• Hello Guest, the results for the Game of the Year 2022 voting has now been finalised, and can be checked out here


What is your favourite gold rush Squaresoft game?

Squaresoft's gold rush masterpiece

  • Final Fantasy VII

    Votes: 1 2.7%
  • Chrono Trigger

    Votes: 12 32.4%
  • Vagrant Story

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Xenogears

    Votes: 1 2.7%
  • Final Fantasy VI

    Votes: 5 13.5%
  • Final Fantasy IX

    Votes: 6 16.2%
  • Final Fantasy VIII

    Votes: 2 5.4%
  • Parasite Eve

    Votes: 2 5.4%
  • Super Mario RPG

    Votes: 3 8.1%
  • Secret of Mana

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Other

    Votes: 2 5.4%
  • Kingdom Hearts

    Votes: 3 8.1%

  • Total voters
    37

Irene

Tears of the Kingdom hype generator
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It's been a long time coming - Now that we have a retro board, it's time to finally ask this question.

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Squaresoft, or the "dream factory", predecessors of today's Square Enix, were already a notable game developer in the 90's, with many acclaimed RPG's under their belt, and a lot of talent in their long line of employees.

However, in the early 90's, they went full speed ahead until they were borderline unstoppable. They were on fire, cranking out hit after hit after hit. They made a legacy, and a huge name for themselves, with the Final Fantasy series, who in retrospect was quite the miracle series during the so-called "gold rush era". The gold rush era spans, roughly, from 1993 all the way to the Enix merger in April 1, 2003. (For the poll's sake, let's keep the releases from, say, Final Fantasy V to Kingdom Hearts)

This span of time includes many revered games, the most notable ones being: Final Fantasy V, Secret of Mana, Breath of Fire, Final Fantasy VI, Chrono Trigger, Super Mario RPG, Final Fantasy VII, Final Fantasy Tactics, Xenogears, Parasite Eve, Final Fantasy VIII, Vagrant Story, Final Fantasy IX, Kingdom Hearts and Final Fantasy X.

I ask thee, Fami. What's your favourite Squaresoft game from this particular era?
 
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Mekanos

Cat Burglar
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Really close between SMRPG and FFVII. SMRPG is a childhood favorite and a game that shaped my taste in so many ways, and my last replay was still an absolute joy. But FFVII, while a game I only played in my 20s, is full of iconic characters, one of the all time great OSTs, and has a big, ambitious story that tackles so many themes and ideas.

Gonna give it to FF7 but it's damn close. Both I could probably put in my top 10 all time favorite games depending on my mood. FF9 is also high up there, it was actually my first Final Fantasy and a game I have a lot of good memories with.
 
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PixelKnight

Chain Chomp
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The only one I played on SNES was Secret of Mana as the others didn’t release here. I then played FFVII and IX on PS1, and preferred IX. After that I finally played FFVI on a GBA cart in a DS, and Chrono Trigger on DS, and decided FFVI was my favourite.

These days I find the collision detection of Secret of Mana makes it hard to go back to even though I loved it at the time. I also find the PS1 games a bit slow and just prefer the pixel art of the SNES games too.

I would love a HD-2D remake of FFVI. Or CT. It would just be stunning while keeping the flavour of the original.
 
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freedomseekr

life is noise
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This is... a two-way tie for me.

On the one hand, we have Final Fantasy IX, which I dare say is one of the best games ever made, even if one may argue that its systems aren't that deep, but the whole experience is just so wonderfully polished in terms of the creative side and I think its themes of trauma, the sanctity of life and the importance of found family make it timeless.

And on the other hand, we have Vagrant Story, a technical marvel in its day to the degree even Hideo Kojima was jealous of what Yasumi Matsuno and his team had created, with deep systems, a heavy dose on exploration and a mature story that again, holds up so much better than a lot of its contemporaries.

I voted for FF IX, because of what it personally means to me, but VS is a very close second to me.

 
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Belinda Blumenthal

Sales Director
I haven't played many on the list, but it is incredible how many of these games are considered classics. I'll get to Chrono Trigger some day, for now I went with Kingdom Hearts.
 
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Poll is missing Final Fantasy Tactics. It ties with Final Fantasy VII as my pick. Both games got me into their respective genres as neither were particularly prominent in PAL territories. And the latter never actually received a PAL release. (Thank heavens for mod chips.)
 

Red Monster

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i gotta go with final fantasy ix here. that game oozes charm. it's firmly lodged in my childhood memory as a cozy fall game. come home from school on an overcast autumn day and get lost in that magical world. pure bliss.
 

Thunder84

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I really gotta play some of these. Have always wanted to get into them, but I've just never found the time and/or they aren't on my preferred consoles. Would love to see a bunch of these in HD-2D eventually.

