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No One Can Stop Mr. Talking Time's Top 50 32 & 64-Bit Video Games!

I don't think there's much merit in showing up just to say you don't like one of the entries
Oh yeah, I want to clarify that this is not what I'm talking about.

What I like is when people say they still like a game, but not enough for it to be in their top 10, or top 20, or list at all, and then others hop in and deconstruct why they like it so much. I always learn new things.
 

Issun

Avarice
I would like to say that I feel that in this list, and most of the more recent lists, that people have been doing a pretty good job of acknowledging the positive points of entries they don't particularly care for. I do understand why someone would feel uncomfortable with people expressing the fact that something is not their cup of tea, given that, for a while, things could get quite nasty. The JRPG list, while being the biggest Top 50 we've ever done, was rife with negative energy, including from the people running it, so I can understand where that might have soured anyone on any less than 100% positive discussion in these lists.

I do think, myself, that saying "entry x is great for these reasons, but it's not for me because of those reasons" doesn't detract from the overall positive tone those of us running the lists have been trying to set. YMMV of course, and I'm not going to tell you how to feel about it, but them's my two cents.
Also, as the person running the list, I want to make sure it is understood that this is my opinion, but I hope it doesn't devalue Peklo's voice, as their opinion is also valid.
 
I think Peklo still brings up a good point worth mentioning. Even if it's not as applicable as other more toxic experiences in the past, and people have been mostly policing themselves well this time around, it's still worth keeping in mind as a reminder of what we should be doing. I personally always appreciate the help in keeping me honest. I've been trying this time around to measure what I'm saying as much as possible, or if I've got nothing good to say about a game just not saying anything, but I know I can get complacent and always appreciate the reminders to strive to do and be better.

Back on Majora's Mask. Despite not having the best time with it, I've always wondered if revisiting it after two plus decades would give me a different perspective on things (Young me was also just really bad at games!) so I bought the game again on 3DS and have been sitting on it for a while. I might give it another go soon if I can get to it before Skyward Sword HD.
 

Sarge

hardcore retro gamin'
I've also been trying to give games their due, even if they're not for me. And the thing is, I've often leveled a criticism at a game only to have one of its defenders clue me in to what I'm missing, and I've changed my tune. For instance, if you told me I would have enjoyed a King's Field game at all, say, ten years ago, I'd have said you were mad. Yet here we are, and The Ancient City was a fantastic experience because of the consistent needling from a buddy of mine. I think the (measured, polite!) back and forth can be extremely useful.
 

Rascally Badger

El Capitan de la outro espacio
(He/Him)
Majora's Mask would have made my list, but near the bottom and kind of grudgingly, I guess? I love everything about it except playing it. The 3 day cycle stresses me out (I know it isn't really a time problem, but the existence of the ticking clock itself stresses me out). It is one of the few Zelda games that I respect more than I like.

It absolutely deserves to be this high on the list. I don't actually disagree with most of the praises people sing about it. But I guess when it comes down to it, I like regular Zelda more than weird Zelda.
 

RT-55J

definitely not a robot
(He/Him)
When I was young Majora's Mask gave me a heck of a lot of social anxiety. I hated approaching or talking to those smarmy bomber kids (or whatever they were called) -- always made me so nervous.

I revisited it a few years later and found it to be much more enjoyable, though my interest petered off somewhere around the Ikana segment (something about progressing there confused me). Still, I have a lot of respect for the game and might end up finishing it sometime.

Anyhow, at the very least I promise that I won't grouse about a certain other related game (potentially) placing higher on this list (unless it has already placed and I missed it (lol)).

Also, Smash 64 is Good. The egregious amounts of hitstun from attacks (compared to later games) gives it a much more deliberate feel that hasn't been (and won't be) replicated again. Also, I want to echo what Peklo said about the aesthetics (esp. the music) compared the the later games.
 

conchobhar

What's Shenmue?
Majora's Mask is so good. Easily my favourite Zelda game.

I got it around release, and it positively captivated me because of how weird and different it was from Ocarina. I also found it impossibly complex and confusing and never made it very far into the game, but that was besides the point, and if anything probably made it even more mysterious to the young me. When I eventually revisited it as an adult, I found it significantly less confusing… but no less captivating. It's bursting with creativity and character in a way the series never had before and never has since. They really hit on something special here.
 

Issun

Avarice
#6

Blame yourself or God.

