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Did you know that in Japan, DQ Monsters 1 on the Game Boy had two different releases?

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In my quest to import Japanese DQ games and scan their manuals, I discovered that there are two different versions of the original DQ Monsters in Japan! One is for the original Game Boy, and the other is for the Game Boy Color. Apparently, the game had released before the GBC system was actually available for purchase, and there was a second printing to emphasize GBC compatibility. I recently got both versions together to compare (each cost me $1 before shipping, lol), and here's a breakdown of my findings:

Fronts of the boxes:



Backs of the boxes:



  • The red text at the top is slightly different. According to Google Translate, both say "Dragon Quest powers up and debuts on Game Boy!" The GB version says "Dragon Quest series" while GBC just says "Dragon Quest."
  • GB box has text below blue box: "* Screenshots are from Game Boy Color and original Game Boy."
  • The screenshot below Terry is different on each box.
    • GB version: Screenshot shows the result of breeding two monsters. The text in the blue circle below Terry's foot says "combination."
    • GBC version: Screenshot of Terry and a few monsters exploring a dungeon.
  • On GB box, text to the right of "Licensed by Nintendo" reads "We do not allow unauthorized copying, rental or secondhand sales of this software." On GBC box, this is moved to the right of the Link Cable indicator.
  • The GBC box lists some basic credits above the Super Game Boy and Link Cable indicators: "Staff | Scenario, Game Design / Enix Co., Ltd., Tose Co., Ltd., Yuji Horii | Character Design / Akira Toriyama | Music / Koichi Sugiyama"

The other four faces of the boxes are all the same, even down to the UPC bar code, interestingly:



Instruction manuals:



  • As far as I can tell, only the front covers are different. Basically a copy of the fronts of the boxes.
  • The content inside the two manuals is identical. I don't have to scan the whole manual twice now, hooray!
  • The accents at the top are different colors: orange and purple.
  • Top right: the GB manual lists a game code DMG-ADQJ-JPN while GBC lists DMG-ADQJ-JPN-1.

Game cartridges and circuit boards. I also included the North American version for fun, but the discussion is mostly about the JP versions:



  • Two different colors for the cartridge plastic: gray for GB, and black for GBC (with GB backwards compatibility). This was common practice for the system.
    • Typically, gray carts don't have full color pallettes when you play on a GBC or GBA. This one does, oddly enough.
  • The labels look identical besides some slight fading (?) on the gray cart.
  • The circuit boards are very similar but have some subtle differences (4 vs 6 at top right, different chip manufacturers).
  • Interestingly, the ROM chips (bottom right) have different IDs on them: DMG-ADQJ-0 for GB, DMG-ADQJ-1 for JP GBC, DMG-AWQE-0 for NA.
    • I don't have a way to dump the JP ROMs to see if they're at all different, but I'm inclined to believe they have the same ROM.
  • Also, I recently got my hands on a GBC link cable to mess around with. Surprisingly, linking an NA copy with the JP GBC copy actually worked and let me access the link battle/breeding menus!

That's all I have for today; I hope you found this interesting!

Edited by But Thou Must
Make topic title less ambiguous
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$1 before shipping? What a steal!


This is extremely cool. The engineer in me especially likes trying to figure out the differences in the circuit boards. :biggrin:

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I notice that the JP carts show a lot more monsters than the US version. Watabou, Kingslime, Arcdemon, and Dragon, to name a few. The US cart only has four monsters on it. Including a Dracky from the first gate, and a strangely out of place Coatal. I say out of place because its a rare monster, but not a demon lord.

I never realized that the US cart was missing Watabou and Slime until I saw the JP version, where they're front and center.

Iirc, Watabou is prominent in the US game manual, but I haven't seen one in a loooong time

Edited by Wes
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  • But Thou Must changed the title to Did you know that in Japan, DQ Monsters 1 on the Game Boy had two different releases?

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