or Dragon Warrior as I knew it when I played the game as a wee child in the mid-1990s.
If you aren’t aware of Playing the Canon, it is a blog where Joel Newman is playing through the “canon” of video games. If that seems to be a horrible longform endeavor to you, you’re not alone, and I have a massive amount of respect for Newman for making the effort to play a massive number of games in a number of genres and on lots of different platforms.
His newest post on Dragon Quest is less about that game and more about the politics of grinding and how the process operates on a player and it is absolutely worth reading (and the best post on the blog so far, I think.)
A grand majority of Dragon Quest takes place walking in circles between Point A and Point B, because the protagonist is not strong enough at Point A to survive very long at Point B. Before any true progression can take place, levels must be won, hit points must be upped, new powers and weapons must be acquired. Yuji Horii, the game’s mastermind, developed this routine in a fit of alchemy more magical than anything in Dragon Quest‘s boilerplate fantasy plot. Horii looked at hardcore, Western computer RPGs likeWizardry and Ultima and translated their sadistic number-crunching into something any novice gamer could understand within a few button presses. Horii often mentions with pride thatDragon Quest can be easily beaten without a strategy guide and played at any level of skill. And he’s right; experienced players can use their inventories and spells in much riskier, under-leveled battles, which scaredy-cats and novices can wail on slimes and other weak monsters until they feel powerful enough to comfortably progress.