At yesterday’s Nintendo Direct, it was announced that Final Fantasy IX (the best one) would be available immediately on the Nintendo eShop. This is tremendous news. Yesterday marked the seventh time I have exchanged United States legal tender for a copy of this delicious product featuring my friends Vivi Ornitier and General Beatrix. Congratulations, Square Enix!
To celebrate this occasion, I’m here to rank all seven copies of the game I’ve ever owned. I’m fine. It’s fine.
7) Final Fantasy IX; iOS
One day, long ago, I was a person who believed if you ported my very favorite games to the device I keep next to my patoot all day, I’d love that version of my favorite game more than any other. I was so naive. So wrong. Not only was the iOS version of Final Fantasy IX the update with the off-putting menu/dialog box textures and turbo cheat codes you can access directly from the pause screen, but it was unwieldy to control on a touch screen.
Also, I never, ever have the sound on with iOS games unless it’s short, so I missed out on all the good good songs. I still keep a copy on my phone just in case I get stuck in an elevator for two hours (more common occurrence for me than you might assume) and have to play an offline game to keep myself from going completely bonkers.
Completions: 0 (played maybe three hours total)
Associated Life Event: knowing everything I possibly could about Homestuck for work reasons
6) Final Fantasy IX; Steam
This version of the best Final Fantasy game is on any PC I use with Steam on it. That’s a nice advantage. The disadvantage? It’s on Steam. Steam is a bubbling pit of despair these days and I hate opening it.
Aside from being the aforementioned inferior update, Final Fantasy IX is simply strange to play on a PC. I don’t know if it’s the lack of ridiculous packaging or the completely buckwild bugs and compatibility issues of the first Final Fantasy VIII for PC release, but it just doesn’t feel right.
Completions: 0 but I have 231 hours logged? I am terrible at leaving things on all the time but that still seems excessive.
Associated Life Event: getting my first rent hike in Los Angeles, killing me in the process.
5) Final Fantasy IX; PlayStation 4
Sure, it’s another version of the HD update, but it’s on a Sony console where it belongs. If I’m going to do a stream or capture, this is my go-to. It’s easy, no fuss, and it just felt right being shoveled the same game when it’s just so gosh darn easy to download it from the PlayStation Store.
Another advantage? The Dual Shock 4, which is the finest controller on the market for my dinero.
Associated Life Event: two months into unemployment in Los Angeles, which also killed me.
4) Final Fantasy IX; PlayStation (used)
This is the copy I have sitting on my shelf at home. Its four discs stuff its sturdy-spined jewel case. I purchased this years ago in a hurry after discovering my original copy had been lost in a move. The only copy my local GameStop had was used, so it still has the horrifying sticker on the front. Oh and it was the box with the bright green GREATEST HITS thing on the side. Ugh.
It is the best version of this game. Changing discs adds so much. Really. The disc breaks felt more planned in IX than they did in say VII or VIII (or Xenogears but that’s a totally different and hilarious story).
Associated Life Event: buying a copy at the worst GameStop in Sherman, TX from a Joe Bob Briggs lookalike who wouldn’t stop asking me if I wanted a subscription to Game Informer. Sorry, but no.
3) Final Fantasy IX; PlayStation 3
The PSOne Classics digital version of Final Fantasy IX on PlayStation 3 had a few things going for it. It was digital but retained the disc breaks, it was based on the original PlayStation version, and you had to use a Virtual Memory Card, which I never minded setting up and managing.
Combing the ease of the digital age, the charm of the analog age, and the ability to stream (easily) for the first time, this was the perfect replacement for the tragically lost physical copy I had so many cherished memories with.
Associated Life Event: being in graduate school in Austin, TX and stress eating TacoDeli and Rice Krispies Treats every day.
2) Final Fantasy IX; Nintendo Switch
Okay sure, I have like 15 minutes of play time on the Switch version. And sure, it’s the HD remaster with all the wonky textures and cheats. AND SURE, I said I didn’t like playing Final Fantasy IX on a mobile device.
But it’s the Switch! I think this is the perfect PlayStation-era JRPG delivery device, oddly enough. Putting my buddy to sleep knowing I can pick up right where I left off whenever I want is an amazing comfort. There’s something perfect about main series Final Fantasy back on a Nintendo console. It was a no-brainer purchase for me, as most Switch ports have been for two years.
Completions: 0 (but let’s be honest, I’m on my way)
Associated Life Event: celebrating Kiss Week with my good good coworkers and friends.
1) Final Fantasy IX; My Original PlayStation Copy
I left you somewhere between apartments in Sherman, TX and it eats me up inside. May the smell of Long John Silver’s fry oil sing thee to thy rest.
Goodbye, my friend.
Associated Life Event: getting sick on Mountain Dew Code Red in my childhood bedroom.