You may have noticed that I’ve been writing a fair amount about Dragon Quest IX at work lately. I’m doing this ostensibly because it’s a huge game… but really because it’s the first game that’s truly hooked me since, hmm… the Dragon Quest V remake half a year ago, I guess. Certainly I’ve enjoyed a handful of releases since then, but so far these have been the only two I’ve been unable to put down all year. So, my previews and blogs aren’t really so much an effort to drive traffic, because Americans just can’t seem to bring themselves to give a slap about the series no matter what. No, really I’m just trying to perform an exorcism of sorts and put to the page precisely what it is that I find so gripping about the games.
It’s particularly bedeviling given that a few years ago, my feelings toward the series were more along the lines of muted disinterest. And before that, I’d say it could best be characterized as outright antagonism. (Amusingly, I’ve found there are still a few fans of the series who sulk whenever my name comes up. It’s always so fascinating to see just how long people can nurse an Internet grudge over opinions about videogames.) It wasn’t really that the series changed (because it doesn’t) or that I changed (because I still hold innovation in game design in high esteem); rather, the difference is that my understanding of the series matured. I’m still trying to pin that down, and as a result just about everything I’ve written about the series over the past year has teetered between evangelical and confessional. Sorry, that’s probably getting annoying. And I’m sure this post isn’t helping matters any.
If you’d told me 20 years ago that the NES game I got for Christmas, the one in the bright yellow box, the RPG (which stood for “role-playing game” and not “rocket-powered grenade” like my G.I. Joe comics had always taught me), would be inspiring me to embark on a journey of professional soul-searching, I’d have… well, actually, I suspect I’d probably have thought it was pretty awesome. Beats accounting for a living, in any case.