Last Updated on January 22, 2023
It wasn’t long after the inception of D&D that we got our first video game.
In 1983 we were blessed with the Dungeons & Dragons Computer Fantasy Game from Mattel, a surefire stocking stuffer for any young nerd. Navigate a dungeon to find an arrow and slay the dragon, all while trying to avoid unseen pitfalls.
It was a simple game, but it spawned a long list of official D&D video games and an even longer list of spin-off games following the basic structure of a dungeon crawl RPG.
In this article we’re going to be going through some of the most iconic D&D video games, some of the best new and upcoming D&D video games, and some fun games inspired by the worlds of Dungeons and Dragons that you’re guaranteed to love.
Put down the pen and paper, and pick up your joystick as we take the virtual jump into the realms of fantasy.
Are There Any D&D Video Games?
Of course there are! The tabletop roleplaying game we know and love has spawned countless video games.
From entire genres of RPGs and dungeon crawlers that take inspiration from D&D to official WotC products set in the Forgotten Realms, D&D video games are abundant.
We really have two main categories to look at when we talk about “D&D video games.”
Official D&D Video Games
WotC, which is currently owned by Hasbro, is the company that owns and produces D&D. If we want to talk about official D&D video games, we have to look at things created by them.
It might sound crazy, but there are over 50 official D&D video games out there.
They’ve been making them since the 80s, and as long as the love for the tabletop games doesn’t die out, we’re probably not looking at an end in sight any time soon.
That being said, as of writing this (6/21/2022), there are talks over at Hasbro to dramatically slow down on virtual IPs and focus more on the paper products that really sell.
That’s good for those of us who enjoy sitting around a table and rolling dice, but it means that the digital gamers out there likely won’t be getting a new D&D release every time they pump out a new Call of Duty.
D&D games have featured a lot of settings, from Dragonlance to Planescape and Eberron to Dark Sun, almost everything you could ask for is out there somewhere.
Since 2007 though, every new release has been set in the Forgotten Realms, the main setting we know and (maybe) love.
There are a lot of video games; I can’t stress that enough. While I’m not going to list every last one for you, I can throw a few fun facts your way.
First off, there has been a D&D game on almost every mainstream console since the Sega Saturn (remember the system that was almost immediately replaced by the Dreamcast?).
Official D&D games have also had a huge amount of variety.
While they’ve mostly been RPGs, we’ve had turn-based strategy, roguelikes, hack and slashers, idle clickers, MMORPGs, fighting games, and even a first-person shooter (1996’s AD&D: Deathkeep was a wild game, basically Doom for D&D).
D&D-Inspired Video Games
If you want something that has the feel of a D&D adventure, then you’re going to have a very easy time finding something to your liking.
From whacky indie games like Enter the Gungeon to RPG staples like Elder Scrolls and World of Warcraft, there are a lot of games out there that turn you into a fantasy adventurer.
To me, that’s the core of what a “D&D video game” really is. I want to be able to create a character, choose what class I’m playing as, and then adventure in a fantasy realm.
If I get to slay some dragons and do some dungeon diving in the process, that’s just a bonus.
You see, D&D is such a widespread game. While it doesn’t innately include the entire scope of RPGs, it at the very least inspires them.
Look at Cyperpunk 2077, a videogame that was widely anticipated and still has a huge following despite a buggy launch.
Sure, I wouldn’t expect cybernetic implants and electrified katanas to show up in the Forgotten Realms, but that doesn’t make it a far stretch from the action-adventure role-playing elements that make D&D the game it is.
I mean, that video game was literally based on a tabletop RPG with heavy influences from D&D.
To have something that really feels like a D&D game, we need a few key elements.
It should be a roleplaying game, meaning your decisions should have an impact on the story.
It should have action, simply meaning some form of combat system. It should be an adventure, with at least a decent bit of narrative storytelling.
Lastly, to really solidify something as a “D&D video game,” it’s got to be fantasy. We can go as high or low fantasy as we want, but there’s really got to be some type of dragons, goblins, or mystic creatures walking around the world.
Before we get into the rating, I just want to clarify that unlike most sites, I won’t be ranking these next few sections numerically.
They’ve done more than enough to make it into the top 5. Plus, with video games, every game is going to appeal to different audiences in different ways, so my 1st place could be your 5th and vice versa.
With that, let’s get into the games themselves!
