Tales of the Rampant Coyote

Adventures in Indie Gaming!

20 Classic CRPGs Every Designer Should Play

Posted by Rampant Coyote on November 23, 2015

Wiz1_CharsGamasutra reposted (re-advertised?) a classic but excellent article about 20 essential computer role-playing games (and a bonus non-computerized game) that every game designer (particularly RPG designers) should play.

Game Design Essentials: 20 RPGs

If you haven’t read it yet, or are just idly curious, the games are: Dungeons & Dragons (tabletop), Wizardry, Ultima, Wasteland, the “Gold Box” D&D series, Quest for Glory, Might & Magic, Nethack, The Elder Scrolls, Baldur’s Gate, World of Warcraft, Dragon Quest, Dragon Slayer, Fire Emblem, Final Fantasy, Mother (Earthbound), Pokémon, Mystery Dungeon, Square’s 16-bit RPGs (like Chrono Trigger), Tales series, Nippon Ichi RPGs, and then a slew of bonus games worth mentioning (Bard’s Tale, Eye of the Beholder, Dwarf Fortress, ADOM, Planescape: Torment, and others. You’ll probably note that most of these are a series. Although Fallout is mention in relation to Wasteland, the series is kind of conspicuous by its absence.

The meat of the article isn’t the what, though… it’s the why.  And for that reason, it’s well worth (re-)reading.

The article was originally released in 2009, so we’ve had six more years of role-playing game releases to play in more recent years. The Demon Souls series has made a significant splash since then. And we’ve basically had a giant indie invasion of some very noteworthy titles worthy of analysis since then, like Divinity: Original Sin, Age of Decadence, a sequel to Wasteland (making it a series!), Pillars of Eternity (which more-or-less fits in as a successor to the Baldur’s Gate series…), and more. I’d also like to see the Persona series on the list. I’m not sure what these new additions would replace, though.

The thing is, even studying some of the bad examples (unless they are totally derivative) can be pretty useful. Maybe more so… like housework, it’s easier to notice when it’s not been done or done right then when it’s been done well.


Filed Under: Design, Retro - Comments: Comments are off for this article

Comments are closed.