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mbarton
August 21st, 2004, 04:49 AM
Hi, folks. I was wondering if anyone would be willing to share some knowledge about the earliest computer role playing games. We're drafting an article discussing the origin and evolution of the genre, and it'd be great to hear from some folks well-schooled in vintage computing. Of course we're aware of games like ROGUE and ADVENTURE, but I'm drawing a blank where those first "true computer role playing games" emerged in computer history.

Please help! :D

Terry Yager
August 21st, 2004, 06:10 AM
IIRC, the 1st RPGs were modeled after RL RPGs, so D&D comes to mind first. It was certainly one of the earliest.

--T

vic user
August 21st, 2004, 06:15 AM
here is a good link:

http://www.links.net/dox/warez/games/edu/rpg/

god, when i got wizardry for my apple ii+, i was blown away!

mbarton
August 21st, 2004, 06:44 AM
I'm pretty sure the FIRST must have been on a mainframe; ADVENTURE springs to mind, but that's not technically an RPG. A lot of people cite Ultima as the first CRPG, but I'm not convinced. There must have been something even before that!

Terry--you mention "D&D." Are you referring to a computer game? I know there's an Atari 2600 game by that title.

tachyon
August 21st, 2004, 07:26 AM
I'm pretty sure the FIRST must have been on a mainframe; ADVENTURE springs to mind, but that's not technically an RPG. A lot of people cite Ultima as the first CRPG, but I'm not convinced. There must have been something even before that!

Terry--you mention "D&D." Are you referring to a computer game? I know there's an Atari 2600 game by that title.

I think he's referring to Dungeons and Dragons. It was the original Fantasy Roleplaying Game and was played in person with paper and dice. It was actually based on an earlier FRPG called Chainmail. The author of both of these games was Gary Gygax. The company that published them was TSR, which is currently owned by Wizards of the Coast.

Avalon Hill had board games earlier, such as military games that had all of the elements of FRPG's, without the fantasy element.

I'm sure you could find someone, somewhere who played a game and called their characters Gandalf, Frodo, Bilbo, etc. and used a 1960's AH Panzer game as the background.

On computers, Adventure is usually acnowledged to be the earliest game that was published. It was written originally in Fortran, then later into every language you can think of; including Klingon. Adventure predated Chainmail by several years, I believe. Early '70 vs. mid 70's for the 'published' dates.

It was a public domain game, but implementations were marketed by several companies, including Microsoft. CompuServe made a lot of money by providing online versions of adventure. I don't remember any multiplayer versions, but you could post your scores against other players.

Zork was the next game that I know of. It was originally written on a PDP computer. It was broken into three parts to fit on microcomputers of it's day and sold by Infocom.

Other notable games were Scott Adams series, including Adventureland; and graphic games including other Infocom titles as well as some early LucasArts games like The Secret of Monkey Island.

Eventually, FRPG's have become todays blockbusters like EverQuest, Final Fantasy, Ultima Online, etc.

I play EverQuest and I consider it the standard by which other MMORPGs (Massively Multiplayer Online RolePlaying Games) are judged.

I hope this helps a bit.

Tom

CP/M User
August 24th, 2004, 01:37 AM
"Terry Yager" wrote:

> IIRC, the 1st RPGs were modeled after RL RPGs, so D&D
> comes to mind first. It was certainly one of the earliest.

Does "Spacewar!" Count? Beat the guts out of your oppenent.

Cheers,
CP/M User.

Terry Yager
August 24th, 2004, 05:01 AM
I seem to remember some real early versions of StarTrek, (kick some Klingon ass) but I'm not so sure if they fit into the genre.

--T

Erik
August 24th, 2004, 08:34 AM
I play EverQuest and I consider it the standard by which other MMORPGs (Massively Multiplayer Online RolePlaying Games) are judged.

I used to play EQ myself but I had to quit when my son was born almost 3 years ago.

I know the Colossal Cave adventure (XYZZY, Plover, get cage) was a 1960s creation. Does that count?

Erik

tachyon
August 24th, 2004, 02:49 PM
I know the Colossal Cave adventure (XYZZY, Plover, get cage) was a 1960s creation. Does that count?


The Colossal Cave adventure is the same thing we call Original Adventure. It was written in 1972 by Will Crowther and expanded in 1976 by Don Woods.

For more information on this "Original Adventure", you can go to http://www.rickadams.org/adventure/a_history.html for a bit of a history lesson. :)

tachyon

carlsson
August 25th, 2004, 12:57 AM
Which was the first MUD, and how old is it? I remember it was a big thing as early as 1984, but maybe there was something much before that. The question is how much interactivity and unexpected events has to happen to make an adventure become a role-playing game. If you expect to play against other humans, I wonder if there is something before late 70'ties, since computing power for long was single-user, expensive and networking took a little while to develop.