Developer: Squaresoft
Publishers: Square, Sony Computer Entertainment
Platform: Sony Playstation
Release Dates: June 20, 1997 (JP), January 28, 1998 (NA)
300 Points, 12 Votes, Highest Vote: #1 (Torzelbaum)



Sometimes the game that popularizes a genre can be as important as the one that birthed it. I have no idea what the first tactical/strategy RPG was. Possibly Nobunaga's Ambition, maybe Fire Emblem. But Final fantasy Tactics was accessible, it was beautiful, and it had what was, at the time, the biggest name in gaming. With Final Fantasy VII having taken the world by storm just a few months prior, anything with the name slapped on it would have sold. So then, taking Tactics Ogre and giving it both a FF coat of paint and expanding Final Fantasy V's Job System into what many people, including myself, consider the greatest iteration of that mechanic to this day. From a pure gameplay perspective, it is probably the finest game to bear the Final Fantasy name.

I also find it interesting that Final Fantasy Tactics and A Game of Thrones came out around the same time. The political intrigue, dark themes, and mix of high and low fantasy. Likely it's coincidence, rather than some zeitgeist that reached both sides of the Pacific. It's still a neat coincidence, though.

Regardless, it was a labrynthine story, the kind people would come to expect of Yasumi Matsuno over the years. It was also an introduction for many of us to the music of Hitoshi Sakamoto, who would quickly join the ranks of Uematsu, Koshiro, Mitsuda and Shimomora in the pantheon of great VG Music composers. Everything together made a package that entertained fans of the genre, and made new fans of those intimidated by other T/SRPGs.


WisteriaHysteria said: To this day, the greatest FF spin-off. So good it should have been numbered.

ThornGhost said: While its slightly older brother Final Fantasy VII may hold a larger place in the pop culture mind share, Final Fantasy Tactics is the pinnacle of Playstation RPGs. A mature, if frustratingly translated story, draws the player into Ivalice long enough for the gears of its deep gameplay to grab hold. There is a perfect blend of complexity, difficulty and freedom in its battles. Using a very expanded version of the classic Final Fantasy "Jobs" system allows the player to build the party of their dreams and bend the game nearly to the point of breaking with a little thought and effort. Perma death is a potential failure state for units, but has such a wide recovery window that it mostly acts as to heighten tension rather than cause frustration. Relatively simplistic looking on release compared to its contemporaries, in the intervening years, its graphical design has proven incredibly prescient and Final Fantasy Tactics has aged the most gracefully of all Playstation era Final Fantasy games.

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Adrenaline

Post Reader
(He/Him)
I do think the 3DS version of Majora's Mask, while still good, is a lesser game than the original. Both because of the accelerated speed of the slowed-down clock and also because most of the boss fights were redesigned to be more tedious to defeat if you know what you're doing.
 
I played The Game Boy Advance entry in the series first, I didn't play the original until we inherited my brother in law's Vita.

But every time I would mention to a friend that I was playing FFTA they'd immediately start talking about how the two compared. Even if they ultimately liked the Advance version better they'd have so much to say about FFT I got more and more excited about it. I think I even had FFTA2 before I played this? When we got the Vita this was one of the first things I downloaded.

There's just so much cool stuff going on in this game.
 
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4-So

Spicy
FFT was a game I delayed playing for years because I don't care for strategy games but I did eventually pick it up to see what all the fuss was about. While Ivalice is my least-liked FF setting, I enjoyed my time with the game quite a bit. Never finished it, though. Got to a battle where I wanted to steal from a named NPC and couldn't, even though GameFAQs said I could, so I just stubbornly decided to stop playing it. And that's silly but true regardless. Always meant to go back to it though and just get through it for the story, which was a cut above most games of the era. Does anyone know if the battle speed can be adjusted? If I have one gripe with the game is the turn speed. If there's a way to make it zippier, I might add it to my list of stuff to revisit.
 

Kirin

Summon for hire
(he/him)
I had FFTactics at #2.

Basically just imagine me repeating everything Issun said in the post. And another shout-out for Sakimoto's amazing score. And the fantastic job system.

I also always particularly loved the diorama-like design of the 3D tactical fields.
As seen in the brilliant strategy guide cover starring "baby chicken" as "chocobo":


Anyway, yeah, fantastic game all around, just inspirational. Like, any time I get wild ideas about making my own indy game, chances are the concepts are at least 50% by volume filtered through Final Fantasy Tactics.
 

Tomm Guycot

(he/him)
FFTactics is an incredible game that absolutely took over my mind. I mean, games generally do that (I unconsciously alter my jog to match the run cycle of the main character in whatever game I'm playing. I have a problem!) but I will never forget listening to my Youth Pastor and thinking... when he steps down off the stage, if I could get behind him somehow the damage modifier would be insane.

