Another Castle: My Top 5 Favourite Stories

As Another Castle shuts its doors, Katharine looks back on some of her favourite game stories from the world of Nintendo.

By Katharine Byrne. Posted 10/23/2012 10:00 5 Comments     ShareThis

4. Final Fantasy IV (1991)

In a word: Sincere

Final Fantasy may one of my favourite franchises, but for some reason Final Fantasy IV (or Final Fantasy II as it’s better known as in the US) completely passed me by when it was released for DS in 2006. Thankfully, I came to my senses and tracked down a copy of it last year, and what awaited me certainly didn’t disappoint. It’s a fairly traditional story by Final Fantasy standards– the crystals controlling the balance between light and dark are at risk of falling into the hands of evil– but it was such a vast improvement over previous Final Fantasy games– particularly III— that it’s easily my second favourite Final Fantasy story of all time (the top spot going to Final Fantasy VIII).

And with that admission, it’s perhaps easy to see why I hold Final Fantasy IV in such high regard. You see, Final Fantasy VIII did something quite unusual with its story– it chose to place love at the heart of its narrative instead of continuing the dystopian cyber-punk vibe set by VII— but I’d argue that Final Fantasy IV laid down the foundations for this kind of story first with its huge cast of characters and their intricate relationships. Ranging from the blind rage of an old man after his daughter ran off with a prince masquerading as a bard, to the more subtle love triangle between Cecil, Rosa and the sombre Kain, every character brings their own unique flavour and nuance to the plot, and none of them are in any way superfluous. Of course, some may be more minor than others, but that doesn’t make them any less important. Top that off with an incredibly witty script, and Final Fantasy IV is an absolute joy to play through from start to finish.

Pages: 1 2 3 4 5 6

5 Responses to “Another Castle: My Top 5 Favourite Stories”

  • 1245 points
    lukas85 says...

    Katharine, im gonna miss your another castle columns, as you may know, im a big fan of your columns and the story elements of a game are very important to me. I couldnt agree more with you on your top 3 choices. Meteoid prime has a superb system to deliver the story via scans, and they are precise, believable and well written. Xenoblade (oh my freaking god) its the most upbeat, energetic and refreshing rpg i have ever played and the story is great, great pacing, lot of twists and reveals, characters and emotions to the limit, like you said the final explanation when they show how the world was created is a little meh, but the rest… Just pure joy. And Ocarina… Well, for me its the perfect story, straight forward, easy to comprehend but enjoyable, good vs evil, adventure, friendship, journey, love. It has it all. For me its the quintaessential videogame story and its the gold standard for the industry and more specific for action/ adventure or rpg games.(well its my alltime favorite game).

    I hope this is not the end of your columns i certainly want to read more.

    Thumb up 1
    • 7 points
      Katharine Byrne says...

      Thanks for your kind words, Lukas! And I’m really glad you agree with my top three choices as well! :) Unfortunately, Another Castle will be going on hiatus for the time being, but you never know – it may come back some day in the future :).

      Thanks so much for reading them, though, and for all your comments too – they make writing these columns that much more rewarding! :)

      Thumb up 1
  • 12 points
    Exare says...

    Katharine, after finishing your article I had to log in and make my first post. I’ll start off by saying this: I considered myself a jaded gamer. As someone who’s spent the majority of their life conquering countless baddies from Hyrule to Tamriel, Persia to Pandora and everywhere in between, I’ve experienced it all. The all-nighters spent behind a glowing screen plowing through the new RPG that took YEARS to come out, long weekends full of Mountain Dew and Halo/Killing Floor/BF/whatever FPS you can think of, years spent in an unmentionable MMO, hours and hours of Smash Bros., waggling, catching-them-all and yes even dancing. But somewhere during my wonderful adventures I lost sight of what makes me so enchanted by video games; the magic that draws us all to them. I found myself saying, “Save yourself Princess…” and “Why SHOULD I clear that pitfall?” My old 2600 would be ashamed.

    After finding myself at the end of your number-one pick, finishing up my read of that fantastic piece of videogame journalism, my heart was pounding. That magic spark suddenly re-ignited and I remembered why it was that I loved video games so much. You captured perfectly the reasons why Ocarina of Time is our number one, why it’s the game of games that officially made me a fan for life of this wonderful entertainment medium. I cried when I finished that game. I spent hours and hours in Hyrule hunting down that Hylan Loach, finding all of the Golden Skulltulas, uncovering every single hidden grotto and scouring the landscape for Poes. Never had I played a game like it and I haven’t since. It’s what made me fall in love with video games. Your piece captured EXACTLY why. It was like you took the words right out of my heart and spilled onto my screen what it was I couldn’t remember.

    From the deepest part of my heart thank you. You’ve done a great service for me today. Katharine Byrne is exactly the type of journalist we need more of on the interwebs. It’s been a very long time since I’ve read a good piece of gaming journalism that had any heart or spirit woven into. This was a serious refresher and I can tell you are a true vidya fan and have a wonderful ability to clearly express why that is. Keep it up!

    Thank you again for the boost, you made my day :’)

    Thumb up 2
    • 7 points
      Katharine Byrne says...

      Thanks so much for the kind words, Exare! Your comment truly means the world to me. If there’s one reason why I write about games, it’s what you’ve so elegantly put into words yourself. In turn, your comment has done me a great service today, too, so thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts, and I hope you continue to enjoy our work here at Nintendojo :)

      Thumb up 0
  • 12 points
    Exare says...

    As I always do!

    Time to go closet diving for the ’64. Hope my joystick’s not all limp and noodly.

    Thumb up 0

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Log In 0 points Log in or register to grow your Ninja Score while interacting with our site.
Nintendojo's RSS Feeds

All Updates Podcast
News Comments
Like and follow usFacebookTwitter Friend Code Exchange + Game with Us Join the Team!