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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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ICON: Quest for the Ring DOS Front Cover

DOS (1984)

Beautiful maidens live in the river Rhine, protecting the gold that lies there. It is said that the owner of...

Browser (2010)

Bringing all the fun of Progress Quest to the browser, this game similarly tracks the adventures of a character through...

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

In Idol Project, the player takes a role of a young man named Takashi, who works for a company called...

PC-98 (1995)

Unlike the first Idol Project, the story of the sequel is directly related to to the anime series Idol Project,...

Iffermoon Windows Front Cover

Windows (2008)

Iffermoon is a freeware RPG entirely created by a single developer, Scott Cawton and set in a fantasy steampunk universe....

iHeroes iPad Front Cover

iPhone (2011) and iPad (2011)

iHeroes is an unlicensed port of Heroes of Might and Magic II for iPhone and iPad. Even though the port...

Windows (2008)

Iji and her brother Dan were visiting the military complex where their father works when suddenly, out of nowhere, an...

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

A young sexy female warrior Raidi has come to a village whose inhabitants were abducted by young sexy female... demons....

PC-98 (1995) and FM Towns (1996)

In this sequel to Ikazuchi no Senshi Raidi, the fearless (and good-looking) female warrior Raidi is wandering through a desert....

Windows (1999)

In Ikusa Megami, the player assumes a role of Celica, a former male warrior who is now... a woman. The...

Windows (2002)

An ancient fiend who was sealed in the depths of a dungeon long time ago is about to awaken. The...

Windows (2008)

Ikusa Megami Zero is a prequel to the first Ikusa Megami game: it follows the events that made Celica, a...

DOS (1994)

Manman Papa Sikjeok-pyeon is based on the Chinese Ming Dynasty folk tale about Yi Zhi Mei (Korean pronunciation: Iljimae), a...

MSX (1991), PC-98 (1990) and Sharp X68000 (1991)

A young man wakes up, only to find himself in a bed, in an unknown house, in an unknown place....

Illusion City - Gen'ei Toshi SEGA CD Front Cover

SEGA CD (1993), MSX (1991), PC-98 (1992), FM Towns (1993) and Sharp X68000 (1993)

In the beginning of 21th century a terrible disaster, called "demon-coming crisis", devastated the Asian continent. Hong Kong was most...

Illusion of Gaia SNES Front Cover

SNES (1993)

Will is a young boy whose father disappeared long time ago. Now Will lives in a small town with his...

Windows (1999)

Illusions of Deception is a 2D jRPG, made with the Klik 'n' Play program. The game begins Earth hit by...

Imadoki no Vampire: Bloody Bride PlayStation Front Cover

PlayStation (1996)

The game features a young vampire who reaches (vampire's) adulthood. But in order to become mature he must suck the...

Imperium Galactica DOS Front Cover

DOS (1997)

Imperium Galactica is set sometime during the fourth millennium and you, as a human, must rebuild the Human Empire. You...

Imperivm III: The Great Battles of Rome Windows Front Cover

Windows (2004)

Imperivm III: The Great Battles of Rome is an RPG / RTS game based on historical facts, that allows us...

Inazuma Eleven Nintendo DS Front Cover

Nintendo DS (2008)

Inazuma Eleven is a blend of a football (soccer) game and traditional RPG. The game stars Mark Evans, the captain...

The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing Macintosh Front Cover

Windows (2013) and Macintosh (2013)

The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing is an action role-playing game where one plays as the son of the legendary...

The Infernal Tome DOS Front Cover

DOS (1994)

The Infernal Tome is a multi-character fantasy role-playing game. You and four characters must collect weapons, armor, spells, potions, keys,...

Infinite Space Nintendo DS Front Cover

Nintendo DS (2009)

Growing up as a second class citizen on a back-water planet, Yuri dreamed of being able to travel the stars....

Infinite Undiscovery Xbox 360 Front Cover

Xbox 360 (2008)

Infinite Undiscovery is an RPG set in a magical world where an evil army called the Order of the Chains,...

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