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Role-Playing (RPG)

Description

Role-playing video games are descendants of pen-and-paper RPGs. In those games character development is the main driving gameplay mechanic. Typically one or more characters are created and shaped by the player, then embark on a series of encounters that increase the inventory, wealth, or combat statistics of said character(s).

A role-playing game is not just any game in which the player "plays a role", i.e. controls a character and participates in exploration and narrative. Rather, the defining characteristic of role-playing games is player-dependent character growth. A role-playing game can be seen as such when player-controlled characters become stronger ("levels up") because of the player's actions (usually depending on experience points received for vanquishing enemies), rather than being upgraded automatically as dictated by the storyline. The degree of the player's involvement in shaping the characters may vary considerably: some RPGs offer vast customization possibilities, while others tend to simplify and even nearly automatize the process.

Traditional RPGs have turn-based combat and a fantasy setting (Wizardry series, Ultima series, Roguelikes, etc.). Later, other settings were introduced, and many RPGs - such as Diablo - began favoring action-based combat. In these games, Action is used as a modifier to the RPG genre.

By the late 1980's, the genre has been distinctly split into two main sub-genres: Western and Japanese (sometimes called console-style) RPG. Western RPGs typically favored free exploration and player-made decisions, while Japanese RPGs focused on following a linear story line. Japanese RPGs also tended to retain simple turn-based combat mechanics, and in many cases also random enemy encounters.

In many early Western RPGs the player was given the option to create an entire party of characters (usually up to six). Ultima games introduced the possibility of recruiting initially non-playable characters (NPCs) with their own personalities from the game world into the party. Beginning with Phantasy Star, Japanese RPGs followed this template and even elevated it to their cornerstone mechanic.

Late 1990's saw a "RPG revival" in the West. Fallout greatly expanded the usage of non-combat statistics and moral decisions during gameplay, while Baldur's Gate popularized real-time party-based combat.
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sorted in descending orderGame Title
Eador: Genesis Windows Front Cover

Windows (2009)

Eador: Genesis is a medieval fantasy turn-based strategy/role-playing game inspired by Master of Magic, Civilization, Warlords, Heroes of Might and...

DOS (1988), Atari ST (1987) and Apple II (1980)

Eamon was one of the earliest role-playing games available for the Apple II. It was also perhaps the first ever...

PC-98 (1992)

A group of adventurers, led by the young mercenary named Guy, arrives at the Port City, looking for job. The...

Earth & Beyond Windows Front Cover

Windows (2002)

Earth & Beyond is the first online role-playing galaxy. This galaxy is filled with monsters and strange new worlds, but...

EarthBound SNES Front Cover

SNES (1994) and Wii U (2013)

In the year 199X, in the village of Onett, on the continent of Eagleland...Young Ness was asleep one night when...

Earthrise Windows Front Cover

Windows (2011)

Earthrise is a science fiction MMORPG set in a distant, post-apocalyptic future. Mankind has managed to survive a Third World...

Eerie Estate Agent iPad Front Cover

Browser (2012), iPhone (2012), Android (2012) and iPad (2012)

Taking an unusual setting and theme for a game, this one puts the player in the old town of Edinburgh,...

TurboGrafx CD (1991)

Efera & Jiliora: The Emblem From Darkness is based on the anime Gude Crest. The story stars two female mercenaries,...

EGG: Elemental Gimmick Gear Dreamcast Front Cover

Dreamcast (1999)

A mysterious planet Fogna... you awaken one day after a prolonged sleep, look around and realise you have been asleep...

Egria: Guardian Sword II Windows Front Cover

Windows (2000)

The young warrior Shot finds himself high in the mountains. Apparently he has been asleep for several days. He meets...

Ehrgeiz: God Bless the Ring PlayStation Front Cover

PlayStation (1998), PSP (2008), PlayStation 3 (2008), PS Vita (2012) and Arcade (1998)

Ehrgeiz: God Bless the Ring is an arcade-style fighting game from the makers of Tobal. In this version, Cloud, Tifa,...

PlayStation (2000)

This Japan only re-release of Ehrgeiz was part of the Square Millennium Collection, a collection of Square games packaged in...

PlayStation 2 (2005)

In Eien no Aseria, you play the role of Yuuto Takamine, a Japanese orphan boy who grew up together with...

SEGA Saturn (1998) and PC-98 (1994)

Eiyū Shigan: Gal Act Heroism differs in premise and structure from the vast majority of Japanese RPGs by focusing on...

PC-98 (1997)

A young high-school student named Seirou has a normal, boring life: days resemble each other, and so do the nights:...

The Elder Scrolls Anthology Windows Front Cover

Windows (2013)

The Elder Scrolls Anthology includes: The Elder Scrolls: Arena The Elder Scrolls II: Daggerfall The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind -...

The Elder Scrolls: Arena (Deluxe Edition) DOS Front Cover

DOS (1994)

This re-release of The Elder Scrolls: Arena contains the game patched to the latest version on CD-ROM, a mousepad with...

The Elder Scrolls: Arena DOS Front Cover

DOS (1994)

The Elder Scrolls: Arena is a first-person action role-playing game in which the protagonist must rescue the Emperor Uriel Septim...

The Elder Scrolls: Chapter II - Daggerfall DOS Front Cover

DOS (1996)

Daggerfall is a sequel to The Elder Scrolls: Arena; it is set in the same medieval fantasy world Tamriel -...

DOS (1997)

This is an enhanced demo version of The Elder Scrolls: Daggerfall which was published on a number of gaming magazine...

DOS (1995)

One of the earliest interactive demo versions of The Elder Scrolls: Daggerfall includes a single unique dungeon called the Pit...

The Elder Scrolls III: Bloodmoon Windows Front Cover

Windows (2003)

Return to the world of The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind in this second expansion pack.The Island of Solstheim is an...

The Elder Scrolls III: Bloodmoon & Tribunal Duopack Windows Front Cover

Windows (2003)

This pack contains both expansions, Tribunal and Bloodmoon, for The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind.

The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind (Collector's Edition) Windows Front Cover

Windows (2002)

This edition contains: The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind The Morrowind Soundtrack CD: Composed by Jeremy Soule (Icewind Dale), the CD...

The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind - Game of the Year Edition Windows Front Cover

Windows (2003) and Xbox (2003)

This Game of the Year edition includes: The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind (base game) The Elder Scrolls III: Tribunal (expansion)...

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