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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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DOS (1994)

Jageun Manyeo ("Little Witch") is a hybrid of a platformer and a role-playing game. The titular character is a little...

Jagged Alliance DOS Front Cover

DOS (1994) and Windows (2008)

The land of Metavira needs your help! Contract additional mercenaries as you explore, capture, and hold new territory so the...

Jagged Alliance 2 Linux Front Cover

Linux (2000) and Windows (1999)

The political situation in the democratic monarchy of Arulco has gone from bad to worse. The country has been taken...

Jagged Alliance 2: Unfinished Business Windows Front Cover

Windows (2000)

Just when you thought it was all over, Arulco calls again upon your help to rid of a new threat....

Jagged Alliance 2: Wildfire Windows Front Cover

Windows (2004)

Jagged Alliance 2: Wildfire is a stand-alone expansion of Jagged Alliance 2. While Wildfire is technically no different from the...

Jagged Alliance: Deadly Games DOS Front Cover

DOS (1996) and Windows (2008)

In Jagged Alliance: Deadly Games you take a group of mercenaries (mercs) through a series of missions. Gameplay is almost...

MSX (1987)

Jagur: Golden Triangle is something as unusual as a cross between Commando and an action RPG such as Ys or...

Jak rozpętałem II Wojnę Światową: Nieznane przygody Franka Dolasa Windows Front Cover

Windows (2003)

Jak rozpetalem druga wojne swiatowa: Nieznane przygody Franka Dolasa utilizes an unusual RPG scenario: is is set during World War...

Amiga (1995)

Jaktar: Der Elfenstein is a role-playing game set in a fantasy scenario. The peaceful kingdom Salar is under attack from...

Janshin Densetsu: Quest of Jongmaster TurboGrafx CD Front Cover

TurboGrafx CD (1995), Neo Geo CD (1995) and Arcade (1994)

Quest of Jongmaster is a mahjong game with role-playing elements. The "RPG mode" follows the story of an apprentice "mahjong...

TurboGrafx-16 (1988)

Long time ago, the Gods fought the Demons in a cosmic battle. To ensure victory, the Gods had to sacrifice...

Jeanne d'Arc PSP Front Cover

PSP (2007)

It is the 15th century, the time of the Hundred Years' War between England and France. A young French girl...

PC-88 (1987)

Jehard is a simple action role-playing game. The Holy Ark was stolen by a powerful demon king, and it's up...

Jian zhi Hun Windows Front Cover

Windows (1999)

The little hero Murong Qingfeng is a rebellious character, who often goes against the tradition. His parents died when he...

PC-98 (1994)

The hero of this game (whom the player must name at the beginning) is much more interested in pretty girls...

DOS (1995)

You are a modern Chinese teenager who likes playing video games, particularly RPGs. One day you wake up in an...

Joe Dever's Lone Wolf iPad Front Cover

iPhone (2013), Android (2013) and iPad (2013)

Joe Dever's Lone Wolf is a video game adaptation of the long-running gamebook series starring Lone Wolf, the last of...

Jojo no Kimyō na Bōken SNES Front Cover

SNES (1993)

In a futuristic world, there lives a young man named Jojo who holds a terrible power within: the power to...

Jones in the Fast Lane DOS Front Cover

DOS (1991)

Jones in the Fast Lane is a simulation of a person's life, presented as a turn-based strategy game. You can...

Journey's End Windows Front Cover

Windows (2001)

Journey's End is a first-person 3D action role-playing game. You play a bounty hunter in a medieval fantasy world, called...

DOS (1996)

Joyous Rebel is an RPG inspired by the Ultima series of games. Initially a shareware title, it was later made...

J.R.R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings: Volume One SNES Front Cover

SNES (1994)

J.R.R Tolkien's Lord of the Rings - Volume One is a video game adaptation of the famous book, which is...

J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings, Vol. I DOS Front Cover

DOS (1990), Amiga (1991), PC-98 (1991) and FM Towns (1992)

Many years ago, the dark lord Sauron forged the One Ring to control the races of the Middle Earth. He...

J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings, Vol. II: The Two Towers DOS Front Cover

DOS (1992), PC-98 (1993) and FM Towns (1993)

J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings, Vol. II: The Two Towers is a role-playing game following the second book...

J.R.R. Tolkien's War in Middle Earth DOS Front Cover

DOS (1988), Amiga (1989), Atari ST (1989) and Apple IIgs (1989)

Three Rings for the-Elven kings under the sky, Seven for the Dwarf-lords in their hall of stone, Nine for mortal...

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