In many ways, Japan is the spiritual home of gaming. It’s the place where Nintendo laid down humble roots way back in 1889, as a manufacturer of playing cards for the Hanafuda card game. It’s the birthplace of so many titans of the industry; Sega, Capcom, Square Enix and Konami (remember when they actually made video games? Crazy times) among them.
Today, of course, gaming has become more mainstream, and is a huge deal wherever you happen to live. In the East, however, they take a little more pride in it all. The fans are a bit more fanatical, the developers a bit more dedicated to preventing some of their best work from heading Westwards. But hey, that’s just how it is.
Tastes differ worldwide, naturally. You may consider Final Fantasy to be Square-Enix’s biggest franchise, and perhaps the biggest RPG series of them all. They also publish Dragon Quest, however, and Japanese fans would argue that this RPG series trumps anything Cloud, Lightning, Squall or any of those protagonists named after weather effects can muster.
Like Capcom’s Monster Hunter, Dragon Quest is a property that is most revered in the East. The original title, Dragon Quest, celebrated its thirtieth anniversary of release last year, and you can be darn sure that Japan wasn’t going to let this illustrious occasion go by unnoticed.
As Kotaku reports, a monument to the series has been unveiled in Sumoto, Japan. Fittingly, Sumoto is where Yuji Horii, the creator of Dragon Quest, was born. The statue consists of three objects, which will be instantly familiar to anybody with experience in the game: A sword, shield and –I’d be nothing short of sacrilege not to—one of Dragon Quest’s iconic slimes.
As Horii told The Asahi News, the three objects were carefully chosen so as to convey a message: “(the) Slime was for luck, the shield was protection from calamity, and the sword was to cut down evil fate.” That’s the Sword of Roto and Escutcheon of Roto, if you really want to be pernickety.
There’s something beautiful about this idea, something uniquely Dragon Quest. Thirty years in video games is an incredible achievement, and for a franchise to remain as popular and well-regarded after all of that time is nothing short of miraculous. Fans visiting Awaji Island will want to make sure they visit, and pay homage to one of the biggest and most enduring names in the history of the genre.