Quest For Glory I
Maybe it's because I'm listening to Fields of Gold on repeat but I'm feeling sentimental. What's the use in playing updated, visually stimulating, and still shitty games when you could be playing the Quest for Glory Series? (I-IV only. V can suck it. Don't make it IIID!!) '96's Quest for Glory IV was the last great game from the greatest game creators of all time. Sierra, also famous for King's Quest, was known for superb adventure game creation but what people too busy playing their Halo 5's don't remember is that Sierra was also one of the purveyors of the electronic RPG genre. No, not Sierra's '04 game "The Hobbit," but Sierra's '89 game: "Quest for Glory I."
So you want to be a hero?
Note: The above Screenshot is from the 92 VGA remake, the only one I've ever played which would piss off a lot of the purists who prefer the more text based version. Ok. I guess I am advocating for a flashier, newer game in this case but c'mon. 1992. Old stuff.
Quest for Glory is the only game series I know of that integrates adventure and RPG elements like it does. QGI set all of this in motion with the first defining quest: retrieving a ring out of a bird's nest in a tree. Why would you do this? Because you're a fucking hero, of course. How would you do this? Well, there are 3 defining choices. One for each of the classes.
Fighter, Magic User, and Thief are the classes, pretty much your archetypal fantasy heroes. Who really needs druids or bards? KISS The fighter is by far the lamest char. He throws rocks at the tree. He spends life slaughtering little goblins and vampire bunnies. The Magic User is pretty interesting. He shoots the fetch spell into the tree. QG has a number of unconventional magic spells like "fetch" and "open." (which never seems to work as much as it should.) The thief is my boy. He takes matters into his own hands and just climbs the tree. Save for QGIII, there are a number of thief specific areas and items.
QGI is truly the thief's main game. You can break into Grandma's house and steal the change out of her couch cushions. You can break into the sheriff's house and bust open his safe. Then there is the thieve's guild where you sell all yo shit. In QGI, the theif gets 3 thief specific areas and the lock pick tools. The fighter can only kill. The mage can only cast spells. The thief can climb in and out of time at night, can sneak past enemies, can steal yo shit, and go Super Sayan at will.
In what other game can you pick flowers and eat fruit?
The setting is pretty classic sort of germanic fairy tale place with lots of giants, fairies, and trolls, though QG always mixes it up a little. Take the centaurs and Abdulla Doo with his flying carpet (more on him later.) The locale is a valley surrounded by snowy mountains. The road out of the valley has been cut off by snow, so you're pretty much stuck in the valley, which is very different from your Fallout 3s or your Oblivions. It's a very compact, orderly, little space. The town only has 4 outdoor screens and 15 inhabitants. (I've counted.)
Here's you, as some blond guy, falling out of a tree outside of the healers house. Other than Guybrush Threepwood, name a blond protagonist.
One criticism of QGI and all of QGI-IV is that it's kind of a "step and fetch it." It is weird how in all the QG games there's some healer character that makes you their bitch. In QG1 you are constantly picking flowers to make 5 silvers from the healer. I enjoy this aspect of the game however. It's like having the mythical, fun job that you actually enjoy. I tell you what. Who doesn't want to pick flowers and walk around in the woods all day?
In relation to the other 3, especially IV, QGI is the most innocent and unassuming. That's it's charm. It's not too heavy but still engrossing and totally badass. I played this back around 92 or so when the VGA version came out and have probably beaten it atleast 10 times since. It's like your favorite song or movie that you listen to over and over. I have this game memorized. I know the map by heart and I never have to check an FAQ to beat it. It's truly one form escapism when you're so familiar with your environment and the people in it that you know everything around.