I found Final Fantasy during the PS1 golden age. Starting with 7, I was quick to get subsequent PS1 releases as soon as they were available. And thanks to a previous game being bundled with Chrono Trigger, I discovered that too.
My favourite was 9 because it hit a lot of more traditional fantasy notes than the sci-fi infused 7 and 8 did, though I do have a really big place in my heart for those two as well.
Games in the series after 9 have been unfortunately overlooked by myself, because I didn’t get a PS2, but I did get a few tastes of gameplay while around friends’ houses. 12 in particular intrigued me because I was already familiar with Ivalice after Tactics and Vagrant Story, but I barely got to experience that game.
X/X-2 on PS4 is probably one of the next games I’ll buy for myself, maybe even ahead of 15, so I can try and catch up.
I did have a big stint in ARR with my Lala a year or 2 ago. I think I played primarily as a healer. The opening cinematic really set the tone I love from the series but I found the MMO itself to be too unfocused to really deliver that connection to the worlds and characters that I love the games for. They normally dump a heavy dose of faux nostalgic feeling for the new world you’re experiencing on you, and it didn’t really deliver that for me.
That’s what I’d hope to be able to emulate in my own games if I were to take anything from the series. That immersion into the world and the nostalgic connection to it all. Some of the greatest stories from the series to me aren’t even the main plot, they’re the interwoven stories from times before your arrival into the game. Zack and Aeris/Aerith in 7. Laguna and Julia in 8. The history of Madain Sari in 9. I’m guessing this aspect applies almost wholly to Titus and Zanarkand, yeah I kind of had that entire game plot spoiled without ever having properly played it
But yeah, it’s that in game nostalgia that I like in the series.