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Computer Games That Defined RPGs In the 1980s 350

adeelarshad82 writes "The 1980s were huge for RPGs. This genre was one of the most defining game forms in the computer gaming world. A recently published article strolls down the memory lane to look back at classic computer games that both defined and extended the definition of the RPG in the 1980s. The roundup includes some obvious ones like Ultima and The Bard's Tale, and others which you may never have heard of."
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Computer Games That Defined RPGs In the 1980s

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  • Final Fantasy 7 (Score:4, Interesting)

    by genjix ( 959457 ) on Sunday March 11, 2012 @11:35PM (#39322629)

    Seriously when are they going to remake this game? As a long term fan of old school RPGs like Chrono Trigger, Breath of Fire 3, Panzer Dragoon Saga, Suikoden, ... Final Fantasy 7 was an epochal and defining moment in the whole history of video games!

    It has been consistently voted as the best game of all time. The characters were stunning each deserving of games in their own right, and experienced large character arcs. The story was amazing and well ahead of any film or book I have ever seen/read. The story of FF7 can be understood on multiple levels and there are dozens of themes that are introduced throughout the game, left hanging while more are introduced and then wrapped up later.

    The end of disk 1 was the saddest moment I have ever felt playing a video game. Quite how the story built up that relationship and that the unexpected twist was gut wrenching.

    FF7 is a skillful masterpiece. The new generation needs this classic in an updated format. It's a shame that games are not timeless like books. They really do age fast.

  • by dido ( 9125 ) <dido@NosPaM.imperium.ph> on Monday March 12, 2012 @12:20AM (#39322927)

    Ultima VII was arguably the peak of the Ultima series, which was never again surpassed, and its world modeling puts even many modern RPGs to shame (is there today any RPG out there that will allow you to bake bread, from harvesting the wheat to the finished product?). It was also the beginning of the end, as you say. Ultima VII was produced at around the time Origin was in the process of being acquired by Electronic Arts, and there are many allusions in the game to how none of them were very happy with that state of affairs. The square, sphere, and tetrahedron generators used by the Guardian in his plot to take over Britannia are a rather transparent reference to the old Electronic Arts logo [wikipedia.org] used at the time. Ultima VII also abounds in ways to kill Lord British, more than any other Ultima before or since, and one of the more interesting ways to do it would be to click on a sign above the doors leading to his throne room during a time when he is standing right below it. The sign falls on his head and kills him. This is said to allude to an incident where Richard Garriott was similarly beaned by a falling sign while Origin relocated corporate headquarters at EA's behest (it was not fatal though).

  • Re:Final Fantasy 7 (Score:5, Interesting)

    by shish ( 588640 ) on Monday March 12, 2012 @12:29AM (#39322971) Homepage

    They said it would be almost impossible to update those games to PS3 graphics because the amount of work involved to produce such a game would be too high.

    Personally I don't want "PS3 graphics" if that means looking like the modern games -- the whole reason I think FF 7/8/9 are so beautiful is that the worlds are largely hand-drawn 2D; all I really want changed in a remake is to have those same drawings re-scanned at a higher res :-P

  • Re:Final Fantasy 7 (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Securityemo ( 1407943 ) on Monday March 12, 2012 @01:10AM (#39323181) Journal
    I was the biggest FF7 fanboy you could imagine, so I might be biased, but Cloud Strife being a "sham" is a core part of the story i think, together with Aeris being the "madonna" to Tifa's... more down to earth personality. There's an underlying story about ideals and dreams and how we live up to them - and what inferiority complexes and narcissism do to people and relationships.
  • Re:You're old. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anarchduke ( 1551707 ) on Monday March 12, 2012 @02:17AM (#39323501)
    Nah, but i did download them off a BBS, only took a weekend or two per game.
  • Re:Wha? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by shish ( 588640 ) on Monday March 12, 2012 @02:45AM (#39323641) Homepage
    Nope; 7/8/9 had 3D elements (eg the character models, and battles), but the bulk of the explorable world was made of unique 2D backgrounds - 6 and earlier were repetitive 2D sprites, 10 and later are repetitive 3D textures. Though come to think of it, replacing the low-res 3D character models with nice 2D sprites would be an improvement too...
  • Re:Only 70% (Score:4, Interesting)

    by hairyfeet ( 841228 ) <bassbeast1968@@@gmail...com> on Monday March 12, 2012 @02:48AM (#39323657) Journal

