Dragon Quest creator Yuji Horii accepted the Lifetime Achievement Award at the 22nd annual Game Developers Choice Awards in San Francisco tonight.
The Lifetime Achievement Award recognizes the career and achievements of a developer who has made an “indelible impact on the craft of game development and games as a whole,” according to the Game Developers Choice Awards website.
Find the full transcript of Horii’s acceptance video message below.
“Hello, Yuji Horii here. Thank you very much for choosing me to receive the prestigious GDC Lifetime Achievement Award.
“When I was little, I loved to read manga, and throughout middle school and high school, I dreamed of becoming a manga author. In university, I joined the manga society, where I drew my own manga, helped professional artists with their manuscripts, and provided illustrations and articles for magazines. Even after graduating from university, I worked for a while as a freelance writer. But then something happened that changed everything—the arrival of the home computer.
“I first read about computers in a newspaper article, and I was absolutely fascinated with this new invention. I went out and bought one right away. I had always liked math, too, so I quickly got to grips with my new toy. I taught myself how to code, and started making my own games for fun. It just so happened that Enix—now Square Enix—were running a game programming contest around that time. I put one of my games forward, and won. That’s how my career in the games industry started—and it’s continued for nearly 40 years now.
“I won the contest with an action game that I made to amuse myself. However, I was more into adventure games at the time, so that’s what I decided to make next. A game where you progress through the story as you play, with murders occurring one after the other—The Portopia Serial Murder Case. In Portopia, the person giving you the ‘What will you do next?’ command prompts is actually the murderer. That twist got me a lot of good reviews, and a lot more requests to make new games.
“One of the fantastic things about computers is their interactive nature. You just have to imagine what a player is going to do, and then program the system to react to it. I really enjoyed that kind of systematic storytelling. I also loved RPGs like Wizardry and Ultima, where gameplay followed the rails set down by the story. So I made my own version—Dragon Quest.
“To me, Dragon Quest was like a manga, with the story unfolding through short conversations. It was like a manga that you could play on your computer. My team and I are currently working on the latest installment to the series, Dragon Quest XII, as well as a lot of other titles. I hope that everyone around the world enjoys them as much as you did Dragon Quest XI. We’ll have some more announcements for you soon!”