Game Market 1983 - Chapter 23
“I felt this before, but it seems like Dragon Warrior focuses greatly on the sound aspect. Although the music is simple, I can feel the profound magnificence emanating from the beat.”
“We’re receiving a sound inspection from an orchestra conductor.”
“Also, isn’t the cartridge case illustration done by Mr. Toriyama, who is also producing Dragon Ball?”
“That’s correct. Mr. Toriyama has been entrusted with character illustrations ever since the first game of the series. Due to the limitations of our current technology, it will be difficult to display the quality of graphics that we wish to put on the screen. In order to solve this issue, we went with the alternative of requesting illustrations from the famous Mr. Toriyama, who would be able to create graphics that would allow gamers to fully immerse themselves within the game.”
Up until this moment, Dragon Warrior’s graphics utilized a very simple color scheme. This was especially obvious to someone looking looking at the main character from the first game, as the warrior was clad in all blue… There was almost no difference in the sequel. The graphics for magic battles were just a combination of flashing red and yellow lights, and the battle scenes were also depicted with a monster drawn on the middle of a dark screen.
‘When I was a kid, I felt like I was actually exploring a story book while playing ‘Dragon Warrior 4’ for the first time, but the difference compared to how I remember it is pretty extreme.’
I inputted “Ahhh” as the character name and quickly started the game.
“Mr. Kang, it seems like you’re not putting much importance on the character name.”
There is a reason that you guys don’t know why I named the warrior, “Ahhh”.
Even in the 80’s, when the internet didn’t exist, there were many players who enjoyed playing Dragon Warrior domestically. The reason for this was that businesses, commonly coined “The Poachers”, brought the Family and a few other games from Japan back to Korea to sell, and they made a huge profit from them.
That was a period of time when there was too little information about games. The only way to know what the game was about was from the cover art drawn on the game’s case. I think it was the year 1991? One day, when pirated copies of Dragon Ball were gaining massive popularity, I remember walking down the streets and passing by a game store, and an illustration from a package immediately enraptured me.
It was obviously drawn with the same style as Dragon Ball; I was so excited that night that I had trouble falling asleep. I was greatly anticipating what kind of game it was for a Dragon Ball-like character to be on the package.
A few days later, I was barely able to get Dragon Warrior after I relentlessly begged my mom; however, it was a huge disappointment because I was used to action games, not the RPG genre.
No, that period was when the action genre was considered the entirety of gaming. Action games were all about moving humans, airplanes, cars, or whatever, and destroying the enemy; however, the gameplay of Dragon Warrior was just moving from town to town and fighting creatures. Also, on top of that, it was incredibly frustrating as you would get annihilated by powerful monsters by going even a little bit out of the safety zone.
“What kind of game is this?!”
Back then, I was infuriated, and I did not take a second glance at Dragon Warrior 4. I felt like I got tricked by the amazing illustration on the cover. A few days later, I took the game, and I went back to the game shop.
“I want to exchange this for another game.”
The game store owner, who also built computer parts, looked at the Dragon Warrior game that was in my outstretched hands, and he answered:
“Wait just a moment.”
After a brief moment, the owner used the black and white printer, starting to print something. I remember the quiet store being filled with a cacophony of printing noises for quite awhile.
“I’d normally take money for printing this much out, but I’ll give it to you for free. About this game, it gave me the most enjoyment out of all the Family games, but it must’ve been hard for you to understand, you being as young you are. You don’t know Japanese after all. However, would you give the game another try with this strategy guide? You will experience an in game adventure that you’ve never experienced before.”
I went back home after receiving the stack of papers, that was the Dragon Warrior 4 strategy guide, plugged the Dragon Warrior cartridge into the Family, and I pushed the power button. A magnificent tune flew out of the device, and I used the guide from the owner to slowly enjoy the game.
First of all, levels existed in this game.
What that meant was, one couldn’t just brazenly walk into the cave near the town. You had to grind the weaker monsters near the town and raise your level first.
As you become familiar with dealing with the surrounding creatures, you could finally walk into the cave without being instantly killed.
It was a character that got, correspondingly, more powerful as it was leveled. Also, this plot was about a warrior that had found the missing children as he headed towards the tower—I was deeply immersed.
The plot of Dragon Warrior 4 presented the story in a very unique and all-rounded style as an RPG. The 1st chapter was about the warrior, Rion; the 2nd chapter was a story about the dream of a princess to take over the San Maria Kingdom; the 3rd chapter was the story of the arms dealer, Tolneko; the 4th chapter was about the shaman brother and sister duo; and the 5th and final chapter introduced the main character of the story.
At the beginning of the 5th chapter, I remember screaming in ecstasy at the moment in the story where the warrior’s girlfriend transformed into a warrior that used magic, exchanging her life for his.
After that, I felt so sad, listening to the BGM, while the warrior walked out of town. I would make the bereaved warrior stand in the town, staying still for a while, and I would also imagine the conversations between the bereaved warrior and his friends.
There was a unique fun in imagining the scenes in that period of underdeveloped graphics….