Only one on this list that I've played is Final Fantasy IX, which I enjoyed quite a bit. Not in my upper echelon of JRPGs by any means, but it's a great game nonetheless.
 
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jnWake

i have 50 characters and i'll use them, all of 'em
I think Chrono Trigger is basically the perfect example of a JRPG so I have to vote for it. That said, I also love the FF games from that era, particularly IV, VI, VII and IX.
 

PixelKnight

Chain Chomp
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What an amazing run of games in such a short space of time. Reminds me of many series in the late 80s to mid 90s where sequels often came out the following year, whereas these days development time can put it at 5-10 years and you’re lucky to see a favourite series get two games on the same platform. Final Fantasy was amazing in that the games were built completely differently from each other and still came out very regularly- particularly the PSOne trio.
 
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bellydrum

website dad
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It was a hard decision between SMRPG and Xenogears, but SMRPG won out just because of how pure and replayable it is.

Although I've never played Chrono Trigger. From what I've heard it might have taken the top spot if I had played it.
 

MissingNo.

Triangular Tactician
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Such a tough question to answer with how many absurdly good games they made in that period.

Out of the ones I played, I would probably have to go with Live A Live. Primarily saying this because it has such a unique approach to storytelling and structure for a JRPG, which really makes it stand out to me.
 
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shoptroll

Darknut
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That 1991 - 2001 period of Squaresoft is 👨‍🍳 🤌 ❤️ So many stone cold classics and even their lesser stuff has some redeeming quality either interesting mechanics or just stellar OSTs. Very few studios can claim to have such a good run during that same period, let alone over the course of 10 years.

Which makes this poll incredibly hard, because I'm pretty sure I could easily justify a vote for any of the options.

I think of the options I have to go with Final Fantasy VI. It's such a seminal title and layed down so much of what would come from the company going forward. First off, the new "house style" of art direction cemented Secret of Mana's taller sprites as the company's approach for all future releases (Live A Live excluded which was supposed to release before VI but hit delays) and unified the sprites in both field and battle scenes, plus the richer color palette used moved things towards a more realistic look while still remaining colorful. You had a flexible party system with the 14 playable characters (including 2 secret characters) that could be molded by the player, and could be freely swapped around which would be a staple of future games in the series and projects like Chrono Trigger. The relic system took the Job system of yore and broke it apart into component parts alongside each character having a unique set of actions (some rooted in the Job system and others like Blitz, Slot, and Tools were brand new) made for some fun customization options. I could go on and on, but simply put the game is probably the high-water mark for the franchise and possibly one of the few times where Squaresoft was able to achieve their lofty ambitions with the technology at hand. And it opened the door for so many future success down the road.

That said, my runners up would probably be Chrono Trigger and Parasite Eve. Chrono Trigger I maintain is the de factor primer for JRPGs and is my #1 recommendation for anyone interested in the genre with a great story, best in show pacing, graphics that still pop, easy to grasp mechanics, and it's just fun as hell years after release. Parasite Eve holds a special place for me because it's a good example of how you can make an epic feeling game that's not a globe-trotting adventure and do it in a run-time of about 8-10 hours. Yea, a lot of the game is cutscenes but at a time when Final Fantasy VII was ushering in the era of 60+ hour RPGs having something that clocks in at a fraction of that is worth celebrating. PE is also the culmination of Tokita's attempt to blend positional elements with the ATB system after Live A Live and Chrono Trigger and he finally got it to work here.
 

souio

Tektite
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Many-way tie, but I'd say Front Mission: Gun Hazard personally. Released near the end of the SNES's lifespan, they somehow managed to create a 20 hour Action RPG Run n Gun game, with a lot of variety, missions and even playstyles. Had some amazing pixel art, Yoshitaka Amano art, a soundtrack collaboration by Nobuo, Mitsuda, Masashi Hamauzu and Junya Nakano. It was cool because instead of leveling up your stats, levels up meant would unlock new equipment to equip your Wanzer and it had at least 50 or 60 weapons/subweapons to unlock, which is kinda nuts for a run n gun.


HMs are
Chrono Trigger
Parasite Eve
Brave Fencer Musashi
Final Fantasy Tactics
...Hell, 90% of Square's catalog from that era, lol

With games coming out like Valkyrie Elysium, Harvestella and Diofield Chronicles, I actually respect them for doing it, even though none of those games hit the old fashioned highs from their golden age, as it is at least showing them taking risks and trying out different games and genres.
 

