Early JRPGs

This is a list of the early JRPGs I have played. I do not intend to ever dedicate myself to playing all JRPGs in order, but I will add to this list now and then. My focus is also more on seeing the history of the JRPG development rather than playing each game to completion, so many of these games I only played for a couple of hours.

The list is a combination of lists of RPGs from two sites, https://retoro.g-player.com/ and http://tk-nz.game.coocan.jp/gamedatabase/index.html. It includes some games that some (or many) people would not consider RPGs, but especially in the early days of consoles, the genre of RPG was not so clearly delineated as it later became, and it’s interesting to see the ways that games incorporated RPG features into action or top-down adventure-style games.

The abbreviations for the consoles are: FC (Famicom), FCD (Famicom Disk System).

1985

  • Tower of Druaga (FC) – This is not a true RPG but it had a lot of influence on early console RPGs.

1986

  • The Legend of Zelda (FCD ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ) – This is typically not considered an RPG, but at the time it came out it had affinity to other early console action-RPG blends.
  • Hydlide Special (FC ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ) – An early “open world” action RPG; influential in its original compute release but even Japanese players did not like the Famicom port.
  • Dragon Slayer (Epoch Cassette Vision) – This is another early, influential RPG; the link here is to CRPGAddict’s post on the game (which he played in one of the computer versions)
  • Dragon Quest (FC ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ) – The first top-down JRPG and the start of one of the most successful console RPG series.
  • Adventure of Valkyrie (FC) – A top-down action RPG with an open-world feel similar to Hydlide.
  • Magic Bells (FC ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ) – Localized as “Deadly Towers”; an action RPG that is not well liked.
  • Deep Dungeon (FCD) – The first Wizardry-style maze exploration game, although the player only controls one character.

1987

  • Zelda II (FCD ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ) – A mix of side-scrolling action and top-down exploration. Compared to the first Zelda this one is more solidly in the action RPG genre.
  • Dragon Quest II (FC ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ) – A followup to the first game that introduces player and enemy groups, and has a much larger world to explore.