History of Western role-playing video games
Western role-playing video games are role-playing video games developed in the Western world, including The Americas and Europe. They originated on mainframe university computer systems in the 1970s, were later popularized by titles such as Ultima and Wizardry in the early- to mid-1980s, and continue to be produced for modern home computer and video game console systems. The genre's "Golden Age" occurred in the mid- to late-1980s, and its popularity suffered a downturn in the mid-1990s as developers struggled to keep up with changing fashion, hardware evolution and increasing development costs. A later series of isometric role-playing games, published by Interplay Productions and Blizzard Entertainment, was developed over a longer time period and set new standards of production quality.
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Computer role-playing games (CRPGs) are once again popular. Recent titles, such as BioWare's Mass Effect series and Bethesda Softworks' The Elder Scrolls series, have been produced for console systems and have received multi-platform releases, although independently developed games are frequently created as personal computer (PC) exclusives. Developers of role-playing games have continuously experimented with various graphical perspectives and styles of play, such as real-time and turn-based time-keeping systems, axonometric and first-person graphical projections, and single-character or multi-character parties. Subgenres include action role-playing games, roguelikes and tactical role-playing games.