In Japan, the Dragon Quest franchise is a bonafide phenomenon. Each instalment sells millions of copies within the first few days of launch. It has retained its audience of both casual and hardcore players across multiple console generations, the first game having been released in 1986 on the NES. In a 2006 Famitsu survey of the best games of all time, readers voted three separate Dragon Quests into the top ten. The iconic Slime character is as ubiquitous in Akihabara as Mickey Mouse, Bart Simpson, or the (sorry, but it’s true) Minions are over here. Yet the series has never reached that huge level of popularity outside of its homeland. For the upcoming Dragon Quest XI, Square Enix want to change that. Will it succeed?
It’s not been a great year, huh? On both personal and political fronts — and if there were anything separating the two before, it has surely been eroded now — there’s been considerable cause to despair. I’m sure that’s the case for many people reading this, faced with unceasing inequality, the unabated devastation of climate change, continual widespread bigotry of all kinds, war, terrorism, and the resurgence of fascism in the western world. There has been one bright spot amidst all this darkness for me, however: videos of Nazis getting knocked the fuck out.
My name is Tom and I am the idiot who sees a Reddit thread titled “what is the creepiest unexplained thing that’s ever happened to you” at 1 AM, home alone, and thinks that yes, that seems like a good thing to click on. These places are mostly repositories for repurposed urban legends, and the occasional half-baked creepypasta, but nonetheless: some of these stories stick with me. One that continues to trouble my memory centres at inopportune moments goes something like this. A man (I think he might have been an ex-marine) was driving on some rural highway late at night. He turns a corner and sees a car, stationary, in the middle of the road, with two people lying on the ground outside of it. It doesn’t look like an accident. It looks staged. He trusts his instincts and guns it past the bizarre scene and then, when he checks it out in his rearview, the two people stand up, and are joined by another dozen or so individuals who emerge from the bushes either side of the road. Fuck every single part of this story, and David Lynch and Mark Frost for reminding me of it.