I kinda tripped over this one working on the manual for Frayed Knights: The Skull of S’makh-Daon this weekend. Frayed Knights was inspired by favorite old-school RPGs, particularly games like the Wizardry, Ultima, and Bard’s Tale series. Oddly, when I first started I think I would have listed Wizardry VII: Crusaders of the Dark Savant was my biggest inspiration. It isn’t a game I actually ever played to completion (yet), nor my favorite of the series (that would be Wizardry 8). But I think I was entranced by the potential of the game even more than its actual implementation, and in many ways it epitomized this style of RPG for me. It represented a particular style of RPG at its height. […]
But as much as Wizardry VII acted as a representative for “old school RPG” for me, it’s hardly representative of even the games of its immediate era. It’s really hard for me to really put my finger on what characterizes an “old school RPG” because – seriously – the genre was a lot more diverse 20 years ago than it is today (unless you include indies, who are really bringing that back).