The earliest computer role-playing games began in 1975 as an offshoot of early university mainframe text-based RPGs on PDP-10 and Unix-based computers, starting with Dungeon and graphical RPGs on the PLATO system, pedit5 and dnd, games inspired by role-playing games. Other influences during this period were text adventures, Multiple-User Dungeons (MUDs) and roguelike games. Some of the first graphical RPGs after pedit5 and dungeons and dragons, were orthanc, avathar (later renamed avatar), oubliette, dungeons of degorath, baradur, emprise, bnd, sorcery, moria, and dndworld, all of which were developed and became widely popular on the PLATO system during the latter 1970s, in large part due to PLATO’s speed, fast graphics, nationwide network of terminals, and large number of players with access to those terminals. These were followed by (but did not always lead directly to) games on other platforms, such as Akalabeth (1980) (which gave rise to the well-known Ultima series), and Wizardry.
The first RPG PC games offered a single player experience. The popularity of multiplayer modes in these games rose sharply during the mid-1990s. Diablo (1996) was one of the games that heavily influenced this boost in popularity. It combined RPG and action game elements, and featured an Internet multiplayer mode that allowed up to four players to enter the same world and fight monsters, trade items, or fight against each other. Massive Multiplayer Online RPGs (MMORPG) introduced huge worlds with open-ended gameplay and thousands of interactive characters (both player and computer-controlled).
In 1997, a new Internet fad began. Influenced by console RPGs, a large group of young programmers and aficionados began creating and sharing independent RPG PC games, based mostly on the gameplay and style of the older SNES and Sega Genesis games. The majority of such games owe to simplistic software development kits such as the Japanese RPG Maker series.
A steadily increasing number of non-RPG video games have adopted aspects traditionally seen in RPGs, such as experience point systems, equipment management, and choices in dialogue. The blending of these elements with a number of different game engines and gameplay styles have created a myriad of hybrid game categories. These hybrid games are commonly formed by mixing popular gameplay elements featured in other genres, such as first-person shooters, platformers, and real-time strategy games.