The NES receives its first proper RPG—a port of one of the original foundational pillars of the genre—after almost two years of games that borrowed mechanics and concepts from this one.

Ultima: Exodus rightly earned its reputation as a formative masterpiece on home computers in the early ’80s, though here at the end of the decade in a revamped console-friendly format sitting amongst games that distill its ideas into breezy, accessible, action-driven experiences… it does feel slightly out of place. It also doesn’t help that Phantasy Star (which boils down to “Ultima, except awesome”) had shipped just a few months earlier on Master System.

Still, you can see the seeds of America’s eventual console RPG love taking shape here… even if that love would take a decade to become requited.

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