I was getting my pre-order in this weekend for Dragon Quest IX on the DS and I picked my retailer because (I am not proud of this btw) there was a pre-order special of a baseball cap with a picture of a slime on it.
The slimes, as you can see from the picture, are little smiley blobs. In the DQ games, they are blocky blobs of pixels which bounce along gaily. And you may kill or breed them along with the other monsters.
I now feel like a twit because although I always thought they were adorable, I had not realised that they are also THE iconic monster associated with that game. It isn’t just me who makes the association “dragon quest: cute slime monster” – it’s EVERYONE who ever played it.
That’s what happens when you just buy a game in the shop because it looks cool, it turns out to be unexpectedly fun, and you never once read about it online or realised that it was a really really popular game in Japan. Because that’s how I first played Dragon Quest, many years ago.
Now here’s another iconic monster. Anyone who plays WoW will recognise a murloc.
I think in this case they became iconic not because they’re adorable but because of their behaviour in game. They were one of the first mobs people encountered as newbies who rabidly brought friends when they were pulled. So responsible for a lot of entertaining (or traumatic) wipes.
And the noise, that murloc gurgle. WoW does have other monsters that players might consider iconic but nothing really stuck in the way that murlocs did.
Final Fantasy, of course, does a great line in iconic monsters. From the chocobos (big yellow riding birds which appear in every outing of the franchise) to Flans (bizarrely, not pastry and fruit confections but elemental themed slimes) by way of the familiar named summons (Shiva, Ramuh, et al).
Do the games you play have iconic monsters, and what makes them so special?