After a brief and bumpy Resident Evil 5 detour, I'm back with an update on my RPG syllabus. Having compiled all your suggestions, I now have a list of 66 games to consider. That's right, sixty-six. Well, I did ask for help, didn't I? ;-)
While it might be fun to teach a 6-semester course on the history of electronic RPGs, in reality I have one semester to get the job done. So it's time to make a cut.
I could approach this in a variety of ways, but the one that makes the most sense to me is to divide the games chronologically, so that's what I've done. A couple of notes:
- Many of these games were released on multiple platforms. I have listed what I consider to be the main version, which was usually released first.
- All games were released in North America. I did not include Japan-only titles.
- I relied on a fairly wide definition of "RPG" in response to suggestions from many of you.
- The bibliography and reading list will be posted later. I'm working on that separately.
Colossal Cave Adventure - PC 1976
Rogue - PC 1980
Zork - PC 1980
Wizardry - PC 1981
King's Quest - PC 1984
Hitchiker's Guide to the Galaxy - PC 1984
Ultima IV - PC 1985
A Bard's Tale - PC 1985
A Mind Forevor Voyaging - PC 1985
Space Quest - PC 1986
Shadowgate - Mac/PC 1987
Nethack - PC 1987
Sid Meier's Pirates! - C64/PC 1987
Wasteland - C64/PC 1988
Phantasy Star - Sega Master System 1988
Final Fantasy IV - SNES 1991
Dragon Quest III - NES 1991
Actraiser - SNES 1991
Ultima VII - PC 1992
Secret of Mana - SNES 1993
Betrayal at Krondor - PC 1993
Syndicate - PC/SNES 1993
X-Com - PC 1993
Earthbound - SNES 1995
Chrono Trigger - SNES 1995
Ogre Battle - SNES 1995
Secret of Evermore - SNES 1995
Super Mario RPG - SNES 1996
Quest for Glory - PC 1989
Dragon Warrior - NES 1989
Final Fantasy VII - PS1 1997
Ultima Online - PC 1997
Wild Arms - PS1 1997
Fallout - PC 1997
Harvest Moon - SNES 1997
Tactics Ogre - PS1 1998
Final Fantasy Tactics - PS1 1998
Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time - N64 1998
Baldur's Gate - PC 1998
Legend of Legaia - PS1 1999
Planescape: Torment - PC 1999
Everquest - PC 1999
Fallout 2 - PC 1999
Suikoden II - PS1 1999
Diablo 2 - PC 2000
Deus Ex - PC 2000
Grandia II - Dreamcast 2000
Skies of Arcadia - Dreamcast 2000
Breath of Fire IV - PS1 2000
Dark Cloud - PS2 2001
Neverwinter Nights - PC 2002
Elder Scrolls: Morrowind - PC 2002
Pokemon Ruby and Sapphire - GBA 2003
Knights of the Old Republic - Xbox 2003
Disgaea - PS2 2003
Fire Emblem - GBA 2003
World of Warcraft - PC 2004
Dragon Quest VIII - PS2 2005
Final Fantasy XII - PS2 2006
Elder Scrolls: Oblivion - PC 2006
Mass Effect - Xbox 360 2007
Persona 3 - PS2 2007
Lord of the Rings Online - PC 2007
Etrian Odyssey - DS 2007
Barkley, Shut Up and Jam: Gaiden PC 2008
Shiren the Wanderer - DS 2008
Grand Theft Auto 4 - PS3 2008
Metal Gear Solid 3 - PS3 2008
Quite a list, eh? Now I'm asking for your help again, hoping you'll bring your experience and opinions to bear on the process of cutting this list down to a manageable number. If you're interested, here's what I'd like you to do:
- Choose 3 or 4 titles from each group. Post a comment letting me know your choices.
- Short on time? - choose 1 from each category. Short on experience? - skip the years you missed.
- Feel too hemmed in by these categories? - mix and match as you see fit, but try not to choose too many games from one category.
Ultimately, I must reduce this list to a final total of 15 games that provide an historical overview of the RPG genre of electronic games. Your responses will help move me closer to that goal. As before, I'm terribly grateful for your help, and I will continue to update here until the final draft of the syllabus is complete.
Update: You can see the results of all your responses in a more recent post here.