Saturday, July 30, 2011
Famicom History: When Dragon Quest III Went on Sale
This is a really cool video, a news report from 1988 about the release of Dragon Quest III that I stumbled upon over at Famicom no Neta.
The news story is mainly about the problem of kids skipping school in order to go wait in the massive lines forming in front of department stores for Dragon Quest III. A large number of students had been caught doing so and the police, the education ministry and the game maker were having some trouble dealing with the delinquency issue caused by the game's popularity.
The video is a treasure trove of images from the day. Its got video of the massive lines of Dragon Quest fans snaking down the street in Tokyo waiting to buy the game. Its got images of store employees desperately scooping copies of the game fresh out of their crates and onto store shelves. Its got the thrill of victory by one shopper who has finally gotten to the front of the line and gives a wave to the crowd behind him as he makes his much anticipated purchase. Its got two store employees at the end of a busy day on the sidewalk, one with a bullhorn and the other with a sign saying that they were all sold out of Dragon Quest III.
This video really adds a poetic touch to the experience of scrounging through bargain bins full of old Famicom games. Copies of Dragon Quest III are often to be found in them, usually selling for dirt cheap. It is hard to believe when looking at them in that sorry state that once upon a time people were thronging the streets of the world's biggest city with fistfuls of cash waiting to buy them.
The fleeting nature of success. The emotion is best summed up in the opening passage of the epic Tale of the Heike:
"The sound of the Gion Shoja bells echoes the impermanence of all things; the color of the sala flowers reveals the truth that the prosperous must decline. The proud do not endure, they are like a dream on a spring night; the mighty fall at last, they are as dust before the wind."
-Famicom History Part 2: Japanese Famicom Slang 101