The History of Action RPG
Written by Nicholas A. Krehbiel   
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The History of Action RPG
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Action role-playing games, also known as action RPG(s) is a sub-genre of RPGs that has significant elements of real time action.

The Classic Action RPGs

An early game that had both real-time action and RPG elements was Dungeons of Daggaroth, made for the TRS-80, an early computer with color graphics. Dungeons of Daggorath (DoD) contained both dungeon crawling and real-time action, piloted by pressing keys on the keyboard.

In the west, developers kept working on the real-time RPG action possibilities, but in Japan the developers, with Nihon Falcom at the front, took another path.

Falcom's Dragon Slayer that was released in 1984 is a basic real-time treasure grab game. But its sequel Xanadu, from 1985, was a full-fledged RPG, complete with character stats and a quest. The new thing with the game was its real-time action elements. The game became very popular in Japan and it beat the record for PC game sales. The coming years of developments in Japan later defined the Action RPG genre in the east.In 1987 the game Ys was released and became a popular game that later had several sequels and remakes.

As time went on, The Legend of Zelda had a huge influence on in the action RPG genre even though it was, because of the lack of important RPG elements like exp, not itself an action RPG. Zelda II later implemented more RPG elements.

Dungeon Master was released by FTL Games in 1987. It was a dungeon crawl game that brought the genre to the next level for the coming years. In 1990 it was the first ever game to be the number one sold game in both the U.S. and in Japan.


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