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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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The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers PlayStation 2 Front Cover

PlayStation 2 (2002), Xbox (2002) and GameCube (2002)

Electronic Arts' first game based on the Lord of the Rings movies is an action game with classic beat'em up-style...

The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers Game Boy Advance Front Cover

Game Boy Advance (2002)

This portable game is based on the movie version of the second installment of Tolkien's classic trilogy. While the console...

BREW (2003) and J2ME (2003)

The mobile version based on the second The Lord of the Rings film turns the action into a top-down, turn-based...

Windows (2011), Xbox 360 (2011) and PlayStation 3 (2011)

This collector's edition includes: The Lord of the Rings: War in the North Snow Troll figurine (PS3 / Xbox 360...

The Lord of the Rings: War in the North Windows Front Cover

Windows (2011), Xbox 360 (2011), Macintosh (2013) and PlayStation 3 (2011)

The plot of Lord of the Rings: War in the North takes place within the time frame of the events...

The Lord of the Rings: War of the Ring Windows Front Cover

Windows (2003)

Lord of the Rings: War of the Ring takes the highly acclaimed, much loved Fantasy story, written by J.R.R. Tolkien...

Arcade (2008)

Lord of Vermilion is set in a world composed of several worlds brought together after the great collapse, an event...

Lords of Chaos Atari ST Front Cover

Amiga (1991), Atari ST (1991), Commodore 64 (1990), ZX Spectrum (1990), Amstrad CPC (1990), iPhone (2012) and iPad (2012)

Turn-based strategy game based on Julian Gollop's earlier games, Chaos and Laser Squad. The setting is pure fantasy — the...

Amiga (1991), Atari ST (1991), Commodore 64 (1990), ZX Spectrum (1991) and Amstrad CPC (1990)

This add-on for Lords of Chaos was available from its developer via mail order. It features two new scenarios:Scenario Four:...

Lords of Doom DOS Front Cover

DOS (1990), Amiga (1990), Atari ST (1990) and Commodore 64 (1990)

In the desert town Vertic, werewolves, vampires, mummies and zombies appear suddenly, feasting on the population until only a ghost...

Lords of EverQuest Windows Front Cover

Windows (2003)

Lords of EverQuest is a real-time strategy game with role-playing elements. The game is set in the EverQuest universe and...

Lords of Midnight DOS Front Cover

DOS (1995)

Lords of Midnight - also known as Lords of Midnight III: The Citadel - is the third game in the...

The Lords of Midnight Macintosh Front Cover 2014 cover

Windows (2013), Commodore 64 (1985), ZX Spectrum (1984), Amstrad CPC (1984), Macintosh (2013), iPhone (2012), BlackBerry (2012), Android (2013) and iPad (2012)

The Lords of Midnight brings to life this epic land, as Doomdark's forces aim to wrest control of its 4000...

Lords of the Fallen Windows Front Cover

Windows (2014), PlayStation 4 (2014) and Xbox One (2014)

Lords of the Fallen is an action RPG set in a fantasy universe where no sins are forgotten and the...

Loren: The Amazon Princess Linux Front Cover

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

Loren: The Amazon Princess is a genre hybrid, containing both RPG and visual novel elements. It shares similarities with and...

Loren: The Amazon Princess - The Castle of N'Mar Windows Front Cover

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

The Castle of N'Mar is an expansion for the visual novel/RPG hybrid Loren: The Amazon Princess. It is installed onto...

Windows (2007)

This homebrew typing-optional .NET text adventure, apparently inspired by the graphical interfaces of Legend's adventures and games developed using the...

Lost in Blue Nintendo DS Front Cover

Nintendo DS (2005)

Lost in Blue is an RPG for the Nintendo DS with several survival-themed mini-games making heavy use of the DS...

Lost in Blue 2 Nintendo DS Front Cover

Nintendo DS (2007)

The Survival Kids series continues with this second entry on the DS. Two teenagers are washed ashore on a deserted...

Lost in Blue 3 Nintendo DS Front Cover

Nintendo DS (2007)

Lost in Blue 3 is a continuation of the Lost in Blue series where once again the player must survive...

Lost in Blue: Shipwrecked Wii Front Cover

Wii (2008)

Once more, a young wealthy boy, Aidan, and a young girl and modest waitress, Lucy, find themselves on a deserted...

Lost Kingdoms GameCube Front Cover

GameCube (2002)

A mysterious substance known as Fog has began to slowly engulf the world, threatening to destroy everything on the planet....

Lost Kingdoms II GameCube Front Cover

GameCube (2003)

Two centuries have passed since Queen Katia saved the land of Argwyll and brought peace to the kingdom. Katia, and...

LostMagic Nintendo DS Front Cover

Nintendo DS (2006)

In Lost Magic the player controls Isaac, a young Wizard who initially sets out looking for his missing father. Soon...

Lost Odyssey Xbox 360 Front Cover

Xbox 360 (2007)

Lost Odyssey is a turn-based Japanese role-playing game, designed by Hironobu Sakaguchi, with dream segments written by novelist Kiyoshi Shigematsu....

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