Barbarian: The Ultimate Warrior (1987)
You bought Barbarian for the cover art showing page three girl Maria Whittaker submitting to a hunky Barbarian. The path to the more prosaic in-game story climax involved beheading a series of opponents who spurted blood from their necks before having their lifeless bodies dragged away by a retching goblin. A button masher at heart, the central strategy was choosing the joystick that hadn’t had a can of Coke spilled on it.
If a game’s success is judged on its progeny, EverQuest (known to its mates as EQ) can hold its head high. There have been 17 expansions to EQ for Windows, the most recent being 2010’s House of Thule. The full array of D&D characters are out in force, from warriors and bards to spell-casting necromancers.
King's Quest VI: Heir Today, Gone Tomorrow (1992)
King’s Quest is the epitome of the “golden age” of adventure gaming, and King’s Quest VI, with its punny title, is the series’ crowning edition despite 1992 being a tough year to get noticed; the gaming limelight was being stolen by Super Mario Kart on SNES and – for the desk-bound – Minesweeper making an appearance in Windows 3.1.
Quest for Glory (1989)
Called Hero’s Quest until Games Workshop’s HeroQuest board game got its lawyers out, Quest for Glory: So You Want to be a Hero made gaming history by fusing open-ended adventure gaming with RPG character building. You could choose to take on the baddie (an ogress called Baba Yaga) as a fighter, magic user or thief. Sadly, a planned archer centaur never made the final release.
Shadow of the Colossus (2006)
The not-sequel to Ico, Shadow of the Colossus places you in the role of Wander, who must take on 16 colossi on his travels across a forbidden land. It’s classed as a puzzler because of how difficult each enemy’s weaknesses are to work out – but with a girl called Mono that needs saving, you just can’t stop climbing over those mountainous monsters.