The Evolution of RPGs

Role Playing Games or RPGs have been around since before computer desktops were readily available to homes. Remember board games? These table top RPGs were very popular until dice and paper were replaced by mouse and monitor. Modern RPGs, in fact, stemmed from table top war games. The most popular war game ever was Dungeons & Dragons. This game was created by Dave Arneson and Gary Gygax, who were both fans of JRR Tolkein’s Lord of the Rings series. DND was a war game involving small groups of mid-evil soldiers.


Video RPGs or electronic RPGs were introduced in 1972. Many people believe that the first computer RPG is ADVENTURE, a game created by William Crowther. The first ADVENTURE appeared on Ataris in 1980, wherein a player could control a group of warriors to try and slay a dragon. Wizardry 1 and Ultima 1 appeared on the Apple 2 in 1981. These games launched the RPG genre as players could navigate towns and crawl through dungeons to fight monsters. Video RPGs came out in 1986 when Enix’s Dragon Quest came out in Nintendo. The combat system of Dragon Quest set a standard that is still being used by VRPGs today. Another popular VRPG was Legend of Zelda created by Shigeru Miyamoto. But the most popular VRPG ever created was Final Fantasy which was released by Squaresoft in 1987. With more than 13 stories and games out in the market, Final Fantasy’s popularity is yet to be beaten.

1988 was the year computer RPGs made its debut into households. It was the same year that Dungeons and Dragons made its move into the digital world. DND was the first CRPG to offer optional quests for characters and the ability of players to strategically control character movement during combat. The players made a party of 6 characters based on DND rules. However, it was Dungeon Masters, that allowed mouse control giving the players ability to select objects and click on enemies for combat.

When discussing RPGs, one just has to mention Blizzard’s Diablo which was released in 1996. It proved to be one of the most popular CRPGs of all times. Because of the random dungeons and different character classes available to players, it encouraged players to play the game over and over again.

Multi User Dungeons or MUDs are actually text based games which provided character creation, optional quests and a storyline. MUDs are also called MUSH’s, MOO’s or TIKI’s and is the precursor to MMORPGs. These games were most of the time done by people who loved games and had enough knowledge about programming. MUDs soon lost its popularity to console and computer games with graphics.

It is believed that Meridian 59, which came out in 1996, was the first ever MMORPG released. But it was Ultima Online that popularized this genre in 1997. MMORPGs host a large number of players, who log in to the same world to play the game. The players need a client that allows them to log into the world, which continues to exist and change even when there are no players logged in. Everquest dominated the MMORPG genre for five years until World of Warcraft came into play. Because RPGs continue to flux, companies are continually working on to improve the game, by creating new zones, quests and character classes to keep the players interested.

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Author: Jackie Acosta a single mother and an avid online gamer pursuing her dreams of writing.
The author is an avid online gamer and has started a new gaming blog http://www.gamepuddle.com. You can visit her personal blog at http://www.jackieacosta.com


The Evolution of RPGs



 

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