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A few months back we dug out the old Super Nintendo and played Final Fantasy II. We could finish it under 15 hours of play back in the day, but a lot was forgotten over the years.

The Final Fantasy series really influenced our D&D games back in the day. First was the music–the soundtrack had to be found and played.

The second, perhaps unsurprisingly, were the stories. Every element our D&D campaign setting (in this case Greyhawk) had to be connected. Adventures were very linear at times.

So long as the players kept going on the story arc, neat stuff happened. But if they wandered off, well, it was like in the Final Fantasy series where they’d encounter wandering monsters until they got bored and went the way they were “supposed” to go.

The biggest downside: railroading! 

Players weren’t too pleased when the learned they had to go a certain or when an important non-player character just had to die. Or, even worse, when certain villains would just not die. (These sorts of things happened in the Final Fantasy video games all of

The biggest upside: our campaigns were EPIC–even at low levels.

There’s something to be said about “sandbox” style games, but linear games can have their place, too, so long as the players enjoy themselves.