As in real life, time passes in several installments of Dragon Quest. The time of day will affect how NPCs behave, which shops are open, and will trigger certain story events to take place.
It takes 88 steps to shift from day to evening, and another 32 steps for true night to set in for a total of 120 (and vice versa) Several castles will bar entry during night, claiming that the monarch has already retired.
Time will never pass in the Underworld, as it is shrouded in a veil of perpetual darkness.
IV retains the 120 step rotation in all versions, with the 3D remakes also adding early morning and evening periods to towns and castles. These new time-frames function identically to day and night respectively, with only the lighting being affected.
Time will not pass when traveling the world map as a child, with certain scenes taking place at night such as the investigation of Uptaten Towers. In adulthood, time functions as it did in the previous two games. The sample of Lunar Zoombloom and the Wagon can only be obtained at night.
Day and night cycles do not exist in any version of VI, with time only passing during cutscenes. In a Febuary 9th, 1996 interview with Famitsu magazine Yuji Horii explains the reasoning for the removal of the feature as:
"The story ofDragon Quest VI concerns the world of dreams and the real world, with the player moving back and forth frequently. Adding in the day and night system on top of the two worlds would make things very complicated, both from a developer's standpoint and a player's point of view."
Night is not limited to cutscenes in the seventh quest, with the majority of areas in the past being kept in a supernatural gloom until the protagonists liberate them.
Time will now pass on its own, even if the player is standing still. If the night falls or morning dawns within a town, the camera will shift to the sky for the transition and to load the new activities for the NPCs.
The night light and tick-tock do not appear, but the player can opt to rest at an inn until evening instead of morning to fly by night.
Time flows on a hidden clock as in VIII, only it will now pass during battle as well. This has no effect on an encounter aside from presentation. Time will no longer pass in towns.
Certain quests can only be undertaken at night.
Being an online game, time will pass whether the player is logged in or not. The complete shift from day to night takes 36 minutes.
A complete day to night cycle takes a mere ten minutes to complete, with 6 for day, three for night, and 1 for evening. Being a real-time game, several monsters can be found snoozing out in the open at night. Ghosts will also appear more frequently at night.