Growing up in the Los Angeles area during the eighties, besides giving you a front row seat to the birth of modern alternative music, put you face to face with emergence of home computers and video game consoles. One of the most popular pieces of vintage electronics is getting a relaunch and reboot. The Commodore 64 is coming back and with that in mind, the following is the list of essential Commodore role playing games.
Ultima IV: Quest of the Avatar: Ultima IV makes the top spot on this list because of all of its elements associated with a quality RPG today. Ultima IV was released by Origin Systems in 1986. Ultima was the first sandbox RPG. This allowed you to go wherever you wanted and it even had branching dialogue. While the graphics weren’t top of the line, even in the eighties, it was a serviceable method of allowing the player to choose how and where they wanted to go, do or say.
Bard’s Tale: Bards Tale gave you an animated first person window on your interface screen that also showed you what was going on and your party. This game, while compelling was difficult and time consuming. It required you to make your own map on graph paper to be able to keep track of where you were. It was one of the most notable early turn-based combat RPGs that required some grinding.
Pool of Radiance: While Pool of Radiance is very similar to Bard’s Tale, it is the first official Dungeons and Dragons game. Many of the elements are exactly the same as the previous game but it was licensed and the beginning of the Advanced Dungeons and Dragons series of games.
Below the Root: Below the Root is based on a series of fantasy books by Zilpha Keatley Snyder. This game was one of the first that allowed you to create your character’s gender, age, race and initial skills. It is also the most notable early action RPG and a precursor to the style of the modern Legend of Zelda series.
Wasteland: Wasteland was released in 1988 by Interplay and published by Electronic Arts. It is widely considered the father of the Fallout series of games. It was post-apocalyptic and adult enough to require a PG-13 sticker on its box. Many situations had multiple solutions and non-player characters had situational dialogue.
The new Commodore 64 will come with a classic emulator and preorders will start shipping this month. Some Commodore 64 games are also available for download on the Nintendo Wii.