User review spotlight: Carmageddon (DOS). Released in 1997.

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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Fate: Gates of Dawn Amiga Front Cover

Amiga (1991) and Atari ST (1991)

Winwood was just an ordinary man, an owner of a small record shop - certainly not a very suitable profession...

DOS (1993)

The solo version of the sequel/add-on to the original Shadow of Yserbius, the graphical multi-user dungeon game on The Sierra...

Fate: Undiscovered Realms Windows Front Cover

Windows (2008)

Fate: Undiscovered Realms is the sequel/expansion to Fate, also developed by WildTangent. Both games are action RPGs/roguelikes in the same...

Faxanadu NES Front Cover

NES (1987) and Wii (2010)

Faxanadu is a 2D platformer with elements of role-playing in addition to side-scrolling action.The story is a classic one of...

Faxion Online Windows Front Cover

Windows (2011)

Faxion Online is a Free 2 Play PVP (Player vs Player) MMO game where players with lots of gaming time...

Fearless Fantasy Windows Front Cover

Windows (2014)

Fearless Fantasy is a short RPG in Japanese-style where you must perform mouse gestures in order to perform and maximize...

SNES (1994)

In a fantasy world, a soldier from the imperial forces deserts after witnessing the massacre of innocent villagers by his...

Windows (1999)

Once the Earth was inhabited by gods. But as the human race came into the world, the gods decided to...

Fengse Huanxiang 2 Windows Front Cover

Windows (2002)

Shuilan is a land that hovers above the ocean. Recently, a demon lord appeared nearby. The people of Shuilan know...

Fengse Huanxiang 3: Zui yu Fa de Zhenhunge Windows Front Cover

Windows (2004)

The 100-year battle between humans and ghosts ended when the hero Jiaseduo used the seven magical emblems to seal the...

Fengse Huanxiang 4: Shengzhan de Zhongyan Windows Front Cover

Windows (2005)

This installment of Fengse Huanxiang (Wind Fantasy) series is connected plot-wise to its predecessor, and is set in the same...

Fengse Huanxiang 5: Chi Yue Zhanzheng Windows Front Cover

Windows (2006)

Long time ago, the humans have discovered the secrets of nature. They have built a powerful civilization with advanced technology....

NES (1995)

During the final days of Shang-Yin dynasty in China (11th century BC), general Li Jing had a son named Ne...

Genesis (1996)

Fengshen Yingjiezhuan (translated as "The Heroic Legend of God-Sealing"), is a Chinese strategy role-playing game based on a famous legend...

Windows (2001)

Zhuo Shan is a fisherman living in a Chinese village with his wife and two children. He doesn't remember a...

The Fifth Disciple Windows Front Cover

Windows (2002)

Help Engeor, a student at the University of Magic, save Rovenland from the evil wizard Wahargem. In the beginning of...

Fighting Fantasy: City of Thieves iPhone Front Cover

iPhone (2010) and iPad (2010)

This is a digital conversion of Fighting Fantasy gamebook #5, dating back to September 1983, and the last of Big...

Nintendo DS (2009)

After some hiatus, this game sees the founding member of the venerable Fighting Fantasy gamebook series, first published back in...

Windows (2001)

Fighting Legends Online is an MMO/ Real-Time Strategy game with role playing elements set in a kung fu anime style.A...

PC-98 (1995)

Long time ago, seven gods who were guarding the Earth defeated the evil god Gadim. But time has passed, and...

Final Fantasy NES Front Cover

NES (1987), MSX (1989), BREW (2010), J2ME (2010), Wii (2009), Nintendo 3DS (2013) and Wii U (2013)

The world is veiled in darkness. Winds don't blow, the seas are stormy, and the earth rots. All people can...

Final Fantasy PSP Front Cover

PSP (2007), iPhone (2010), Android (2012) and Windows Phone (2012)

This release of Final Fantasy is built upon the Game Boy Advance version of the game. It retains the bonus...

Final Fantasy PlayStation Front Cover

PlayStation (2002), PSP (2009), WonderSwan Color (2000), PlayStation 3 (2009) and PS Vita (2012)

Final Fantasy is a remake of the Famicom (NES) game of the same name. This version includes the following changes...

Final Fantasy: 25th Anniversary Ultimate Box PlayStation Front Cover

PlayStation (2012), PlayStation 2 (2012), PSP (2012) and PlayStation 3 (2012)

This box set is a compilation of the first thirteen games from the core Final Fantasy series released in Japan...

Final Fantasy Adventure Game Boy Front Cover

Game Boy (1991)

Set after the event of Secret of Mana, you play a young man who escapes from his captors, only to...

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