Chocobo Racing

Chocobo Racing, known in Japan as Chocobo Racing: Genkai e no Rōdo (チョコボレーシング 〜幻界へのロード〜, lit. "Chocobo Racing: Road to the Spirit World"), is a racing game for the PlayStation game console. The game was developed by Square Co., creators of the Final Fantasy series of video games. The game was first released in Japan in March 1999. North American and European releases followed that year.

As a formulaic kart racer, Chocobo Racing is often compared to Mario Kart and Crash Team Racing.[2] The game's star and namesake is the Chocobo, the mascot of the Final Fantasy series. Other figures from the game series, such as Mog the Moogle, the Black Mage, and Cid, fill out the all-Final Fantasy cast.[3] Most of the game's soundtrack is composed using tunes from previous Final Fantasy titles.

The game was later released in Japan alongside Chocobo Stallion and Dice de Chocobo as part of the Chocobo Collection. On December 20, 2001, the game was re-released individually as part of the PSone Books series. The game received generally average reviews, citing its low quality in several aspects of gameplay.[2][4]

It was released in Japan as a PSOne Classic on February 10, 2009.[5]

Chocobo Racing
Cracingbox
North American cover art
Developer(s)Square
Publisher(s)
  • JP: Square
Director(s)Takashi Tokita
Producer(s)Shinji Hashimoto
Artist(s)Toshiyuki Itahana
Writer(s)Takashi Tokita
Composer(s)Kenji Ito
SeriesChocobo series
Platform(s)PlayStation
Release
  • JP: March 18, 1999
  • NA: August 10, 1999
  • EU: October 11, 1999
  • JP: February 10, 2009 (PSOne Classic)[1]
Genre(s)Racing
Mode(s)Single-player, multiplayer

Gameplay

In Chocobo Racing, the player controls Final Fantasy-inspired characters, most of whom race in go-karts. Other characters fly, drive scooters, ride magic carpets, or even run.[6] Players have five different racing modes to choose from: Story Mode, Versus Mode, Grand Prix, Relay Race, and Time Attack. In the Story Mode, players are guided through the story of Chocobo Racing, which is narrated by Cid, in the form of an onscreen version of a pop-up book. Players who complete the Story Mode are given the chance to customize their own racer; completing the Story Mode also unlocks secret character racers.[7] In the Versus Mode, two players can race each other on a horizontally split screen, where one player races viewing the top half of the screen and the other player races viewing the bottom half. In Grand Prix (GP) Mode, the player races computer-controlled opponents in four selected tracks of his or her choice. In Relay Race Mode, the player chooses three racers to compete in a relay match.[8] In Time Attack Mode, the player can select any stage and try to beat the fastest time record set there.[9] There are ten track options: Cid's Test Track, Moogle Forest, The Ancient Gate, Mythril Mines, The Black Manor, Floating Gardens, Gingerbread Land, Vulcan-O Valley, Fantasia, and F.F.VIII Circuit.[10]

While racing, the player can accelerate, brake, reverse, activate Magic Stones, or use a "special ability" using the game controller's analog stick and buttons. An additional move is the skid, which is executed by simultaneously braking and accelerating into a turn; as the game's cornering technique, the skid can be used to take sharp turns quickly. If the player skids too sharply, however, a spin out will occur. Before the start of any race, the player's character receives a speed boost if the player accelerates at the correct time during the countdown.[11]

Chocobo racing screenshot ability
In this example screenshot, the White Mage activates the "Barrier" ability to defend against magical attacks. The "special ability" gauge in the upper left-hand corner of the screen will not recharge until the Barrier vanishes.

