25 Years of Might and Magic, Part One

To celebrate the franchise's 25-year history, the official Might & Magic Heroes VI website is sporting a quick screenshot-heavy retrospective that covers the original Might and Magic up to Might and Magic V: Darkside of Xeen. The Heroes of Might and Magic series will be covered in the next entry, but these are the titles that really invoke the nostalgia for me:
Created almost single-handedly by Jon Van Caneghem, Might & Magic was a first-person RPG in the tradition of classics like Wizardry or The Bard's Tale - but instead of confining the player to some obscure maze of caves and dungeons, Might & Magic featured a vast open world, with forests and mountains and castles and cities, a land of mysteries and wonders and a great sense of humor, too. It also introduced many legendary characters such as Lord Kilburn and Crag Hack, who would later enjoy recurring appearances in one form or another throughout the next installments of the series.

Might & Magic Book II Gates to Another World followed, improving the graphics and transporting the players to a new world: Cron. Then, three years later, in 1991, came Might & Magic III Isles of Terra, which was the series' breakthrough entry. A new and colorful world, greater accessibility thanks to a brand new, simpler interface (entirely controlled with the mouse), not to mention tons of quests and monsters: Isles of Terra is considered a timeless classic of the RPG genre.
Additionally, there's this piece from late last year that profiles many of the legendary heroes we've met since the Might and Magic series began. The most memorable character from the early days:
Sheltem was a Guardian, an android created by the mysterious Ancients to rule over the world of Terra. However Sheltem started to resent the Ancients' interference with his mission. Sheltem was finally taken into custody by another Guardian, Corak, because of his erratic behavior. Sheltem escaped and left a trail of deceit and destruction over several different worlds on his way back to Terra. Sheltem's rampage was finally brought to an end by Corak, who sacrificed himself to destroy the mad Guardian.

Appeared in: Might & Magic, Might & Magic II, Might & Magic III, Might & Magic IV, Might & Magic V
Since we're going back to the beginning, let me just clarify that it's Might and Magic, not Might & Magic. And it's Crag The Hack, not Crag Hack.