Hello dear readers and welcome to Shoot the Rookie! Today’s post is a rather exciting one, as today is the day that I am revealing which JRPG the gaming community voted as their favourite. Come join me to find out the winners, the losers and the nearly-but-not-quiters!
A few weeks back, myself and my wonderful collaborator Winst0lf, launched The Great JRPG Showdown. We wrote blog posts about our top 5 JRPGs, and then asked everyone in the gaming community to tell us their top 5s as well. Happily lots of you took part, and we have now counted up the votes and are ready to reveal the results.
Most of the votes we got were submitted via Twitter. However, five awesome writers chose to write blog posts all about the games they had picked. Each one of these articles is a wonderful read, full of memories and feelings and great descriptions of the games. I am incredibly grateful to each of these writers and if you haven’t already you should definitely check out each of their posts (links below) to see what they had to say:
- Jason Journals wrote about a diverse selection of JRPGs and scrutinised them to tell us what elements make each game so special
- Tales from the Backlog told us all about the impact his choices had on his life and the memories these games have given him
- Seb used his choices to explain why he loves JRPGs despite feeling like he isn’t very good at them
- Gamergal.exe presented us with an eclectic top 5 spanning a wide variety of styles and eras of gaming
- The Gaming Diaries shared why she loves her choices which include both her first RPG and her first Final Fantasy game
Now on to the results!
In total, around 55 different games received at least one vote. That was probably the most mind blowing thing I took from the results as I never expected such a wide range of games to get votes. These games cover more than 35 years of JRPG history and have appeared on more different consoles/computers than I can even count. I’m not going to list the votes for every game (although if you’re interested let me know and I’ll put together a stats post), but below I’ll chat about the way some of the votes went, then look at the runners up and the winner!
Anticipation overload start!
The Best of the Rest
As I said, a lot of different games got votes in The Great JRPG Showdown, meaning a whole host of games only picked up one, two or three votes. Amongst the games that got one vote were a few that surprised me. For example, both Final Fantasy X and XII only received a single vote, which I thought was strange considering how many people I know that love both of those games.
On the other hand, it was nice to see some older or less well known (to me) games pick up a couple of votes each. Amongst the ones that stood out to me were Grandia 2, Pokémon Red and Blue and Super Mario RPG: Legends of the Seven Stars. Also coming in with two votes were a couple of Dragon Quest games, whilst a couple more games in that series received one vote, showing that splitting the vote hasn’t been beneficial to that particular series.
I am slightly sad to say that three of my own five feature in the group that received three votes: Tales of Vesperia, Xenoblade Chronicles and Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE, with the other games receiving three votes being Xenoblade Chronicles 2 and Kingdom Hearts 2.
Four games received four votes each – Final Fantasy IX (which I voted for myself), Final Fantasy VIII, The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel saga and Persona 4 – a great mix of classic and slightly more edgy titles that all thoroughly deserve to be this high up the rankings. Going one better, Final Fantasy VI received five votes, sitting on its own between the previous group of games and the runners up which I will reveal now…
Counting the votes revealed that two games were tied in second place, and with eight votes each, substantially ahead of their nearest rivals.
A classic in every sense of the word, it was no surprise to me that this 1995 game came in near the top of the vote given that one of its characters also made it into the top three of The Great JRPG Character Face-Off. Having never played it myself I have little to offer in way of explanation for its popularity, but it seems evident to me that this is a game that has truly stood the test of time. In Winst0lf’s excellent write-up of the game, he picks out the music, the cast of characters and the overall presentation as being exceptional, and if his confident declaration that “Chrono Trigger is just as cool as everyone on the internet says” is true, then it really is a game I should be trying out!
A different sort of classic took the other runners-up spot and again, this was not a massive shock to me. Although not particularly surprised by the number of votes it got, I was happy to see it up there as it was the only one of my picks that made the top 3. I’ve written about Persona 5 and how deeply I love it on many occasions, but it was nice during this event to see other people waxing lyrical about the heart-stealing teen rebels. It is a game where so many of the elements are close to perfect that it can be hard to know where to start talking about it, but I loved the way Seb summed it up in his article as being “the most complete and compelling work of art I’ve come across in all of videogames”, and I would add that quite frankly it has no right to be as all-consumingly wonderful as it is.
Final Fantasy VII
I suspect that the identity of the winner will surprise no one, but it was actually quite cool to see proof of this game’s popularity rolling in when the voting was taking place. Final Fantasy VII got nine votes, just one ahead of the two runners-up, but what surprised me most was that additionally, the recent remake got two votes of its own, showing that the love for the game is not confined to the past and nostalgia, but that the whole thing stands apart as a work that deeply resonates with people. So many things were mentioned about Final Fantasy VII in the posts written for this event. The story, the characters, the music, the setting, the summons and even the way the equipment/materia worked were all singled out for praise. I particularly liked what Jason said about playing as Cloud as being “intense, gravely important and engaging”.
Even though it is not a game I put in my own top 5, my love for it is evident in the fact my favourite piece of video game music is the theme from Cosmo Canyon and I have a tattoo based on the game (also Nanaki related!). Everyone who wrote about this game seems to have engaged with it in slightly different ways, and yet it’s impact is deep and undeniable. I think it is a worthy champion which may take a long while to be beaten, and hopefully the love for the remake continues to grow too. I have no doubt the game was a pivotal moment in the lives of many people reading this and I hope we can all take a pause to be grateful to the game’s creators and the immense triumph that their hard-work has accomplished.
So there we have it! The community have voted and Final Fantasy VII has been crowned the victor in The Great JRPG Showdown. Huge thanks to everyone who voted, particularly the awesome people who wrote blog posts for the event, and of course thank you to my trusty collaborator, Winst0lf, for making this such a fun event! I’ve loved organising this event and I hope you’ve all enjoyed it too!
Thanks for reading,
PS I just realised that Winst0lf voted for all three of the top three and was in charge of counting the votes. Don’t worry though folks, I double counted to check he wasn’t cheating 😛