Final Fantasy wasn't the first RPG I ever played, but it was the first RPG I enjoyed.
Although I played through Dragon Warrior shortly after it was released in the States--all the way back in 1989--I didn't fall head over heels in love with the RPG genre until I worked my way through the formidable Final Fantasy about a year later.
this nasty little earworm) likely played a role, too.
All of those features and then some bring me back to the original NES version of Final Fantasy--I'm not a big fan of the GBA, PSone or PSP remakes--on an annual basis, despite the fact that the game is, as many critics and gamers proclaim (and complain), archaically clunky.
Even if I didn't regularly respond to Final Fantasy's siren call, though, it would have earned a place on this list--and in my heart--simply because it's the game that turned me into a lifelong RPG fan(atic).
See also: '10 video games that made my life gayer (#1): Bubble Bobble'