A look at The Bard’s Tale, the computer RPG first released in 1985.
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Tales of the Unknown: Volume I, better known by its subtitle The Bard’s Tale, is a fantasy role-playing video game created by Interplay Productions in 1985 and distributed by Electronic Arts. It was designed and programmed by Michael Cranford.
Based loosely on traditional Dungeons & Dragons gameplay and inspired by the Wizardry computer games, The Bard’s Tale was noteworthy for its unprecedented 3D graphics and partly animated character portraits. The Bard was also an innovation: “The Bard was author Michael Cranford’s contribution to the genre, a character who casts spells by singing one of six tunes.”
It was originally released for the Apple II, and was also ported to the Commodore 64, Apple IIgs, ZX Spectrum, Amstrad CPC, Commodore Amiga, Atari ST, DOS, Apple Macintosh, and NES platforms.