Final Fantasy Adventure was originally designed as a tennis game

Final Fantasy Adventure tennis Seiken Densetsu

I just live to learn random factoids about classic Japanese video games that I took for granted as a kid. Today, we have an especially random one to share about Final Fantasy Adventure for Game Boy (Seiken Densetsu in Japan), the original Mana game. According to a programmer for the game, Final Fantasy Adventure apparently began life as an “experimental tennis game.”

This revelation comes via professional Japanese-to-English localizer Clyde “Tomato” Mandelin of Legends of Localization. He translated a particular quotation among several provided by the Seiken Densetsu development team for a Japanese Seiken Densetsu guide book. (Specifically, it’s this guide book with the blue bottom. There is a similar-looking guide book without the blue bottom that lacks the developer quotes.) You can see his translation on Twitter.

If you can’t easily read that, you can read the translation of what the programmer said here:

This game actually started out as an experimental tennis game. At some point, the court turned into scrollable screens, the racket turned into the playable character, the ball turned into a weapon, the opponent’s racket turned into enemies, and the “court” became referred to as the “map”… And before I realized it, a story was added into it and then the game was released as “Seiken Densetsu.” It was a curious experience.

So, uh, yeah. If you love Final Fantasy Adventure, Secret of Mana, or any other Mana game, it might amuse you to know that it all began with a desire to make some nice tennis on the Game Boy. I love that.

Let us know what you think of this strange surprise in the comments down below. Then let us know if you’ve been playing this game in Collection of Mana, or if you’ve been waiting for the pretty physical edition like me.


John Friscia
Head Copy Editor for Enthusiast Gaming, Managing Editor at The Escapist. I'm a writer who loves Super Nintendo and Japanese role-playing games to an impractical degree. I really miss living in South Korea. And I'm developing the game Boss Saga!