I started with either FF IV/II for the SNES or Mystic quest. And as for how i feel about the series now, i love it, and that is not a joke. Then again, judging from most of these posters i'm one of the few who actually like the FFXIII games. I would rather play XII then X, XIII then VII, and i'd rather play IV then any of them. And is it just me, or for every person on this board who likes the XIII games, theres 100 people who think that they are idiots?
FFVI. I loved Chrono Trigger, and ended up playing FFVI, since they were both Square games released around the same time. Loved it. Thanks to CT and FFVI, I got into VII, then VIII, etc. I was awe-struck by how amazing the storytelling was, how simple or intricate the gameplay could be depending on your playing style, how mind-numbingly gorgeous Uematsu's soundtracks were and how perfectly they fit the game's scenes, and how engrossing the game could be. I went back and played through all the previous FF games, Chrono Cross, SaGa Frontier...you name it, I was all over it if it was Square.
Then...XII diverted from the path. It wasn't bad, but no matter how hard I tried, it wasn't as epic or enjoyable. The parts of the storyline were there to make an epic, they just didn't come together. And the gameplay was an attempt to modernize the JRPG style, and I didn't enjoy it.
And XIII followed. This game I cannot accept, no matter how many times or how hard I've tried to enjoy it. They removed everything that gave Final Fantasy games the elements that would suck a player in and make them feel like a part of the story. Instead of an accessible world with choices to make, they gave us a ridiculously convoluted - and, for all their effort to make it SOUND epic and complex, terribly explained - setting, littered with a thousand hallway scenarios to auto-battle through.
It made me realize that there was a reason they've been rehashing their classics nonstop and milking subsidiary franchises for so long as opposed to putting out the same measure of original content they used to.
But then...gaming is changing, and this is the trend. I see what they're trying to do, and I don't blame them for it, I just hate what it is.
I had beaten a couple handheld RPGs and 1 other console RPG before getting into Final Fantasy.
My first FF was IX. Loved it. It was a pretty good one to start on, with it being a throwback to the classic games. That's why I expected the rest of the series to have that style and tone. Unfortunately, I had to search to find those.
After IX, I played VIII and didn't particularly like it. I got VII some time later and didn't care too much for that one either. Then I got Tactics, which enthralled me, but I never got around to finishing it. Then FFX came out, and I was adequately pleased with it. Then I finally got around to the old 2D games and adored them (with me liking VI about as much as IX).
XIII was the worst RPG I have ever played in my life. I refuse to ever play XIII-2 or LR.
I started rather late for someone my age. VII was hyped up so much that I had to give it a shot and it was actually the first turn based RPG I ever played. I didn't like it but I eventually warmed up to it but it wasn't until I played X that I developed a respect for the series and I went back and tried some of the older games out.
Well, I could be wrong, but I believe diversity is an old, old wooden ship that was used during the Civil War era.