A good case in point is the Advanced Dungeons & Dragons cartridge released in 1982 for Mattel's Intellivision game system. Now, I didn't own an Intellivision, since it was extremely expensive (around $300, as I recall), but my best friend in 7th and 8th grade did. This friend was also, not coincidentally, someone with whom I regularly played D&D. So, when we heard that there was an AD&D game cartridge for the Intellivision, we knew we had to play it.
And, sure enough, we did. My friend got a copy and, on one of my many sleepovers at his place, we spent a lot of time playing through it. Unfortunately, Advanced Dungeons & Dragons was a single-player game, so we had to take turns playing it. I was never very good at using the Intellivision's rather bizarre controllers, so I tended to die a lot, which led me to spending most of my time watching my friend play. It was probably just as well, because Advanced Dungeons & Dragons wasn't a very good game, even by the standards of 1982. In fact, if it hadn't been for the AD&D logo on box, I'm not sure either one of us would have been very interested in it.
The premise of the game is that your character -- a little stick figure archer -- is described as follows in the game manual:
Your object is to acquire the two halves of the ancient Crown of Kings, hidden deep within the caverns of the legendary Cloudy Mountain. To reach the treasure you must cross a hostile land. The obstacles are numerous. Your resources are courage, cunning and three arrows. The rest you must find and fight to obtain. If you survive the wasteland and the creatures of the caves, you will have traveled out of danger into even greater peril. For each half of the Crown of Kings is guarded by terror - the Winged Dragons keep their endless watch.The game thus involved both wilderness and dungeon exploration, as your character wandered across the game world to find items that'd allow you to circumvent wilderness obstacles and thereby bring yourself closer to the caverns on Cloudy Mountain where the pieces of the Crown of Kings could be found. Now, I'm sure some of you are thinking: "That doesn't sound so bad." And, looked at from a certain angle, that even sounds vaguely like a D&D adventure, right down having to trek across dangerous wilderness to reach the dungeon full of treasure.
The game had two big problems in my opinion that offset any charm it might otherwise have possessed. The first was that your character could only use a bow and arrow. No other weapons were available; the axe you find is intended to chop down trees. This made for very frustrating combat, especially since it was very easy to run out of arrows. The second problem was that the monsters were painfully generic: rats, bats, snakes, spiders. There were some demons and dragons in the game, too, but they had no real connection to anything in AD&D. Like everything else in this game, their only "connection" to the RPG was a logo someone slapped on it.
In 1982, given the state of video game technology, it probably wouldn't have been possible to produce a game that bore much more than a crude resemblance to any form of D&D. I suppose Sir-Tech Wizardry, which was released a year before this one, probably came the closest to replicating the D&D experience into a primitive digital form and even it wasn't quite right. Mind you, even in 2012, no video game can compete with sitting around a table, rolling some dice with your friends, so maybe it's no knock against a game made in 1982 to say it also falls short of that sublime experience.