I am a HUGE fan of Dragon Quest. Next to the original Super Mario Brothers, Dragon Warrior (what they first called it in the US) was one of the first video games to grace my NES console.
The game was challenging, classic, and took a lot of investment to play.
What was really special about the game, however, was the memory of how my father got addicted to the game, and finished it before I did. He even marked out the map, of the final dark dungeon level to show me how to get through it.
My Mom even had a hard time getting him away from the game. One time while calling him to go out to lunch, my Dad lost track of time and just kept on playing. I think he regrets how addicted her got to it - as my Dad is not a video game player by any means. This was, really, his one and only video game.
Dragon Quest has also developed another meaning for me later in life, as I discovered that all the character designs are done by Akira Toriyama, the incredible Manga artist and creator of Dragon Ball. You simply couldn't have known this back when DW1 released, as his art wasn't publicized in America at the time.
So Dragon Quest has a lot of special memories for me, and the recent releases of the missing (in the US) Dragon Quest games have been a dream come true.
Dragon Quest 4 was released in the US, but I honestly was never able to keep up after Dragon Warrior 3 and 4. (I was actually only able to rent, and fail, at DW2 when I was younger.)
But the Nintendo DS version of DQ4 came out, and showed me what Japanese gamers had been talking about for years. The game might be simple by today's standards, but it's gameplay is still second to none. DQ4 was also very revolutionary in the idea of splitting the game up with different characters with different abilities. You played the Solider, Dancers, Royalty, Hero, and even shop keeper with the famous Torneko Taloon character.
A few months ago Dragon Quest 5 released. Again this game took a big risk, mixing up the traditional way the game was played. This time you begin as a young boy, and experience your life as you get older. You get older, you marry, have a family, and so forth.
The game is very good, with some old-style but impressive graphics that look incredible on the Nintendo DS.
Dragon Quest 6 should be released next year (I think), and Dragon Quest 9 (the latest edition) is being prepared to be released in Japan sometime this year. We'll probably have to wait until 2010. But it looks like it's going to be worth it - with great features and even better gameplay. For anyone who enjoyed Dragon Quest 8 on the PS2 - You'll know how good modern day Dragon Quest games can be.
Anyway, I brought some images from DQ5 for you to enjoy.