D = Dragon Quest, A to Z Blog Challenge

After the gruesome subject of yesterday’s blog choice and the research I did (much of which did not make it into the blog post), I have decided to make the rest of the week a little lighter.

So, today we have video games!

The first role playing game I ever played was Dragon Warrior on the NES at my aunt and uncle’s house. I was always reading fantasy, so they thought I would like the game. Very young and primarily used to Mario games, when I first played, I had no idea what to do. I remember saying, “Hey! That slime hit me! How to do I dodge?!” I was indignant when they told me that I couldn’t. Dodges were random and I couldn’t control them. I almost stopped playing right there. “You mean I have to let them HIT me?”

When I got over that, I was hooked. It’s strange for people raised in the PlayStation era or beyond to understand how we could have played something that looked like this:

 

This was the world you traveled over. Don’t judge.

This was the world you traveled over. Don’t judge.

 

I played the second one and was thrilled that you could have three party members. THREE! And the box cover was awesome (and still is, to an extent).

Dragon Warrior II box art

Dragon Warrior II box art

The party members were assigned random names. Of course, there are hacks we know of now to change the names, but we didn’t know them then. It sucked when you had a female sorceress named Peta. For an entire game. It sounds like weak flatulence followed by a distasteful surprise. Yet this one is probably the one I have the fondest memories of, just because it seemed SO much bigger and so vast compared to the last one, and it was easy to get lost in. (I know. Now we have Skyrim and Dragon Age. But you can’t compare. Times were different, kids!)

The chibi characters have more charm than the dramatic box art, but I love them both.

The chibi characters have more charm than the dramatic box art, but I love them both.

I fell out of Dragon Warrior for years, largely thanks to Final Fantasy. Honestly, I think the next one I owned was for the GameBoy Color and was Dragon Warrior III. The menus were clunky and I could see the potential there, and it was mighty and good, but I couldn’t get into that version. I skipped it. I have since been told that this is a sin. I got Dragon Quest VII (by this time, the true name of Dragon Quest replaced the Americanized name of Dragon Warrior).

The translation for this game cracked me up. I was cackling the entire way through. Then the other games started coming out for the Nintendo DS, so I snatched every last one of those up. I think after the second one, I loved IV the most. The cast, the way the separate stories were stitched together, the fact that you had a fortune teller character, the little witch-looking girl who was actually a brawler, the randomness of the merchant. It was in all ways awesome.

The lovely cast of Dragon Quest IV, drawn by Mr. Akira Toriyama, of Dragon Ball Z and Chrono Trigger fame.

The lovely cast of Dragon Quest IV, drawn by Mr. Akira Toriyama, of Dragon Ball Z and Chrono Trigger fame.

The series is wildly popular in Japan, to the point where Enix (as it was)/SquareEnix (as it is) cannot release a Dragon Quest game on a school day. Several have been released in Japan for the DS, and now for the Wii U we are up to something like Dragon Quest X. However, I want to leave you with one thing. Graphics have never been the strong suit of Dragon Quest — gameplay, charm, and design rule. Yet it has upgraded, so I leave you with a comparison between the battle screens for Dragon Quest I and Dragon Quest VIII. Progress doesn’t mean that you have to leave behind charm.

Dragon Quest I battle screen.

Dragon Quest I battle screen.

Dragon Quest VIII battle screen.

Dragon Quest VIII battle screen.

Alternate letter considerations: Deadites, deadlines, demonologist, Dune.

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~ by Darren Endymion on August 5, 2015.

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