This is not the first time, nor will it be the last time we mention the original Dragon Warrior for the Nintendo Entertainment System. A more seminal game does not exist when referring to the rise of the RPG. There were others of course, but none had the same widespread acclaim that the original Dragon Warrior had. To say this is near the top of our very favorite games, much less retro games, is an understatement to say the least.
Dragon Warrior set the stage for 3 decades worth of a franchise. A franchise that still continues to produce top notch and well received games. Heck the latest installment of the Dragon Quest series, Dragon Quest XI, is set to release in America sometime in 2018 on the PS4 and the Nintendo 3DS. At some point it will release on the Nintendo Switch, though at the moment that’s still TBA.
What is it about this game and the entire series that resonates so much with the gaming community? It was first among the great console adventure rpg’s, the original Adventure on Atari notwithstanding. Final Fantasy would follow and absolutely make a name for itself, but I think its very hard to see Final Fantasy even existing without the creation and success of Dragon Warrior.
Let’s try to figure out why this game struck such a positive cord with, well everyone.
As the ancestor of Erdrick you are tasked by the king of Alefgard to save the princess and defeat the evil Dragon Lord. It’s a simple request that took many of us years to complete. Today though the game can be beaten in under 30 minutes by the best speed runners around. The last time I played it, it took me about 10 hours to complete. I’m no speed runner.
As the ancestor of Erdrick you have very little instructions or directions aside from the king’s high brow speech. You leave the king’s throne room and head into an evil land filled with monsters bent on your destruction and a population not too keen on helping you out. The first enemy you meet will most assuredly be one of the iconic blue slimes, a main stay in the franchise. As you progress you’ll meet all manner of baddies ready to spell doom for the ancestor of Erdrick. As you defeat these enemies you level up and become stronger and stronger, learning new spells and gaining gold to purchase new items.
The “grind” as we call it was the way you dealt with harder portions of the game. If you can’t handle certain enemies, you back track a bit, grind your levels up, buy better weapons, and continue on your journey. This “grind” taught us patience and delayed gratification. It kept us calm knowing we could always work a little harder to be better prepared. It’s this, the simplicity of the story, and the enormous game that unfolds as you play that really made this game something special.
We hope you enjoy our discussion of this NES classic. It’s stood the test of time and will continue to delight we retro gamers into our later years. Here’s to Dragon Warrior, Dragon Quest, and a continued growth of the franchise!
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