Teaching the Classic NES Game, But Randomized

The State of the Site, 2024 Edition

As I noted in my State of the Site post, I’ve spent the last few days working on a new guide for Final Fantasy Randomizer. Why? I… well, shit, I guess I should have thought about that.

That’s a joke as there was actually a solid need for it. Randomizers are the hot thing in classic gaming right now, taking an older game and making it fresh and sexy again but dressing it up with new features and new ways to play. It’s become big enough that even newer games are getting packaged with randomizers, from Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night to Timespinner and more. You can find all kinds of games that now have randomizers built for them, either by fans or the original creators, and more are coming all the time. It’s pretty awesome.

But with randomizers growing huge, that also means there’s a large group of people coming in that might not know the nuances of the games they’re playing. Final Fantasy is an old game (published in 1987, meaning the game is not old enough to have gotten married, had kids, watched those kids grow up, and now can move on to a solid midlife crisis of its own) and it’s likely that many people out there have played some version of it (maybe the GBA release, or the PSP version, or any of a number of them all the way up through the Pixel Remasters), but they may not have ever touched the original NES edition. And that game, well, it has its quirks.

Playing a randomizer casually means picking up, tooling around, having some fun, and moving on. But Final Fantasy Randomizer is more than the game itself; it’s the community that’s built up around it. There’s a solid racing scene, with plenty of people coming in to enjoy the game and see how well they can play randomized games against other people. The community has been running new player training events (and new play tournaments for a few years now), and we’ve made all of our resources available for the community at large on our wiki. It was, well, a lot.

The trick was that the wiki became something of a dumping ground, with folders all over the place that people dropped stuff into so they could find it later. When anyone can touch anything, the pile of pages becomes something of a rats’ nest. It’s to be expected, and users coming in to add items and help edit existing material is encouraged. But it also meant that, after a while, things needed to get reorganized. Plus, while the community runs new player events, we don’t have those going on all the time, so if someone new came in, they needed a way to get into the game, and learn, before diving into the racing scene (if that even interested them).

And that’s where the guide came in. Geared towards new players, it acts as a reference for all the accrued knowledge of Final Fantasy and the randomizer that the community has. It’s written from the perspective of someone completely new to Final Fantasy, taking them through each step of the process to get into the game. But it also adds in all the resources that had been written over time, like tables of spells and when you could buy them, or where it was best to use WARP to breeze through dungeons, or what level to grind to for a specific weapon. Anything we think players might want to know was included to make it a solid one-stop-shop for players.

And then everything left was put into a resources appendix so that all of our knowledge was sorted and organized. It was a big undertaking, but the resulting guide should prove very useful for players, new and old.

Anyway, this is all an introduction to say, “hey, here’s this 50 page guide I wrote and I wanted to share it on my site.” So… yeah…

If you have any interest in randomizers, I encourage you to check out FFR. I enjoy the hell out of it and I would love to see more players pick up the game. It’s a lot of fun.