August 1 was a big day for Japan as it marked the release of Dragon Quest X, the latest installment in the iconic series and the first to force players to play online. While the release of a new Dragon Quest game is usually something akin to a national holiday here, many people were wondering if mandatory online play wasn’t too tall of an order for a series traditionally known for sticking to its tried and true formula.
To get an idea of just how excited the country really is over Dragon Quest X, we sent resident reporter Mr. Sato to a video game shop in Shibuya the day before release to stand in line until the store opened the game went on sale the next day at 7:00 am.
Of course, anyone can wait in line for a day, but it takes a true Dragon Quest fan like Mr. Sato to wait in line for a day dressed as the series’ most beloved monster, slime.
The store we sent Mr. Sato to was popular game and video rental chain Tsutaya. The Shibuya location was expected to be crowded in particular as one of the voice actresses from the game was scheduled to make an appearance as part of a launch event.
Arriving as Tsutaya at 7:00 am, exactly 24 hours before the official release, Mr. Sato successfully secured the position of first in line. For the next 5 hours, he sat there alone in a blue spandex bodysuit until a group of girls arrived to line up behind him, making sure to keep their distance until forced by staff to move in closer.
Early the next morning, Square Enix staff also gathered at the store to wait for the launch event, which was set to begin at 6:40. The staff seemed restless, but excited to finally release the game to the public.
Even if you weren’t counting down on your own clock, a giant monitor overlooking the famous Shibuya crossing displayed a countdown until the very last second, upon which cries of joy rang through the streets (or Tsutaya, at least) for Dragon Quest X was finally here.
After becoming one of the first people to own a copy of the game, Mr. Sato was rushed by television cameras waiting outside the store eager to hear the comments of our unfaltering hero. And finally, after breaking away from the interviews, Mr. Sato finally reached home and did that which he had been waiting to do for so long: sleep.
▼ The staff came by to throw down the rules for those of us planning on waiting in line
▼ …and made us move the line outside. Looks Mr. Sato is sleeping on the streets tonight…
▼ Back to the stairs the next morning
▼ A new day, a new adventure.
▼ 15 minutes until release!
▼ Look at that adorable slime face!
[ Read in Japanese ]