Rock, Paper, Shotgun's crew has been putting together a list of the "greatest, most important PC games of all time", rating their importanceness and doing short writeups. Included in part one are System Shock (importanceness: Quite High), Vampire The Masquerade: Bloodlines (Moderate), Neverwinter Nights (Fairly low), which they bizarely enough call "the original NWN" even though they're referring to the second iteration, which is a bit of an odd slipup to make on a piece dedicated to PC gaming history.
In the big scheme of RPGs, the original Neverwinter Nights really doesn't register all that profoundly, and my colleagues will no doubt speak of other, far more significant games. What was extraordinary about NWN, however, was that it managed to take the naming scheme from Baywatch Nights and then create an RPG that finally was hinged on decent technology. We played a four-player RPG at lunchtimes in the PC Gamer office. This is the only time I can ever remember that happening. Later, we played user-made adventures, which is a vital and wonderful thing. In terms of broad-spectrum importance, this game sits fairly low, but I think its accomplishments merit a tip of the hat to where it sits on my shelf, gathering dust.The second list features Knights of the Old Republic (Decidedly) and Dragon Age (Retrospective):
Dragon Age is one of the finest RPGs of all time. I'd say (more safely now it's 2011) that it's the best of the last decade. That makes it important. Bloody brilliant 100 hour epic constructions of passion and emotion, war and death, romance and religion they don't come around very often. The scale, the depth, the history it's all a remarkable work, and one that seems to far too often be taken for granted. And that's the issue with Dragon Age. It feels like the last of something, rather than a pioneer of anything. It's such a stunning example of the genre, and a massive pleasure to play, but is it the final word on the matter? I think Mass Effect is the direction the RPG is heading in, and your Witchers and your Dragon Age IIs, are relics. Dragon Age is a wonderful relic, and one of my favourite games of all time. But it's hard to put it forward as a text for gaming's future.