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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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Legend of Wukong Genesis Front Cover

Genesis (2008)

After putting the finishing touches on his new time machine, the prestigious Dr. Tang steps back to admire his life's...

The Legend of Xanadu II TurboGrafx CD Front Cover

TurboGrafx CD (1995) and Wii (2009)

Legend of Xanadu II continues the story of the first game. Once again, the player controls the adventurer Areios, who...

The Legend of Xanadu TurboGrafx CD Front Cover

TurboGrafx CD (1994) and Wii (2008)

In Legend of Xanadu, the player controls a young adventurer named Areios. Monsters attack his homeland, and he is forced...

The Legend of Zelda: Collector's Edition GameCube Front Cover

GameCube (2003)

This disc contains emulated versions of the NES games The Legend of Zelda and Zelda II: The Adventure of Link,...

Windows (2008)

The Legend of Zelda: The Fallen Sage is a fan-made game based on The Legend of Zelda franchise and more...

Windows (2010)

The Legend of Zelda: Time's Menagerie is another installment in the fan-series created by "The Undying Nephalim", the previous entry...

Legends of Aethereus Linux Front Cover Steam Cover

Linux (2013), Windows (2013) and Macintosh (2013)

Legends of Aethereus is an action RPG with physics based combat where you start in your customization city Nexus-State, the...

DOS (1992), Amiga (1992), Atari ST (1992) and Macintosh (1992)

Legends of Future Past was one of the earliest commercial text-based massively multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPGs), originally offered through...

Legends of Kesmai Windows Front Cover

Windows (1997)

Based on an ASCII text role-playing MUD called Islands Of Kesmai started on CompuServe in 1984, this was a graphics-based...

DOS (1991)

This is the second adventure in which the player takes on the role of the Inspector, a crime-solving fighter/mage. This...

DOS (1989)

Legends of Murder is a fantasy/role-playing/murder mystery game. In Volume 1 of the series you, Inspector, have been summoned to...

Macintosh (1989)

The land of Tagor-Dal was for thousands of years ruled by the mighty High Kings. During these times the country...

Macintosh (1989)

Legends of the Lost Realm II: Wilderlands is an expansion to the original Legends of the Lost Realm and requires...

Legends of Valour DOS Front Cover

DOS (1992), Amiga (1993), Atari ST (1993), PC-98 (1993) and FM Towns (1994)

The city of Mittledorf is in chaos - an evil cousin of the King is oppressing the people. Your cousin...

Linux (2013), Windows (2013), Macintosh (2013), iPhone (2011), Android (2011), iPad (2011) and Ouya (2013)

Legends of Yore is a 2D top-down simple roguelike RPG, similar to Nethack, Angband or Ancient Domains of Mystery, but...

Legends of Zork Browser Front Cover

Browser (2009)

An event of such magnitude as to ripple through the multiverses, the economic downturn of 2008/2009 caused havoc in the...

Amiga (1996)

Legion is a fantasy strategy game with elements of role-playing genre. The player starts the game with a group of...

Legion: The Legend of Excalibur PlayStation 2 Front Cover

PlayStation 2 (2002)

Based on the popular legends of King Arthur, Legion: The Legend of Excalibur puts the player in control of the...

Leithian: In the Abyss Windows Front Cover

Windows (1999)

Ellen grew up in a quiet village together with her father and brother. One night, she had a strange dream....

DOS (1987) and Amstrad CPC (1987)

Le Maître des Âmes is a fantasy role-playing game. The game will lead you through dungeons, secret chambers, tunnels... It...

Lennus II: Fūin no Shito SNES Front Cover

SNES (1996)

This is a follow-up to the game "Lennus", which is known outside of Japan as Paladin's Quest. The game is...

PC-98 (1992) and FM Towns (1992)

Many years ago, two dragons - red and blue - emerged as the first, primordial creatures of the world. As...

DOS (1986)

Leygref's Castle is a remake of Wizard's Castle.The gameplay is very similar to the original: Explore a castle (represented as...

Linux (2004) and Windows (2004)

In this satire of American political strife, the player is cast as a revolutionary liberal operating out of one city,...

Liberation: Captive II Amiga Front Cover

Amiga (1994) and Amiga CD32 (1993)

Liberation is the sequel to Captive, where the main character from the original is now a free man. However, your...

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