RPGs, as everyone knows, is short for Role Playing Games. A long time ago, back in the days of the 8-Bit systems, games like the very first Final Fantasy didn't really have spectacular graphics, and stories were not very deep and engrossing. At that time, RPGs were all simple, and had graphics that were simple and plots that were predictable. But even with the further release of Final Fantasy II and Final Fantasy III, RPGs at that time were just a very small market and not known by many.
Then came the 16-Bit systems like the SNES and Genesis, which is when RPGs became slightly more spectacular. The Sega Genesis saw games like the Shining Force series, Crusader of Centy, Landstalker, Shining in the Darkness, and a slew of other RPGs, not to mention the famous Phantasy Star series that ended with a dramatic battle in Phantasy Star IV. The SNES had many more spectacular RPGs, mainly because Squaresoft was working for Nintendo at that time. Games like the Lufia series, the Secret of Mana series, the Legend of Zelda games, the Romancing Saga series, Super Mario RPG, the Final Fantasy series, Secret of Evermore, Star Ocean, Bahamut Lagoon, Robotrek, and Illusion of Gaia, are just some of the RPGs that I had played through, and of course, Chrono Trigger, the game that made RPGs known to a slightly larger audience, and the game that was crowned on, of the dying SNES's greatest RPGs. The Sega CD saw some awesome RPGs too, but the most spectacular at that time was definitely Lunar: Silver Star Story and Lunar Eternal Blue. These two awesome games instantly jacked up a huge fan base, and if everyone remembers, RPGFan's former site name was LunarNet!
Soon we turn to the 32-Bit and 64-Bit era. First we got the Sega Saturn, which offered people worldwide a first glimpse of a new 32-Bit gaming experience. Well, actually, it was the Sega 32X, but it really never pulled off, so forget about it. Games like the Shining Force 3 Trilogy, Breath of Fire 1 and 2, Lunar games, Albert Odyssey, Panzer Dragoon Saga, the Dragon Force series, and Magic Knight Rayearth. Sega's biggest translation move was also one of their greatest mistakes during the Saturn's last days; there was an awesome RPG in Japan known as Grandia. In the US at that time, there was already a large number of fans for the game, and everyone was hoping Grandia would be the last game translated for the Saturn. Instead, Sega went and translated Shining Force 3 Part 1. This move caused Sega to lose many supporters, frustrated that Grandia may never see a translation.
The Nintendo 64 appeared in the gaming market almost at the same time as the Saturn. The N64 however, suffered from a lack of RPGs, having only 2 known RPGs so far: Legend of Zelda: The Ocarina of Time, and Quest 64. Games like Ogre Battle 64, and a sequel to the Ocarina of Time, have yet to be released, making the N64 one of the more well known systems with the least RPGs. Nintendo's Game Boy fares much better, having seen the Final Fantasy Legend Trilogy, and Final Fantasy Adventure, Persona, Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening, and whether you consider them RPGs or not, Dragon Quest/Warrior Monsters and Pokemon, Pokemon selling many more carts than Final Fantasy VII and VIII combined! The Game Boy has a bright future as well, especially
since there are several Zelda games being released for it in the near
Of course, the Playstation was around together with the Saturn and N64. The Playstation's first few games like Beyond the Beyond really didn't make much of an impact in the RPG market. Then came the biggest turnover, with the release of Final Fantasy VII. After its release, RPGs became highly demanded by the gaming populace, and soon many gaming companies churned out lots of RPGs. Games like Ogre Battle Limited Edition, Tactics Ogre, Brigandine, Azure Dreams, Final Fantasy Tactics, Vandal Hearts 1 and 2, Xenogears, Jade Cocoon, Saga Frontier, Wild Arms, Granstream Saga, Final Fantasy Anthology, Final Fantasy VIII, Star Ocean 2, Suikoden 1 and 2, Parasite Eve, Legend of Legaia, Alundra and a slew of other translated RPGs. Grandia especially made many Sega defectors happy when the game finally received it's deserved translation, even though it wasn't that good, but who cares? The Playstation has more RPGs than you think, and you could literally say there are hundreds of Playstation RPGs in both Japan and the US combined. There are lots of RPGs that never saw the light of day in the
US, such as Atelier Marie and Ellie, Sonanta, Tales of Phantasia,
Mermanoid, Racing Lagoon, and Abalaburn, all examples of games that may never be translated. Come to think of it, other than Tales of Phantasia and the Atelier games, how many gamers out there have heard of the rest? The RPGs in Japan are all the latest and newest, games like Legend of Dragoon, Valkyrie Profile, Arc the Lad Trilogy, Popolcrois 2, Legend of Mana, Dewprism, Parasite Eve 2, and Lunar: Eternal Blue Remix , are just a few examples of games awaiting their localization to completed.
The Playstation and its successor, the Playstation 2, could easily be called the platforms for RPGs. The future for the RPG market is good, so expect to be hit with many new RPGs in the many years to come, and to all the RPG Fans from the past, present and future, enjoy the great times ahead!