dragon quest

2011 Game of the Year Awards

Game of the YearAnnouncing the 2011 Game of the Year Awards from First Hour!

These aren't your normal awards, we cover everything from older game of the year to worst first hour. We also don't sum up votes on categories or anything either, we simply present each writer's thoughts on their pick, so if you don't like something, you know exactly who to blame! Of course, we do all this just for fun (spare time!) and buy all of our own games (real money!), so most of us don't even touch some of the big releases of the year. Woe to the unpaid game critic!

Dragon Quest Monsters: Joker

Dragon Quest Monsters Joker CoverTwo franchises I consider to be inherently Japanese are Dragon Quest—really, Dragon Warrior—and Pokemon, and both were born under the mighty and massive RPG tree, but have had their fair share of spin-offs. With Pokemon, its ranged from zaniness like taking pictures to brawling with other well-known gaming characters to rogue dungeon crawlers. As for Dragon Quest, they took a page out of their younger sibling's book, releasing Dragon Warrior Monsters in 1999 for the Game Boy Color; in it, a young boy is out to save his sister by collecting monsters, breeding them, and pitting them against other monsters. Pretty close to the Pokemon formula, but naturally featuring the classic monsters of the Dragon Quest franchise. Things like slimes, gremlins, and wyverns. There was more of a focus on taming monsters than simply capturing them, too. But it hooked players nonetheless.

The monster-raising series has continued on over the years, and I'm here today to give TOSE's 2007 Nintendo DS release Dragon Quest Monsters: Joker a try, a few weeks shy of the sequel's release. I have no expectations other than Pokemon mixed with my favorite classic RPG monsters, and maybe some light implementation of the DS touchscreen. And I hope the joker subtitle has nothing to do with that crazy jester from Dragon Quest VIII.

A half-hour review approaches!

I Didn't Beat This Game: Dragon Quest IX: Sentinels of the Starry Skies

Dragon Quest 9 CoverI knew full well going into Dragon Quest IX: Sentinels of the Starry Skies that it was going to be a long game. Its pedigree was more than enough, I had friends who had played the previous entries for hundreds of hours, and the series is known for essentially being the Japanese RPG.

But Dragon Quest IX had quickly gained the reputation of being the Nintendo DS RPG, so I wasn’t going to miss out on this event. I plugged away at the game for hours, over 30 in total, but then I stopped. I turned it off one day last August and that was it. I tried getting back into the game a few times, but each time I died quickly or was completely lost on where to go next.

It’s almost a little disappointing to me that I don’t really have a good immediate reason on why I quit, but maybe I can tease something out of myself with a little mind dumping.

The First Hour Podcast - Episode 9

.net/images/Epsiode 9 of The First Hour Podcast, the only official podcast of firsthour.net!

This week Paul and Mike discuss how addictive StarCraft II is, playing more Dragon Quest IX, Metroid: Other M, and more! Enjoy the show!

Subscribe on iTunes or via RSS. Please leave us your feedback! Comment here, or email podcast@firsthour.net.

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The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker 'First Time on Outset' - halc

The First Hour Podcast - Episode 8

.net/images/Epsiode 8 of The First Hour Podcast, the only official podcast of firsthour.net!

This week Greg and Paul discuss Dragon Quest IX, voice acting in video games, Mafia 2, BioShock Infinite, and more! This is a game filled podcast that you can not miss.

Subscribe on iTunes or via RSS. Please leave us your feedback! Comment here, or email podcast@firsthour.net.

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Super Mario World 'Turning Terrors' - AeroZ

Nintendo Finds Religion

Dragon Quest 9 CoverNintendo and censorship used to go together like peanut butter and jelly. There are dozens of examples of changes between Japanese and North American versions of Nintendo console games, along with a handful of tales of U.S. and European developers being forced to alter their game in some way to receive the all-important Nintendo Seal of Quality. The hammer has let up over the past few years though, and I didn't really realize this until I started playing Dragon Quest IX.

Dragon Quest IX, while developed by the good folks at Level 5, was published by Nintendo outside of Japan. It's an enormous game with buckets of text, and since I'm about 80% of the way through the game, I can honestly say Nintendo did a stellar job translating it for English speakers. There are puns galore and not a single character, item, or town name is wasted potential. Of course, I was greatly impressed by the fan translation of Mother 3 which was done by a single guy, so maybe my standards are low.

The First Hour Podcast - Episode 7

.net/images/Epsiode 7 of The First Hour Podcast, the only official podcast of firsthour.net!

This week Mike and Greg convince Paul to buy Dragon Quest IX, Mike finally gets to play Starcraft II after waiting 12 years, and we voice our opinions about the 3D fad.  Don't miss it!

Subscribe on iTunes or via RSS. Please leave us your feedback! Comment here, or email podcast@firsthour.net.

Theme Music

The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 'Party in the Shop'  - Dr. Fruitcake

Nintendo Power #257 - Returning to Nintendo Power after Five Years

Nintendo Power 257 CoverSo there's absolutely nothing nostalgic about discussing the latest issue of Nintendo Power, but since I haven't subscribed to the magazine in over five years, I thought I would talk about how much has changed.  Apparently, a lot has, or I just changed.  Either way, a year subscription just $5 on Amazon a few weeks ago, so I figured for less than 50 cents an issue I would be a fool not to sign up.  My last issue of Nintendo Power before this was from May 2005, issue 191.  The Nintendo DS was on that volume's cover as the second big round of games was rolling in including Nintendogs and Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow.

But this article is about the August 2010 issue featuring Dragon Quest IX on the cover.  Being a Nintendo published game this isn't much of a shock, but there were both pleasant and unpleasant surprises on just about every page.  I'll cover a few I consider noteworthy.

I will probably never do such a new magazine ever again as I much prefer to reminisce about old school stuff, but this should be fun either way.

Dragon Quest IV: Chapters of the Chosen

Dragon Quest 4 CoverDragon Quest is one of the most popular gaming franchises in Japan, but it has always been in the shadow of other RPG series like Final Fantasy over here in the west. Square-Enix decided to see if they can rekindle some interest in the series putting the series on the DS, with remakes of IV and V already released, and VI and IX coming within the year in the States. While all eyes are on IX, let’s look back at the first Dragon Quest remake for the Nintendo DS, Dragon Quest IV: Chapters of the Chosen. Originally released on the NES, and then remade for the PlayStation, the DS version brings us new features, a new translation, touched up graphics, and two-screen goodness.

The Famitsu 40/40 List: A Review

Metal Gear Solid Peace Walker CoverOver the last 24 years, popular Japanese gaming magazine Famitsu has awarded 14 perfect scores.  For Famitsu magazine, a game review's final score is actually two to four total scores assigned by a collection of reviewers.  Technically, there's no such thing as a 40/40 score, but four 10/10's.  But gamers love numbers, and we love comparing one game's numbers to another game's numbers, so the 40/40 perfect score list is a great way for fanboys to scoff or gyrate in anticipation.

Outside of the country, Famitsu is the ultimate barometer of what Japan thinks of a particular game.  Famitsu scores are thrown about in headlines and rattled around in forum discussions, but you almost never hear why a score was awarded one number instead of the next.  This is undoubtedly because of the language barrier between Japan and the rest of the world, but also because numbers are easy for everyone to understand and the fact that Famitsu editors give their reviewers about 100 characters to explain what they thought about a game.

While I'm not personally a big fan of a game review's score (I'd much rather read the why and how), the Famitsu perfect score list is an intriguing specimen.  The eighth game in two years just garnered the spotlight: Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker, but let's start at the beginning.

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