Musically a juggernaut, and the first game I can recall to have not one, not two, but THREE opening attract modes... just so great.

Ignore the loc and how easy it is to break in the late game.
 

Sarge

hardcore retro gamin'
Some day, I will actually put in the time to finish this game. The furthest I've gotten into it was around 5-6 hours. Not sure why isometric SRPGs don't hold my attention!

And yes, the soundtrack is fantastic. Wouldn't expect anything less from Sakimoto and Iwata.
 

spines

behold my godlike
(she/her, or something)
i don't really love the fft/ff5/etc. character building systems that much, and especially not in a game that's just honestly so slow, but FFT is definitely full enough of eccentricities and weird interactions that i've still enjoyed playing it. watching my chemist quick draw to pre-emptively counter an enemy trying to shoot a completely different ally, turning enemies into chickens by talking to them repeatedly, and running in terror from chocobos...especially for all of the other system minutiae i've learned about from hearing people talk about over the years, it's a really interesting game if not a personal favorite. didn't vote for it, but definitely expected it to place about exactly this high

majora's mask i adore, although the "looping clock-cycle adventure game" genre is definitely something i need to be in the right mindset to play, and it's a bit more stressful than other games like moon or radiata stories due to the hard reset pattern making progress feel very uneven. but those elements and the dark tone, more terrifying cutscenes and surreal elements (especially the transformations) really make it one of the first games i remember playing with a whole lot of what i'd describe as "nightmare energy". or at least a really weird dream.

i'm like 30 hours into breath of the wild and haven't played it in a while partly because it's started to feel like i kinda "have to" start engaging with the plot and combat elements, which are usually not my favorite parts of zelda games, and i love that majora's mask not only features a lot of very different things on that front in terms of world design and plot, but i also feel that it focuses more on the world and characters themselves. there are fewer proper "dungeons" than ocarina, but i think in return the various other areas of the world are a lot more interesting to explore and engage with. but ultimately it's just a really bold and fresh game in its own right, and to me is absolutely a game that shows off the appeal and creativity of the series despite the differences in structure and story.

also, the boss fights are great. definitely my favorites in 3d zelda.
 
FFT is #15 on my list. It was not my favorite SRPG on the PS1, or my favorite Tactics game, but it's a really really good game nonetheless. The sense of place and history the game has is unrivaled in the franchise. The art direction is top notch. This is the best the Job System had ever been up to that point. And Ivalice is the best low tech FF setting there is. It should honestly fill every Square-Enix employee with deep shame and remorse that we live in a world where it's easier to get one's hands on FF4: The After Years than it is to play this masterpiece.

I initially turned my nose up hard on this game for really childish reasons. (TBF I was a literal child.) Why did the game look so old and obsolete? Why is the setting dumb knights and sorcery stuff and not cool high tech future things? Why didn't this FF game have a number? Jobs!? I hate work! Why didn't the box art look as cool as other FF games? It took several years, but through osmosis I built up enough interest to give it a try towards the end of the PS1's life cycle. At that point the game was hard to come by without that big radioactive green spine, but eBay was my friend.

I think nowadays I have a harder time playing SRPGs just on account of the grind and how long battles take. And I love FFTA way more just on account of how many improvements to the combat system there is, the expansion of fantasy races, all the quality of life upgrades, and the more whimsical and personal story/setting. But FFT deserves to be this high because it's just a monumental piece of work and has one of the finest Final Fantasy stories and casts there are. It's honestly baffling how much Square-Enix just pretends this game doesn't exist most of the time, when it's just so damned good. I wasn't joking, in a better world Squaresoft would have had the balls to give this game a number because it deserves it.
 

Torzelbaum

????? LV 13 HP 292/ 292
(he, him, his)
The game has a number! T!
It's such a good number I started my username with it!

I think I first became aware of Final Fantasy Tactics when I flipped through a strategy guide for it while I was at a Waldenbooks at a mall. It interested me but for some reason I didn't seek the game out at that point. All that wasted time without the game - if only I had known better. But I did get the game after it was tagged with the radioactive greatest hits marker. I instantly fell in love with it. I have replayed it quite a few times and even if I used the same builds it still felt quite different each time (which is what ultimately made me place it at #1). It does fade as you progress through the game but nothing quite matches the tension that can come from getting rocked by the enemies and having to claw your way back to victory and fight to keep your characters alive. I'm sure everyone can remember battles where one big or small move on your part or by the enemy could drastically change the balance of power in the battle. (One I remember was during the single battle where Olan is a guest and his skill was not contributing much but some enemies bunched up behind the building and Agrias was able to nail a bunch of them with Holy Explosion - taking a couple out and confusing a couple of the survivors. The battle was mostly smooth sailing from that point on.)