In the world of Chocobo Racing, Magic Stones are scattered throughout each course, and can be picked up by the player by driving through them. Magic Stones can also be stolen from opponent players by bumping into another player. The player can then activate the Magic Stone for some special effect. Activating a Haste Stone, for example, gives the character a short speed boost. In some Magic Stones, the power of the stone increases if more than one of the same stone is picked up by the player. Each stone is represented by a corresponding symbol on the racetrack, while stones marked with question marks represent random Magic Stones, which grant the player either a Haste Stone, Fire Stone, Ice Stone, Thunder Stone, Minimize Stone, Reflect Stone, Doom Stone, or Ultima Stone.[12]

Special abilities are another important aspect of Chocobo Racing. Before each race, the player is prompted to assign a special ability to the selected character. During a race, the player can only activate the chosen special ability when the meter in the upper left-hand corner of the screen is full. After using the special ability, the player must wait for the meter to recharge to use it again.[13]

Plot

Setting

Chocobo Racing borrows themes and elements from Final Fantasy I to Final Fantasy VI. The Story Mode is narrated by Cid and includes nine chapters in a pop-up book fashion with FMVs. To progress, the player needs to defeat the chapter's respective challenger. Before each chapter begins, the player is given the option of viewing the story or skipping to the race except when playing the Story Mode for the first time.

Characters

The cast of Chocobo Racing is drawn from recurring creatures and characters from the Chocobo's Dungeon and Final Fantasy series. Eight characters -- Chocobo, Mog, Golem, Goblin, Black Magician, White Mage, Chubby Chocobo, and Behemoth—are immediately available, and additional, secret characters such as Cactuar, Bahamut, Cloud, Aya, and Squall may be unlocked after completing Story Mode.[6]

Story

Chapter one, titled "Gadgets a go-go," begins with the inventor Cid presenting Chocobo with a pair of "Jet-Blades" and offers Chocobo a chance to take a test-run with them on the racetrack behind his lab.[14] After the race, Mog the Moogle drops in and asks Cid about the progress of the racing machine he'd commissioned.[15] Cid promises to bring the machine by tomorrow, but later confides to Chocobo he'd forgotten it.[16] The next day, after presenting the doubtful Mog with his scooter,[3] Chocobo and Mog race. After Chocobo wins, Mog confronts Cid over his vehicle's poor performance, but Cid replies that Chocobo won because of the differences in their abilities (i.e., Chocobo's "Dash").[17] He explains that the secret of Chocobo's "Dash" ability is the Blue Crystal on his leg-ring.[18] Mog mulls over his inferior "Flap" ability and decides he wants a Blue Crystal as well, so Cid recommends that the two go on an adventure to find out the secret of the Blue Crystal.[19]

The two head out to discover the secret behind the Blue Crystal, meeting (and racing) many along the way. When they reach Mysidia, the village of mages, a White Mage there notices that all the companions have Magicite, which the companions had previously referred to as "Blue Crystals." The companions want to know the legend behind the Magicite shards; the White Mage agrees to tell them on the condition that they race her in the Floating Gardens, with the story as the winner's prize. Upon winning, she tells them of the legend: "There are Magicite Shards scattered all over the world. It used to be one large Magicite Crystal...But people kept fighting each other over it. So the founder of Mysidia, the great magician Ming-Wu, broke the Crystal into eight pieces. He then scattered the shards to the four winds. He did so to assure later restoration of the Magicite Crystal...when all eight pieces are brought together again."[20]

After this discovery, the companions continue to search for other racers in possession of the crystal shards. Upon defeating Behemoth in a race, the monster joins their ranks, bringing the party's number to eight. The companions then notice that their Magicite shards begin to glow,[21] and Mog discovers that he possessed Magicite all along.[22] The convergence of all eight shards of the Magicite crystal fulfills Ming-Wu's prophecy, and the gate to Fantasia, the Land of the Espers, opens. When the companions arrive in Fantasia, they are greeted by Bahamut, King of the Espers. Bahamut decides to test their worth with a final trial,[23] and welcomes their attempts to defeat him in a race. After the race, Bahamut acknowledges the powers of the group. He goes on to rhetorically ask if the companions knew why Ming-Wu broke up the Magicite, and explains the legend once more.[24] Bahamut is pleased with the companions, noting that humans, moogles, chocobos, and monsters all came together in goodwill. In celebration, he decides to leave the portal between the world and Fantasia open, declaring that "Fantasia shall exist in harmony with your world from this day on."[25]

