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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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sorted in ascending orderGame Title
Lineage: The Blood Pledge Macintosh Front Cover

Windows (2001) and Macintosh (2002)

In this online RPG of Korean origin, the player can explore the medieval world of Lineage as one of the...

The Linear RPG Browser Front Cover

Browser (2009)

In this minimalist proof-of-concept, the player controls the left-right motion of a walking stickman across a bent line. Random encounters...

Linkle Liver Story SEGA Saturn Front Cover

SEGA Saturn (1996)

Linkle Liver Story is an action-oriented RPG that takes place on a distant planet called Mamuuna whose inhabitants are humans...

Linux (1997), DOS (1997) and Windows (1997)

Dungeon Crawl is an open source roguelike game originally developed by Linley Henzell. In March of 1999, Linley entered law...

Lionheart: Legacy of the Crusader Windows Front Cover

Windows (2003)

During the Third Crusade, King Richard the Lionheart ordered the massacre of three thousand prisoners during the Siege of Acre....

Little Horrors Browser Front Cover

Browser (2011)

Little Horrors is a browser based MMO aimed at children. The player can choose to be either a vampire or...

Little Ninja Brothers NES Front Cover

NES (1989)

Blu Boltar, lord of the Yoma clan has invaded Chinaland and captured the Emperor. Sending out a TV broadcast across...

PlayStation (1999)

Little Princess: Marl Ōkoku no Ningyō Hime 2, also known as Little Princess: The Puppet Princess of Marl Kingdom 2,...

Live a Live SNES Front Cover

SNES (1994)

In Live a Live, the player controls seven main characters and plays through seven different chapters set in seven different...

Browser (2006)

In this "enter-your-name toy" from The Surrealist, the player inputs a user name from the blogging service LiveJournal, and a...

Browser (2007)

As in the LiveJournal Dungeon Adventure before it, this is an RPG engine that dynamically constructs a functional, if somewhat...

PC-88 (1984) and Sharp X1 (1985)

Lizard is a simple first-person dungeon crawler in Wizardry style, though with a single player character rather than a party....

PC-98 (1992)

The follow-up to Fukujinzuke is a more elaborate supplement to Humming Bird's Record of Lodoss War computer RPG series and...

Loki: Heroes of Mythology Windows Front Cover

Windows (2007)

Somewhere in a pyramid, not far from the Nile, the Egyptian god Seth awakens again and swears revenge on all...

Windows (2007)

The Collector's Edition includes: Loki: Heroes of Mythology Metal box Limited Edition Loki poster

Long Live the Queen Linux Front Cover

Linux (2012), Windows (2012) and Macintosh (2012)

When Nova's queen dies under mysterious circumstances, Elodie, crowned princess, must leave her boarding school and embark on a year...

Lord of Apocalypse PSP Front Cover

PSP (2011) and PS Vita (2011)

Lord of Apocalypse is a Monster Hunter-like game and is the sequel to Lord of Arcana. The plot is similar...

Lord of Arcana PSP Front Cover

PSP (2010)

Lord of Arcana is an action game in which the player (as a customizable character) is taken to the world...

The Lord of the Rings: Aragorn's Quest PlayStation 2 Front Cover

PlayStation 2 (2010), Nintendo DS (2010) and PSP (2010)

The handheld and PlayStation 2 version of Aragorn's Quest follows the same story as the eponymous console version: the story...

The Lord of the Rings Online: Compilation Pack - Volumes I+II Windows Front Cover

Windows (2008)

This compilation contains: The Lord of the Rings Online: Shadows of Angmar (base game) The Lord of the Rings Online:...

The Lord of the Rings Online: Helm's Deep (Base Edition) Windows Front Cover English version

Windows (2013)

The Lord of the Rings Online: Helm's Deep is the fifth expansion for The Lord of the Rings Online: Shadows...

The Lord of the Rings Online: Helm's Deep (Premium Edition) Windows Front Cover English version

Windows (2013)

The Lord of the Rings Online: Helm's Deep (Premium Edition) is a special edition of The Lord of the Rings...

Windows (2008)

The Collector's Edition includes: The Lord of the Rings Online: Shadows of Angmar The Lord of the Rings Online: Mines...

The Lord of the Rings Online: Mines of Moria (Special Edition) Windows Front Cover

Windows (2008)

The Special Edition includes: The Lord of the Rings Online: Shadows of Angmar The Lord of the Rings Online: Mines...

The Lord of the Rings Online: Mines of Moria Windows Front Cover

Windows (2008)

The Lord of the Rings Online: Mines of Moria is the first paid-for expansion for The Lord of the Rings...

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