**Caution: If you haven't played it yet, this post contains spoilers for Dragon Quest V.**
ARS: The mid-to-late 1990s and early 2000s were a tough time to be a Dragon Quest fan living in America. The venerable Japanese RPG series was (and still is) popular to the point of ubiquity in its home country, but lackluster sales for the first four games (all released for the NES under the Dragon Warrior moniker) combined with the shuttering of publisher Enix's North American branch in 1995 meant that American gamers never got English-language localizations of the series' Super Nintendo games.
That's a real shame, too, because Dragon Quest V and VI are two of the strongest entries in a franchise that hits more often than it misses—it's the fifth entry that I want to draw your attention to. Before it was finally released by Square Enix on the Nintendo DS in early 2009, the only way to play Dragon Quest V was to learn to read Japanese, or to play one of the fan translations of the game that cropped up on the Internet in the early 2000s—this is how I was introduced to what remains one of my favorite games, and an excellent example of what an old-school role-playing game can be.