Top 3 Iconic D&D Video Games
Eye of the Beholder
If you’re even a little bit familiar with D&D, then you already know the main antagonist of this first-person rpg. That’s right, it’s Xanathar, the Waterdeep resident we all know and love.
This instant classic, released in 1991, was almost universally well received and was rewarded 5 out of 5 stars from many game critics at the time.
The game puts you in charge of a party of adventurers hired to delve into the dungeons beneath the city of Waterdeep and exterminate our favorite beholder (and likely assume responsibility for its pet fish Sylgar).
You’ll go through hordes of drow, dwarves, and more; recruit new members to your party; control some undead; and collect artifacts as you prepare for the final battle.
A game that spawned two sequels is sure to be a great play if you’re looking for the retro experience, and you’ll be able to pick up where you left off in the sequels.
That’s right, a game from the 90s lets you import your party from the previous game so that you can turn one adventure into a whole campaign.
Baldur’s Gate 2: Enhanced Edition
Baldur’s Gate is a game series loved by many, so much so that there are still entries being produced to this day. The original Baldur’s Gate was well received, but that didn’t mean there weren’t critiques to be had.
This was back in the days when producers listened to their consumers though, and almost every critique was taken into consideration to create the amazing Baldur’s Gate 2: Shadows of Amn (released in 2000).
The game focuses on the party from the original game and includes a plot that literally takes you to hell and back.
Evil wizards, soul stealing, elven armies, hidden cities, hamster theft, this game has it all. And that’s not including the expansion.
Baldur’s Gate 2: Enhanced Edition includes the original game, its expansion, and a pit-fighting mode that has you go up in gladiatorial combat against everything from mind-flayers to demi-liches.
The enhanced edition, released in 2013, was so well received that it was even rereleased on PS4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch back in 2019, so you can still pick this up and play it to this day.
With cross-platform multiplayer support and up-to-date graphics and interface, this is a game that you absolutely must pick up. Experience a classic without having to get bogged down by outdated tech.
Any “Iconic List” has to include a cult classic, and Planescape Torment certainly fills that quota.
Originally a poorly received game, this story puts you into the role of The Immortal One, an immortal (shocker) being on a quest to learn about his past.
The most exciting part about this game is its exploration of the multiverse via planescape with the central hub of the City of Sigil.
This game takes one of the most beloved settings in D&D and gives you an exciting way to explore it. This game is more than just some old-school fighting game though.
In fact, the combat system in this game is mostly avoidable.
The real merit of Planescape Torment lies in the storytelling and the part you play in allowing the story to unravel. As your decisions slowly alter your alignment, you’ll begin to question your motivations and morale.
This game made a resurgence in 2019 with some updated graphics and UI, and you can get in on just about any last-gen system.
If you’re looking for a game that is more about playing a D&D campaign than an excuse to kill goblins, this is the way to go.
New and Upcoming D&D Video Games
Baldur’s Gate 3
I have to start this one with a disclaimer. Baldur’s Gate 3 has not actually been released yet. At the current moment, we’re still in early access with an expected full release of the game some time in 2023.
That being said, almost two years of early access have given us a lot of information about what to expect.
Larian Studios has made it quite clear that they are keeping such a long early access to fix bugs and hear feedback from players, but they already have a really incredible game on the market.
From my initial experience, this is a game that allows you to do all the things you could in a tabletop setting.
Do you want to cave in some boulders with Mold Earth and crush the enemies before fighting them? Go for it. Want to leap across a chasm to completely circumvent a deadly obstacle? Roll for it.
Baldur’s Gate 3 really incorporates every aspect of D&D itself, almost seamlessly, into a video game. This isn’t just some vague inspiration with relevant settings and characters. This is a D&D video game.
Dungeons & Dragons Online
While not technically a new or upcoming game, D&D online is an MMORPG that is still getting regular updates.
To boot, there is a huge community that is probably one of the least toxic groups you could imagine, full of people ready to help you with quests.
This game was originally released in 2006, but like Star Wars: The Old Republic and World of Warcraft, the fanbase is more than enough to keep it exciting, if that says anything about the gameplay.
With a good mix of rpg and combat elements, a reasonable ability to make up solutions, and a more than extensive list of settings and adventures to explore, this is truly a game that you can really get lost in.
