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Why I Picked Final Fantasy For My Guinness Record

Like any good gamer, I have a pile of games that I’ve always meant to complete and haven’t, but there’s one mark of shame that makes me wince every time I look at it: Final Fantasy XII.

I love JRPGs. Even today when we have so few worthwhile releases in that genre, I consider it one of my favorites. As a proponent of this dying subcategory of games, I’ve devoted hours upon hours of my life to the Final Fantasy series. I’ve seen nearly every mainline FF title through to its end. Except XII.

It’s not that I don’t like it -- quite the opposite, in fact. In terms of its battle mechanics, its huge and wonderfully designed world, its interesting characters, and its well-written, complex plot, Final Fantasy XII may be one of my favorite games in a series full of high-quality releases. So why do I keep getting stuck on actually finishing it?

I think there are several problems. For one, I kind of missed the boat as far as playing the game while it was hyped up and while everyone else was playing it. It’s always easier to drop a game when my friends and coworkers aren’t discussing it every day for a week or two straight. There’s also the sheer size of it. Between the massive, open zones and the huge number of bonus hunts to take on in between progressing the plot, I found myself frequently getting overwhelmed just thinking about FF XII.

Long-time GI.com readers will remember that back at the end of 2009, I made a New Year’s Resolution to play and finish more old games that I missed, beginning with Final Fantasy XII. I made strong progress in my weekend game-a-thon at the beginning of 2010, but pretty much immediately following that, my playthrough stopped.

When Dan pitched me on the idea of doing a Guinness marathon record attempt and suggested I tackle the Final Fantasy series, I knew what had to be done. I may have dropped the ball a year-and-a-half ago, but rather than starting over on FF XII for the fourth or fifth time, I’m going to pick up where I left off, around 15 hours in to the game. It’s going to be difficult and probably sloppy for the first couple hours, but I’m hoping to spend the 24-plus hours of the marathon making serious progress into this massive title.

Alright, maybe I won’t only play Final Fantasy XII. While I technically only need to last 24 hours to get my record, I’m planning to stick around as long as I can to support Jeff’s lengthy Grand Theft Auto attempt and to cement in my place. I’ve got a whole stack of Final Fantasy games from across the series’ history to jump between if I feel the need. I’m also considering beginning the marathon with a playthrough of Final Fantasy: Mystic Quest, the rather bad SNES spin-off of the series created specifically for players new to the RPG genre. Do you think that sounds like a good idea?

Whether I stick with FF XII or play bits and pieces across the series, there should be plenty of epic RPG goodness to keep me awake for 30 or 40 hours straight. Or so I hope. The world record attempt begins Saturday at 9 a.m. Central, and I hope you’ll join me for part of it!

Be sure to read write-ups from my co-workers explaining their choices: Jeff Cork on Grand Theft Auto IV, Ben Reeves on Metal Gear Solid, Tim Turi on Resident Evil, and Dan Ryckert on Mario.

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