The Enix Corporation is one of the oldest and largest developers of video games in existence. It all started back in 1986 with their (Japanese) release of Dragon Quest (known to English speakers as Dragon Warrior) for the NES that created the genre of console RPG's. Since then Enix has specialized in RPG's and created a long list of original, creative, and sometimes unusual titles besides their flagship series, Dragon Quest.

Milen has pointed out that my use of the word "oldest" is somewhat subjective: believe it or not, there was life before the NES. But since it was the NES that really started console gaming as we know it, any company that's been around since the NES' beginning is old in my 21-year-old book.

In America, Dragon Warrior's popularity petered out while Squaresoft's games, especially the Final Fantasy series, became the standard for RPG's. However, during the age of the Super Nintendo, Enix's numerous other games attracted a quiet but steady American following. In Japan, it's a different story, and the title for Definitive RPG Series belongs to Dragon Quest. Dragon Quest is also illustrated by a well-known manga artist, Akira Toriyama, best known in America as the artist of Dragon Ball Z (or among gamers, Chrono Trigger).

After the golden age of the SNES had passed, and gamers were caught in the great Time of Change surrounding the move to CD-based games, things got even more quiet for Enix in America. Enix created only two games for the N64: Mischief Makers and Wonder Project J2, neither of which I know enough about to list here. But today, Enix develops games mainly for the Playstation console, enjoying a new burst of popularity from the games developed by Tri-Ace, and has ported some of its classic NES games to the Game Boy Color. The Dragon Quest series is now up to number 7 on the Playstation, which was released in America fairly recently.


And now for the games:
(this list is meant to be extensive, but not entirely complete. I've played many of Enix's games, but haven't written about ones I'm still mostly clueless about. Send a /msg if you have some substantial info on things I'm missing. Full reviews are meant for individual nodes: here, longer notes are given to describe games of an unusual nature.)

Nintendo Entertainment System:


Dragon Quest / Dragon Warrior
Release dates: Japan-1986, US-1989
The original console RPG, back in the days of only one PC and only one monster you could fight at a time. Re-released in 2000 in a package with Dragon Warrior II for the Game Boy Color.
Dragon Quest II / Dragon Warrior II
Release dates: Japan-1987, US-1990
The sequel adds more complexity, such as a varied party of adventurers and multiple monsters. Re-released in 2000 in a package with the original Dragon Warrior for the Game Boy Color.
Dragon Quest III / Dragon Warrior III
Release dates: Japan-1988, US-1991
Similar to its predecessors in gameplay, but bigger and better. Also re-released for the Game Boy Color in 2001.
Dragon Quest IV / Dragon Warrior IV
Release dates: Japan-1990, US-1992
A change in pace, featuring separate chapters where different characters are controlled.

Super Nintendo:


The 7th Saga
Release dates: Japan-?, US-1993
An RPG that lets you pick one hero out of seven specialized characters, then sets you against the other six. You can pick one to be your sidekick for life, switch them around in midgame, or fight against them.
Actraiser
Release dates: Japan-1990, US-1991
A game that combines a sidescroller with a simulation. You play the role of a god trying to rebuild civilization by defeating the monster threats, then guiding the people's development.
Actraiser 2
Release dates: Japan-1993, US-1993
The next Actraiser installment that does away with the simulation and becomes pure action game.
Brain Lord
Release dates: Japan-1994, US-1994?
An RPG with an emphasis on puzzles.
Dragon Quest V
Release dates: Japan-1992, US-none
Despite the upgrade to the Super Nintendo, at this point Enix stopped releasing Dragon Quest games in America. For a while.
Dragon Quest VI
Release dates: Japan-1995, US-none
Meanwhile, in Japan, the Dragon Quest games were becoming fewer and more far between. The big jump to the Playstation would take even longer.
E.V.O.:Search for Eden
Release dates: ?
One of the more weird (good) ones. An action game with some RPG elements. Each level goes through a different age of the world. Instead of simply leveling with experience points, the points you earn are spent towards specific aspects of evolution to your creature that may or may not work well together. You start as a fish and can work your way up to a human, or some other powerful mammal.
Illusion of Gaia
Release dates: Japan-?, US-1994
Second game in the Soul Blazer series (see below).
King Arthur and the Knights of Justice
Release dates: ?
A pretty basic RPG based off a cartoon show. The heroes are the misplaced, time-traveling players for a present-day football team called "The Knights" and their captain, "Arthur King". Ha ha ha.
Ogre Battle: March of the Black Queen
Release dates: Japan-1993, US-1993
The start of a rich and detailed series with a well-deserved cult following. This RPG deals with several army units you design and re-arrange yourself rather than one single party. Factors such as your leader's reputation and alignment, numerous unique characters and special items, and branching storylines make this a vast and complicated game. Also re-released for the Playstation in 1997.
Robotrek (Slapstick)
Release dates: Japan-?, US-1994
"Slapstick" is the original Japanese name. A poorly translated but innovative RPG where you design and program robots to fight for you. Manuals found throughout the game teach you how to create new and more powerful gadgets, but a lot can also be done by just tossing stuff into your "Invention Machine" and seeing what you get.
Soul Blazer
Release dates: Japan-1992, US-1992
An adventure RPG (Zelda-ish controls) with a unique goal and great gameplay. One of my favorites.
Terranigma
Release dates: Japan-1995, US-none
The third game in the Soul Blazer series, not available in America.

Game Boy Color:


Dragon Warrior I and II
Release dates: Japan-none?, US-2000
Two original NES games squeezed onto one Game Boy cartridge.
Dragon Quest III / Dragon Warrior III
Release dates: Japan-2000, US-2001
A port of the original NES game.
Dragon Quest Monsters / Dragon Warrior Monsters
Release dates: Japan-1998, US-2000
Dragon Warrior meets Pokemon.

Sony Playstation:


Star Ocean: The Second Story
Release dates: Japan-1998, US-1999
Developed by Tri-Ace, this RPG introduced a number of well-crafted and original systems, such as learned skills, item creation, and "private actions" that allow you to interact within the party. It also has fairly good voice acting, for the most part.
Valkyrie Profile
Release dates: Japan-1999, US-2000
Also developed by Tri-Ace. A 2D game with beautiful sprite-based graphics in an age of chunky polygons, based on Norse mythology. It also has somewhat non-linear systen of gameplay, a fun combo-based battle system that goes fast and racks up big damage numbers, lots of voice acting, multiple endings, and all sorts of other great things I just don't have the room to mention here.
Dragon Quest VII/Dragon Warrior VII
Release dates: Japan-2000, US-2001
The first new DQ in quite a while, and the first released on a CD.

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