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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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Joe Dever's Lone Wolf Android 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...

SNES (1993)

In Jungle Wars 2, the world is populated not only by humans, but by intelligent animals who behave like humans...

Just Breed NES Front Cover

NES (1992)

The town of Astholm is protected by a Sapphire, one of the magical stones mentioned in old legends. Generation of...

Kagero: Deception II PlayStation Front Cover

PlayStation (1998), PSP (2008), PlayStation 3 (2008) and PS Vita (2012)

The race of Timenoids was once human, but long time ago, they have traded their human souls for immortality. The...

Browser (2010)

Kaguya Table: The Expansion is a simple role-playing fangame, based upon the Tōhō character Kaguya Houraisan. The game involves Kaguya...

Kaiv Atari 8-bit Front Cover

Commodore 64 (1983), Apple II (1983) and Atari 8-bit (1983)

This is the sequel to the first part of the Warriors of Ras series, Dunzhin. All games in this series...

NES (1987)

The kingdom of Altenia was a peaceful place until monsters began to roam the land, terrorizing its inhabitants and striking...

Kaos Online Windows Front Cover

Windows (2007)

Kaos Online is an MMORPG. All characters can express their emotions, such as joy, sadness or anger, as well as...

Amiga (1996)

Kargon takes place in fantasy land far, far away, where the good King Kargon is killed by his twin brother...

Kartia: The Word of Fate PlayStation Front Cover

PlayStation (1998)

A strategy role-playing game released during the height of the genre's popularity in 1998, when Final Fantasy Tactics and two...

TurboGrafx CD (1992)

This installment in the fishing simulation series, of which the few localized games are known under the River King brand,...

Keef the Thief: A Boy and His Lockpick DOS Front Cover

DOS (1989), Amiga (1989) and Apple IIgs (1989)

Play Keef the Thief, a promising young thief who finds himself on the outskirts of the Mercon the Merchant City....

Keep of the Lich-Lord iPad Front Cover

iPhone (2012) and iPad (2012)

Fighting Fantasy gamebook #43, originally published back in 1990, has received a digital facelift. Foul necromancer Lord Nydaedus of Hagor...

PC-88 (1983) and FM-7 (1983)

Ken to Mahō is a fantasy role-playing game. An evil wizard has killed the benevolent king of Border Land and...

SNES (1994)

The game is based on the anime series The Legend of the Swordsman Yaiba. Yaiba Kurogane has been raised by...

SNES (1994)

The game is based on the popular Sanrio's animé-style fantasy characters, mainly Kero Kero. You play as a little frog-like...

The Keys to Maramon DOS Front Cover

DOS (1990), Amiga (1991) and Commodore 64 (1991)

The Keys to Maramon is set in the same world as Magic Candle, and uses a modified engine from said...

PlayStation (2000)

Khamrai is a Japanese RPG in which the player has two roles: that of Kagato, your everyday RPG-ish country boy...

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