I was around five years old when I played my first ever Final Fantasy game (suitably, Final Fantasy). I remember spending hours each day playing as much of it as I could understand until I hit a wall I couldn't climb: Gurgu Volcano. I stopped playing and turned to other games like Mega Man 5 and Ironsword: Wizards & Warriors II. Later on, my brother picked up Final Fantasy IV (or II, as it was called then) at a flea market. He had no trouble playing FFIV. However, the game proved to be a little difficult to me still, ultimately leading me to another wall I couldn't pass. It wasn't until sometime later my brother received Final Fantasy Mystic Quest, and it was then I found my first RPG love for the SNES.
If you're familiar with Mystic Quest, then you're aware that this game is incredibly easy to play. There is very little strategy involved (press A to win) and the final boss is a joke (Cure obliterates him). However, what I find charming about MQ is its enjoyable soundtrack. It might not seem so surprising because of what I look for in video games, but when I was that young I wasn't too interested in game music — it wasn't until Final Fantasy VI that I grasped what I really loved about video games. I liked the town themes, loved the dungeon themes (Doom Castle is my jam), and absolutely adored the battle themes. While it wasn't normal for me to like game soundtracks back then, the music positively shaped my opinion about Final Fantasy Mystic Quest. Even now, I secretly wish that Square Enix would remake MQ into an Action RPG, or even a Dynasty Warriors type game. Until then, I'll sit here hoping with Benjamin.
It's interesting how there is sometimes freedom in simplicity. Mystic Quest is a game that would probably become tedious to me now because it's designed to be simple when I've become used to complex systems to manage my characters and equipment, not to even mention battle strategies. I believe that if I were to tackle it again now, I'd attempt to make it into some sort of meditative Zen-like challenge. Playing it as a child, though, my imagination ran completely wild because those tasks were not there to focus on.
I imagined a long-lost civilization that created the various sand temples throughout the land, and that no one in the current world really understood how the teleportation worked. Those battlefields that were basically limited grinding opportunities? Well, oh my goodness, I pictured hordes of enemies sweeping the land. They had been advancing relentlessly for... however long the Focus Tower existed, and when the hero arrived, they got mowed down in a fashion befitting a battle foretold by a Prophecy. The transformations that the towns went through based on Crystal energy caused a lot of daydreaming too, as I pictured that rebirth and planned out what beautiful elementally-themed towns would look like. I guess it's fitting, then, that as I was captured by this game I also spotted it sparking a classmate's imagination. He turned in a story titled "The Dark King" that retold the final dungeon and battle. I didn't have the heart to tell on him because I wanted him to keep coming up with stories.