Maybe some play-by-email RPG? That could work. In the early 1990's, we had a play-by-textfile on college, where every participant would write down their actions into the same text file, and once a while the GM would step in and continue the story.

Terry Yager
August 25th, 2004, 04:09 AM
I used to enjoy starting "adventure threads" on some of the bullitin boards I'd frequent around that time. Sounds like the same thing, where everybody would add thier bit to the story.

--T

carlsson
August 26th, 2004, 05:27 AM
I suppose play-by-mail (non-electronic) RPG may have been around since late 1970's, so I definitely would look in that direction rather than searching for extremely old online software.

olddataman
September 10th, 2004, 03:11 PM
Hasen't anyone read "Hackers"? The first hackers, at MIT, wrote "Space Ears" on the first DEC PDP-1 delivered to MIT n 1959 or "60.
Ray

olddataman
September 10th, 2004, 03:15 PM
Yes, I can read, but I can't type. I meant Space Wars, not Space Ears?

CP/M User
September 10th, 2004, 05:30 PM
"olddataman" wrote:

> Yes, I can read, but I can't type. I meant Space Wars,
> not Space Ears?

You mean "Spacewar!" & yes I did mention it & it was thrown out! ;-)

Cheers,
CP/M User.

carlsson
September 13th, 2004, 06:52 AM
Is Spacewar more strategy or more role playing? I would say that you need to identify yourself with the character or entity you play as and be able to make decisions related to the character to be called role playing.

Well, of course you can make your own background story and pretend that the moves you make are those of your character. I know from myself to live in the role of a football manager in a fantasy game, not only playing the game like an outside observer moving puppies. However, I don't think the other participants take that view and thus see the game more as resource management or strategy than role playing.

It is likely that one type of games evolved from another; i.e. if some of the MIT personnel got "psychologically involved" with the race or fleet in the space war game, it may lead to new games more focusing on those aspects.

BTW, about for how long has various real life for-fun role playing activites been held and what are their origin? While it may be a little out of scope for the mentioned article, it probably would be useful to know to trace down where in the timeline and location you would expect to find a computer game of that genre.

Terry Yager
September 13th, 2004, 01:37 PM
I don't think my bragging is too off-topic for this thread...
I just picked up The Lost Treasures of Infocom for four buck$ at the Sally. It's a 20-game re-release, one of at least two diffrent ones from Infocom. I used to have this set before, but gave it away a few years ago, to a then-teenager who was heavy into adventure gaming. Now I have some interesting stuff to mount on some of my vintage systems.
/brag

--T

vic user
September 13th, 2004, 03:11 PM
you must have got suspended?

crazy game that one!

vic user
September 13th, 2004, 03:52 PM
thisis a great site for interacitve fiction:
http://www.if-legends.org/html/main.html

browse around!

Terry Yager
September 14th, 2004, 07:07 AM
Yep, Suspended is in there, as well as my favorite, Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. I have several of the games that I d/l-ed from the internet, but these come with all the maps and accessories, and there's even a hintbook.

--T

vic user
September 14th, 2004, 07:22 AM
glad you got all the maps and stuff, because some of them, you sure need them!

carlsson
September 15th, 2004, 04:12 AM
I'vre read that all the packaging material like maps, clues, bits and pieces was a big piracy demotivator, and reason why Infocom adventures were not as commonly copied around as other games. I suppose things would be different today with all kinds of copiers and printers even duplicating box art.

vic user
September 15th, 2004, 04:19 AM
I never really thought of all those maps and counters and things as piracy deterrants, but what you say makes a lot of sense.

they fooled me, because i just looked at it as eye candy and stuff.

what i hated were those god damn code wheels you would get with some games.

carlsson
September 15th, 2004, 04:40 AM
Yeah, a code wheel, colour chart, word list or similar only to protect the game would mostly annoy and a good cracker found a way to disable it anyway. A map not directly asked for, but good to have around is not as easy to disable by rearranging the code.

Maybe these games also were so large and complex that those not genuinely interested in them would not bother to get a copy, compared to simpler games playing for a larger audience.

vic user
September 15th, 2004, 05:26 AM
I think you are right again.

Taking 'Suspended' for example, i cannot imagine anyone having a fun time with that game, without the manual etc..

i don't know about you, but back in the day for me, all software passed around from teenager to teenager was pirated. i don't think i ever saw a real copy of anything, except in stores :)

and at the time, it never felt like i was doing anything wrong. it just seemed so natural to copy programs from disk to disk, so others could take them home and play them etc..

carlsson
September 17th, 2004, 07:04 AM
Oh, I have loads of budget tape games for the C64. I think about two drawers full. Of course, the number of copies are much higher, and maybe I owned more originals than most other people. Most of the tapes are rather dull games though, so I never play them.