I’ve been playing Role Playing games since I was 10 years old, from the days of Space Quest, Kings Quest and Police Quest (Ok these fall more into the ‘quest’ Genre, but for me it was a progression from these onwards), to the Dungeons & Dragons (D&D) role Playing games like Baldurs Gate, Ice Wind Dale, etc. Which of these games where the most influential in their genre? Some of them where ahead of their time and was poorly received by the public, while others became classics! Here is our list of the most influential role playing games we played that opened up the world of RPG and MMPOG games as we know it today. Now, we realize that we have a serious gap in our education when it comes to games such as EverQuest, and Final Fantasy, but for us… these where the games that had us spending hours, days, weeks, months nailed to the PC screen. Here’s our 4 Classic Role Playing Games that Shaped the Genre.
Legends of Valour (1992)
One of the first RPG’s I played. Legends of Valour is a role-playing video game developed by Synthetic Dimensions and released by U.S. Gold and SSI in 1992 for the Amiga, Atari ST and PC DOS systems. The game did not do well at all and was considered a flop, as the game was planned to be a first part of the series. Its full title is Legends of Valour: Volume I – The Dawning. Still, we loved playing this game. Navigating the complicated town streets, joining all those guilds, and collecting all the skulls! One thing I do regret is never finishing this game, yup. I never did get all those skulls and never found Sven.
This was one of the first RPG games to use a smooth-scrolling three-dimensional environment. I loved the complexity of the game. For example, the player character can become drunk (impairing movement and vision), and be arrested for this, undernourished characters (the players need to eat, drink and sleep regularly) are more likely to catch a disease, and a passing guard may overhear an illegal conversation. Fantasy world of Legends of Valour is inhabited by humans, elves and dwarves, and the player can choose which of these races he wishes to play as (the chosen race influences relations with other characters), with player-customized face and body build for the character.
The game takes place in a walled capital city called Mitteldorf, where the player can explore the streets, buildings and a massive network of dungeons and sewers connected through a natural cave system, while completing various missions given by its numerous citizens, all while looking for his/her missing cousin Sven, which is the starting point of the game’s main quest (to restore the king to power and slay an evil demon). The guilds and temples found in mittledorf offer the player career paths with unique missions; through the game, the player’s character can even become a vampire or a werewolf.
Why We love this game: It was the first, we were drawn in so deeply and mesmerized by the massive world of Mittledorf. Have a look at a few screenshots:
Planescape: Torment (1999)
This was the first “darker” type RPG we played. Topics such as resurrection, immortality and death feature a lot in this game. Planescape: Torment is a role-playing video game developed for Microsoft Windows by Black Isle Studios and released on December 12, 1999 by Interplay Entertainment. It has an Advanced Dungeons & Dragons (AD&D) fantasy campaign setting.
You play the role of “The Nameless One”, an immortal who has lived many lives but has forgotten all about them, even forgetting his own name. The game focuses on his journey through the city of Sigil and other planes to reclaim his memories of these previous lives. Several characters in the game may join The Nameless One on his journey, and most of these characters have encountered him in the past or have been influenced by his actions in some way.
It was lauded for its immersive dialogue, for the dark and relatively obscure setting, and for The Nameless One’s unique persona. It was considered by many video game journalists to be the best role-playing game (RPG) of 1999, and continues to receive attention long after its release. Considered as a Cult Classic.
Why We love this game: Simple, the story… It was something unheard of at the time, and still remains a game that has no equal. We loved how you could resolve any conflict without fighting, but through clever discussions.
Baldur’s Gate (1998)
Baldur’s Gate was the next step in evolution when it came to RPG’s. It had the enhanced D&D rule-set, as well as the much acclaimed the Infinity Engine for its graphics. The graphics were Awesome! Baldur’s Gate was developed by BioWare and published in 1998. It is the first game in the Baldur’s Gate series, and takes place in the Forgotten Realms, a high fantasy campaign setting, using a modified version of the Advanced Dungeons & Dragons (AD&D) 2nd edition rules.
For us Baldur’s Gate seemed to be the game that “made it”, there where more releases after the successful original, and the infinity engine would later be enhanced for use in a remake of the game entitled Baldur’s Gate: Enhanced Edition, the first game in the franchise in nearly nine years. We played Baldur’s Gate and Ice Wind Dale at roughly the same time. even though Ice Wind Dale would be a worthy addition here, we felt that is might have just missed the cut.
Why We love this game: It had everything, the graphics, the story, the next level D&D. They various ways you could enhance your character, it all made this game extremely addictive, and thoroughly enjoyable.
No RPG list can be complete without Diablo. Diablo is an action role-playing hack and slash video game developed by Blizzard North and released by Blizzard Entertainment on December 31, 1996. Set in the fictional Kingdom of Khanduras, Diablo has the player take control of a lone hero battling to rid the world of Diablo, the Lord of Terror. Beneath the town of Tristram, the player journeys through sixteen dungeon levels, ultimately entering Hell itself in order to face Diablo.
The game was immensely successful. More so than any other RPG thus far, scoring the highest score on multiple review and critic sites. Most praised the game’s addictive gameplay, immense replayability, dark atmosphere, superior graphics, moody musical score, and its great variety of possible magic items, enemies, levels, and quests. The variety in the game was what made this a deal-breaker. The different kind of monsters you come across, the various combinations of weapons and ultimately character build was a huge contributor to is success.
One negative point to this game for us was that it gets boring after a while. Your character has the ability to teleport back to town hall, and this resulted in players taking on enemies way above their skill level, then downing healing potions one after the other, and at the point where the person is almost dead, he teleports back to town hall, purchase more potions, and start again. Potion-potion-potion-potion-Teleport- Potion-potion-potion-potion, etc.
Still, this game was simply revolutionary, and deserves to be mentioned forever in the annals as one of RPG’s most influential games.
Why We love it: The Sound, the Environment, the Story, and the variety you had in character builds, enemies and the story line was amazing!
What games did we miss? What is your best memories of growing up playing RPG’s?