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Square Enix’s 16-Bit Interpretation Of “Final Fantasty XIV” Shows That Games Haven’t Changed That Much

This looks like the most epic SNES showdown of all time.

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Gamers who grew up in the 16-bit era of the Super Nintendo and Sega Genesis can find themselves intimidated by the lush, lovely graphics and highly-stylized gameplay of 2014-era games–and that’s never made more clear than when a franchise that existed in the early ’90s continues to make games tailored for the PlayStation 4 and the XBox One generation of consoles.

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Square Enix, maker of the staggeringly long-lived Final Fantasy series–which launched on the 8-bit Nintendo in 1989–has long been finding ways to revisit its old games for a new generation of players that’s more accustomed to cut-scenes, 3-D action, and high-performance graphics. But in this new video the company posted to YouTube last week, they flip the script: Instead of, say, redeveloping Final Fantasy IV for current-generation devices, they take Final Fantasy XIV–which will be released with the subtitle A Realm Reborn for the PS4 next month–and retrofit the design to the 16-bit era.

The result is a video that serves as a reminder for old-timers that the games of today, while featuring plenty of cosmetic changes, still have a lot in common with the era of gaming they grew up with. Ultimately, as the video proves, fighting an evil bearded monster wearing a diaper in a 16-bit, choppily animated battle sequence isn’t that much different from fighting an evil bearded monster wearing a diaper that’s been rendered in stunning 3-D with HD graphics. Progress, in the end, is only a short Chocobo ride away.

About the author

Dan Solomon lives in Austin with his wife and his dog. He's written about music for MTV and Spin, sports for Sports Illustrated, and pop culture for Vulture and the AV Club

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