The Final Fantasy III video game (known in Japan as Final Fantasy VI) had everything a RPG fan wanted: customizable spell system, great music, engaging battle systems, and of course a large, developed cast of characters. It is the latter that concerns this post. For you see, it was Final Fantasy III that hooked me upon the premise of the “bigger the better” cast.

FFIII had an astonishing 14 members to play as, and each one is worth his/her weight in gold. Explaining how each one is uniquely crafted and how each one deftly stands out from various cliches and stereotypes is a whole other article, and perhaps I’ll get to that later. But for right now just take my word for it that these fourteen characters stand heads and shoulders above the generic stereotypes that often fill the ranks of videogames.

For me the 14-member cast was special because each one had an unique command based on their class. The ninja throws things, the gambler uses slot machines as an attack, and so on and so forth. It was fun seeing how the thief complimented the martial artist, or how the mechanic played together with the knight. I wanted to try out the combinations.

Each character had a chance in combat, and I would spend hours arranging and rearranging each character so that each had a turn playing in a dungeon. For a character to be present in my party I had to think back to the last time I used that character and when I had used previous characters. Even the little-girl character whose sole talent was to “paint” an enemy combatant and use it’s own attack against it was worth such forethought.

Final Fantasy III gave me the love of characters. Even now when new videogames are being built, I always look for the information of how big the number of playable characters are. It’s a dealbreaker for me. The bigger the cast, the bigger the chances for party arrangement, and the more I get excited. That’s what RPGs mean to me.