Upon completion of the Story Mode, players are assigned a number of points determined by their performance, with a maximum of one hundred. Using those points, the player is given the option of creating a racer with customized color and performance. The point value is distributed among five parameters: Max Speed, Acceleration, Grip, Drift, and A.G.S., which determines how fast the racer's ability gauge charges. A maximum of twenty points can be assigned to each of the five racing parameters. Customized racers can be used in all of the game's modes except for the Story Mode, and only the main characters and Bahamut are open to customization.[7]

Development

The first demonstration of Chocobo Racing was at the Fall Tokyo Game Show '98; it was then unclear if there would be a North American release. IGN editors noted its striking similarities to Mario Kart.[26] In the release of Chocobo's Dungeon 2, a bonus CD included a video clip of the game.[27] Originally slated to be released in late September/October, the release date was moved to August 1999 because "It was done early, and is now ready to go".[28]

Music

Chocobo Racing Original Soundtrack is a soundtrack album produced by Square. It was released exclusively in Japan on March 25, 1999 by DigiCube, and sold roughly 35,000 units. The soundtrack bears the catalog number SSCX-10030 and spans a duration of 57:17.[29] Almost all of the tracks are arrangements of music Nobuo Uematsu composed for Final Fantasy games, arranged by Kenji Ito.[29] The only exception is the song played during the final song, "Treasure Chest In The Heart", which is a vocal track orchestrated by Shirō Hamaguchi and performed by Hiromi Ohta. In the English version of the game, it is performed by Vicki Bell.[29]

Reception

Reception
Aggregate score
AggregatorScore
GameRankings61%[30]
Review scores
PublicationScore
AllGame2/5 stars[31]
EGM6.0 of 10[30]
Famitsu30 of 40[32]
Game Informer6.25 of 10[30]
GameSpot4.4 of 10[2]
IGN5.6 of 10[4]

Chocobo Racing sold 300,000 units in Japan.[33] Doug Perry of IGN said the game was an attempt by Square to "cash in" on the popular kart racer genre created by Nintendo's successful Mario Kart.[4] Other reviewers agreed, calling it “a tired rehash” due to its colorful but unpolished graphics, crude track designs, and poor controls.[2][34]

1UP.com's Final Fantasy Retro Roundup stated that it was a “decent game” ruined by the necessity of steering with a D-pad, and was rated "Not Worth It".[35] Many similarities were noted with Mario Kart such as similar course themes and the need to "power slide".[2][34] It was also called too easy, with story mode lasting only two hours and there being limited replay value except for the unlocking of secret characters and courses.[34] Other critiques included a lack of a battle mode and limited customization.[4][34] The music was thought to be average, though the last song of the story mode was “strikingly beautiful”.[34]

Cancelled sequel

At Nintendo's E3 2010 press conference on June 15, 2010, a new Chocobo Racing title, tentatively titled Codename: Chocobo Racing 3D, was announced for the Nintendo 3DS handheld system.[36] However, on October 10, 2013, Takashi Tokita, director of the original Chocobo Racing, confirmed that the project had been cancelled, noting that had he been part of its development process, he "would have made sure that it came out."[37]

