Slime (Dragon Quest)

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Slime
Dragon Quest character
A blue, tear-drop shaped creature with large round black eyes, a wide mouth and a red tongue.
Rocket, a slime starring in Dragon Quest Heroes: Rocket Slime
First game Dragon Quest (1986)
Created by Yuji Horii
Designed by Akira Toriyama

The Slime is the mascot of the Dragon Quest role-playing video game franchise. Originally inspired by the game Wizardry to be a weak and common monster for the video game Dragon Quest, Slime has appeared in almost every Dragon Quest game since. The character's popularity lead to the appearance of many varieties of slimes, including boss characters, and even emerging as the protagonist of the Rocket Slime video game series.

The Slime has been placed on a multitude of different kinds of merchandise. The Slime's friendliness, limited power, and appealing form have caused the Slime to become a popular character and symbol of the Dragon Quest series.

Character design[edit]

The inspiration for the Slime came to Yuji Horii, the creator of Dragon Quest, from a role-playing game called Wizardry. "I was really hooked on 'Wizardy,' the PC game, ... There's...slime-looking characters ..., so I got the inspiration from it. I was doodling the slime-looking character and I took it to Mr. Toriyama, who did the character design, and he made it the Slime we see today."[1] Horii said that when it was originally conceived, the Slime was "a pile of goo", but Toriyama's design came back as a tear-drop which they considered "perfect".[2]

Attributes[edit]

Personality[edit]

In most appearances of the Slime, it is an antagonist, and occasionally a boss. In some Dragon Quest titles, slimes also appear as friendly non-player characters and peaceful inhabitants of cities.[3] Friendly slimes usually greet players with the phrase, "I'm not a bad slime!".[4] Slimes, like many monsters in the Dragon Quest series, have a certain verbal tic, "slurp".[5] Slimes also replace certain words or syllables with the word "goo" (i.e. "human" is "gooman"), or other words relating to slime or goo, when they speak.[5]

Outward appearance[edit]

There are many different types of slimes found throughout the Dragon Quest and Rocket Slime series. These include slimes in different colors, bubble slimes, which look like pools of slime, nautical slimes that wear conch shells, the rare metal slimes, which have high defense, give out large amounts of experience points, and tend to flee from battle, healslimes, which have tentacles, and king slimes, which are very large slimes wearing crowns and come in various versions, such as regular or metal.[4]

Appearances[edit]

The Slime made its first appearance in Dragon Quest as the first and weakest enemy in the game, and has made a similar appearance in all subsequent Dragon Quest titles.[1] In Dragon Quest V, the monster is an easy recruit that learns a variety of magic spells. The Slime is also the protagonist of its own spinoff series, beginning with Slime MoriMori Dragon Quest, a Japanese Game Boy Advance title.[6] It was followed by Dragon Quest Heroes: Rocket Slime, which was released worldwide for the Nintendo DS, and the Japanese-exclusive title, Slime Mori Mori Dragon Quest 3 for the Nintendo 3DS.[6] These games follow a nation of slimes who are intelligent and civilized, but also cute and somewhat comical.[7] In the North American localization of the Dragon Quest games for the Nintendo DS, joking references and puns are made about slimes.[8] Slime also appeared in three crossover games along with characters from Nintendo's Mario franchise: Itadaki Street DS, Mario Sports Mix, and Fortune Street.[5][9][10]

Analysis[edit]

Reviewers have seen the slime as symbolic of the Dragon Quest series in the same way that the Moogle represents Final Fantasy.[11] Dragon Quest creator Yuji Horii speculated that the popularity of the slime may come from its cuteness, how it is easy to defeat, and while the protagonists change in every Dragon Quest game, the slime is always there.[8] GamesRadar speculated that the intense "grinding", or fighting of enemies in the Dragon Quest series exposed players to an abundance of slimes, but a positive association was created by their familiarity.[12] Yoshiki Watabe, producer of Dragon Quest VIII, hypothesized its popularity came from it being a "well designed character", but "simple", being accessible to anyone.[6]

Cultural impact[edit]

Merchandise[edit]

As the most recognizable symbol of the best-selling video game series in Japan, the Slime has been featured prominently in Dragon Quest-related merchandise.[12] It has its own section called 'Smile Slime' on the Square Enix JP shopping website.[13][14] Slime merchandise includes plush toys, pencil cases, keychains, game controllers, a stylus, and several boardgames including one titled Dragon Quest Slime Racing.[13][14][15][16][17][18] In Japan, pork filled steam buns shaped like slimes have been sold.[19] For Dragon Quest's 25th anniversary, special items were sold including business cards, tote bags, and crystal figurines.[13]

Reception[edit]