The game also had a great deal of optional meat to it that could give you everything from new characters to better gear to just some Gil or JP or sometimes just an item that does nothing but add flavor and backstory to the world of Ivalice. But you didn't have to chew on all of that meat - you could take whatever bites you did or didn't want. And like others have stated all of the different jobs, skills and equipment could be combined together in lots of game-breaking and/or unusual ways.

The game also has one of my favorite boss battles - the fight against Queklain, Impure King. (Which was #3 on my list.)

And one other thing - FFT also has the best implementation of the confusion status effect in any game.

Also, that strategy guide cover Kirin posted is great. :)
 
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I dunno how I could have not mentioned permadeath. Woof! FFT is a lot more forgiving than pre3DS Fire Emblems, and it's not tooooo hard to keep all your guys alive so long as you keep your awareness up and understand the game mechanics. But woof, there's nothing like making a bad mistake and losing a character you've spent dozens of hours leveling up. Even named characters! One playthrough I lost Agrias and almost walked away from the game forever. Glad I didn't, but it was definitely a slap in the privates when it would happen. Probably one of the biggest reasons why I prefer FFTA because that game holds your hand a little better and permadeath is only a thing in the mostly optional Jagds. Still, it leant the game a sense of tension and urgency, while also not being overly punishing which is nice. And since it's tactical, you can take as long as you like and game plan if you fear for a character's life.
 

Mogri

Round and round I go
(he)
Staff member
Moderator
It should honestly fill every Square-Enix employee with deep shame and remorse that we live in a world where it's easier to get one's hands on FF4: The After Years than it is to play this masterpiece.
Is it? WOTL is available on mobile, and I'm not sure where you'd buy TAY at this point.

Probably one of the biggest reasons why I prefer FFTA because that game holds your hand a little better and permadeath is only a thing in the mostly optional Jagds.
I don't know if you've ever actually experienced it, but it's even milder than that: characters only permadie if you finish a battle in a Jagd while they're dead. I tried a Marche solo run briefly: you can dismiss most of the characters, but you need to keep Montblanc in jail until a Jagd shows up. (I eventually lost interest because law manipulation made the solo run fairly easy.)
 

Issun

Avarice

#5

Ain't no gettin' offa this train we're on.


Developer: Squaresoft
Publishers: Squaresoft, Sony Computer Entertainment
Platform: Sony Playstation
Release Dates: January 31, 1997 (JP), September 7, 1997 (NA), November 17, 1997 (EU)
382 Points, 15 Votes, Highest Vote: #1 (YangusKhan)



Hoo boy. This here's the big one, isn't it? Would Talking Time even exist without Final Fantasy VII? That might sound like hyperbole, but think about it for a moment. The absolute biggest Top 50 on either incarnation of the forums was the JRPG list, and I mean biggest in every way. Most votes, most posts, most lists. The winner got over 1,000 points, and that was when we were still doing the 25-1 point system. It's fair to say that JRPGs are a major part of our gaming experience, or were at one time.

And one game defined the JRPG above all. It may not be most people's favorite, it may not be the best. But FF7 made JRPGs popular, it defined them as cinematic experiences with (relatively) complex stories and characters, it defined what people expected from the genre. RPGs became so popular that other genres increasingly incorporated various mechanics that originated in the RPG fold. When I write about Very Important Games I tend to add a grain of salt, saying that trends may still have happened, even if Game X never existed. For Final Fantasy VII, and indeed, for all of this Top 5, I can unequivocally say that video games are the way they are today because of them. You guys have probably guessed what they all are, and are just waiting for the order. These 5 games we are going to be talking about over this final week of the contest are the 5 that collectively decided the course of gaming for the subsequent two decades and beyond. That's no overstatement.

As for my personal experience with the game, like FF4 before and FF10 after, I initially had some sour grapes going. It was on a new system I could not afford, and so I decided it was probably not going to be as good. I played the opening through Kalm village at a friend's house one day, and I was absolutely hooked. I had to have it. So after finagling my mother for loaning money for the system and game as a birthday/Christmas present (I did pay it back a year later when I finally got a job), I sat down and beat it in five days. Then I started it up again. Other games have surpassed this one for me, but I will never forget the initial experience of playing Final Fantasy VII. I don't remember for sure, but I think I had an inkling that gaming was changing forever.

