Final Fantasy VII was released for the Playstation in Japan on January 31, 1997. It was an enormous hit and within three days it had sold 2.3 million copies. It was subsequently released in North America on or around August 31, 1997. The street date for FFVII was September 7 but retailers began breaking the street date to meet the pent-up demand. It sold 330,000 copies in it’s first weekend. Later, there was a Windows port that was released by Eidos.

Previous Final Fantasy games were released for Nintendo’s NES and SNES systems. FFVII was the first game in the series to migrate to a different platform. Because of the huge amount of full-motion videos they were producing for the game, Square decided that they needed to publish the game on optical media instead of Nintendo’s traditional cartridge-based format that they were continuing to use in the Nintendo 64. They bestowed the wreath on Sony’s relatively new Playstation game system and the rest, as they say, is history.

For more information on FFVII’s development and release I’d recommend Coming to America: The making of Final Fantasy VII and how Squaresoft conquered the RPG market. It’s a great read on the subject.

Depending on who you ask, Final Fantasy VII is either the best game ever, the second best game ever, or one of the most overrated games. Certainly polarizing. It has been praised for its characters, story, music and most definitely its art style. It has also been criticized for its translation, its superficiality and its departure from previous games in the Final Fantasy series.

My experience with Final Fantasy VII is complicated. I bought a Playstation in either late 1998 or early 1999 and FFVII was one of the first games I purchased. I played about 20 hours of the game and loved everything about it. FFVII was my first Final Fantasy game and inspired me to go back and play most of the prior ones and almost all of the subsequent ones.

Unfortunately, I also rented a copy of Fear Effect and somehow that game corrupted my memory card, wiping out all 20 hours of progress in Final Fantasy VII. I was dumbfounded.

A year or so later I bought a copy of the game for PC, restarted it and eventually finished it. I loved it and immediately wanted to restart it but I decided to play some other games first.

A year or two ago, right around the time of the release of the Final Fantasy: Advent Children movie in Japan, I decided to replay FFVII. I got about 13 hours into it before I got bit by the World of Warcraft bug. I never came back to it and I still have a saved game sitting there at around the 13 hour mark. I could continue from that point I suppose but it just doesn’t seem right to me.

So now I’m going to restart Final Fantasy VII for the fourth time. Hopefully I’ll finish it for the second time.

I can’t wait.