Best D&D video games, from dnd to Baldur’s Gate 3

As the world’s first tabletop fantasy role-playing games, Dungeons & Dragons had an immeasurable influence on the design principles, gameplay, and progression mechanics of computer/console video games and RPGs around the world. Generally, if a game has character levels, experience points, turn-based combat, or fantasy archetypes like cleric or white mage, then it’s a descendant of J&D. Within this vast library of D&D-inspired video games is a smaller but still impressive collection of official games. Dungeons & Dragons video game RPGs; besides famous contemporary titles such as Baldur’s Gate and Nights without winterthere are more obscure games such as Shard Pools Where dnd which were very excellent for their time and transformed the gameplay and graphics design of fantasy computer RPGs.


The first generations of video game consoles and personal computers became available for purchase around the same time as the first edition of Dungeons & Dragons. Many early video game programmers and designers were also big fans of the early ones. J&D, and used the rules and premise of the first RPG as inspiration for the designs of their own genre-defining games. The 1976 text adventure game Adventure in a colossal caveone of the first works of interactive fiction, replicated the perilous maze-like dungeon exploration so common in old-school sessions J&Dwhile Richard Garriott J&D influenced the 1979 game Akalabeth: The World of Fate launched the whole Ultimate computer RPG franchise. In the 1980s there was a plethora of video games with J&D in their DNA – the Witchcraft series, Thug and other console Roguelike, RPG games such as dragon quest and Final Fantasyetc

Related: Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest Tabletop RPG Fans Will Enjoy

In the midst of all these beginnings J&D inspired video games, there were console and desktop titles that were official adaptations of the Dungeons & Dragons board game. With the official blessing of J&DTactical Studies Rules parent company, Incorporated, game developers have released a surprising number of licenses J&D video games during the 1980s, 1990s and up to the present day. All these video games are not at the level of J&D cRPG classics like Planescape: Tormentbut they have played an important role in growing and updating J&D and computer/console role-playing games in general.

1970 – The D&D adaptation called dnd that started it all

In 1974, back to the days of tabletop pre-edition Dungeons & Dragonsa team of computer science students from Southern Illinois University used the PLATO mainframe computer to develop a game called dnd, or “The Dungeon Game”. Although not an official D&D adaptation, the creators of dnd borrowed many gameplay features from the original J&Dbrewed some rule changes at home to better reflect the single-player experience, and ultimately created a surprisingly sophisticated RPG that pioneered many features intrinsic to modern RPG video games (according to an RPG Fanatic interview with dndthe creators of – and not the creators of Dungeons & Dragons – now hosted by Internet Archive) – mazes filled with multi-level monsters, grinding gold, items, weapons and magic, enemies with elemental weaknesses/strengths, powerful enemy bosses, etc.

1980s – D&D Intellivision Games and Gold Box Computer RPGs

In 1982, video game developers working on the Intellivision video game console teamed up with TSR, Inc. to create the first official video game adaptation of the Dungeons & Dragons RPG called Advanced Dungeons & Dragons: Cloudy Mountain. The gameplay of this action/exploration title alternated between open world exploration of an Overworld map and dungeon crawling segments where a player icon with a bow explored a maze filled with monsters, items, spare arrows and fragments of a long-lost item. crown. Barely a year later, another Advanced Dungeons and Dragons Intellivision (the line of consoles currently in legal trouble) called Treasure of Tarmin was released, which shifted gameplay to a first-person dungeon-crawling format and introduced gameplay features such as collections of new armor, weapons, foodstuffs, and magic items, as well as gameplay mechanics. turn-based combat and table leveling J&D.

Around the mid-1980s, when computer RPG franchises such as Magic, Ultimaand The Bard’s Tale were taking the gaming scene by storm, TSR gave developers Strategic Simulations, Inc. a license to develop their own computer RPGs based on the system and table settings J&D. The first SSI game, Shard Poolswas one of the first computer RPGs to truly translate Dungeons & Dragons in a virtual format, allowing players to create groups of fantastic heroes with different combinations of races and classes, then send these heroes on adventures to kill monsters, collect treasures, talk with NPCs, level up and revitalize the ailing city of Phlan in the Forgotten Realms. The success of Shard Pools inspired a whole series of Gold Box computer RPGs for the Apple II and Commodore 64, each offering players the ability to transfer character data from previous games into the new one. Dark Queen of Krynnfixed in the Dragonlance D&D universe, was a particularly popular entry.

Related: Dragonlance Or Forgotten Realms: Which D&D Setting Is Truly Better

Towards the end of SSI’s collaboration with TSR, the company’s developers released a Dungeons & Dragons RPG adaptation built around a new game engine, set in the apocalyptic J&D called parameter dark sun. Though clunky by modern standards, the top-down world exploration, inventory management, and mix of real-time and turn-based tactical game mechanics set a precedent for a certain future series of isometric RPGs made by BioWare. .

1990s – Baldur’s Gate and modern isometric D&D RPG

Pillars of Eternity, Torment: Tides of Numenera, Pathfinder: Kingmaker, Disco Elysium – there’s no shortage of modern RPGs that attempt to recreate the look of the iconic, genre-defining J&D games created by BioWare and Black Isle Studios in the 1990s and early 2000s. Common characteristics shared by all the best isometric computer RPGs include the following: an isometric pseudo-3D perspective, real-time combat with the ability to Pause the game and issue orders to party members, spells, and abilities with unique tactical applications, role-playing segments built around multiple-choice dialog trees and party members. NPC adventurers capable of recruiting with well-formed personalities, agendas, and side quests. This mix of party-focused dungeon-crawling RPG and RTS gameplay made the original Baldur’s Gate huge success among J&D video game fans and gamers, and has inspired a host of other J&D Computer RPGs built using BioWare and Black Isle Studios’ in-house Infinity Engine – Baldur’s Gate 2the Icewind Dale series, and the infamous bizarre Planescape: Tormentacclaimed by many as having one of the best computer game stories ever written.

These Infinity engines J&D games, as well as all J&D adaptations before it, ended up inspiring a whole new generation of 3D J&D Computer RPGs – owned by BioWare Nights without winter series, the Dungeons & Dragons Online MMO, and the Dark Alliance action games. Baldur’s Gate 3being developed by Larian Studios and based on Fifth Edition rules for Dungeons & Dragonsgave players unprecedented freedom to overcome challenges, creatively solve problems, and make meaningful decisions.

Source: RPG Fanatic (via Internet Archive)

About Johanna Gooding

Check Also

When boredom hits other Genshin Impact players, these games just might be the change needed

Video gaming is one of the most adorable and adopted hobbies across the world. From …