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punchy71

What were some of the earliest console role playing games?

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Hello,

I like role playing games and I was thinking of trying to compile a list of the first 10 or 20 console rpg's. I think I already know what the first one was. It was Adventure for the Atari 2600. But after that I could use a lot of help in compiling a list. Thanks in advance for any help.

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I'd suggest that the first was actually a text-based mainframe game called Adventure (I think VCS game was inspired by that).

 

Edit. I guess using a mainframe as your console was kind of pricey, though...

Edited by fiddlepaddle
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I don't know if I'd call Atari 2600 Adventure an RPG per se -- more of an action/puzzle game, really. Maybe Dragonstomper is the first true RPG on the VCS?

 

On the Odyssey^2, Quest for the Rings flirts with the edge of RPGness.

On the Intellivision, AD&D: Cloudy Mountain is borderline, but AD&D: Treasure of Tarmin is definitely an RPG. Tower of Doom was delayed until 1987, but would've been out earlier had it not been for the crash, and it's a true roguelike.

 

There are also a few unreleased titles which would've been tantalizingly early: Lord of the Dungeon on ColecoVision, Dark Tower for Vectrex...a lot of good stuff was curtailed by the crash.

 

I personally think of the cart-based computer games as being very much related to the console libraries of the same time. If so, then Dungeons of Daggorath for Tandy CoCo would be a major addition, and there are important cartridge games on other platforms like the TI-99/4A.

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I think some of this depends on your definition of "role playing game". I mean, what elements of the genre are you looking for? An experience system? Turn based battles? A story? Some of the things that many people would consider to make a game an RPG might not show up until the SMS and NES (Phatansy Star/Final Fantasy/Dragon Quest). But some other elements appeared much earlier in text adventures and such (though I'm not sure how many of these were on consoles).

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Dragonstomper, probably, though I didn't know it existed back then. Treasure of Tarmin was a year later, but really took it up a notch and is clearly a traditional RPG in every respect. I didn't know consoles could do that kind of game at the time. Mind-blowing, and one of the most 'ahead of its time' games ever.

 

To me the separation of RPGs and adventure games is outward-facing statistics: hit points, experience levels, weapons & spells with different damage ranges based on stats instead of timing of button pushes. Usually a lack of twitch-based combat, as well, even if not entirely turn-based. Of course, there are a lot of sub-genres of RPGs so the line is blurry.

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Let's not forget about Rogue, Nethack, and all those "roguelike" text-based adventure games. :)

 

EDIT: Oops, just noticed the word "console" in the thread title. Never mind... ;)

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The early one's were on computers Apple/Atari/Commodore.

 

The first game I played on a console that felt like an RPG was "Gateway to Apshai" on Colecovision.

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During the 1980s, I count nine traditional, pure RPGs released for consoles in the US :


DragonStomper - Atari 2600

Advanced Dungeons & Dragons: Treasure of Tarmin - Intellivision

Tower of Doom - Intellivision

Gateway to Apshai - Colecovision


Ultima: Exodus - Nintendo Entertainment System

Dragon Warrior - Nintendo Entertainment System


Miracle Warriors : Seal of the Dark Lord - Sega Master System

Phantasy Star - Sega Master System

Phantasy Star II - Sega Genesis




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I think some of this depends on your definition of "role playing game".

 

Yeah this is the really tough part. I mean, in Pong you play the role of a paddle. In Mario you play the role of a plumber or something. In Black Ops you play the role of a 13 year old with a headset and anger issues.

 

Lord of the Dungeon comes to mind, even though it was unreleased but I think that would've probably fit in. Swordquest kinda fits in, but I think GH hits it; really when you get to what we'd slam-dunk, no-arguments call an RPG, it pretty much starts in the NES era. Some of those were ports of PC and Computer stuff tho.

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