Being a Nintendo fan, I know Nintendo typically innovates rather than imitates. It is, quite honestly one of their defining traits as a company and one of the reasons they have such a strong catalog of IPs. I am finding, however, that there are the occasional exception to this rule. Take, for example, Dragon Quest. And how it has influenced a number of Nintendo RPG franchises. Most interestingly, the Mother Trilogy and the Golden Sun games.
It’s kind of interesting for me, as someone who is much more familiar with the Nintendo games, take from Golden Sun. For example, the revival mechanic. Unlike Final Fantasy, you cannot revive comrades using a simple item from your inventory. Instead you have to seek out a NPC who will do it for you.
I feel like a lot of Earthbound’s humor, in hindsight, is based heavily on Dragon Quest, which I think was completely lost on western players. I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone describe Earthbound as being Nintendo’s take on Dragon Quest, which I think is kind of a shame.
Obviously, I still have’t completed Dragon Quest VII, and at the pace I’m going at I don’t think I will until next year, but it’s kind of fascinating just noticing how much of this series is present in Nintendo’s work. Nintendo were not a company known for RPGs, at least until their renaissance in the Wii/DS era, so it’s really interesting to me to see just how their RPGs evolved from humble clones to the best in the industry. Mario and Luigi, Xenoblade, The Last Story, the list goes on and on!
I’m not sure if I would consider myself a Dragon Quest fan yet, but I do like the games and want to see them do well. And I think Nintendo does too. Look at all the effort they put into trying to get these games ported and noticed in America despite a history of us not giving a fuck. Sean Malstrom may laugh at their efforts, but I applaud them. Getting niche games out there is an important part of getting them noticed.
When was the last time you won over a girl by sitting in a corner alone? It just doesn’t happen. Dragon Quest will, and in some ways already has, gain an audience in the west. It just needs one really big success story for it to blow up, and then Nintendo will have an entire catalog of high quality games that there will be real demand for.