Since my good friend Warren has been posting his Game Travels pieces, focusing on Dragon Warrior/Quest, on my site, it made me think about what this game meant to me growing up. It was interesting that he decided to focus on this specific set of games when he did, because honestly, I’d been thinking about them for a while. Now I’ve got a good reason to write a little bit about the games, particularly the original.
The original Dragon Warrior was the first real console RPG that I ever played, and I was very young when I got into it. The game was very different from most NES games that were out at the time, and rather than present a world where you slogged through action-filled areas or dungeons and vanquished foes, this game presented you with a neat story about traveling through a medieval kingdom, helping the locals, saving a princess held captive by a dragon, and bringing peace to a troubled land by slaying an ancient evil known as the Dragon Lord. Though this game still involved slaying enemies and all of that, it was a different experience. Also, since we didn’t see the original Final Fantasy in the U.S. until 1990, this was really one of the earliest console RPGs in this vein that was really popular.
I played and played and played the original game when I was little, but I eventually moved on and never completed it. It wasn’t until the Game Boy Color remake of the game that I sat down, focused once more on it, and played it all the way through to its end. It was a different, unique feeling – a thirteen or so year journey finally coming to a close as the Dragon Lord breathed his last breath.
What’s interesting, though, is that even though I have a lot of respect for the series, and own most all of the entries, I’ve failed to beat a vast majority of them, let alone even remove some of them from their shrink-wrap to play. Back on the NES, I never really played the second, third, or fourth entries, and since the fifth and sixth games were exclusive to the Super Famicom in Japan, I didn’t see those until many years later via emulation on my computer. Of course, most of these games have since been remade in one form or another (such as with the Nintendo DS releases), and I actually own most all of these. Still, I haven’t played much of them. Dragon Warrior VII on the PlayStation is a game I did really enjoy and played it pretty much through.
What’s interesting is that even though I’ve only dabbled in most of the games in this long-running series, it’s series I do know a great deal about. A lot of my knowledge comes from extensive reading about different plot points and the like on the various wikis, or checking out some of the theory posts online, etc. It’s neat seeing how these games fit together and enjoying the story that they tell. My limited direct experience, however, has been positive. I think that part of the reason I haven’t played most of the games even though I do own most of the series is related to what I just said; I already know how most of these games end and what the overall story is about. This, of course, is no substitute for playing the games, and they’re admittedly quite good, but I’ll say that it lessens the immediacy of my need to play them given the other games I still want to try.
Still, in many ways, I do have the original Dragon Warrior to thank for getting me into the world of console RPGs. My memories of that game were fond, and even if I look back on Final Fantasy IV and other games of that nature with a bit more investment of time, I can say that I’ll always remember playing Dragon Warrior 27 years ago (Wow, has it really been that long?!), and finally — years and years later – I’ve managed to complete it.