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The Bard's Tale was one of the very first games I bought with my own money. I loved it all the more because of that. I remember the countless hours of graphing dungeons (with their myriad traps) and fighting groups of 999 skeletons. I also had a ton of fun with the character creator, creating parties based around a certain theme and other interesting characters. I even uploaded my parties to the local Amiga BBS. (In reflection, I doubt anybody used them. But I was more naive back then.)
Neuromancer was a brilliant adaptation of William Gibson's Cyberpunk novel as an RPG/Adventure hybrid. Well, maybe that's being generous, as it was really more of an adventure with RPG-influenced cyberspace "battles," but it's one of my all-time favorite games, so I can't not mention it. Besides, any game that lets you sell your liver for some extra coin in order to get a cyberspace deck will certainly warp you.
Might & Magic VI was the first game I played in the series, but my goodness, did it have a hold on me. I remember my stomach literally aching at school with desire to go home and play M&M6. OK, maybe that game didn't "warp my brain" as much as my stomach, but it was great fun. I must have logged 80 hours into it before it started feeling repetitive to me, and I finally blew through the remaining dungeons to beat the game.
Phantasy Star is my all-time favorite console RPG. Can I mention that here? Well, I still used graph paper to map the dungeons, so I'm saying yes. I loved, loved this game, and bought a Sega Master System solely for it.
Final Fantasy VII (while I'm at it) was a game that kept me up for three days straight--almost. While visiting my cousins, I played an entire weekend, without food and sleep. I never did finish it, though. I guess that's a shame...
Divine Divinity was the first game I played that let you bake bread. (Yes, I bypassed another certain game with the same feature.) The user interface of the game made for fascinating play.
Nox was often discarded as a "Diablo clone," but was so much more in my opinion. The game could be played three entirely different ways (I played through as a Conjurer), and the cut scenes were unlike any I've seen in any other game. Sure, they start out with the typical evil villain (or villainess in this case), but it quickly shows you that it doesn't take itself seriously as the cut scenes portray antagonist, Hecubah, as a sometimes clumsy, sometimes tongue-tied, but always hilarious evil-doer. Westwood really polished this game, and it shows. The best part is that each character has its own story and ending.
Wizardry 8 was the only game I played in the series, as I was without a computer during its heyday, but I don't have any trouble believing those who state that it's the best of the series, and a swan song for Sir-Tech. To think that it could not find a publisher and was almost not released. This game put me in the familiar fantasy RPG setting, but soon juxtaposed it with advanced technology--how's that for warping your brain?
Of note: Ironically, I've never played any Ultima for more than a couple hours (Ultima 9). I'm not sure what that means.
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