I’ve always loved RPGs. At a very young age, I fell in love with the concept of a game telling me a story and sending me off on a grand adventure… even if I was too young to fully grasp what all was going on. I have memories of being a preschooler, repeatedly dying in the early dungeons of the original Final Fantasy on the NES. I didn’t quite get it, but I loved it.
It didn’t take long for me to get it though, and once I learned how to properly play an RPG, it was as exciting as learning how to finally read or speaking my first words; a world of discovery awaited me, with no signs of slowing down anytime soon.
Over the years, RPGs have become some of my favorite games: Chrono Trigger, Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars, Final Fantasy VII, VIII, IX, and X, Mass Effect, The Elder Scrolls, Persona, too many fantastic titles and franchises to name. I could write for hours and still not cover all the wonderful role-playing games that I have enjoyed over these past three decades.
Yet role-playing games are lengthy adventures, often encompassing upwards of 60 hours of playtime, and that’s on a single play through. I could have the freedom to play all the video games I want and I’d still not get to experience all of the fantastic games out there.
Perhaps the largest RPG franchise that I have not touched is the Dragon Quest series. It’s one of the oldest gaming franchises around, debuting in 1986, and credited with creating the Japanese RPG formula that Final Fantasy and so many others have emulated since. The title came to the west with the name Dragon Warrior, and while it was a moderate success, the series hasn’t ever really caught on in the U.S. like it did in Japan.
Dragon Quest has seen a massive resurgence in recent years. Dragon Quest XI has been a enormous hit, selling more than 6 million total sales worldwide and climbing. Around the time of the game’s port to the Switch in 2019, the protagonist of the franchise was added to the immensely successful fighting game Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. Just like that, Dragon Quest became a household name to millions of gamers around the globe.
Just last week, Square Enix celebrated the franchise’s 35th anniversary with some major announcements, in particular a 2D/3D hybrid remake of the third game, and the surprise tease of Dragon Quest XII, which promises to have a slightly more mature tone than the series is known for. There is no better time to be a fan of Dragon Quest than now.
I haven’t played any of the games, sadly. I hope to remedy that by year’s end. I’ve purchased the remastered versions of the first three games that are currently available on Switch, and secured the definitive edition of XI on Switch as well.
We all have noteworthy franchises that we haven’t experienced, be it because they are on consoles that we don’t own, or part of a genre we don’t often play, or, like with me, I just never had time or opportunity to play it. What are some of the gaming franchises that you plan to cross off your backlog list? Is there a reason you haven’t played it before now? I’m curious to know what games you aim to play for the very first time!