Greatest Game of 1989: Dragon Warrior

A game of the year draws near…

Dragon Warrior

First, let’s get a few things straight. Dragon Warrior is better than you. Dragon Warrior is better than your girlfriend, your wife, and certainly better than your children. Dragon Warrior is better than Mother Theresa and better than Leonardo DaVinci. In fact, if Mother Theresa and Leonardo DaVinci had a benevolent, saintly, inventor superchild, Dragon Warrior would be so much better than him.

Now that we have the proper mindset, let’s begin.

Without slimes, rainbow bridges, and Tantegel Castle, you wouldn’t have Sephiroth or Kefka.

That’s right. I said it.

“Dragon Warrior has been credited with establishing the basic template for the Japanese RPGs that followed.” – Wikipedia

Wikipedia said it too! Bottom line is Dragon Warrior laid the foundation for the most influential RPG series of all time. And, for the record, Dragon Warrior is still an epic ongoing hit series in Japan, although it’s known there as Dragon Quest.

There is no better hero than Dragon Warrior’s

Let’s quickly sum up the main character’s story arc. You’re a random dude who walks up to castle, just minding your own business, probably just picking up some eggs or something. Then all of a sudden everyone in town is telling you to go save the princess from a dragon. Whoa! Slow down there! You’re not a fighter, you’re a skilless chump of a man. Then, before you can hit the road, the King gets up in your business and tells you to save his daughter. Then you finally say, “Whatever, I’ll do it,” and forget your original quest to get eggs for the Western omelette you were hoping to make. Then, armed with a bamboo pole, you go out and kill 1,000 monsters and save the Princess from a dragon. Then, even though the Princess is super clingy and annoying and you don’t love her at all, you refrain from hurting her feelings and even go so far as to promise to save her entire kingdom. So THEN, you kill literally 2,000 more monsters until you can finally take on the heavy known as the Dragonlord. Needless to say, you crush his face in with your bamboo pole and save the kingdom. The end.

Wait, that’s not the end? There’s more character-based awesomeness? Yep! After you crush every monster and single-handedly save everyone’s life, the King finally acknowledges your ungodly skills by offering you his entire kingdom as a reward. Seems fair,right? Well, you’re too goddamn humble to accept it, and you tell the King that you’re going to go get your own kingdom (just like you were previously planning to do with the eggs). Then you head off into the sunset with the Princess. You leave the king with all of his fortune AND you rid him of his horror of a daughter. Now that’s called being a class act.

There is no better rogues gallery than Dragon Warrior‘s

I could write four articles just about red and green slimes and another ten just about metal slimes…oh wait, he ran away. If you doubt the popularity of slimes, there’s a good chance you’re going to be seeing them re-emerge to battle Mario on the Wii U. So get ready to cast “HURTMORE” on Mario’s stupidass mustache.

Drolls. WTF are Drolls? Awesome sauce is what they are.

Druins. God save humanity if these things ever appear on earth.

Goldmen. Was there ever a greater thrill in an RPG than crushing a monster made of gold and then filling your coin purse with his remains?

Ghosts…with hats. Just think that until I was eight years old I had no idea that ghosts can often be found wearing fancy hats. So Dragon Warrior is educational as well.

I shall name you…Erdrick?

I’m still not positive, but I have a sneaking suspicion that one of the main characters referenced in Dragon Warrior is the victim of a brutal misspelling during translation. That hero’s name is Erdrick. Now, we all know fantasy movies, books, and games can have some goofy-ass muthaf*ckin names, but Erdrick? That’s all kinds of wrong.

The best cost-to-fun ratio of my life

Through my Nintendo Power subscription, I received Dragon Warrior for free. That’s right. You’re probably thinking, “How could they send you all of the goodness you described above for no cost?” Well, back before Game Informer and GameStop’s unholy alliance, video game magazines used to do cool stuff. (I’m looking at you, PC Gamer, with all of your splendid demo discs.)

I estimate I played through Dragon Warrior about six times in my life. At roughly 20 hours per play, that’s a total of 120 hours whomping slimes. Now, let’s take that and multiply it by $0 dollars…carry the zero and…infinity. It simply isn’t possible to get more fun out of something so free.

I beat Dragon Warrior in one sitting

In college my friend Matt and I had an unwholesome Dragon Warrior addiction. One weekend we decided to have a Dragon Warrior marathon to see who could finish the game first. It took us 17 hours of grinding, 100 Hooters chicken wings, a confused search for the Silver Harp, and some “button napping” (when you fall asleep playing a video game but your hands keep moving like they know what they’re doing).

The addiction even spread into the classroom. In Astronomy, when I had to calculate the line of sight from the moon to the earth by identifying two spots on the earth, I wrote down “Hauksness & Rimuldar.” I got the question right. That’s the power of Dragon Warrior.

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