Becoming a retro #Video Game collector is a tricky thing nowadays. With rising costs of classic games, and Ebay becoming a battleground for collectors, here's an essential buyers guide to what you should look for when building up your classic RPG collection for your home consoles.
Dragon Warrior Series (1989-1992)
For the Nintendo Entertainment System, the adventure game that started it all. Dragon Warrior (or Quest), originally released as Dragon Quest in 1986 for the Japanese market, and spawned three sequels for the console. Dragon Warrior tells the story of a young warrior beset to save his father's Kingdom. What ensues is a fun tale, filled with dungeon crawling, monster slaying, and extreme character grinding that, for the time, was light years ahead of franchises like Final Fantasy and Star Ocean. This was truly the first quality home rpg, not excluding Wizardry on the NES that same year. Dragon Warrior is a must have for anyone looking to touch roots with the origins of home console adventures.
Final Fantasy IX (2000)
For the original Playstation and considered a best-of by the Sony's greatest hits series, FF IX was the last of the great JRPG's for Sony's original console. Set in the fantasy world of Gaia, the game tells the tale of a boy named Zidane and his cohorts in an adventure that spans across the four continents of Gaia. The game was a complete upgrade from the two previous entries in the series, with its advanced cinematic cut scenes, pre-rendered backgrounds, and a visual upscale that seemed to be decades ahead of the much lauded FF VII that came out merely two years prior. This was a game that completely broke the mold of its two predecessors by dropping the perceived "Realistic Worlds" they had for a more fairy tale-style setting that truly lived up to its title. It was also the game that revived the character class system.
Star Wars: Knights of the old Republic (2003)
For the original XBOX, Star Wars: Knights of the old Republic (KOTOR) is a story of heartbreak, love, loss, and suspense set some 4,000 years before the original film trilogy. The game spans several galaxy systems as you lead a team of Jedi's, soldiers, a wookie, a mandalorian, and Twilek to victory against the forces of Darth Malak and his Sith empire. The entire game is a series of personal discovery and spiritual revelation, as players must uncover the truth behind the star forge's origins, and what your character's true identity is. KOTOR put the XBOX on the map, a game that pushed the boundaries of what the video game medium could do at a time when JRPG's were all the rage.
Another original Xbox release, Fable is a game that could have been ripped straight out of European mythology and lore. With its medieval setting and timeless atmosphere, Fable allows you to choose between a hero or heroine in a world divided between choices and consequences in the fantastical city state setting of Albion. It's through these choices that determine the Good vs Evil alignment your character will develop into, a choice that makes this game a must-buy for anyone seeking a unique video game experience.
Chrono Trigger (1995)
For the Super Nintendo Entertainment System, this is last but certainly not least on my list of must-haves for your RPG library. Chrono Trigger was a time traveling masterpiece of a game that pushed the SNES to its limits in hardware. Beginning in AD 1000, the adventure tells the tale of three travelers (Crono, Marle, and Lucca) on a quest to stop the destruction of their world with the crystals of light at their disposal. A time traveling masterpiece, Chrono Trigger broke the mold on what the SNES could achieve at the brink of the rise of the cd-based consoles like the Sega Saturn and the Sony Playstation. A must-buy, even with its $300 dollar complete in-box price tag.