The History of Role Playing Games [ article ]

Hands down, this is the largest infographic I have ever posted on Dueling Analogs. Having a mere width of only 700 pixels it boasts an astounding height of 15,050 pixels tall. In printing terms, that’s pretty damn tall. In web terms, that’s ridiculously tall.

When I first got this infographic, I thought it was just going to be a timeline for when major role-playing games where released (the first couple deceived me), but I was surprised by just how many titles were discussed based on their various degrees of importance to the genre. It’s pretty damn informative and I hope you enjoy it, too.

Update: Just want to let you guys know, I love reading your comments whenever I post an infographic. It’s the closest thing I do to trolling on this site.


  • Ronnie

    There’s only one thing I would say is significant in its omission- Pokemon. Pokemon was aimed at all ages and expanded the audience of RPGs in a way no other game really had to that point.

    • I agree. Pokémon is the second best selling video game franchise worldwide and the number one RPG video game franchise.

  • There are A LOT of omissions on this list! I’d recomend a reading at least one of the articles about the history of RPGs listed here:

  • Kyo

    As a huge RPG-fan I have to say that most of this is really sub-par. :(
    We have a pretty sloppy work with the different artworks included, quite a few don’t even belong to the games mentioned. First result google image search maybe? Then there is no “Megami Tensei”-franchise, until today only two games even have that name (the actual franchise would be SMT). And Fallout 3 in 2012? Pretty sure that I have already finished New Vegas by then. They cleary mixed that one up with Skyrim, another “Bethesada”-title.

    • Phaelin

      It definitely has a lot of problems. Some paragraphs are clipped. And worst of all, they don’t mention the Tales series.

    • The Great Klaid

      Well SMT is kind of weird to say if it gets to SMT or just Megami Tensei, because there are a few games, even in Japan that don’t go by SMT. Like the first Persona. That was Megami Iburoku or Maijin Tensei.

    • Triaxx2

      I suspect that’s what was supposed to go under that hanging 2008 over Skyrim, which is unattached.

    • Cody Shiranai

      You do realize SMT is NOT a separate franchise from MT right? That would be like saying Super Mario Bros is separate from Donkey Kong (original, not necessarily DKC) and Mario Bros. It’s not wrong to call it Megumi Tensei as that is what started it, and it didn’t end just because it got a new name.

      Another example: Super Sentai, the first two shows in the series are only considered to be “Sentai” as they both lack Giant Robots which are a staple of Super Sentai (the third show in the series is considered the first “Super” Sentai, but the previous two were retroactively considered it as well).

  • Vilhelm

    I just don’t know why you would go to so much effort to put something huge like this together, and then not maybe have a friend proofread it for you. I counted 6 typos, and the image for the d20s on the D&D entry is flipped.

  • Sky Render

    I find it fitting that the list ends with Xenoblade, as that’s about where player-oriented innovation in JRPGs also ended. Here’s hoping the one coming out for Wii U is just as groundbreaking, and not just another Xenosaga Episode II. Ugh…

  • Very happy to see Wizardry and Pool of Radiance (one of many TSR “Gold Box” games) mentioned so prominently. Those games really cemented my love for the RPG genre back in the days of the Commodore 64.

  • IT

    My favourite roleplaying game is called Realmz, released by Fantasoft. It was originally Mac-only, but there’s a Windows client now (as a warning, it’s pretty shaky compared to the Mac client), and it’s as fun as I remember.

    This was my Baldur’s Gate. It was initially based on 2e (it had THAC0 and negative armour), but eventually switched to 3e (which was confuuuuuuusing), and now it’s got more/different stats, a ton of classes and races, but it’s still Bywater and Waterford and the Spider Tower. So much fun.

    (I’ve also been enjoying the Spiderweb Software games, Avadon 1 and 2, and Avernum 1’s redo. I just can’t play the old versions of Avernum and Nethergate, it makes my eyes hurt too much)

    • Lektio

      What ever happened to Tim Phillips and the rest of Fantasoft, anyways? I can’t seem to find any sign of him more recent than 2002 (The most recent copyright date that the Fantasoft site has listed), and the name is common enough that Google just turns up other people. Supposedly, he released Realmz for free in 2008, but I can’t find any sign of what him or any other members of Fantasoft are up to now…

  • ML

    fallout 3 released in 2008; new vegas in 2010. Unless we’re counting when the bugs were fixed.