One of the things on my "to do" list this weekend was to go through some of the boxes in the closet. The television in the basement now has a Nintendo Gamecube, a SNES, and an old PSOne hooked up. Needless to say, this hasn't really helped my productivity today. After ensuring that my FFIII saves still exist, I switched over to the Playstation to play Final Fantasy Origins, which includes a port of the original Final Fantasy. These systems have been in boxes for at least three years, so it's been quite awhile since I've played the game at all. Currently I've been levelling up outside Elfheim. My party consists of a Fighter, a Red Mage, a White Mage, and a Black Mage. I've considered restarting with Fighter, Black Belt, Red Mage, White Mage for cheaper maintenance costs (magic users are expensive to upkeep) but I think I'll just continue as is. Actually, apparently with the Playstation release, Fighters have been renamed to Warriors, and Black Belts have been renamed to Monks.
The game balance of the original Final Fantasy is different from the later sequels. A considerable amount of time needs to be spent in random encounters, both to get experience for levelling, as well as for money to buy new equipment. While this clearly adds to the game duration, it tends to become a bit of a grind, which is one of the main reasons this game is seen as more difficult than the later games.
The game mechanics are also far more simple. There is no Active Time Battle system, everyone gets one action per round. There's no real way to influence stat growth by equipping particular items while you gain experience. It's challenging, nostalgic, but the game mechanics are almost too simplistic.
I originally got Final Fantasy on the Nintendo shortly after it came out, in 1990. Sometimes, it's hard to believe that it's been over twenty years.