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By - Darren Straight

Dragon Quest Craze that took Japan by storm set to sweep the UK

Dragon Quest IX launches on Nintendo DS

The phenomenon which has gripped a whole nation in Japan is heading for the UK with a major launch this week.

Queues a mile long formed for the launch of Dragon Quest IX in Tokyo with sales of 2.4 million in the first weekend – a world record launch in a single country.

And huge crowds are expected at the official UK launch of the game, in association with GAME, this Friday when Britain’s Got Talent winners Diversity will perform at the launch in the Westfield Shopping Centre, London. Already the game is attracting outstanding reviews from the UK press.

Such is the impact of Dragon Quest in its native Japan, the latest launch was even held on a Saturday morning, when games previously always launched on a Wednesday, in order to stop mass truancy by children and adults missing work in the race to get their hands on this immersive role-playing game.  

In one district of Tokyo the local authorities have roped off special zones for Dragon Quest players so they don’t wander off the pavements or collide with other pedestrians while immersed in the handheld game on their Nintendo DS.

The nine games in the Dragon Quest series have sold a total of 53 million games in Japan alone, beaten only by gaming icons Mario and Pokemon for sales. And in Tokyo there is even a restaurant devoted to Dragon Quest where diners eat off screens showing the game. The first eight games were aimed almost exclusively at a domestic audience, but with Dragon Quest IX it has been aimed at a more global audience. 

James Honeywell from Nintendo UK said: “Britain is one of the biggest gaming markets in the world and after the phenomenal success of this franchise in Japan, it looks like the Dragon Quest craze is really set to take off over here.”

“Reviewers in the UK have already given Dragon Quest IX some of the highest ratings we’ve ever seen for such a game, reflecting the focus this time on getting European gamers into this Japanese phenomenon.”

Neil Ashurst Head of UK PR at GAME added: “We’re delighted to be hosting the UK launch of Dragon Quest IX and with Diversity performing as well, we’re sure that there will be crowds of our customers and shoppers at Westfield wanting to try out this great game.”

Already the Guardian has described Dragon Quest IX as “A massive and rewarding undertaking that will keep your DS busy for much of the summer” while The Independent called it “a handheld marvel”.

Dragon Quest IX: ‘Sentinels of the Starry Skies’ allows players to put themselves in the role of the game’s hero or heroine, a guardian angel fallen to Earth who must embark on an epic adventure in the mortal world where they must protect the mortals, battle many foes and ultimately complete a Quest which will return them to the Kingdom of Angels.

Diversity will be performing at the launch event at Westfield Shopping Centre at 1pm on Friday July 23rd. The launch is being staged in association with GAME, Westfield.

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