Final Fantasy celebrates 30th anniversary with fan tributes from cosplayers, artists, musicians

Light the candles on the cake, because three decades ago this week, Japan’ most ironically named video game franchise was born.

It may seem strange to talk about a video game series having a “birthday,” but the term feels appropriate when talking about Final Fantasy. Multiple times, Final Fantasy has breathed life into the industry. It saved developer Square from financial crisis, solidified Sony’s legitimacy as an industry player, and almost single-handedly gave birth to the modern, large-scale international JRPG fan community.

Final Fantasy celebrated its 30th birthday this week, as December 18 marked 30 years to the day since the Japanese release of the very first Final Fantasy for Nintendo’s 8-bit Famicom (known as the NES overseas). And since birthdays are a time for celebration, the week has been marked with Twitter fan tributes to the sounds, sights, and most of all, the memories of three decades’ worth of gaming history.

▼ Whether coming through an 8-bit game console or an electric guitar, Final Fantasy’s main theme is a thing of beauty.

▼ Professional fan art: Yoko Kamio, creator of manga Hana Yori Dango, draws a smoldering version of FF VII leading man Squall.

▼ Inventive, multi-faceted cosplayer @louistill3 as both FF XIII’s heroine Lightning and FFXV’s handsome prince Noctis.

With 15 numbered installments, fitting the pantheon of Final Fantasy heroes into a single image is tough, but fans did their best in both illustrated…

…and costumed group shots.

With their high-spec graphics, it’s primarily the titles from the PlayStation era onward that get the most support from fans.

Final Fantasy X’s Yuna…

▼ …and Auron.

But some still have a special place in their hearts for major characters from the series’ 8-bit era.

Final Fantasy VI arch-villain Kefka, one of the most memorable video game antagonists of all time

▼ Kain, Golbez, and Cecil, from Final Fantasy IV

And since this day was a celebration of the release of the first Final Fantasy, the original’s Warrior of Light…

…and unnamed Fighter class also get salutes.

So happy birthday, Final Fantasy, and here’s looking forward to many more adventures in the years to come.

Featured image: Twitter/@35keffy

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