References

  1. ^ "チョコボレーシング ~幻界へのロード~". PlayStation.com(Japan). Sony. 2009-02-09. Retrieved 2009-02-10.
  2. ^ a b c d e James Mielke (1999). "Chocobo Racing for PlayStation Review". www.gamespot.com. Retrieved 20 May 2006.
  3. ^ a b Mog: "Hey, Cid...you don't mean THIS thing's the world's fastest racing machine!?" (Chocobo Racing)
  4. ^ a b c d Doug Perry (1999). "IGN: Chocobo Racing Review". www.ign.com. Retrieved 21 May 2006.
  5. ^ "チョコボレーシング ~幻界へのロード~". PlayStation.com(Japan). Sony. 2009-02-09. Retrieved 2009-02-10.
  6. ^ a b Square Enix staff, ed. (1999). Chocobo Racing instruction manual. Square Co. pp. 4–5.
  7. ^ a b Square Enix staff, ed. (1999). Chocobo Racing instruction manual. Square Co. pp. 6–7.
  8. ^ Square Enix staff, ed. (1999). Chocobo Racing instruction manual. Square Co. pp. 10–11.
  9. ^ Square Enix staff, ed. (1999). Chocobo Racing instruction manual. Square Co. pp. 8–9.
  10. ^ Square Enix staff, ed. (1999). Chocobo Racing instruction manual. Square Co. pp. 22–24.
  11. ^ Square Enix staff, ed. (1999). Chocobo Racing instruction manual. Square Co. pp. 2–3.
  12. ^ Square Enix staff, ed. (1999). Chocobo Racing instruction manual. Square Co. pp. 18–19.
  13. ^ Square Enix staff, ed. (1999). Chocobo Racing instruction manual. Square Co. pp. 16–17.
  14. ^ Cid: "I made a racetrack behind my lab here." (Chocobo Racing)
  15. ^ Mog: "Heh heh heh...I heard that he was gonna make a machine for Chocobo...so I ordered one for myself too!" (Chocobo Racing)
  16. ^ Cid: "I kinda fergot about his machine." (Chocobo Racing)
  17. ^ Cid: "Wh-why of course not! It's all because of the differences in your "abilities", not my machines!" (Chocobo Racing)
  18. ^ Cid: "The secret of Chocobo's "DASH" is the Blue Crystal on his leg-ring." (Chocobo Racing)
  19. ^ Cid: "Say...why don't ya fellas go out on an adventure to find out what that secret is?" (Chocobo Racing)
  20. ^ White Mage: "There are Magicite Shards scattered all over the world. It used to be one large Magicite Crystal...But people kept fighting each other over it. So the founder of Mysidia, the great magician Ming-Wu, broke the Crystal into eight pieces. He then scattered the shards to the four winds. He did so to assure later restoration of the Magicite Crystal...when all eight pieces are brought together again." (Chocobo Racing)
  21. ^ White Mage: "Look! Our Crystals are starting to glow!" (Chocobo Racing)
  22. ^ Mog: "What the...? My totally wicked head-bopper is glowing too!" (Chocobo Racing)
  23. ^ Bahamut: "I shall place upon you a final trial... to see how worthy you really are." (Chocobo Racing)
  24. ^ Bahamut: "That is true. Mankind has fought over the Magicite for aeons..." (Chocobo Racing)
  25. ^ Bahamut: "Fantasia shall exist in harmony with your world from this day on." (Chocobo Racing)
  26. ^ IGN Staff (October 15, 1998). "Chocobo Brings Surprise Extras". www.ign.com. Retrieved 30 May 2006.
  27. ^ IGN Staff (December 11, 1998). "Chocobo Brings Surprise Extras". www.ign.com. Retrieved 30 May 2006.
  28. ^ IGN Staff (May 27, 1999). "Chocobo Racing Moves On Up". www.ign.com. Retrieved 30 May 2006.
  29. ^ a b c Lau, Aaron (25 August 1999). "Chocobo Racing Original Soundtrack". Soundtrack Central. Retrieved 6 April 2008.
  30. ^ a b c "Chocobo Racing - PS". GameRankings. Retrieved 31 March 2008.
  31. ^ Matthew House. "Chocobo Racing". AllGame. Archived from the original on 2014-11-14. Retrieved 22 May 2008.
  32. ^ プレイステーション - チョコボレーシング ~幻界へのロード~. Weekly Famitsu. No.915 Pt.2. Pg.19. 30 June 2006.
  33. ^ "Square Game List". 2002. Retrieved 21 May 2006.
  34. ^ a b c d e Johnny Liu (1 August 1999). "Game Revolution Review Page". Game Revolution. Retrieved 4 April 2008.
  35. ^ Jeremy Parish (8 December 2007). "Final Fantasy Series Roundup". 1UP.com. Archived from the original on 25 September 2012. Retrieved 31 March 2008.
  36. ^ Nintendo E3 Network | Nintendo 3DS
  37. ^ Spencer (October 10, 2013). "Chocobo Racing 3D, One Of Square Enix's First 3DS Games, Will Never Leave The Coop". Siliconera.com. Retrieved October 12, 2013.

