10 things you may not know about DRAGON QUEST

To celebrate the release of the first three games in the series on Nintendo Switch, here's some fun trivia!
By Duncan Heaney
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There are few series in gaming as prestigious - and long-lasting - as DRAGON QUEST.

With the recent release of the first three games in the series - DRAGON QUEST, DRAGON QUEST II: Luminaries of the Legendary Line and DRAGON QUEST III: The Seeds of Salvation - Nintendo Switch owners have an opportunity to see where it all began.

These three games help set the template for JRPGs, but that’s far from the only notable thing about them. With that in mind, here are 10 fascinating facts about these classic games.

1. The first DRAGON QUEST was titled DRAGON WARRIOR in the US

Back in the long, long ago of 1989, the first DRAGON QUEST game was released in the United States… except it had a different name.

Due to copyright concerns about a tabletop role playing game called DragonQuest, the NES classic was renamed DRAGON WARRIOR instead.

And the series continued to operate under that name in the US until 2005, and the release of the PlayStation 2 classic DRAGON QUEST VIII. Since then, the DRAGON WARRIOR name has been officially retired.


2. The Slime debuted in the first game in the series

Ah, what would DRAGON QUEST be without the humble Slime? This beloved blue blob is a true icon of the DRAGON QUEST series… and it’s been present from day one!

The original DRAGON QUEST was the first game to feature the monster, and since then it’s appeared in every single game in the series - both numbered sequels and spinoffs. In fact, it’s the only monster to appear in every game.

That’s why it’s become the series mascot - well, that and artist Akira Toriyama’s timeless design. How could you not love that grinning gloopy face?

3. This is the first time that the original DRAGON QUEST games have been on console in Europe

The Nintendo Switch release of DRAGON QUEST, DRAGON QUEST II: Luminaries of the Legendary Line and DRAGON QUEST III: The Seeds of Salvation marks the first time that these classic games have been available on console outside of Japan and North America.

That said, it’s not the first time these classic titles have been re-released. In their native Japan alone, the original DRAGON QUEST games have been available on multiple platforms, including (deep breath…) the MSX computer, Super Famicon (the Japanese name for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System), Gameboy Color, cellphones, the Nintendo Wii, Android, iOS, the Nintendo 3DS and more.

It’s amazing to think that over the 30+ years since the first DRAGON QUEST was released, people have continued to play the game. That’s a testament to how good it really is.


4. The first DRAGON QUEST was a free gift in Nintendo Power

American gamers of a certain age will fondly remember Nintendo Power - the beloved magazine that was full of tips, tricks and news about the latest games.

It was something of an institution, and for a while, if you subscribed, you’d get something extremely cool - free copy of DRAGON QUEST (well, okay - a free copy of DRAGON WARRIOR, but let’s not quibble about names).

5. There was a DRAGON QUEST reference in the very first FINAL FANTASY game

If you wander into the town of Elfheim (or Elfland) in the original FINAL FANTASY on Nintendo Entertainment System (NES), you’ll find an amusing reference to the DRAGON QUEST series.

In town is a gravestone that reads: “Here lies Erdrick, 837 - 866, RIP”. Erdrick is, of course, the legendary hero of the DRAGON QUEST series.

Interestingly, this Easter Egg is only available in the original NES version - in more recent releases of the game, the grave reads: “Here lies LINK” instead.

Can’t imagine what that’s referring to.


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6. There’s another big DRAGON QUEST reference in FINAL FANTASY XII

In FINAL FANTASY XII, it’s possible to get a sword called the Wyrmhero Blade. It takes a bit of work to get, but it’s worth it because it’s essentially a big shout out to DRAGON QUEST.

Not only does it look very similar to Erdrick’s Sword - a legendary weapon that appears in the first three DRAGON QUEST games - it even plays DRAGON QUEST sound effects when you use it.

There’s also one more nod that’s pretty deeply hidden - if you sell the Wyrmhero Blade, you’ll get 65, 535 gil. That’s the maximum amount of XP you can get in the original DRAGON QUEST.

7. DRAGON QUEST BUILDERS is a sequel to the first DRAGON QUEST game… sort of

We’re going to dance around this one a bit because of spoilers. Yes, we know DRAGON QUEST has been around for a long time now, but some of you might be about to experience it for the first time, so we don’t want to ruin any surprises.

At a key point in the original DRAGON QUEST, the hero is offered a choice. We’ll avoid specifics, but you have to essentially choose whether to stand against the bad guy, or team up with him.

While the first option is very obviously the ‘true’ path, if you choose the darker road, you’ll see an alternate ending to the game.

DRAGON QUEST BUILDERS takes place after the events of this alternate ending. Let’s just say, it didn’t work out well for the world…

8. DRAGON QUEST BUILDERS 2 is a sequel to DRAGON QUEST II… sort of

The sequel to DRAGON QUEST builders keeps up the tradition with strong links back to DRAGON QUEST II.

It’s set after the events of that game, but in this world, the evil Children of Hargon cult found their second wind. What’s more, you quickly encounter a hilariously grumpy young man called Malroth - a name you’ll know very well once you’ve played DRAGON QUEST II: Luminaries of the Legendary Line.

What’s great about DRAGON QUEST BUILDERS 2 is that you don’t need to know anything about the older games to enjoy it - but if you do, you’ll be smiling constantly at the references.

9. DRAGON QUEST creator Yuji Horii has worked on every game in the series to date

The great Yuji Horii is recognized as the creator of DRAGON QUEST. Not only did he work as scenario writer and designer on the original trilogy, he’s s been involved in every single game in the series since - including spin-offs like DRAGON QUEST HEROES!


10. There’s a DRAGON QUEST café in Tokyo

If you find yourself in Tokyo, you might want to check out Luida’s Bar - an amazing DRAGON QUEST-themed café.

It’s decorated with more references to DRAGON QUEST than you can shake a Dracky at: replica swords, artwork, game packaging - everything a fan could hope for.

That theming extends to the food too. Fancy eating a steamed bun in the shape of Slime? I mean, who wouldn’t, right?

The first three DRAGON QUEST games are available now on Nintendo Switch:

To stay up to date with the latest news about the series, make sure you follow DRAGON QUEST on social media:

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