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Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Dragon Quest

(background music)

So there's this series of games that have been around forever. You've probably heard of Dragon Quest, which has both dragons and quests.
This is a series that is ridiculously faithful to its roots. A lot of the gameplay elements and even the sound effects can be traced back all the way to the original game.

And the lead developers? The guys who made that original game decades ago? They're still around and deeply involved in every DQ title that's released.

  • Yujii Horii created Dragon Quest. Because he's awesome.

  • That music you're listening to right now came from the head of composer Koichi Sugiyama, who on his off-time likes to say things like, "The rape of Nanking never happened! Japan is innocent of everything! We were going to double-cross the Nazis and win WWII for the Allies, but the Americans fucked it all up!"

But the art I have strung up all over this post does not belong to Toriyama. This is all the work of Katsuya Terada and Shuji Imai, who were employed to scrub out the Japanese look and give us Americans a more acceptable presentation.

You can see for yourself that they did an incredible job. So incredible that as far as I was concerned Terada and Imai's work was how the game really looked. That shit on the TV was just a bunch of placeholders to give you a basic idea of what was going on.

What the game looks like, unfiltered.
In my head the fantasy realm of Alefgard DID NOT look like this.
And here's what it looks like after my imagination
fills in the blanks.

Dragon Quest (known as Dragon Warrior in the States) was the first RPG I ever played. I'm positive that if I hadn't first picked up The Legend of Zelda then Dragon Warrior would've been the title that guaranteed I'd be trapped as a gamer for the rest of my life.

I'm pretty sure I swung my NES controller around a lot as a kid during monster encounters.
It makes sense, right?
Because the controller was a sword?...
And I ate lots of sugar...

Years later I'd have Dragon Quest VIII to thank for my longest single-player, single run session of any game. I clocked in at 120 hours, and I enjoyed every second... Except for the load times.

At the end of the game, I married a horse.

No, I'm serious. You beat DQ8 and marry a horse.

Just recently I picked up Dragon Quest 9: Sentinel of the Starry Skies, and I say this without the slightest speck of nostalgia staining my opinion: This game is so fucking good.

In DQ9 you play as an angel with wings and a halo and a Mission From God, scoping out monsters that might be looking to hurt innocent villagers and then dispatching them Old Testament-style by flying in at Mach 2 and cutting 'em all down with your holy blade.

So what did I get to do in my first half-hour of play?

  • Chose my hair-style.
  • Fought a cucumber.
  • Cleaned the horse crap out of a stable.
  • Played a direct hand in what might ultimately lead to the end of all mankind.

As you read this, I am playing Dragon Quest 9.
No, it doesn't matter what hour or day it is.
Trust me, I'm playing Dragon Quest 9.

"I keep telling you, man. I'm the Chosen One! Now give me your gold coins."


  1. If you like Dragon Quest so much, you should consider adding this practical and totally affordable item to your collection.

    If you don't, what kind of fan are you, really?

  2. You know what?
    That's a really ugly chest.