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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Koudelka PlayStation Front Cover

PlayStation (1999)

The year is 1898. A young gypsy woman named Koudelka, who possesses unique spiritual abilities, is off to Wales, to...

Kowloon Yōma Gakuen Ki PlayStation 2 Front Cover

PlayStation 2 (2004)

The year is 2004, and you play the role of an exchange student who arrives at the Kamiyoshi School in...

KrabbitWorld Labyrinth Linux Front Cover

Linux (2006), Windows (2006) and Macintosh (2006)

It’s twilight in this dark and troubled time of KrabbitWorld’s past. The great, bumbling, old wizard Fivinus’ dampening field has...

Krakrox the Barbarian Browser Front Cover

Browser (2001)

Making light of the typical barbarian themes of revenge and redemption, this tile-based game puts our sinewy hero (you have...

Krater: Shadows over Solside Macintosh Front Cover

Windows (2012) and Macintosh (2013)

Krater: Shadows over Solside is a post-apocalyptic RPG set in Sweden. The whole game plays around the city hub Solside...

Krater: Shadows over Solside (Collector's Edition) Windows Front Cover

Windows (2012)

This collector's edition is available as a digital download and in retail. It includes: Krater: Shadows over Solside (base game)...

Kudos 2 Windows Front Cover

Windows (2008) and Macintosh (2009)

Kudos 2 is a strategic life simulation game. It's a turn based, 2D interface game where the player makes (usually)...

Kuroi Hitomi no Noah: Cielgris Fantasm PlayStation 3 Front Cover

PlayStation (1999), PSP (2008), PlayStation 3 (2008) and PS Vita (2012)

Noah was quietly plying with her friend Disteen, but as they were exploring a cave they accidentally release a demon...

PlayStation (1997) and PC-98 (1994)

Long time ago, the Black Dragon was destroying human cities and devouring human beings. A sword imbued with magical powers...

SNES (1996)

Kūsō Kagaku Sekai Gulliver Boy is one of the games based on the anime series Gulliver Boy, quite different from...

Kūsō Kagaku Sekai Gulliver Boy SEGA Saturn Front Cover

SEGA Saturn (1996) and TurboGrafx CD (1995)

The game is based on the anime Gulliver Boy, created by Teruhisa Hiroi. Gulliver is a young boy who studies...

Kyūyaku Megami Tensei: Megami Tensei I ・II SNES Front Cover

SNES (1995) and Wii (2012)

This is Atlus' remake of Namco's two first Megaten games for NES. Graphics were improved to fit SNES standard, and...

TurboGrafx-16 (1992)

In this game, the player takes control of a young nameless traveler. One day, the hero meets a man who...

Lagoon SNES Front Cover

SNES (1991) and Sharp X68000 (1990)

In the far off world of Lakeland, all was peaceful. This was until an evil being known as Zerah came...

LaGrange Point NES Front Cover

NES (1991)

In 22th century, mankind has left the Earth. A new space epoch began, called the Isis era. Human beings built...

PC-88 (1987) and Sharp X1 (1987)

UFO sightings and alleged contacts with aliens that were widespread in the second half of the 20th century eventually became...

Apple II (1987)

A malevolent demigod Spur has constructed a dungeon filled with treasures (some cursed), traps and monsters in order to lure...

Land of Three Classes: The Exam iPad Front Cover

Browser (2011), iPhone (2011), Android (2011) and iPad (2011)

In this early game published through Choice of Games' "Hosted Games" program, players assume the identity of a young fantasy...

Lands of Lore 1+2 Windows Front Cover

Windows (2011)

This digitally distributed game collection includes: Lands of Lore: The Throne of Chaos Lands of Lore: Guardians of Destiny

Lands of Lore: Guardians of Destiny DOS Front Cover

DOS (1997) and Windows (1997)

In her quest for power and revenge, the witch Scotia accidentally set into motion the revival of Belial, God of...

Lands of Lore III Windows Front Cover

Windows (1999)

Copper is the bastard son of Eric LeGré, brother of King Richard and commander of the White Army who had...

Lands of Lore: The Throne of Chaos DOS Front Cover

DOS (1993), PC-98 (1994) and FM Towns (1995)

The Dark Army is on the move again, led by the evil sorceress Scotia. Her goal is obvious: to destroy...

DOS (1989)

Loosely based on The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant by Stephen R. Donaldson, The Land is a role-playing game where the...

Nintendo DS (2007)

Adapted from the famous series of European comics "Lanfeust", this game takes you on an adventure in the heroic universe...

Langrisser II Windows Front Cover

Windows (2004), Genesis (1994) and Wii (2007)

Langrisser II is a sequel to Warsong (whose original title is Langrisser). The events of the game take place several...

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