In this pioneering video game, you play Alis and her band of heroes fighting on three different planets to defeat the cruel King Lassic and avenge Alis' brother.
The ability to move freely around the open world surface and the 3-D dungeons made "Phantasy Star" a trendsetter in the world of video game RPGs.
In this smash hit video game, the player explores the northern area of Tamriel, learning the powers of a Dragonborn to defeat the evil god-dragon Alduin.
"Skyrim" was a popular entry in the "Elder Scrolls" series. I used to take quizzes like you, then I took an arrow to the knee.
This tabletop RPG combines the cyberpunk world of a William Gibson novel with awakened magic, giving players elves, dragons and trolls alongside corporate city-states and a pervasive computer network.
"Shadowrun" remains popular today, in its fifth edition after first being published in 1989.
This video game uses the "Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Second Edition" tabletop RPG rules and is set in the Forgotten Realms. The player explores the region around the titular city and discovers a personal connection to a god known as the Lord of Murder.
The overhead isometric view in "Baldur's Gate" renewed interest in RPG video games.
This classic video game also features a tabletop crossover. It was originally supposed to use the GURPS tabletop rules system, but ended up using its own SPECIAL system instead. It's centered on the exploration of a postapocalyptic alternate future ravaged by raiders and dotted with "vaults" that contain survivors of the preapocalypse era.
The first "Fallout" launched a franchise that's still going strong.
This is the original tabletop RPG, created in 1974 by Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson.
"Dungeons & Dragons" created an entirely new form of game. Every RPG, both tabletop and video game, owes its existence to "D&D."
This video game was officially released only in Japan and is most notable for introducing the concept of "collecting" monsters, which would sometimes become available to join the player.
"Dragon Quest V" is an epic tale of mom rescuing and monster taming.
This video game is more focused on hack and slash action than a deep story, featuring randomized dungeons under the town of Tristram before reaching hell and the final battle with the title character.
"Diablo" players grind through thousands of enemies before battling Diablo himself.
Players take on the roles of vampires competing for power in a contemporary world populated by supernatural beings known as the World of Darkness in this tabletop RPG. The game was a popular subject of live action role-playing (LARPing) in the 1990s.
"Vampire: the Masquerade" is a hallmark of '90s gaming.
In this unusual tabletop RPG, players play workers in a domed city controlled by an all-powerful computer. Death is virtually guaranteed, so it's helpful that each player has several clones on standby so they can keep playing.
All hail the Computer in "Paranoia."
This game was a landmark RPG for the Nintendo Entertainment System. It featured four Light Warriors on an epic quest to restore four orbs of light and save their world from evil fiends. Combat involved selecting actions from a menu.
The game that launched the "Final Fantasy" series was first released for the NES.
In this video game, set in a realm called Albion, the player can get married, have various jobs and train a companion dog. The player can be good, evil or neutral in the quest to defeat the cruel Lord Lucien.
"Fable II" gives players enormous freedom in how they choose to play the game.
This video game features a strong tactical element, with turn-based combat on a grid map. The player must battle the Black Fang cult to prevent them from releasing dragons into the world, called Elibe.
"Fire Emblem" is often considered the exemplar for a class of video game RPGs focused on multiunit grid-based battle tactics.
This tabletop RPG is an offshoot of the third edition of "Dungeons & Dragons." It's set in the world of Golarion and revolves around an organization of adventurers devoted to exploring their world and recovering powerful magic items.
Players in "Pathfinder" can join the Pathfinder Society.
The players assemble a team of six adventurers to defeat Mangar the Dark and save the town of Skara Brae from monster infestation in this video game. It's a pure dungeon crawl, though success will be the stuff of song.
"The Bard's Tale" was released in 1985.
In this sci-fi video game, Commander Shepard must assemble a team of alien heroes to stop the Reapers from wiping out galactic civilization.
Commander Shepard can be played as either a man or a woman in "Mass Effect."
This science-fantasy tabletop RPG is set in a far future world called the Ninth World, where ancient technological relics create bizarre and mysterious effects often mistaken for magic.
"Numenera" was launched with a record-setting Kickstarter campaign.
This video game blends characters from the "Final Fantasy" series with well-known Disney characters in an epic quest to find King Mickey.
The mixing of the two franchises works strangely well, making the "Kingdom Hearts" series a success.
Although this early game didn't feature much character advancement, it did offer a vast and bizarre world to explore, and it did it all using nothing but text. You are likely to be eaten by a grue.
You might quibble over whether "Zork" is truly an RPG, but there's no doubt it's one of the seeds from which the genre grew. Or grue.
This revolutionary video game was one of the first dungeon crawls, sending players on a massive quest to explore a 10-level dungeon and defeat the evil wizard Werdna.
"Wizardry" spawned an eight-game series. Many of them (especially the first four) are among the most difficult RPG video games ever published.
This video game, the first in the beloved "gold box series," used "Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Second Edition" rules. The player gathered a party and explored ruined areas of Phlan, driving out monsters before the final battle against Tyranthraxus.
"Pool of Radiance" was followed by "Curse of the Azure Bonds."
This tabletop game is inspired by the works of H.P. Lovecraft. Instead of heroic success, the players are far more likely to die or go insane.
"Call of Cthulhu" is among the most long-lived and widely known tabletop RPGs.
This postapocalyptic tabletop RPG inspired a movement toward games with less onerous rules. All rolls just use two six-sided dice. Players have "moves," and everyone collaborates to create the game world during the first session.
The creators of "Apocalypse World" have allowed the game's basic system to be used freely, so multiple games have sprung from it in a variety of genres.
In this video game, the player fights monsters, such as Slimes, on the way to defeating the Dragonlord and saving Tantegel Castle. Players have to cross a magic bridge to get to the Dragonlord.
"Dragon Warrior" was first published in Japan as "Dragon Quest."
The player takes on the role of Geralt, a man trained to battle monsters, in this video game. Geralt seeks his former lover, Yennefer, and is tasked with finding Ciri, the emperor's daughter, before she is captured by evildoers.
Geralt's quest to find Ciri takes place in "The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt."
The heroes battle the insectlike Kreegan on the planet Enroth in this 1998 video game.
"Might and Magic VI" featured full freedom to move and look around the game world.
This early tabletop RPG by the company TSR did away with wizards and elves in favor of secret agents and guns.
"Top Secret" was published in 1980.
This video game had a strong tactical element, but it also had a deep reputation system that forced players to consider the moral implications of their actions and how they would lead to one of 17 different endings.
The title references not one, but two songs by Queen. If you've never heard the song "Ogre Battle," take a minute to find it right now.
In this video game known for its difficulty, players switch back and forth between human and "hollow" forms while trying to acquire the Lord Souls to defeat Lord Gwyn.
"Dark Souls" is highly regarded for its difficulty and rich combat system.
This video game includes the basic system and a single-player campaign, along with a toolset that allows players to create their own adventures. It's set in the "D&D" campaign world the Forgotten Realms and uses "D&D" third edition rules.
Several additional modules were released for "Neverwinter Nights."