The editors over at PCMag.com have cranked out a set of ten brief profiles for some of the classic role-playing games from the 1980s, including Wizardry: Proving Grounds of the Mad Overlord, Dungeon Master, Ultima III: Exodus, Tales of the Unknown Volume I: The Bard's Tale, Might and Magic II: Gates to Another World, Pool of Radiance, Rogue: The Adventure Game, The Faery Tale Adventure: Book I, Starflight, and Phantasie. Great memories flooding my mind:
Publisher: Electronic Arts, Inc. Original Platform: Apple II
The Bard's Tale improved upon prior first-person dungeon crawls (and there weren't many) with rich, animated visuals, a depthy spell system, and the addition of the Bard character class, which set a precedent by weaponizing music. Other than that, it's pretty straightforward RPG fare—a party-based crawl with limited character customizations in which you fight for experience points and gold. That being said, the sheer quality of its underlying mythology makes The Bard's Tale stand out among even modern RPGs.
Publisher: FTL Games Original Platform: Atari ST
Dungeon Master marked the beginning of a new generation of RPG dungeon crawls: It married real-time combat with beautiful 3D first-person visuals and mouse-based inventory management. After it debuted on the Atari ST computer series, it quickly became the killer app for that platform and sold over 40,000 copies in its first year on the market.