45 – Might and Magic
Developer: New World Computing
Initial Release Date: 1986
Why it’s one of the best RPGs: It wouldn’t be a Best RPG list without mentioning the great computer games that the genre was built on! Might and Magic, originally on the Apple II, was popular enough to warrant ports to the NES and multiple other computer platforms in the years following its release. Its fame spawned a long series of sequels, leading up to Might and Magic X: Legacy, released in 2014. Though none of them reached the heights of the original, the early titles laid the groundwork for the genre as we know it today.
Might and Magic features six character classes, five races, and typical D&D alignments. Exploration takes place on a grid labyrinth, and characters can move, turn, and examine what they find. Encounters with enemies are text-based, allowing the player to select spells or actions in order of speed stats.
It’s effectively solo D&D on a computer, and while that may not sound like much now, the familiar classes, statistics, exploration, and combat systems making their way to computers offered a jumping off point for future titles. There’s a reason we all recognize tropes like clerics and goblins, and we have Might and Magic to thank for being that bridge.
Next: 44 - Legend of Dragoon