So for some reason I had it in my head that I wanted to import that Dragon Quest trilogy for Switch. But, ugh, the price on that sucker felt a bit too steep given that it's ultimately three mobile ports of NES games. And to be honest, I don't even feel like the mobile ports look all that good.
But I had it in my head that I needed a copy of Dragon Quest because it was my first RPG as a kid and I don't know, I was feeling nostalgic. It turns out that the GBC port - which I have played and enjoyed - is now pretty expensive. So I guess I could seek out a NES cart of Dragon Warrior, but eh, I also kind of wanted the quality of life improvements (namely: being able to save anywhere) of the remake.
It dawned on me I could just buy the eShop game. I'll be honest, I REALLY prefer physical versions of games. But here we are. The trilogy was $50 to import, or I could nab the first game - the one I was in the mood to play - for $3 on sale. Oh, and because I had some eShop coins saved up... it was technically "free" for me to grab that game. So yeah. I got that version.
That was weeks ago. And it just sat on my home screen saying "hi" whenever I went and fired up Overwatch instead. So last night I figured, eh, maybe I'll give that one a shot for a while.
Like I said, Dragon Warrior was my first RPG. Final Fantasy was my second. And I vastly preferred FF, mainly because of the four-character party. But Dragon Quest bursts with personality. I can't hear that music without thinking of getting my free copy of the game from Nintendo Power back in the day. It was possibly the most awesome magazine promotion EVER. Ever.
Now about this Switch/mobile port. First of all... it looks like a mobile port. And I might have a sickness, because I did actually (try to) play this on Android some years back and was disturbed by how poor the Android version felt. In fairness, that was with touch controls and a forced portrait mode. PORTRAIT mode! Why??? The Switch version has neither of things, so I feel better. But I'll be honest here: it's ugly. At least the Hero is ugly. He doesn't look like he belongs in the same series of games as like those DS releases. Which feels weird. But whatever.
If you've never played Dragon Quest (or any of its sequels) you should know this: it opens up SLOW, dudes. Like real slow. And I spent about an hour grinding around the first town until I had enough loot for the best stuff at the shops. By then I was level 5. And so I went up to the little cave up north and read the tombstone and then went to the second village where - you guessed it - there's more expensive gear. So now I'm grinding around there.
I don't think I've ever taken the time to actually beat the first DQ. And I don't think it's actually a super long game. So I guess maybe I'll use this as sort of mindless grinding while listening to TV. For now. We'll see how it goes.
Mindless grinding while listening to TV? Yes!
I'm now level 10 and have done a fair amount of grinding for new armor and other stuff. My take on leveling has been thus: I go to a new town, check out the shop. I then take note of how much money I'll need to buy the absolute BEST stuff there, and then go out and kill stuff for an hour or whatever until I have enough for that best stuff. And there's your grind. But y'know what? It's kind of nice.
Having recently played through the DQXI demo, I'm in a total DQ fandom phase right now. Like, the other morning I sat and watched the first half of the new DQ Netflix movie with my daughter (who's teething by the way...). And I was just really in the mood for more DQ but didn't want to go out and buy a new game, so I just figured I'd get back into the first one. And dammit if I'm not having fun. The nostalgia bomb is in full effect.
It's funny how tastes change over time. But then again, time itself is funny. Or rather our perception of time - that perception itself changes over time. When you're a kid, everything feels like a long time. Then you grow up and time won't stop barrelling down the highway.
I was nine years old when Nintendo Power sent out free copies of Dragon Warrior. And while I thought the game was cool - I was really intrigued by all things Dungeons & Dragons at the time - I was far too young to really appreciate a slowburn like this. I didn't have the patience to grind, nor did I understand the necessity.
I was in my twenties when I played the GBC port of the game, and while I was drawn into the nostalgia of replaying it - again, I wasn't yet patient enough to truly savor the game. At the time, I was more into the fast-paced genres like shmups and fighters. Who has an hour to grind the same patch of a map to gain enough gold for new armor? I'll tell you who: a dude in his late thirties.
Last night my wife put on This Is Us, and I listened to the cabin saga unravel as I walked around hoping to find some Golems for big gold. I needed to get 7,700 gold for the magic armor that would replenish health as I walked. If this sounds boring to you, then you're just not there yet. For me, it was a perfect quiet night.
Look, Overwatch is pretty much my favorite game like ever. But sometimes playing that before bed is just too much for my brain. It makes it tough to get to sleep. (The same can be said for Tetris). But Dragon Quest? It's perfect for slowing things down.
Anyway, I got my magic armor and went off and rescued a princess from a dragon. This is the stuff of my D&D dreams as a kid. I know I've said for years that I prefer Final Fantasy games, but lately, I don't know. Maybe I don't need all the crazy or the teen angst anymore. Maybe tastes change. Maybe the pure and simple joy of Dragon Quest is exactly what the late thirties version of the gamer Me really needs.
It took me thirty years, but I can finally say I've beaten Dragon Quest. It was an awesome victory for me. And I was a bit nervous going into the final boss at level 20 (the level cap is 30) but I walked away unscathed, no problem.
The bigger victory is that I've walked away with this huge new love and respect for the Dragon Quest series. I'm hooked. These games rule.