TGS 2009: There Was Also an Enormous Slime
Kyle Orland asked me if there were any other giant inflatable creatures at the Tokyo Game Show besides the giant chocobo I mentioned earlier. Yes, in fact, there was a giant Slime. He hovered over the Dragon Quest VI booth, smiling down on us with his trademark brand of low-I.Q. contentedness.
I wondered why there was such excitement over Dragon Quest VI, but once I walked over to the Slime's domain, I learned that Square Enix is remaking the 1995 game for the DS, much as they did with DQ4 and DQ5. (Dragon Quest III will soon see yet another re-release, as well, on Japanese mobile phones.) This was one of the longest lines on the show floor during the industry/media days, probably because it was one of the few snippets of "new" work on display. That made me sad because the Dragon Quest games are great, but damn if Japanese developers aren't, as Jones pointed out, putting a lot of resources into making the same game over and over again.
But back to the Slime. I like the Slime a lot. It's a classic character design, cute without pouring it on too thick. I have a pretty big collection of Slime stuff, and it keeps growing because Square Enix keeps pumping it out. The simple shape lends itself to merchandising, and I am a sucker for it. If Square Enix is leaning too hard on its aging series, I have to admit I'm part of the problem.
At Makuhari, I got a vinyl Slime tower for display on my desk, a Metal Slime paperweight, and a Slime business-card holder, the last of which I displayed proudly to all colleagues. Jones took this picture of me at the Square Enix swag kiosk and kept showing it to me throughout the week: "Look how happy you are there!"
I guess I am pretty happy. Hey, even self-respecting game critics get to enjoy a little shopping spree now and then.