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A Retronauts Episode About Dragon Quest Draws Near!

This week, USgamer's classic gaming podcast explores Japan's biggest RPG sensation.

Analysis by Bob Mackey, .

If you're a regular reader of USgamer, it should be clear at this point we're pretty big fans of Dragon Quest.

Unfortunately, the rest of the US doesn't exactly share our tastes. Dragon Quest—formerly known as Dragon Warrior in the States—had a few chances to take off in America, and unlike in Japan, these English-localized releases saw modest sales at best. And now that we're about to witness another go at making the series relevant in the West with the upcoming Dragon Quest Heroes, now's the perfect time to talk about what makes this traditional, turn-based RPG such a big deal in the first place.

Of course, we had an episode entirely devoted to Dragon Quest with our old run of episodes in 2008, but a lot has happened over the past seven years: the rereleases of Dragon Quest IV, V, and VI for the DS, Dragon Quest IX, and the many, many spinoffs, remakes, and mainline games that unfortunately remained in Japan. Even though we limit our conversation to the first eight games—spanning less than 20 years of the timeline—there's more than enough to talk about in our regular 90-minute running time, along with plenty of opportunities to sneak in some of the greatest selections from the series' history of memorable soundtracks. So, regardless of whether or not you're new to Dragon Quest or have a blue slime tattooed on your forehead, you'll probably enjoy a room full of RPG nerds geeking out about a series they've loved and followed for decades.

Joining us on this one is Henry Gilbert, a key member of the Laser Time network—which started a Patreon campaign recently, so please give if you enjoy their brand of pop culture magic (which sometimes features yours truly). As always, you can keep up with the latest Retronauts news via our Twitter and Facebook accounts, and check out some of our video content over on our YouTube page. And, in case you forgot, Retronauts is fully funded by our Patreon campaign, so if you can afford to donate even a dollar a month, please consider it! Every little bit really helps our cause.

Relevant Links

Yuji Horii's Monster Designs

Gamasutra's 2011 Yuji Horii Interview

This Episode's Musical Selections

  • 18:03 - Dragon Quest I - "Unknown World"
  • 23:04 - Dragon Quest I - "Overture March"
  • 41:45 - Dragon Quest II - "Only Lonely Boy"
  • 52:02 - Dragon Quest III - "Adventure"
  • 1:04:07 - Dragon Quest IV - "The Warrior Conquers Alone"
  • 1:18:00 - Dragon Quest VI - "Through the Fields"
  • 1:36:07 - Dragon Quest II - "My Road, My Journey"

Download Links

Libsyn (1:40:40 | MP3 Download | SoundCloud)

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Comments 10

  • Avatar for Hubertron #1 Hubertron 2 years ago
    I really enjoyed this episode. I have never played a DQ game aside from the first one when I was exploring an nes game lot I got. For someone essentially new to the series where is the best place to start? Sounds like the V remake for ds might be a good one? Any recommendations?
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  • Avatar for nitro322 #2 nitro322 2 years ago
    @Hubertron I'd agree that the DQ5 for DS is a good starting point. It shouldn't be too difficult to get hold of, it's portable nature makes it easy to play, and the story is quite compelling (keeping in mind it is a 20+ year old game). All the DQs are pretty similar mechanics-wise, though each tends to have its own focus - this one emphasized monster hunting, which isn't really my favorite aspect, but it works well enough and doesn't get in the way if you want to ignore it.

    Both of the other DS games would also work, though V definitely holds a special place in my heart. VIII for PS2 is another good option - the soundtrack for that game is pretty amazing, and the graphics, even today, are gorgeous.

    Hope you have fun.
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  • Avatar for cldmstrsn #3 cldmstrsn 2 years ago
    Such a good episode! HUGE DQ Fan. Thanks guys!
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  • Avatar for bobservo #4 bobservo 2 years ago
    @Hubertron I think the DS ports of 4 and 5 are good places to start. 5 is the better game, in my opinion, but the episodic nature of IV might be better for newcomers.
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  • Avatar for NightingaleXP #5 NightingaleXP 2 years ago
    Honestly, guys, no explanation necessary for covering some of the old topics at this point-- so many of those great old podcasts seem totally lost to the aether, and I'd love to hear your take on some of the big series I missed your coverage on the first time 'round.
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  • Avatar for jihon83 #6 jihon83 2 years ago
    There are times when the Retronauts format chaffs, but only because I want to hear more. For me, Dragon Warrior 4 left a really strong and lasting impression, but it also clashed with my play of Dragon Quest IV on the DS. A lot of the charm, like with the art, was tied to the translation and "Americanization". The more pure DS version bugged me, from the accents to the original Toriyama designs, so I lost interest, even with the mechanics being much improved.

    Otherwise, I am happy to hear another episode with SJW Punk on it.
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  • Avatar for Namevah #7 Namevah 2 years ago
    Maybe my favorite podcast in recent memory. I enjoyed hearing each of the games in order, especially since my knowledge of Dragon Quest isn't great. It makes me want to toss in DQ5 (on DS), a game I never got too far in (far enough to experience the first big disaster, though) do to being rather averse to RPG grinding at the time.

    I do hold out some hope that we'll get VIII 3DS and both versions of XI, but not much.
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  • Avatar for RoninChaos #8 RoninChaos 2 years ago
    We're never going to see another mainline DQ here, are we?
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  • Avatar for abuele #9 abuele 2 years ago
    PUFF!!! PUFF!! are all over in Dragon Ball, Master Roshi is the first one to try pull one on Bulma.
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