Final Fantasy, the game that started it all. Originally released in 1987 for the NES, the first Final Fantasy eventually made it to several consoles over the years, including the PlayStation, Game Boy Advance and NES Classic. For this article, I included the North American versions of the game and while I know the game was released on the MSX or the WonderSwan Color, I don’t know a lot of people outside of Japan who can read the language to check out those versions. Even if it doesn’t hold up particularly well, I encourage JRPG fans to at least check out Final Fantasy if only to see how the popular franchise started.
Final Fantasy (NES)
This is the original version of the game and the one purists will get regardless of what I say. As far as I know, there are a lot of cartridges out there and it shouldn’t be that hard to get one of those for pretty cheap.
Final Fantasy Origins (PlayStation)
This is probably your best option when it comes to playing the first Final Fantasy. For those unfamiliar, Origins is a compilation that includes both Final Fantasy and Final Fantasy II. This collection has new graphics, a remixed soundtrack, FMV sequences, art galleries and a memo save function. One of the best parts about these games is that they came out digitally as PSOne Classics and you can play them on the PSP and PS3 for a few bucks. Take into account though that they were released as separate downloads.
Final Fantasy: Dawn of Souls (Game Boy Advance)
This is essentially Final Fantasy with four additional dungeons, an updated bestiary and a few minor changes when it comes to dialogue and the script.
Final Fantasy (Wii Virtual Console)
If you want to play Final Fantasy on the Nintendo Wii, that’s definitely an option. What you should consider is that Nintendo is planning to shut down the Nintendo eShop for good and you won’t be able to get this game at all soon. The game’s also playable on the Wii U Virtual Console via the backwards compatibility feature.
Final Fantasy 20th Anniversary Edition (PlayStation Portable)
Final Fantasy on the PSP has high-resolution 2D graphic that some people will love and others will hate, FMV sequences, bonus dungeons, the script from Dawn of Souls and a remixed soundtrack. Note that the game came out in UMD form in North America and as a downloadable title in Europe.
Final Fantasy (iOS, Android and Windows Phone)
The mobile version of Final Fantasy is based on the PSP one, so read the previous paragraph if you’re interested in specifics. Of course, the advantage of getting Final Fantasy on mobile is that everyone has a phone in their pocket and you have access to the game whenever you want. Weirdly enough, the Android version doesn’t come with the bonus dungeons, the bestiary and the music player.
Final Fantasy (NES Classic Edition)
The NES Classic console comes with the NES version of Final Fantasy and the only meaningful change comes in the form of save states. Other than that, this is the original game, but playable on newer TVs.