Hello fellow nerds! I will freely admit that I have been thin in my YouTube uploads this year, but I am working to rectify that! In the latest video I’ve posted, I discuss the first entry in a long-venerated RPG franchise: Dragon Quest! With character designs by acclaimed Dragon Ball creator Akira Toriyama and music by Koichi Sugiyama, the series has catapulted to new heights of success over its four-decade life.

Under hyping and Underperforming

Dragon Quest series logo

The wonderful thing about the Dragon Quest series is that while the entries may seem similar on the surface, they all have a magic all their own that makes each title worth every hour poured into it to find each little bit of side content that fleshes the worlds out so beautifully. Each entry in the series takes the best parts of previous entries and adds some flair all its own. In Dragon Quest you’re a lone hero saving a kingdom, in Dragon Quest II you have an entire PARTY and you’re saving the entire planet, in Dragon Quest III you’re given a, rudimentary in hindsight but innovative at the time, job system to define both WHO and WHAT your party is comprised of. Needless to say, the series has become an industry standard since it’s inception and will most likely continue to be for however many more iterations of it await us in the future.

Dragon Quest, or Dragon Warrior in the U.S. until the release of 2005’s Dragon Quest VIII, which synched the naming of the series both in Japan and overseas, was a smash hit in Japan from the initial release. The original release of Dragon Quest was May 27th, 1986 and was developed by Chunsoft and released by Enix. It originally debuted on the Nintendo Famicom but was popular enough to be ported to the MSX, MSX-2, PC-9801, Super Famicom, Game Boy Color, Nintendo 3DS, PlayStation 4, mobile phones, and the Nintendo Switch. There were high hopes for the same to happen in America, so much so that 1 million copies of the game were printed and expected to sell. However, sales were dreadfully lower, and Nintendo had to resort to giving the title away with new subscriptions to Nintendo Power.

So many copies of Dragon Warrior were given away in the United States that even as of the writing of this article, a loose cart of DW1 on NES will go for no more than $10 U.S. At the same time, the following three entries on the same platform fetch EXORBITANTLY higher prices for the cart alone, let alone manuals and packaging.

Despite its less than stellar North American launch Dragon Quest is regarded as a pivotal title in the history of Japanese Role Playing games and video games in general. The year it was released famed Japanese magazine Famitsu awarded Dragon Quest with Game of the Year, Best Scenario/Story, Best Character Design, and Best Role Playing Game and programmer Koichi Nakamura received the award for Best Programmer. That coupled with iconic manga creator Akira Toriyama and composer Koichi Sugiyama Dragon Quest was destined for greatness in the foreseeable future…in Japan at least.

Things to Come

What started off as a little title on the Famicom to prove RPGS can be played on consoles has become the gold standard for Role Playing games. Few series’ can compete with the illustrious history of the Dragon Quest series, so come with me as I start to dive into the fantastical world of Dragon Quest! For all of its flaws and admittedly antiquated gameplay mechanics, I still recommend this game for anyone who wants to get into the series or experience a straightforward Japanese role-playing game. In my next episode, I go into further detail about why the Nintendo Switch port should be the version anyone buys. As this is the series that started everything, I believe each title deserves an in-depth look into what makes IT unique and why it’s enjoyed the world over, so look forward to upcoming episodes on this beloved game franchise!