Archive for January, 2016

The lost frontier

dw2nesWith the way games have changed, I wish I could go back and play Dragon Warrior 2 again for the first time. This game came to me in a time when I was just falling in love with the JRPG style or Medieval fantasy in general. Unlike other games in this genre, any Final Fantasy for instance, Dragon Warrior 2 is a direct sequel of the previous game in the franchise. The heroes of this game are descendants of the hero in the original Dragon Warrior. And, the game world has expanded world as you can now travel by boat through distant lands not available in the first. In fact, the quest begins in a distant land and later stumbling into lands of the original game blew my mind. A few generations have passed so places have changed a little, and descendants of notable characters can be encountered. This adds so much immersion and makes the world more real. I wish more games did this.

Super Mario 3 Strategy GuideAnother factor makes this game stand out for me. There were no guides, meaning when this game got me frustrated, I could either try again or go outside to play. In the same situation these day I would give in and look up how it’s done online. Back in 1992 when I was first playing this, I neither had internet access  nor did I yet know that the internet could be a resource for video game knowledge. The Strategy Guides industry hadn’t really got going yet. Just a few existed for those hot titles. Dragon Warrior 2 wasn’t nearly popular enough to have that kind of coverage. In fact, all I ever found was a one page article in Nintendo Power essentially advertising the existence of the game. Also, noting the obscurity of this game, I couldn’t even turn to my friends for hints when I was stuck, because they hadn’t played it yet. My only recourse was to keep trying until I made it. The difficulty and frustration only contributed to this amazing sense of exhilaration when I finally beat this game. Not many games made me feel so victorious in completing them.

With the way things are now, I don’t know if it’s even possible to have this kind of experience again. My hope is for a game that changes enough from one play through to the next that making a comprehensive guide would be impossible. Probably impossible to make a game that fluid. Or, I guess I could just pull together the discipline to not look up guides..

Apparently, this game is now available to play on Android devices. Under the Japanese name, Dragon Quest II. This will have to be a thing.