Saturday, October 2, 2010
Like I said yesterday, I was playing Dragon Quest since I was 5 or 6 years old. My father originally got the games for the NES since he was into fantasy storylines as well as video games. I used to watch him play and get all excited seeing him kill a monster on screen. From just watching him, I also learned what monsters were hard and which weren't. I was still learning how to read then, not very good at it. I think I started my own journey on the first game without really knowing what to do, but just recalling what I could remember my dad doing. I couldn't talk to townsfolk for help because... I couldn't understand what they were saying! I recognized the symbols of shops and inns so I could survive, and I was able to recognize numbers for the most part, so figured the more expensive the item is, the more powerful it would be. In the first game, that was true, but after awhile, that strategy started to fade.
One time, when playing Dragon Warrior 4, I did not know how to spell my name. By that time I was able to read somewhat decently, so I could get farther in the games. But since I did not know how to spell my name, I decided to just spell a simpler word. And the word that came to mind? Ass. But I wanted to use as many letters as I could, so my hero's name was "Assssssss." I figured no one would notice either, even if it was a bad word, since normally I wasn't being watched when I played the game. Also, you don't get to play as the hero of the game until 4 chapters of other characters, so I figured I'd have plenty of time to play without getting in trouble. However... I was playing the game one night while my aunt and grandparents were over, parents were in the room talking to them as I played. And OF COURSE, they happen to pay attention as soon as I finish chapter 4, so I would be encountering the hero next. I forgotten about the name thing by this time as well. The intro text of the chapter pops up, and it says, "In a small village, unknown to everyone, the hero of the world, Assssssss, lives..." In my mind I was cursing to myself at how much trouble I'd be in, but my family instead laughed their asses off. :P
The game did help me learn to read as I played it. I recognized the common words on screen, such as "defeated" and "level up." This increased my vocabulary a lot, but it also hindered me in some ways at school. For instance, I thought "level"'s definition was when you kill enough monsters, you get levels (or in the case of mario games, I would think it meant the next part of something). I was proud that I knew the meaning of some words over other people because of the game though. I knew what a "legend" meant, and the meaning of being "cursed" (as opposed to others who though curse always meant bad word). I also think the game series got me into reading more since I liked hearing about adventures so much, I'd read about other people's adventures. Those "Choose Your Own Adventure" books were becoming one of my favorites.
Around middle school age, we got our first computer that had internet. I started searching and found ROMs out for the first time. Of course I downloaded Dragon Warrior 1-4, but then I found out there was a 5 and 6 that never came to USA. I attempted to download those as well, but was disappointed there were no english versions. More searching around, and I found a walkthrough to the game. It was a bit difficult at times, but I managed to beat both of the games after a month or so of playing them. The walkthrough wasn't very helpful for when I got into battles. I wasn't sure what the options were exactly... So I started writing down charts and other info for what I needed to know to make battles run smoother. I was also lucky that when buying equipment, the attack and defense values would show the increases BEFORE buying so I could see what the wiser purchases were. It sucked when I had to remember what key items were where though, as I had to go down the list, trying each item out until it worked. I eventually made it through both games after a few months of hard work. I don't know if I'd have as much patience to do something like that now, heh. :P
I'm really glad the game series bounced back after a dry period of so many years. I've managed to beat all the games so far from 1-9, and almost all the side series that came to USA as well (some exceptions; I didn't have a playstation when two side series came out here and I haven't encountered them since, and I keep putting off to do the Dragon Quest Sword game for Wii). I've based a lot of my stories I write around Dragon Warrior themes because of how much it affected me. And if you like RPGs (especially old school type) I recommend you trying it out too. Obviously because of my exposure to Dragon Quest at such a young age, I prefer it over Final Fantasy. In fact, I haven't played many Final Fantasy games either.