What CRPG "did it" for you?

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    Matt Barton

    What CRPG did you play that made you decide to become a lifelong CRPG fan? For me, it was most definitely Pool of Radiance by SSI. I’d played many CRPGs before it, most notably The Bard’s Tale and Telengard, but this one REALLY got its hooks into me. What about you? I know there must be some that were lured in by Ultima, and others by Wizardry. Perhaps a Japanese title? Sound off here!



    The first RPG of any kind that really sold me on the genre was Earthbound. When I was younger, I wasn’t as interested in the fantasy genre on the whole, so picking up a game that had a fantasy setting, as well as mechanics I had no knowledge of having zero experience at that time with roleplaying was a very hard sell. Earthbound eased me into the mechanics by presenting a world that was familiar, colorful, and didn’t take itself too seriously. After that, I consumed whatever console RPG’s I could get my hands on. When I finally encountered Daggerfall, borrowed from a friend after breaking my arm and being stuck at home for several weeks, I learned that Computer RPG’s could offer something so much bigger than the average console experience.

    Today, Wizardry has really captured my attention as a solid series which I have become fascinated in. But my roots are with the console, even though I find computer games far more interesting these days.



    Ultima 7. It had the most amazingly interactive world, and the production values were top notch. It just seemed “next gen”.There were a lot of features to this game that modern games are still trying to emulate: NPC schedules, every item is interactive…

    Before that I had a serious addiction of Curse of the Azure Bonds. I had played a lot of Pool of Radiance, but it was REALLY difficult. Curse was a little more streamlined for me (maybe because of the higher level characters).



    Secret of the Silver Blades is probably my first crpg encounter.
    My cousin was playing it and let me have a go. Immediately the combat and exploration grabbed me. I ended up copying his floppy and eventually bought the gold box when I saw it.
    I did fall out of computer gaming for a few years due to not having an updated machine, but the old SSI D&Ds always stuck with me.



    Well, i started playing on PC around 1989 but was after FPS and RTS mostly till Fallout. Sure i saw some RPGs before that but was like “meh”.
    So the story is that there were 4 of us kind of “computer geeks” schoolmates (PCs were extremely rare in Russia at that time). And once one guy got Fallout and was like “oh my God! Guys, you defiantly want to check that game”. So we all get out copies and… this universe lost us all for a few days. And after that i checked every major RPG release. Ah, sweet times i was trying to install Baldur’s gate on 1 Gb hard drive. I had to delete everything (even few files from Windows directory itself) to do so. That was a great time, definitely when developers were creating worlds not just goods that sells.



    The first time I played Pool of Radiance, my head asplode.

    The concept of computerized D&D rules and being able to play a full game without a group absolutely blew me away. I loved playing D&D with friends, but they weren’t always around and there would be irritating inconsistencies with how we applied the rules. This was a whole new ball game!

    I had played Ultima I and really enjoyed it before Pool of Radiance, but for some reason it didn’t have the same impact. I think it was that great turn based tactical combat of Pool of Radiance that pushed me over.




    My first CRPG was Oregon Trail on Apple 2. I played it in 2nd grade computer class. I was the only student to beat it. I remember everyone gathering around me and the teacher being impressed. Then Wizardry on NES. That didn’t really “Do it” for me in the genre yet. Later on I played the console JRPG junk. But the game that completely sold me on being a hardcore CRPG fan was definitely Baldurs Gate. And I only first played it in about 2008. Indeed the Baldurs Gate series is what hooked me. I still to this day, over everything that I have played, Baldurs Gate 2 (imo) is the closest thing to the Perfect RPG. I think it is the quintessential fantasy RPG that involves story, gameplay, mechanics, characters, music…Not saying it is perfect but the closest thing to it.


    Matt Barton

    I agree and made that clear in my D&D book. I always thought NWN and Dragon Age were a sheer drop off from the heights they achieved in BG2. Man, what I would give for another epic game like BG2!

    I guess the only way to get it is to make one, and unfortunately I’m betting that the license for the AD&D stuff would be out of this world. It just wouldn’t be as much fun though without the official rules and setting.



    Wizardry or Ultima III for me. I really played the hell out of those when I was a kid. Something I really miss about the genre today (well, there are multiple things I miss) is the customizable characters/parties. I love games that let me roll up an entire party that I can customize how I wish and see how they go, as opposed to the recent trend of forcing you to choose fixed characters. Maybe they let you customize a single character, but even then I’m always required to be Commander Shepard in Mass Effect.

    Lately I’ve been playing Icewind Dale and the fact that the game allowed me to create an entire party immediately endeared it to me.



    Mine was when I was still very young, but Tunnels of Doom. The idea of being able to play on a machine and just explore dungeon after dungeon after dungeon… I was hooked.

    I think Ultima III cemented it in terms of making it something other than just dungeon crawls though.



    I guess Eye of the Beholder 2 was the first game that I remember playing. Dungeon Master 2 was also pretty compelling, but the first game that had a strong impact on me was Baldur’s Gate, which is my favorite cRPG.

    Also… if BG2 EE does well they are planning to make BG3, presumably re-using the same engine. One can hope!

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