November. 1990. Nintendo Power had begun distribution of the free copies of Dragon Warrior/Quest for Subscribers. At the time I was just excited to be getting a new game. I had no idea what I was getting into.
I would never have called, nor would I now call my father a gamer. But when he brought home a second hand Atari 2600 and a handful of games in roughly 1983 to his then three year old son it certainly changed the household dynamic. I think it’s that he’s not a gamer that this tale is so interesting, and for me extremely heart warming.
When Dragon Warrior arrived my ever curious Father sat down with me in the living room in front of the old Zenith Television and watched as I fired it up for the first time. The music caught us right from the start. Ranging from joyful, to moody and foreboding. From sweeping melodies that made you want to keep wandering further and iconic heart pounding battle themes… they were the sounds of adventure.
My Father watching quickly turned into the controller trading hands to grind for gold and exp points in shifts. We had big dreams of copper swords after all. Countless slimes, ghosts, and scorpions paid for our ever growing need to be better equipped to take on the forces of evil.
Since he worked a third shift at the time, he would play while I was at school and I would take up the night shift after I got home. We kept a notebook log that we would leave out for each other to read. Documenting the previous playtime’s gold earned, items acquired, monsters slain, new areas explored.
We took to the game with a fine toothed comb. Uncovering every secret, finding every treasure, hunting down metal slimes for days on end. I’ve played every game in the series but I always come back to the original over and over again because of the manner in which I got to experience it the first time. My recent play through was on the Game Boy Color version which they did a fantastic job with and would be my recommended version for anyone that has never had the chance to spend time with this classic.
Would I have loved the game were it not for all of this? For certain. But thanks to my Father, this was more than just a good game. This was an event in my life that would set the bar for everything to come. Something that would shape my opinion and outlook on everything that would cross my path there after.
With zero exaggeration, playing Dragon Warrior with my Dad as a team was life defining. Before this, games were always on my mind. But after, they had entered my heart and soul as well. That feeling has never gotten away from me and I will see to it that it never does.