    I think the correct word is "retro", at least that's the word my oldest used when he STOLE ALL MY CONCERT SHIRTS!!! I found him wearing my DLR Eat 'Em and Smile tour 86 and i'm like "dude? my shirt?" and he said 'Are you kidding me? These retro shirts are cool! All the girls at the college just love how cool these retro concert shirts are!' moral of the story? you get old enough and your clothes even end up "retro hip".

    As for TFA, anybody remember "Eye of the Beholder"? Or the original Phantasy Star? Those were the games that got me into RPGs. I'll probably get hate for daring to say so but two of the most beloved series i never did get, syndicate and fallout. I don't know why but those games just left me cold. For a couple of good ones many may not have played (not as old as TFA though) head over to GOG and check out Sacred and Divine Divinity. Huge worlds, tons of missions and subquests that you can do pretty much in any order you like, pretty fun.

  • by UpnAtom ( 551727 ) on Monday March 12, 2012 @03:05AM (#39323731) Homepage

    TOEE is still going strong. For a game that's still closed source, the amount of fixing and extending that has gone on is incredible.

    http://www.co8.org/forum/index.php [co8.org]

    It's based on core D&D 3.5, although lacks prestige classes and a few things are broken.

    There was a discussion somewhere about why TOEE and Jagged Alliance are better than Dragon Age/2/Origins. One of the games' designers said that it's all about turns -- without them there's no proper rhythm.

    The graphics are decent in TOEE too.

    The new Jagged Alliance might get fixed up yet. The new XCOM might have awesome turn-based combat.

  • Re:Only 70% (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Stormwatch ( 703920 ) <<moc.liamtoh> <ta> <oarigogirdor>> on Monday March 12, 2012 @05:43AM (#39324245) Homepage

    remember [...] the original Phantasy Star?

    Hell, yes! Have you ever played SMS Power!'s retranslation? It is far more faithful to the Japanese original than the butchered official release. Get it here. [pscave.com]

  • by Fross ( 83754 ) on Monday March 12, 2012 @06:07AM (#39324337)

    One game that isn't given enough credit but was miles ahead of everything for the time was Tunnels of Doom for the TI-99/4A. It was a framework with two games bundled (the simplistic "Pennies and Prizes" and "Quest for the King") that was meant to host further games, though no more were ever released, to my knowledge. it featured:

      - 16 colour graphics
      - Randomly generated dungeons
      - 3D filled vector graphics for exploring, switching to overhead icon-based for combat
      - 4 character classes, level progression
      - Item upgrades, random effect treasure.
      - In-game maps

    And this was in *1982*!

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tunnels_of_Doom [wikipedia.org]
    http://ridingthecrest.com/edburns/classic-gaming/tunnels/images/ [ridingthecrest.com]

  • Dungeon Master (Score:4, Interesting)

    by billcopc ( 196330 ) <vrillco@yahoo.com> on Monday March 12, 2012 @07:18AM (#39324589) Homepage

    Even in 2012, I still play the fuck outta Dungeon Master. I fire it up every few years and play it through. I don't know why, but ever since I discovered it in my friend's massive pile of Amiga disks, I was hooked and had to get it for the ST, and later for the PC. But then, I've never even heard of:

    - The Faery Tale Adventure
    - Starflight
    - Pool of Radiance
    - Phantasie

    And yes, I've been around. I just wasn't a C64 guy, my home was the Atari. And I think it needs to be said: this top 10 list sucks! There is so much repetition in there, too many dungeon crawls that all end up being the same. DM was a real-time one, the others were turn-based, but beyond that distinction there was a staggering amount of repetition across titles. It simply isn't a genre that allowed much in the way of innovation. Walk, fight, loot, solve simple puzzles.

Today is a good day for information-gathering. Read someone else's mail file.