External links

Chocobo

The Chocobo (Japanese: チョコボ, Hepburn: Chokobo) is a fictional species from the Final Fantasy video game series made by Square and Square Enix (since 1988). The creature is generally a flightless bird, though certain highly specialized breeds in some titles retain the ability to fly. It bears a resemblance to casuariiformes and ratites, capable of being ridden and otherwise used by player characters during gameplay. Chocobos first appeared in Final Fantasy II and have been featured in almost all subsequent Final Fantasy games, as well as making cameo appearances in numerous other games. A spin-off Chocobo series featuring chocobos has also been created.

Final Fantasy III

Final Fantasy III is a role-playing video game developed and published by Square in 1990 for the Family Computer as the third installment in the Final Fantasy series and the last main series game for the console. It is the first numbered Final Fantasy game to feature the job-change system. The story revolves around four orphaned youths drawn to a crystal of light. The crystal grants them some of its power, and instructs them to go forth and restore balance to the world. Not knowing what to make of the crystal's pronouncements, but nonetheless recognizing the importance of its words, the four inform their adoptive families of their mission and set out to explore and bring back balance to the world.

The game was originally released in Japan on April 27, 1990. The original Famicom version sold 1.4 million copies in Japan. It had not been released outside Japan until a remake was developed by Matrix Software for the Nintendo DS on August 24, 2006. At that time, it was the only Final Fantasy game not previously released in North America or Europe. There had been earlier plans to remake the game for Bandai's WonderSwan Color handheld, as had been done with the first, second, and fourth installments of the series, but the game faced several delays and was eventually canceled after the premature cancellation of the platform. The Nintendo DS version of the game was positively received, selling nearly 2 million copies worldwide.

It was also released for the many other systems: the Japanese Virtual Console version (Famicom version) on July 21, 2009 (Wii) and January 8, 2014 (Wii U), an iOS port of the Nintendo DS remake on March 24, 2011, an Android version on March 12, 2012, a PlayStation Portable version on late September 2012 (downloadable only version outside Japan via PlayStation Network) and Microsoft Windows via Steam in 2014.

H.a.n.d.

h.a.n.d. Inc. (ハ・ン・ド, ha.n.do), abbreviation of Hokkaido Artists' Network and Development, is a Japanese video game developer. The company originally started as a service selling Macintosh hardware and software to universities before the Mac platform was widely known. When competition in the field increased, h.a.n.d. reorganized to develop original software.h.a.n.d.'s earliest known game is Treasure Strike: Full Swing, developed in collaboration with publisher, Kid, who released the PC follow-up to the Dreamcast original in 2004. The company consists of two other divisions—North Point Inc. for the development of mobile phone apps and other software, and S.N.S. Inc. who work on social games for Facebook and Mixi for external publishers.

Hironobu Sakaguchi

Hironobu Sakaguchi (坂口 博信, Sakaguchi Hironobu) (born November 25, 1962) is a Japanese video game designer, director, producer, writer, and film director. He is best known as creator of the Final Fantasy series, which he conceived the original concept for the first title Final Fantasy and also directed several later entries in the franchise, and has had a long career in gaming with over 100 million units of video games sold worldwide. He left Square Enix and founded a studio called Mistwalker in 2004.

Kenji Ito

Kenji Ito (伊藤 賢治, Itō Kenji, born July 5, 1968), also known by the nickname Itoken (イトケン), is a Japanese video game composer and musician. He is best known for his work on the Mana and SaGa series, though he has worked on over 30 video games throughout his career as well as composed or arranged music for over 15 other albums, concerts, and plays. He learned to play several instruments at a young age, and joined Square directly out of college as a composer in 1990 at the advice of a professor. He worked there for over a decade, composing many of his best-known scores. In 2001, he left Square to become a freelance composer, but has since continued to collaborate with the company.

