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In Pictures: A History Of Computer RPGs

In Pictures: A History Of Computer RPGs
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30+ Years Of Computer RPGs

Computer role-playing games have been with us for almost as long as computers themselves. Today, we take a look at their history to see how they have progressed from the very first examples more than thirty years ago to the modern games we play today. On the left, we find ourselves in the exact same situation in 1981 (Wizardry: Proving Grounds of the Mad Overlord) and 2011 (The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim): being attacked by an Orc!

We have tried to include games that made a big contribution to the development of the genre. Sadly, our original list included more than 30 games, so we had to make some hard choices, and not everybody's favorite will be on the list. This should not keep you from reminiscing about all the games you have spent many hours of your life on in the comments, though!

Pictures courtesy of MobyGames.com and Bethesda Softworks.

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Top Comments
  • 49 Hide
    Anonymous , May 4, 2012 5:14 AM
    Quite a jump there...Baldur’s Gate to Dragon Age: Origins?


  • 37 Hide
    killerclick , May 4, 2012 5:45 AM
    No Morrowind, no Oblivion, no KOTOR, no NWN, no Mass Effect... no Might and Magic? Stupid list.
  • 30 Hide
    yialanliu , May 4, 2012 5:24 AM
    How do we jump from 1998 to 2009? There were definitely games taht were good in that time period...
Other Comments
  • 49 Hide
    Anonymous , May 4, 2012 5:14 AM
    Quite a jump there...Baldur’s Gate to Dragon Age: Origins?


  • 4 Hide
    odaiwai , May 4, 2012 5:15 AM
    MATU!
  • 3 Hide
    godfather666 , May 4, 2012 5:20 AM
    Nice, never played any of the games before Dragon Age. might check out Baldur's Gate enhanced edition.
  • 26 Hide
    bystander , May 4, 2012 5:23 AM
    nk102Quite a jump there...Baldur’s Gate to Dragon Age: Origins?

    I was about to write the same thing.
  • 30 Hide
    yialanliu , May 4, 2012 5:24 AM
    How do we jump from 1998 to 2009? There were definitely games taht were good in that time period...
  • 5 Hide
    buzznut , May 4, 2012 5:28 AM
    Where's dungeon hack??
  • 19 Hide
    agnickolov , May 4, 2012 5:30 AM
    Huge gap from 1998 to 2009... I'd put Diablo II on its own in that timeframe, but that might be just me... It was significantly more advanced in game play compared to Diablo and in fact most other action RPGs to stand alone on a hilltop... Even the new Diablo 3 yet to be released seems to pale compared to it (at least according to impressions from the Diablo 3 Beta).
  • 24 Hide
    sideshowbob32 , May 4, 2012 5:30 AM
    what about Morrowind
  • 15 Hide
    Horhe , May 4, 2012 5:38 AM
    No Gothic? No Witcher?
  • 37 Hide
    killerclick , May 4, 2012 5:45 AM
    No Morrowind, no Oblivion, no KOTOR, no NWN, no Mass Effect... no Might and Magic? Stupid list.
  • 17 Hide
    s3anister , May 4, 2012 6:18 AM
    The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind was the defining video game of my adolescence and it's not listed?

    It feels like you're missing a few between numbers 15 and 16...
  • 13 Hide
    Anonymous , May 4, 2012 6:29 AM
    What about Dungeon Master ? My DOS favourite for several years
  • 11 Hide
    LORD_ORION , May 4, 2012 6:29 AM
    Wow, just wrong on so many levels

    Dungeon Siege needed to be on there.
    1st RPG game to never have a loading screen, and it also had the whole "dumbed down for causal retards" leveling mechanics designers seem to be implementing only now... this game came out a decade ago.
    Infact, the only thing Diablo III is, is an improved version of Dungeon Siege II.

    Also, Darkstone needed to be on the list, as the 1st 3D action RPG.

    Let's not forget PlaneScape Torment, that thing was pretty much a novel with graphical exploration and combat.

    There is also the old Crescent Hawk Battle Tech RPG.., Plot your orders, and then watch the battle unfold in real-time. That definitely needed to be on there, with the whole salvaging enemies, upgrading mechs etc...

    These things I mention brought to the table by these RPGs are important.

    You didn't even scratch into the non-fantasy RPGs like Auto-Duel, Twilight 2000 and StarFlight

    :\
  • 24 Hide
    bloodlover , May 4, 2012 7:08 AM
    Whoever made this list need to play more RPGs
  • 18 Hide
    LordConrad , May 4, 2012 7:08 AM
    No mention of Zork???

    I know I'm showing my age, but Zork I & II were the first RPGs I ever played.
  • -6 Hide
    acerace , May 4, 2012 7:17 AM
    Quote:
    We have tried to include games that made a big contribution to the development of the genre. Sadly, our original list included more than 30 games, so we had to make some hard choices, and not everybody's favorite will be on the list.


    Looks like someone doesn't read the whole article. :ange: 
  • -9 Hide
    chumly , May 4, 2012 7:31 AM
    How in the hell are you not going to mention Everquest or World of Warcraft? mmoRPG's not represented at all.

    ...or LORD on BBS.
  • 13 Hide
    thezooloomaster , May 4, 2012 7:46 AM
    Planescape Torment!!! Never forget...
  • 4 Hide
    siege_templar , May 4, 2012 8:03 AM
    love how it says diablo 3 to be released soon... assuming it is gonna be further delayed lol.
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