The Dragon Quest Slime has received positive reception from critics and fans, being called the "most prolific" of all the "memorable" monsters from the series and is one of the most recognizable characters in gaming.[2][4] The Slime has also been called cute and charming by several critics, especially when reviewing Rocket Slime.[11] GamesRadar listed it as the most lovable blob in video games, calling them the "equivalent of training wheels" due to how easy they are to defeat typically, but also saying that their weird smile makes players think twice about killing them.[20] They also listed it as a character they wished they knew less about.[21] They stated that while they started out as nothing more than things for players to kill and not feel guilty about, the playable role of a Slime in the Dragon Quest Heroes series made them realize they were more than just generic enemies.[21] In the January 2010 issue of Nintendo Power, the editors listed the Slime among its Favorite Punching Bags, a list including Goombas and Octoroks.[22] They wrote that "The Slimes are just so cute and friendly-looking, it's almost hard to slay them. But you know, a hero's gotta do what a hero's gotta do."[22]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Jason Cipriano (July 9, 2010). "'Dragon Quest' Creator Sheds Light On The Inspiration For The Slime". MTV. MTV Networks and TM MTV Networks. Retrieved March 1, 2013. 
  2. ^ a b IGN Staff (May 25, 2007). "Interview with Yuji Horii". IGN. IGN Entertainment. Retrieved March 1, 2013. 
  3. ^ Horii, Y. (2004). Dragon Quest VIII: Journey of the Cursed King. Tokyo, Square Enix co., Ltd.
  4. ^ a b c Kalata, Kurt (January 1, 2008). "Dragon Warrior/Dragon Quest". hardcoregaming101. Retrieved March 1, 2013. 
  5. ^ a b c Spencer (December 7, 2011). "Fortune Street Playtest: A Party Game For The CNBC Crowd". Siliconera. Game Revolution. Retrieved March 1, 2013. 
  6. ^ a b c Craig Harris (May 11, 2006). "E3 2006: Rocket Slime Interview". IGN. IGN Entertainment. Retrieved March 1, 2013. 
  7. ^ Cody Musser (2006). "Rocket Slime review at MoDojo". MoDojo. Retrieved September 6, 2007. 
  8. ^ a b Henry Gilbert (February 17, 2001). "An interview with Dragon Quest creator Yuji Horii". GamesRadar. Future plc. Retrieved March 1, 2013. 
  9. ^ Anoop Gantayat (November 18, 2010). "Dragon Quest's Slime Appears in Mario Sports Mix". IGN. IGN Entertainment. Retrieved March 1, 2013. 
  10. ^ Anoop Gantayat (May 13, 2007). "Hands On: Itadaki Street DS". IGN. IGN Entertainment. Retrieved March 1, 2013. 
  11. ^ a b Vasconcellos, Eduardo (September 19, 2006). "Dragon Quest Heroes: Rocket Slime Review". GameSpy. IGN Entertainment. Retrieved March 1, 2013. 
  12. ^ a b Henry Gilbert (July 11, 2010). "Everything you need to know about Dragon Quest". GamesRadar. Future plc. Retrieved March 1, 2013. 
  13. ^ a b c Mike Schramm (June 19, 2011). "Dragon Quest 25th anniversary merch features plushie slimes, business card cases". Joystiq. AOL. Retrieved April 8, 2012. 
  14. ^ a b "Slime Plush Toys". Slimeshrine. Retrieved January 28, 2009. 
  15. ^ Joshua Fruhlinger (October 28, 2004). "Dragon Quest Slime PS2 controller from Hori". Engadget. AOL. Retrieved April 8, 2013. 
  16. ^ "Smile Slime". Square Enix Shop. Square Enix JP Shopping Site. Archived from the original on December 23, 2006. Retrieved January 28, 2009. 
  17. ^ Candace Savino (November 26, 2007). "Dragon Quest board game out in Japan, looks like good times". Joystiq. AOL. Retrieved April 8, 2013. 
  18. ^ Jasmine Maleficent Rea (July 29, 2012). "Dragon Quest slime racing is now a board game". Games Beat. Venture Beat. Retrieved April 8, 2013. 
  19. ^ Chris Kohler (April 27, 2010). "Eating Slime Buns at Tokyo’s Dragon QuestBar". Wired Magazine. Condé Nast Publications. Retrieved March 1, 2013. 
  20. ^ Mikel Reparaz (January 14, 2008). "The Top 7... Lovable Blobs". GamesRadar. Future plc. Retrieved January 1, 2013. 
  21. ^ a b Charles Barratt (November 5, 2009). "Characters we wish we knew LESS about". GamesRadar. Future plc. Retrieved January 1, 2013. 
  22. ^ a b Editors of Nintendo Power: Nintendo Power March 2009; issue 3 (in English). Future US Inc, 59.