Ah, I drifted away on a tangent…
Anyway, in that period, where everyone was blind to Japanese styled gaming, the main character was informally known as “Ahhh” in their minds. The reason was for this because the sound of the first syllable started with an “Ahhh”.
They couldn’t read the rest of the words anyway. What did it matter if they knew one letter…?
At that moment, the door of the development office opened, and a man in his early 30’s walked in.
“Eh? Hey, how are you all~?”
“Ah~!! Teacher, Toriyama!! You came!?”
“I briefly decided to come inside after I heard that the inspection for Dragon Warrior 2 was being held here.”
Mmm!? The creator of Dragon Ball, Mr. Toriyama, is here? I hurriedly put the machine down on the table, and I stood up from my seat.
Mr. Toriyama immediately recognized me as an employee from Mintendo, and he extended his hand.
“Ah~ You’re the inspector from Mintendo.? You’re name is…?”
“My name is Kang Junhyuk, and I’m in charge of the new console development department at the Mintendo headquarters.”
“You look very young; it’s incredible that you’re already a director for a department.”
“I’m also an enthusiastic fan of Dragon Ball.”
I actually liked Slam Dunk more, but there was no need to say that here~ The Mr. Toriyama of 1986 was barely over 30 years old.
He took over all of the illustrations for the Dragon Warrior series, and, later on he would personally develop the characters, having deep ties with Phoenix.
It wouldn’t be harmful to network with this figure would it? After shaking hands with Mr. Toriyama, I went back to inspecting the game with the other developers.
In actuality, there was no need to do a thorough inspection due to the incredible popularity of the first game.
The inspection from Mintendo was not about finding all of the bugs as it was rather enjoyable as a whole.
“You caught most of the bugs, right?”
The main director, Mr. Ouji, nodded his head in response. Due to undiscovered bugs, there were major incidents of mass cartridge recalls; thus, all of the companies paid a lot of attention to fixing bugs.
“Before, the main character was alone, but I thought about making creating a party possible for this release. I thought battles would be easier because of that; however, the difficulty level was adjusted correspondingly, so my trepidation is overflowing.”
“We’ve given background stories for multiple characters as well, increasing the immersion. We think the players would enjoy this.”
A game developer should definitely put the players first. In that sense, the main director of Dragon Warrior, Mr. Ouji, was an incredibly diligent planner.
“It received a near perfect score on the FamiTong review, so we just have to wait for the popularity to explode post release.”
“We have some level of expectations, but do you really think it would make a big enough splash that is comparable to The Legend of Karin? I was also at the place of the event on the release date, and the player’s reactions were enormous. Especially for the 500 limited edition golden cartridges; I heard it was selling for 20,000 thousand yen—did you know that?”
“A few dishonest store owners could have stored a few away instead of displaying all of them on the release date. We’ll cut negotiations with those shops. We can’t allow our users to be harmed no matter the reason.”
Mr. Toriyama and Mr. Ouji nodded their heads, and they agreed with me. I stood up, and, after completing the two hour long inspection, Mr. Ouji asked me a question with a stare filled with anticipation.
“Excuse me for asking this, but what are your personal thoughts, after reviewing the game, Mr. Kang?”
This man said he wasn’t expecting much; however, what does he want me to say? He immediately started staring at me like that as soon as I finished the inspection. I answered shortly after.
“Hmm… Can I give an honest opinion?”
“Ah, yes. Of course.”
“I can’t pinpoint the unique quality compared to the prequel.”
“Mmm~ The party system is great, and the part about hopping on a boat to explore the ocean is new; however, the product isn’t as deep as I’d expect for a project that was in development for one year.”
“Ah, is that so…”
“For your 3rd game of the series, the descendents of the warrior wouldn’t come on, right? The main plot of Dragon Warrior is about a warrior defeating the Demon King, so the more you stretch out the story, the more repetitive it would get; you should be weary of that. From the perspective of a gamer that enjoyed Dragon Warrior… Mmm, I think it would be interesting if you took the story direction to an omnibus style.”
“An omnibus style…?”
“For example… The 3rd game that everyone would be anticipating… How about a storyline from the era before the 1st game?”
“Ah!! That’s a great idea~!! It’s a similar world, but we would be using the ending point as a reference to continue with the original story!! It’s very innovative~!! That’s great!! You have a very perceptive view, as I’ve heard from Mr. Shigeru. I’ll keep that in mind.”
What? So Mr. Shigeru and Mr. Ouji knew each other… Actually, this “innovative” opinion of mine was from Mr. Shigeru. He was making an odd face when I told him that I’d go as the inspector—so that was the reason…
On the way back to Kyoto by train, as the man beside me fell asleep, I took this opportunity to open up the Game & Watch. As I pressed the ‘Sponsor Game’ play button, and various messages started to pop up.
-You’ve developed a friendly relationship with Mr. Toriyama-
-You’ve developed a friendly relationship with Mr. Ouji-
-Your reputation with Mr Ouji has risen by 3 points. The relationship will rank up once the points reach 10-
What kind of fuckstruck game is this?!