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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DOS (1988), Amiga (1988), Apple II (1988), Apple IIgs (1988) and Macintosh (1988)

The first playable version of the GemStone series, as GemStone I was a prototype only, GemStone ][ is an early...

Windows (1998) and Macintosh (1998)

GemStone IV is a high fantasy game set in the world of Elanthia. Originally offered on service providers such as...

Geneforge Windows Front Cover

Windows (2002) and Macintosh (2001)

The Shapers are the most powerful of the magical guilds, and you have recently been accepted as an apprentice. With...

Geneforge 2 Windows Front Cover

Windows (2003) and Macintosh (2003)

Geneforge 2 is an isometric role-playing game that puts you in the role of a Shaper. Shapers are like conjurers,...

Geneforge 3 Windows Front Cover

Windows (2005) and Macintosh (2005)

This is the third installment in the shareware Geneforge series by Spiderweb Software. In this fantasy RPG, you once again...

Geneforge 4: Rebellion Windows Front Cover

Windows (2007) and Macintosh (2006)

This is the fourth installment in the shareware Geneforge series by Spiderweb Software. Geneforge 4 is an isometric RPG with...

Geneforge 5: Overthrow Windows Front Cover

Windows (2009) and Macintosh (2008)

Geneforge 5: Overthrow is the fifth and final game in the RPG series and continues the story from Geneforge 4:...

Generation of Chaos PSP Front Cover

PSP (2005) and Android (2011)

Generation of Chaos is the fourth game in a series with the same name and takes place in a fantasy...

PC-88 (1988) and PC-98 (1985)

A series of devastating wars and economic disasters influenced the Earth's atmosphere. Various types of energy were released, and as...

Gene Troopers Windows Front Cover

Windows (2005), PlayStation 2 (2006) and Xbox (2006)

A long war has ended and the Galactic Empire has grown but it isn't stable. Rebel groups still fight the...

Genji: Dawn of the Samurai PlayStation 2 Front Cover

PlayStation 2 (2005)

Genji: Dawn of the Samurai is a third-person action role-playing game (RPG) set in medieval Japan around the 12th century....

Genji: Days of the Blade PlayStation 3 Front Cover

PlayStation 3 (2006)

It's been three years since Yoshitune Minamoto and Benkei Musashibo, warriors of the Genji Clan, defeated the Heishi Clan in...

PC-98 (1994)

Somewhere in the southern part of the Rain Island lies a village known as Flower Fields. Its inhabitants live peacefully...

PC-98 (1995)

Gensei Kaitō Den is set in the same world as Gensei Kitan. Important characters from Gensei Kitan (including its protagonist,...

PC-98 (1995)

Gensei Kitan: Disc Saga III is set in a fantasy world with both medieval and steam-punk elements. The player controls...

Game Boy Advance (2001)

Set in the Suikoden universe, the game closely follows the story of Suikoden II. The hero is a young member...

TurboGrafx CD (1993)

You start the game as a nameless warrior (you can name the hero as you like). He returns to his...

Windows (2005)

Gloria in Excelsis Deo is a re-release of Her Knights. This version adds voices to some dialogues, a remixed soundtrack,...

Windows (2000)

Princess Lemian has spend much of her life studying in a foreign school. One day, as she is strolling through...

Windows (2003)

GhostBlood is a role-playing game reminiscent of DOS RPGs of old.When the game starts, a figure hooded in a brown...

Ghost Lion NES Front Cover

NES (1989)

A mysterious white lion once attacked a small village and killed many of its inhabitants. But a brave soldier defeated...

Giftpia GameCube Front Cover

GameCube (2003)

The citizens on Nanashi Island have the custom of organizing a ceremony to celebrate children's transition into adulthood. The young...

PC-98 (1994) and FM Towns (1995)

Jackie was having an ordinary life which seemed to culminate with an intimate intercourse with his sweetheart Mika. However, shortly...

Ginormo Sword Browser Front Cover

Browser (2008)

Although it offers more direct gameplay, Ginormo Sword is basically a graphical interpretation of Progress Quest, a metagame like You...

DOS (1989) and Windows (2000)

This game pits the player as a single man on the prowl for some action. Custom-building the personality and traits...

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