Over the next couple weeks (or months, or years), I'm trying to dive dive into Dragon Quest history and unearth some fun facts that people may not have known about already. We're also going to be discussing quite a few of these on Dragon Quest FM, so check those episodes out whenever they exist.
Anyway, on my Dragon Quest Quest to find Dragon Quest mysteries, I stumbled upon an old episode of Game Center CX (also, check out my good friend Dan's Game Apartment 1C). In an episode with Pokémon creator Satoshi Tajiri, he revealed that the idea for trading monsters across the Game Boy came from playing Dragon Quest II.
How Dragon Quest II Inspired Pokémon Trading
Now, trading Pokémon on the Game Boy Color was a major annoyance for me as a kid. I was a boy growing up in a rural area who desperately needed a Gengar. The only time I really saw friends to trade with was on the school bus, where Game Boys were outlawed. Anyway, where were we? Oh yeah…Dragon Quest II.
So, Tajiri says playing Dragon Quest II is what led him to choosing the Game Boy as the console of choice for Pokémon. Specifically, he wanted a Magic Hat (or Mad Cap, if you played Dragon Warrior II). Tyrannodactyls made the obvious choice to farm for this drop, since Pazuza and Hargon were…you know, a lot harder to farm.
So, as the story goes, Tajiri wanted to trade with his friend who'd managed to get two Magic Hats. Of course, that wasn't possible on the Famicom or in Dragon Quest II. But then, years later when it came time to choose a console for Pokémon Red & Blue, Tajiri remembered wanting to trade with friends, and he chose the Game Boy because of its Link Cable, which would allow players to trade Pokémon.
So there you have it. That's how Dragon Quest II inspired Pokémon trading as we know it (or at least, the way we knew it in the '90s).
You can watch the archived GameCenter CX video here.