We tend to talk about video games in regards to how many hours of play you can get out of them. With an MMORPG, it’s more about how many hours you can pull yourself from the screen to live a normal life.
Dive into this and get connected with a community of D&D lovers, try on every class out there, and build new and exciting characters to conquer the challenges of the world.
Top 3 Video Games Inspired by D&D
Divinity: Original Sin 2
Divinity: Original Sin 2 is largely applauded as a masterpiece and one of the best fantasy RPGs ever made.
From Larian Studio, the same producers of Baldur’s Gate 3, this game delivers hundreds of hours of rich, rewarding gameplay in a beautifully crafted environment.
Amazing storytelling, one of the best turn-based combat systems, and the incredible freedom in decision making make this game what it is.
Each choice you make will have an effect on the rest of the game to the point where you can shut yourself off from entire story elements by killing an NPC before they become “important.”
Did I mention that this has an amazing co-op mode? On consoles, you can play locally with two players in a seamless split-screen/single-screen transition, and you can play online co-op up to four players.
The game was gorgeous enough when it was released in 2017 on PC, but the revamped definitive edition released in 2019 on consoles and PC completely outdoes itself with improved graphics and a broadened story.
If you want to play a D&D game and you don’t need to learn more about Faerun in the Forgotten Realms, this is the way to go.
Enter the Gungeon
If I want to talk about games inspired by D&D, then I should be talking about dungeon crawlers.
There is a long list of games that let you explore extensive dungeons and uncover treasure all while fighting through hordes of enemies and enjoying the perks of your specific class.
It would be impossible to pick just one that represents the entire genre, so I’ve just chosen one of my favorites: Enter the Gungeon.
This hilarious game sends you into a dungeon with nothing but a weapon and your class perks and has you fight against hordes of enemies in randomly configured dungeon levels.
Collect keys and artifacts to make yourself to the boss and save NPCs along the way, and do this for as long as you want.
This game, thanks to its random elements, is completely endless and allows you to dump hours into building new strategies and honing your skills.
Oh, and it’s entirely focused on guns. Enemies range from Gun Kins to Beholsters and Draguns, and your weapons are a wide (very wide) range of guns from classic pistols to fire-bolt tridents.
This game is hilarious, difficult, and engaging, and it provides a new experience every time. To me, it catches the more ridiculous side of the spirit of D&D perfectly.
I highly suggest picking it up and enjoying the rogue-like bullet hell experience in store for you.
Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic
Enveloping yourself in a fantasy world, pulling together a diverse party to complete quests, using magic and weapons in turn-based combat, and uncovering an incredible story in the process.
If all those things define the classic RPG experience, then KOTOR certainly belongs in this section.
There are hundreds of games that go for magical, almost medieval fantasy in the way that the classic D&D settings present them, but sometimes you want an experience that feels completely different.
While still delivering on all the classic RPG elements, KOTOR puts you in a galaxy far, far away to decide whether you’re going to become a jedi or a sith.
This is one of the greatest RPGs of all time, and my love for Star Wars definitely makes me partial to the worlds I’m able to explore every time I pick it back up to play once more.
It is consistently being enhanced for new systems, and we even have a remake in the pipeline as we speak.
Play the classic version now, and gear up for what’s sure to be a video game that rivals Baldur’s Gate 3 in complexity and immersion.
I’m not here to sell you on any specific video games. The selections above are ones that I truly enjoy and that I believe you will too.
However, not every game is for everyone, and a small list could never encompass the wide-range of interests that are out there.
So, here’s a handful of other games that you can explore if none of these peak your interest.
Everything below is either a standalone game or series that encompasses some aspect of a D&D video game.
Whether it’s a high focus on fantasy or an incredible RPG experience, the games below will certainly allow you to scratch that D&D itch.
- Dragon Age
- Elder Scrolls
- Pillars of Eternity
- The Warlock of Firetop Mountain
- Dark Souls
- Arx Fatalis
- Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire
Alright, enough of me talking. Switch over to your console or boot up steam and download a game so you can spend countless hours enveloping yourself in the fantasy rpg experience of your dreams.
As always, happy adventuring.
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As a kid, I was often told to get my head out of the clouds and to stop living in a fantasy world. That never really jived with me, so I decided to make a living out of games, stories, and all sorts of fantastical works. Now, as an adult, I aspire to remind people that sometimes a little bit of fantasy is all you need when life gets to be too much.