PixelKnight

Chain Chomp
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Many-way tie, but I'd say Front Mission: Gun Hazard personally. Released near the end of the SNES's lifespan, they somehow managed to create a 20 hour Action RPG Run n Gun game, with a lot of variety, missions and even playstyles. Had some amazing pixel art, Yoshitaka Amano art, a soundtrack collaboration by Nobuo, Mitsuda, Masashi Hamauzu and Junya Nakano. It was cool because instead of leveling up your stats, levels up meant would unlock new equipment to equip your Wanzer and it had at least 50 or 60 weapons/subweapons to unlock, which is kinda nuts for a run n gun.


HMs are
Chrono Trigger
Parasite Eve
Brave Fencer Musashi
Final Fantasy Tactics
...Hell, 90% of Square's catalog from that era, lol

With games coming out like Valkyrie Elysium, Harvestella and Diofield Chronicles, I actually respect them for doing it, even though none of those games hit the old fashioned highs from their golden age, as it is at least showing them taking risks and trying out different games and genres.
Yeah there’s a lot to be said for Square’s current devotion to publishing smaller new IP in the rpg space, it allows for risks in game design and you never know what’s going to develop into a hit. Sometimes a series is a smash hit out of the gate, sometimes it needs a sequel to really smooth out the rough edges and prove the concept. Diofield seems like a mess in places but I’m glad they tried something new in the SRPG space with a real time element even if my heart is still with Tactics Ogre, Front Mission etc.
 

xghost777

King B00 Fan #TeamJRPG
Finally wandered into the Warp Zone properly after seeing “What is your favorite gold rush Square…” cut off like that for a while as the most recent thread previewed. Kept wondering what it could possibly mean lol.

Golden Age SNES / PS1 Square is definitely one of the most wild stretches for any publisher. I was super young then, but my brother bought a lot of the big games for the SNES and showed me trailers for the big Final Fantasy games on PC. I’ll never forget seeing the opening movie of Final Fantasy VIII for example over and over again before the game came out and was blown away how good it looked.

While maybe FFVII had the most time and place impact being the first big 3D JRPG for me, my favorites by far were the SNES JRPG trio of Super Mario RPG, Chrono Trigger, and Final Fantasy VI. I replayed all three earlier this year and Final Fantasy VI takes the crown. It’s an epic journey, driven by an amazing cast of characters (Sabin <3) and my favorite villain in the series. The gameplay is incredible as each character has their own unique ability and strengths and weaknesses, but you can guide them and truly make them your own with the Relic, Esper, and Magic systems. There’s so many amazing beats and side quests along the way and I love the game’s split between the linear first half and the open back half. It’s an incredible, timeless game that means the world to me. I hope one day it can be made more readily available again in its original form.
 

shoptroll

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With games coming out like Valkyrie Elysium, Harvestella and Diofield Chronicles, I actually respect them for doing it, even though none of those games hit the old fashioned highs from their golden age, as it is at least showing them taking risks and trying out different games and genres.
Yea, it's a far cry from both the SNES era, where their experiements had a better success rate, but it's also a far cry from the PS3 era where they were absolutely flailing around and taking fewer risks and pushing out dreck like Mindjack.

It's the reason why I root for Tokyo RPG Factory, Team Asano and the other oddballs in the company like Kuwazu and Taro. I'd much rather see them taking shots at the goal than the company just turning into an outfit that only releases a new DQ, FF, or KH game every few years on a rotating basis.
 

chocolate_supra

Must proceed at a high velocity #TeamDecade
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Let's not forget that Chrono Trigger was effectively an Enix collaboration!
Wasn't it just one person from Enix, though? And kinda Toriyama if you wanna count him but he was a freelancer, not like an Enix employee or anything. I thought it was only Yuji Horii from Enix brainstorming the story with Sakaguchi and then all the other work (including scripting said story) was done by Square devs.
 
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GamerJM

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I'm still working my way through all of them, slowly, it's been something I've sort of been tackling since the pandemic started whenever I get a chance. FF6 is the one that impressed me the most. It maybe has the most unique characters and party abilities in any RPG I've ever played. Sabin is, point blank, my favorite character to use in any RPG ever, from a gameplay perspective. I want an entire game that combines fighting game inputs with turn-based RPG mechanics a lot. The World of Ruin is handled tremendously, and it gives the game a remarkable contrast between linear and nonlinear design. Memorable sequences like the Opera Scene and the first encounter with Kefka. I had the game hyped up for me for literally two decades, from older cousins, Nintendo Power and EGM, and old internet forum dwellers, and it somehow managed to live up to its exceptional reputation. It really just is that special of a game.
 

Josh5890

Darknut
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Great lineup but I am sticking with Chrono Trigger here. Arguably the greatest ensemble of video game makers for one game all time.

It is a crime that in 2022 this game is not available on any modern platform.
 
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