Since leaving Square, Ito has composed soundtracks to over a dozen games, and has branched out into composition and production of music for plays and albums for other performers. Ito's work has been performed in a concert dedicated to his pieces as well as general video game music events, and he has played the piano in additional concerts. Pieces of his from the SaGa and Mana series have been arranged as piano solos and published in sheet music books.

List of Chocobo media

The Chocobo series is a collection of video games published by Square, and later by Square Enix, featuring a recurring creature from the Final Fantasy series, the Chocobo, as the protagonist. The creature is a large and normally flightless bird which first appeared in Final Fantasy II and has been featured in almost all subsequent Final Fantasy games, as well as making cameo appearances in numerous other games. The Chocobo series of video games contains over 20 titles for video game consoles, mobile phones, and online platforms. These games include installments of the Mystery Dungeon series of roguelike video games, racing games, adventure games, and minigame collections. Although the various games of the series have different game styles and are generally unrelated except by their inclusion of a Chocobo as the main character, Square Enix considers them to be a distinct series.The first game in the series, Chocobo no Fushigina Dungeon, is a Mystery Dungeon game released in 1997, while the latest is Chocobo no Chocotto Nouen, a 2012 farming game for the GREE mobile platform. Another game in the series, Chocobo Racing 3D, was cancelled in 2013. A new game, Chocobo's Mystery Dungeon Every Buddy, is planned for release in early 2019. In addition to Square and Square Enix, the games have been developed by several other companies, including h.a.n.d., Bottle Cube, and Smile-Lab. Eight albums of music from Chocobo games have been produced and published by Square Enix, DigiCube, and Toshiba EMI, and an additional album of Chocobo-related music from both the Chocobo and Final Fantasy series, Compi de Chocobo, was released in 2013.

List of Final Fantasy video games

Final Fantasy is a video game series developed and published by Square Enix (formerly Square). The first title in the series, the eponymous Final Fantasy, premiered in Japan in 1987, and Final Fantasy games have been released almost every single year since. Fifteen games have been released as part of the main (numbered) series. Sequels, prequels, spin-offs, and related video games have been published, as well as numerous titles in other media forms. Each game in the main series takes place in a different fictional universe rather than serve as direct sequels to prior games, although some titles have received sequels, or prequels, set in the same universe.

Most of the games have been re-released for several different platforms, many of which have been included in bundled releases. The series as a whole is primarily composed of role-playing video games, but also includes massively multiplayer online role-playing games, third-person shooters, tower defense games, and tactical role-playing games. Final Fantasy games have been released on over a dozen video game consoles beginning with the Nintendo Entertainment System, as well as for personal computers and mobile phones. The series is Square Enix's most successful franchise, having sold over 100 million units worldwide as of June 2011, across both the main series and its spin-offs. Final Fantasy's popularity has placed it as one of the best-selling video game franchises.

List of Square Enix compilation albums

Square Enix is a Japanese video game developer and publisher formed from the merger on April 1, 2003 of video game developer Square and publisher Enix. The company is best known for its role-playing video game franchises, which include the Final Fantasy series, the Dragon Quest series, and the action-RPG Kingdom Hearts series. For many of its games, Square Enix has produced albums of music containing songs from those games or arrangements of those songs. In addition to those albums, it has produced several compilation albums containing music from multiple games or series made by the company. These albums include music directly from the games, as well as arrangements covering a variety of styles, such as orchestral, piano, vocal, and techno. This list includes albums produced by Square, Enix, or Square Enix which contain music from multiple games in the companies' catalog which are not a part of a single series. The first of these was Personal Computer Music by Enix in 1987. Dozens of albums have been published since, primarily through Square Enix's own record label.

Several of the albums have sold well, placing on the Japanese Oricon Albums Chart. Drammatica: The Very Best of Yoko Shimomura reached position 179, as did SQ Chips. SQ Chips 2 reached position 102, Love SQ reached 176, Chill SQ reached 236, Symphonic Fantasies reached 102, More SQ reached 107, Cafe SQ reached 134, Battle SQ reached 72, and Beer SQ reached position 81. The music on the compilation albums was originally composed by numerous composers. Among those well-represented are Nobuo Uematsu, long-time composer of the Final Fantasy series; Masashi Hamauzu, composer of various Final Fantasy, Chocobo, and SaGa games; Yasunori Mitsuda, composer for the Chrono series and Xenogears; Kenji Ito, who composed for several SaGa and Mana games, and Yoko Shimomura, composer for the Kingdom Hearts series.

