While “Dungeons and Dragons” was certainly not the first role-playing game ever invented, it is to this day considered the granddaddy of all RPGs, no matter if they are played on tabletops or tablet computers. Its influence on the genre is undeniable – traces of the system it has introduced can be observed in most games with even a bit of character development today, from massively multiplayer titles to certain All Slots real money casino games. It has become one of the most popular tabletop games in the mid-1970s, and its influence goes way beyond the world of video games. Some notable personalities shaping popular culture today, such as comedian Stephen Colbert, directors Jon Favreau, Stephen Spielberg, actors Wil Wheaton and Karl Urban, even acclaimed author George R. R. Martin, are declared – and passionate – players of D&D.
It’s safe to say that we have Dungeons & Dragons to thank for the way massively multiplayer role-playing games look and feel today. The first RPGs, used by students and professors on university mainframes in the mid-1970s were all inspired by this tabletop title. The popularity of these games was boosted by the fact that PLATO, an early educational computer system not entirely dissimilar from the internet we know today, had thousands of graphic terminals worldwide and allowed users to play these games simultaneously. Around this time, many dungeon-based role-playing games and text adventures were created, including big names like Zork, a game series actively developed until the late 1990s, Rogue, which spawned an entire generation of “roguelike” RPGs, including the Diablo series.
The early 1980s saw the release of a series of well-known role-playing titles which all contributed to the formation of today’s massively multiplayer games and not only them – titles in the Ultima and Wizardry series as seen as direct ascendants of modern cRPG titles like Knights of the Old Republic, Neverwinter Nights 2, and The Witcher. After a “golden age” between the mid-1980s and the early 1990s, when many popular RPG titles were released, the interest for such titles has started to dwindle. But titles like “Baldur’s Gate” and “Fallout” have kept the genre alive until its resurgence in the early 2000s.
Today, massively multiplayer role-playing games are dominating the genre. There are many original universes to explore as well as familiar ones like Blizzard’s Warcraft universe, along with licensed content like Warhammer, Star Wars, and the Lord of the Rings. Role-playing has also gone mobile, with many titles dwelling on smartphones, and some even going as far as to be based on the player’s real-life location – like Ingress, for example. And these can all be traced back to Dungeons and Dragons, which is, by the way, still one of the best-selling tabletop game to this day.