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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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Hillsfar DOS Front Cover

DOS (1989), Amiga (1989), NES (1991), Atari ST (1989), Commodore 64 (1989) and PC-98 (1990)

Play a would-be hero in the city of Hillsfar, where action and adventure await the daring adventurer. Join the local...

PlayStation (1999)

Masahiko Kutani and Himiko Himejima are two teenagers living in modern-day Japan. One day, Himiko discovers a strange amulet. An...

Hinterland Windows Front Cover

Windows (2008)

Hinterland is a game that mixes the gameplay of a city builder and of an action role-playing game (RPG).The king...

Hinterland: Orc Lords Windows Front Cover

Windows (2009)

Hinterland: Orc Lords is an updated version of Hinterland, which was released through digital distribution the year before. For owners...

PC-98 (1992)

The country ruled by the king MacIntyre is attacked by king Macaulay and his underlings. The land is burning, and...

PC-98 (1993) and FM Towns (1994)

When Richard MacIntyre, the hero of the first Hiōden, became old, he retired from his duties, intending to spend the...

Hired Guns DOS Front Cover

DOS (1993) and Amiga (1993)

The year is 2712, and four mercenaries have been sent to the planet Graveyard on a hostage rescue mission. Upon...

Hired Guns: The Jagged Edge Windows Front Cover

Windows (2007)

In Africa the Diamond Coast is ruled by a ruthless dictator and everywhere in the country a state of emergency...

PC-98 (1997)

In the beginning of 21th century, technology has evolved in unprecedented ways. But so did crime. Huge corporations, which were...

Browser (2010)

Hispania el Juego is a browser-based game that takes you back to the period of the Roman conquest of Hispania,...

NES (1989)

Hissatsu Dōjō Yaburi is an RPG - beat-'em-up hybrid that casts you as a novice martial artist that sets out...

The Hobbit Game Boy Advance Front Cover

Game Boy Advance (2003)

Take on the role of Bilbo Baggins from J.R.R. Tolkien's "The Hobbit" in this GBA title. The game follows the...

Hobson's Choice Browser Front Cover

Browser (1998)

It's often said that civilization is only three square meals away from anarchy and riots, and this game opens with...

Hokuto no Ken 3: Shinseiki Sōzō Seiken Retsuden NES Front Cover

NES (1989)

This RPG is based on the anime series Hokuto no Ken, a.k.a. Fist of the North Star. In 1999, a...

Hokuto no Ken 4: Shichisei Haken Den: Hokuto Shinken no Kanata e NES Front Cover

NES (1991)

This is a RPG set in the universe of the animé series Hokuto no Ken, known outside of Japan as...

Hokuto no Ken 5: Tenmaryūseiden: Ai * Zesshō SNES Front Cover

SNES (1992)

The RPG is based on the Japanese animé series Hokuto no Ken, also known as Fist of the North Star....

Holy Avatar vs. Maidens of the Dead Windows Front Cover

Windows (2012)

In this spin-off from the Grotesque Tactics the demi-god called Holy Avatar and his Guild of Maidens take a vacation...

Windows (2000)

Long time ago, an evil creature known as the Devourer of Souls was banished to the Void by powerful mages....

Browser (2006)

This game puts the player in the holey shoes of a street person, navigating the intersections and back lanes (with...

DOS (1993)

Hong Gildong-jeon is a role-playing game based on the classic Korean novel Tale of Hong Gildong by Heo Gyun. The...

Horizons: Empire of Istaria Windows Front Cover

Windows (2003)

Horizons: Empire of Istaria is an MMORPG from Artifact Entertainment, the makers of Demise: Rise of the Ku'tan. As a...

PC-98 (1995)

The sequel to Kōshoku Shikakenin tells us what happened to the brave hero Kazuya after he has overthrown the evil...

Hoshigami: Ruining Blue Earth PlayStation Front Cover

PlayStation (2002)

A fantasy tactical RPG set in a 3D world. The storyline will take you through 40 missions on the continent...

Hoshi o Miru Hito NES Front Cover

NES (1987)

In the far future, the apocalypse has come and gone. Now people leave peacefully in rural cities making the best...

House of Hell Android Front Cover

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

An adaptation of the #10 gamebook, first released in 1984, of the Fighting Fantasy series, extraordinarily set in present-day Earth...

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