List of Square video games

Square was a Japanese video game development and publishing company founded in September 1986 by Masashi Miyamoto. It began as a computer game software division of Den-Yu-Sha, a power line construction company owned by Miyamoto's father. Square's first titles were The Death Trap and its sequel Will: The Death Trap II; they sold over 100,000 copies, a major success for the time. In September 1986, Square spun off from Den-Yu-Sha and became an independent company officially named Square Co., Ltd. While its next few games sold poorly, 1987's Final Fantasy sold over 500,000 copies, sparking the company's flagship series.Square was best known for its role-playing video game franchises, which include the Final Fantasy series. Of its properties, this franchise is the best-selling, with total worldwide sales of over 100 million units. During its existence, the company developed or published dozens of titles in various video game franchises on numerous gaming systems. On April 1, 2003, Square merged with video game publisher Enix to form Square Enix. This list includes retail games developed or published by Square during its existence.

Minigame

A minigame (also spelled mini-game or mini game, sometimes called a subgame or microgame) is a short video game often contained within another video game, and sometimes in application software or on a display of any form of hardware. A minigame contains different gameplay elements than the main game, may be optional, and is often smaller or more simplistic than the game in which it is contained. Minigames are sometimes also offered separately for free to promote the main game. For instance, the Pokémon Stadium minigames involve merely pressing a few buttons at specific intervals, with little complexity. Some minigames can also be bonus stages or secret levels.

Music of the Chocobo series

The Chocobo video game series is a spin-off series composed of over a dozen games developed by Square Co. and later by Square Enix featuring a super deformed version of the Chocobo, a Final Fantasy series mascot and fictional bird, as the protagonist. Several of the titles have received separate album releases of music from the game. The music of the Chocobo series includes soundtrack albums for the Chocobo's Mysterious Dungeon sub-series—comprising Chocobo's Mysterious Dungeon, Chocobo's Dungeon 2, and Final Fantasy Fables: Chocobo's Dungeon—and soundtrack albums of music from Chocobo Racing, Final Fantasy Fables: Chocobo Tales, and Chocobo and the Magic Picture Book: The Witch, The Maiden, and the Five Heroes, as well as an album of arranged music from Chocobo's Mysterious Dungeon and a single entitled Chocobo no Fushigina Dungeon Toki Wasure No Meikyuu: Door Crawl for the theme song of Final Fantasy Fables: Chocobo's Dungeon.

The first album of the discography released was the soundtrack to Chocobo's Mysterious Dungeon, Chocobo no Fushigina Dungeon Original Soundtrack. It was released by DigiCube in 1997 and was reprinted by Square Enix in 2006. An arranged album of music from that game was released in under the title Chocobo no Fushigina Dungeon Coi Vanni Gialli by DigiCube in 1998, and soundtrack albums to Chocobo's Dungeon 2 and Chocobo Racing were released the following year, also by DigiCube. There were no further album releases in the series until 2006, when Square Enix produced a download-only soundtrack to Final Fantasy Fables: Chocobo Tales. The latest releases in the series are the soundtrack to Final Fantasy Fables: Chocobo's Dungeon and a combined soundtrack for Chocobo Tales and The Witch, The Maiden, and the Five Heroes, both of which were released by Square Enix in 2008.

PlayOnline

PlayOnline is an online gaming service created by Square (now Square Enix) on January 28, 2000, and has been the launcher application and Internet service for many of the online PC, PlayStation 2 and Xbox 360 games the company publishes. Games hosted included Front Mission Online, Fantasy Earth: The Ring of Dominion, Tetra Master, and the Japanese releases of EverQuest II, Dirge of Cerberus: Final Fantasy VII and JongHoLo. As of 2018, the PC version of Final Fantasy XI is the only remaining game supported by the service.