WisteriaHysteria said: It's like FF6 but better in every way.​

Selected Track:
 

Mogri

Round and round I go
(he)
Staff member
Moderator
I house-sat for my nextdoor neighbors the summer it came out. I didn't want to save to their memory card, so I played without saving and died to the Midgarsormr.

I would go on to buy my own PlayStation and copy of the game, but this is my real FF7 story, and nothing I'd do later really stacks up to it.
 

Peklo

Oh! Create!
(they/them, she/her)
I didn't vote for it (again, I could have), but... you know. I will not go to such dramatics as a game changing my life, but consider: I was seven years old, and because of this game, I learned a second language in the process of playing it, years before the education system around me decided to begin its formal teaching. Learning English opened up the world to me in media consumption and otherwise, and it basically all started with this overreaching, awkward and beautiful jumble of a script attached to a game that would and could not be represented by anything else.
 

Kirin

Summon for hire
(he/him)
WisteriaHysteria said: It's like FF6 but better in every way.
Yikes, that's spicy.

FF6 still holds a dearer place in my heart, but obviously FF7's impact goes without saying. It goes without saying so much that I put it low on my list because c'mon, it's not like it wasn't gonna be up here anyway. And I definitely kind of burnt out on it at one point, but that point was after playing through it like 3 times and having the compilation of 7 come and go and hearing One Winged Angel in every game music concert and on every remix album for years. But it (both FF7 and OWA) got overexposed for good reasons! Hearing that chanting chorus kick in for the first time was a pretty mind-blowing experience in a home console game.

Anyway I'm pretty much over my burnout now and appreciate a lot of the neat stuff FF7 does. And I"d totally give 7R a shot if it weren't for my backlog...
 

4-So

Spicy
WisteriaHysteria said: It's like FF6 but better in every way.

A take so spicy my eyes are watering just reading it.

Final Fantasy 7 - and to a lesser extent, Castlevania: Symphony of the Night - is the reason I became a multi-console owner. Prior to that, I had no real interest in owning anything other than Nintendo machines.

On a rainy day in PE during my junior year of high school, I overheard some kids talking about Final Fantasy 7 and that piqued my interest because a.) 7? The last one was 3! and b.) isn't it supposed to be on N64? I went over to the kid's house that day and after five minutes I knew what must be done: I went home and put my PC + Printer up for sale so I could buy a PSX. Turns out, I made enough scratch for a PSX, two memory cards, a new 19-inch TV, and Final Fantasy 7 and Castlevania. One of the better decisions I made as a teenager, I must admit.

I would go on to resent the game slightly because of the influx of new RPG players. "I've been playing these for years! Don't talk to me about RPGs, junior. Yours is just a pose!" Such is the folly of youth, where gatekeeping is almost a reflex.
 

Daikaiju

Rated Ages 6+
(He, Him)
Truly a paradigm shift.
To expound a bit further, you may recall in my write-up for Incredible Crisis, I talked about how consoles such as the PS1 caused such a shift in gaming, a lot of devs suddenly had much larger toolbox. Square had way more money to throw at this than IC's devs, and by God they were going to use it! Cutscenes! Mini-games! Chocobo breeding! Polygonal battles! Glorious excess even unto the music. Even now, that song is ringing in your minds.
 
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Tomm Guycot

(he/him)
FF7 is one of those games that you de-prioritize because a) you know it so well and b) it's ever present. Then when you actually play it, it reminds you all over again why it's a big deal. 7R itself gives this feeling, but all amped up with next gen goodness.

I'll always be deeply in love with FF7 but I'll never admit it unless I'm forced to, I guess.

EDIT: Cloud Strife remains my favorite FF protagonist. The fact he gets misrepresented as "that aloof moody guy" in Advent Children and beyond is a crime someone needs to be jailed for.
 

Sarge

hardcore retro gamin'
I like Final Fantasy VII well enough, but I have to admit that I felt a pang of disappointment after waiting so long to play it (didn't get a PSX until Christmas of '99, and my PC wasn't strong enough to run the port) after playing (and replaying, and replaying) the sublime FFIII/VI and Chrono Trigger). But here's the thing - FFVII, even if it engendered a sort of resentment in me towards the idea that it was the best RPG ever, somehow still has its hooks in me all these years later. Playing through FF7R hit nostalgia for me I didn't even know I had. I feel like perhaps I should make a run through the original version, but with a better translation. I feel like perhaps it would hit home a lot better with a localization that wasn't so wonky.

Also, FFVII opened those JRPG floodgates (finally, after I tried to sell people on them for years!), so I can't complain. An incredibly important work that deserves props on that front alone.
 
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