The fourth part of Rock Paper Shotgun's The Very Important List of PC Games (to be read as "games we like") is absolutely stocked top to bottom with RPGs and MMORPGs. There's BioShock (Importanceness: Beyond that of the sea), Deus Ex (C'mon, it's Deus Ex), Diablo II (Hellishy so), Dungeon Keeper (Anti-heroic), TES III: Morrowind (It's the last of a lost race, baby), Fallout 1/2 (Apocalyptic), King's Bounty: The Legend (Legendary), Mass Effect 2 (Massive), Planescape: Torment (Can change the nature of a man), Ultima VII (Ultimate), World of Warcraft (All the money. All of it) and X-COM: UFO Defense (God-king).
The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind
IMPORTANCENESS: It's the last of a lost race, baby
When I worked out which games I was going to write about it, there was at least half a dozen I worried about what I could say, how I could possibly summarise their importance. Turns out, they weren't a problem. Morrowind, a game I've written thousands of words about previously, has however proven to be. I can't compress it like that. It's a huge, incredibly strange, endlessly surprising world that I can't quite believe was actually made, and so many years ago. It doesn't seem possible that anyone could or would do it now, let alone then. If I've seemed ungracious to Bethesda's RPGs in recent times, it's purely because I expect so very much of them based on this incredible, impossible achievement.
Fallout / Fallout 2
RELEASE DATE: 1997/1998
All RPGs owe a debt to Dungeons and Dragons, but Fallout at least has the good grace to not be so totally brazen about. The post-apocalypse is one of gaming's most appealing settings, and I'd say Fallout and STALKER are twin kings of our beloved wasteland. Casually amoral and calculatedly unfocused yet almost scientific in their statistics, the original Fallouts are a world away from the earnest epic narratives of fantasy roleplaying. That it is so often hard to mention these games without nodding to the famous ferocity of its fans speaks volumes: in a dry desert of lightweights, an RPG that really does the heavy-lifting was always going to inspire grand passion.