I remember it like it was yesterday - we were at a friend’s house, dicking around on the Atari 2600, when one of my friends wanted to show us this game he picked up for the Nintendo Entertainment System. We stopped our Custer’s Revenge shenanigans (we were young; we didn’t know any better!) and moved to the other room.
He powered on the good ol’ NES and lo, the strains of Final Fantasy started playing. He ran around, got into a fight with some wolves, and started to beat on them with a party of four intrepid adventurers. He let one of my other guy friends try it, and he got to beat on some imps.
When I asked if I could try it, he laughed and said I couldn’t because it was “too hard” for girls. Then he bragged that he had the special Nintendo Power issue that gave tips for Final Fantasy, and proceeded to show that off, too.
I remember getting pretty mad… so mad that I saved up my allowance (yes, I got an allowance; I was very lucky as a kid) and bought Final Fantasy for myself.
I fell in love instantly - it had strategy (you could make your own party! Hell yeah!), it had a storyline (well, as much of a story as you could have back then), and it definintely provided bang for the buck (tons of hours of gameplay for my 8-year-old self).
I plowed through it, without the Nintendo Power guide, and beat it before my friends did.
I’ve been in love with video games in general, and RPGs in particular, ever since.