PlayOnline was one of the first cross-platform gaming services and hosted hundreds of thousands of players at its peak. It was shut down for twelve days during the 2011 earthquake in Japan. The platform was also subjected to denial of service attacks and players attempting to cheat were subsequently banned. Starting with Final Fantasy XIV, Square Enix began moving their online games off the service as membership declined. The termination date for Final Fantasy XI and PlayOnline on PlayStation 2 and Xbox 360 was March 2016, with only the PC version of Final Fantasy XI still supported.

Richard Honeywood

Richard Mark Honeywood is a video game localization director and professional English/Japanese translator. He grew up in Australia, moving to Japan after graduating with degrees in computer science and Japanese from the University of Sydney. Honeywood initially worked for several Japanese video game developers as a programmer, but moved into localization after joining Square in 1997. He is credited with founding the localization department at the company which has been praised for its high quality translations. During his tenure at Square (later Square Enix), Honeywood expanded the team from Japanese to English translation to a partner of the development team, creating localized text and graphics for multiple languages and ensuring that the video game code supported multiple languages easily. In 2007, Honeywood left Square Enix for Blizzard Entertainment, where he served as the global localization manager for World of Warcraft until November 2010. He then moved to be the translation director for Level-5.

Shinji Hashimoto

Shinji Hashimoto (橋本 真司, Hashimoto Shinji, born May 24, 1958) is a Japanese game producer at Square Enix. He currently serves as the Final Fantasy series Brand Manager, as an Executive Officer at Square Enix and the Head of Square Enix's Business Division 3. He is also the co-creator of the Kingdom Hearts series. He served as corporate executive of the company's 1st Production Department during its entire existence.

Shirō Hamaguchi

Shirō Hamaguchi (浜口 史郎, Hamaguchi Shirō, born November 19, 1969) is a Japanese anime composer, arranger and orchestrator. He is best known for composing music to the anime franchises Girls und Panzer, One Piece, and Oh My Goddess! and arranging/orchestrating music in the Final Fantasy series. He frequently collaborates with fellow composers Kohei Tanaka and Akifumi Tada on anime scores.

Squall Leonhart

Squall Leonhart (Japanese: スコール・レオンハート, Hepburn: Sukōru Reonhāto) is a fictional character and the primary protagonist of Final Fantasy VIII, a role-playing video game by Square (now Square Enix). In Final Fantasy VIII, Squall is a 17-year-old student at Balamb Garden, a prestigious military academy for elite mercenaries (known as "SeeDs"). He stands 177 cm (5 ft 10 in) tall. As the story progresses, Squall befriends Quistis Trepe, Zell Dincht, Selphie Tilmitt, and Irvine Kinneas, and falls in love with Rinoa Heartilly. These relationships, combined with the game's plot, gradually change him from a loner to an open, caring person. Squall has appeared in several other games, including Chocobo Racing, Itadaki Street Special, and the Kingdom Hearts series, as Leon (レオン, Reon).

Squall was designed by Tetsuya Nomura, with input from game director Yoshinori Kitase. He was modeled after late actor River Phoenix. Squall's weapon, the gunblade, also made so that it would be difficult to master. In order to make players understand Squall's silent attitude, Kazushige Nojima made the character's thoughts open to them. Squall's first voiced appearance was in the first Kingdom Hearts game, voiced by Hideo Ishikawa in Japanese and by David Boreanaz in English; Doug Erholtz has since assumed the role for all other English-speaking appearances.

Squall had a varied reaction from critics, with some judging him poorly compared to other Final Fantasy heroes due to his coldness and angst, and others praising his character development. Nevertheless, the character has been popular, and his relationship with Rinoa resulted in praise.

Takashi Tokita

Takashi Tokita (時田 貴司, Tokita Takashi) (born 24 January 1965) is a Japanese video game developer working for Square Enix. He has worked there since 1985, and has worked as the lead designer for Final Fantasy IV as well as the director of Parasite Eve and Chrono Trigger.

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