Dragon Warrior (Dragon Quest)

This page is part of a larger page titled, “Let’s Play (Classics)!

Dragon Quest, otherwise known as Dragon Warrior in earlier incarnations, is a popular Japanese RPG series.  In fact, in Japan, as I understand it, Dragon Quest is more popular and overshadows Final Fantasy as the premiere RPG series.  For those in Japan, if this is true, this is in contrast to the United States (or North America) where Final Fantasy overshadows Dragon Quest by far.  Final Fantasy here in the states has a long history of selling consoles, at least that was the case for me when Final Fantasy VII came out for the Playstation.  But that’s another series for another let’s play series.

Dragon Quest was spearheaded by Yuji Horii (堀井 雄二) and was inspired by his own game Portopia Serial Murder Case, as well as that of Wizardy and Ultima.  Mr. Horii graduated from Waseda University and has worked as a writer for various media in his native Japan.  Mr. Horii was a fan of the RPG games of the time, including as written, but found that what we would come to later call “casual” gamers found those types of games difficult.  Thus began his work on developing what he considered a more simple, or intuitive control interface, that easily mapped to the Nintendo Entertainment System.  Mr. Horii is quite influential, in fact, his second game, Portopia, inspired Hideo Kojima (小島 秀夫) of Metal Gear fame.  Mr. Horii currently heads a production company with an exclusive contract with Square Enix known as Armor Project.

Dragon Warrior (Dragon Quest) for the NES

The first game in the series came out for the Nintendo Entertainment System (otherwise known as the Family Computer or Famicom in Japan) in 1986, and got a North America port in 1989.  It was a stellar success in Japan, but was received a little less favorably in the western markets.  However, it’s still regarded as the great-grandfather of the console RPG genre.

To quote my game review for the original NES:

Dragon Warrior is a particularly special game to me, I grew up with this original game and can remember many times where I spent a bored afternoon wiling away at a desert’s monsters gaining experience.  Blood-brother actually beat the game on his own, without a strategy guide, when this game was considered to be the state of the art.

I used to own the original cartridge, but one day I decided all my old games were taking up too much space and I sold it to Games Ahoy, a local game shop.  I have a little thing which I call my ‘game machine’ which actually allows you to play old games that you have a ROM for.  It’s portable, and it’ll hook up to a TV with a digital RCA signal, so instead of cartridges and old boxes that don’t work (my NES in Handyville doesn’t work) I just use my game machine to play all my old games.

Dragon Warrior was originally published in Japan as Dragon Quest, and is the first game in a long series of games that helped define a genre.  Dragon Warrior was arguably one of, if not the first, JRPG’s to be released on consoles.

Above is the playlist for Dragon Warrior (as it was played in my original youth in the United States) that shows the game from beginning to end.  As outlined above, I covered quite a bit about what this game is about and where it’s from, as well as its pros and cons, in my game review.

However, I do have a post series on the game itself, a work in progress.

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