), Final Fantasy VIII (1999) and Final Fantasy IX (2000) were developed for the PlayStation console and were the first of the series to use 3D computer graphics. In 2001, Final Fantasy X was released for the PlayStation 2. In 2002, the massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) Final Fantasy XI was launched for the PlayStation 2 and PC. In 2003, the Final Fantasy X sequel Final Fantasy X-2 was released. In 2006, Final Fantasy XII was launched for the PlayStation and the sequel Final Fantasy XII: Revenant Wings was published the following year. In 2009, Final Fantasy XIII was released, which spawned the sequels XIII-1 and Lightning Returns. In 2010, a second MMORPG Final Fantasy XIV was launched for the PC and the PlayStation 3. At the 2013 Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3), Final Fantasy XV was unveiled as an upcoming RPG for the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One (shown below, right).
On April 4th, 2000, the single topic blog Final Fantasy Network was created, which featured news, reviews and media related to the Final Fantasy franchise. On March 13th, 2005, the Final Fantasy Wiki was launched, accumulating upwards of 14,170 articles in the first eight years. On March 10th, 2008, the /r/finalfantasy subreddit was created, which gained over 17,400 subscribers in the next five years. As of June 2013, a Facebook page titled “Final Fantasy” has garnered more than 357,000 likes.
The series has been commercially and critically successful as Square Enix’s best selling video game franchise. As of 2013, the series has sold more than 100 million units worldwide and has received multiple awards, including seven Guinness World Records. The series is well known for its innovation, visuals and music, including cinematic cut scenes, photo-realistic character models and orchestrated scores by Nobuo Uematsu. It has introduced many features commonly found in console RPGs and has been credited with helping to popularize the genre in markets outside Japan.
You Spoony Bard
You Spoony Bard is an insult from Final Fantasy IV used by the companion Telah toward the character Edward. The phrase is often used online to mock the Bard classes in games for being weak and useless.
Cactuar is a monster from the franchise that has become the subject of a series of animations on the flash website Newgrounds and is often mocked for its resemblance to the swastika symbol on the Internet humor site SomethingAwful.
Sephiroth / One-Winged Angel
Sephiroth (セフィロス Sefirosu?) is the primary antagonist in Final Fantasy VII who is often considered one of the most memorable characters from the franchise. While his role in the story has been praised, many fans have criticized how difficult it is to defeat the enemy. Sephiroth’s theme song “One-Winged Angel” has received much praise from the gaming community, having been remixed numerous times for different games in which the villain is featured.
Omega Kawaii Cloud Song
Omega Kawaii Cloud Song is a flash animation created by DeviantArt user SpookyDoom consisting of a caricature of Cloud from Final Fantasy 7 singing about potions giving him cavities and fighting cactuars.
Clash On The Big Bridge
Clash On The Big Bridge (also known as Battle With Gilgamesh) is a theme song from Final Fantasy V commonly used in instrumental remixes and MADs. The song is also known as the theme of Gilgamesh, a recurring villain in the series.
Tidus’s Laugh / Haw Haw Haw
Final Fantasy X was the first game in the series to use voice acting, which had several quality and synchronization issues in the English release of the game. In one cut scene, the character Tidus laughs in an awkward fashion, which has since become an examples of bad American voice acting.
Garland Will Knock You All Down
Garland is the first boss the player encounters in Final Fantasy who is associated with the ironic phrase “I, Garland, will knock you all down!,” which is used to mock the villain for being easy to defeat.
“I’m Captain Basch”
“I’m Captain Basch” is an expression stemming from a scene in Final Fantasy XII in which the party rescues the character Captain Basch from a dungeon. To spread the word that he is alive, the character Vaan suggests he runs around the city yelling “I’m Captain Basch!”
Aerith’s Death / “Why Didn’t They Just Use a Phoenix Down?”
Aerith (エアリス・ゲインズブール Earisu Geinzubūru), or Aeris in the English releases, is one of the main characters in Final Fantasy 7 who dies in a dramatic cut scene during the game. Online, the scene has frequently been used as a death spoiler reveal.
The phrase “Why didn’t they just use a Phoenix Down?” is a joke associated with the character’s death, pointing out that her companions could have revived her using the “Phoenix Down” in-game resurrection item.