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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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Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance PlayStation 2 Front Cover

PlayStation 2 (2001), Xbox (2002) and GameCube (2002)

Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance casts the player as one of three basic characters: an elf sorceress, a human archer, or...

Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance Game Boy Advance Front Cover

Game Boy Advance (2004)

This version of Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance follows the same story and has many gameplay similarities to the console release,...

Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance II PlayStation 2 Front Cover

PlayStation 2 (2004) and Xbox (2004)

The threat of the Onyx Tower has passed for now, but mere moments pass before a new threat to the...

Baldur's Gate: Enhanced Edition Windows Front Cover

Windows (2012), Macintosh (2013), Android (2014) and iPad (2012)

Baldur's Gate: Enhanced Edition is a remastered version of the original Baldur's Gate combined with its expansion Baldur's Gate: Tales...

Baldur's Gate (Gold Edition) Windows Front Cover

Windows (1998)

Baldur's Gate Gold is a special edition of the original game of the same name.Essentially, it is a collector's edition....

Baldur's Gate II: Enhanced Edition Windows Front Cover

Windows (2013), Macintosh (2013) and iPad (2014)

Baldur's Gate II: Enhanced Edition is an enhanced re-release of Baldur's Gate II: Shadows of Amn and also includes the...

Baldur's Gate II: Shadows of Amn Windows Front Cover

Windows (2000) and Macintosh (2001)

Some time after the events described in Baldur's Gate, the protagonist and his friends Imoen, Minsc and Jaheira have been...

Baldur's Gate II: Shadows of Amn (Collector's Edition) Windows Front Cover

Windows (2000)

This collector's edition of Baldur's Gate II: Shadows of Amn includes a pack of trading cards with characters from the...

Baldur's Gate II: The Collection Windows Front Cover

Windows (2002)

The full versions of Baldur's Gate II: Shadows of Amn, Baldur's Gate II: Throne of Bhaal and a bonus CD...

Baldur's Gate II: Throne of Bhaal Windows Front Cover

Windows (2001) and Macintosh (2003)

It has been a long journey. From the humble beginnings as a youth in the security of Candlekeep, traveling to...

Baldur's Gate: Tales of the Sword Coast Windows Front Cover

Windows (1999) and Macintosh (2001)

This add-on to the widely popular Baldur's Gate gives you new items, voices, abilities, and quests. This does not offer...

Windows (2002)

Baldy's Big Day is a humorous RPG developed with RPG Maker 95. When Baldy woke up it seemed like this...

Apple II (1980) and TRS-80 (1980)

An extremely hard to find game. It is a fantasy adventure where you can create your own characters, choose from...

The Banner Saga: Factions - Pillage! Pack Macintosh Front Cover

Windows (2013) and Macintosh (2013)

Pillage! Pack is downloadable content (DLC) for The Banner Saga: Factions. It includes two rooster rows unlocked in the proving...

The Banner Saga: Factions - Starter Pack Macintosh Front Cover

Windows (2013) and Macintosh (2013)

This Starter Pack is downloadable content (DLC) for The Banner Saga: Factions. It includes one new roster row in the...

The Banner Saga: Factions Windows Front Cover

Windows (2013) and Macintosh (2013)

The Banner Saga: Factions is a free-to-play, standalone multiplayer-only game based on The Banner Saga. It allows players to choose...

The Banner Saga: Factions - Variations Pack Macintosh Front Cover

Windows (2013) and Macintosh (2013)

This Variations Pack is downloable content (DLC) for The Banner Saga: Factions. It includes all color variations for the following...

The Banner Saga Macintosh Front Cover

Windows (2014) and Macintosh (2014)

The gods are dead. In their wake, man and giant survived through a tenuous alliance, driving black destroyers called dredge,...

The Bard's Tale Construction Set DOS Front Cover

DOS (1991) and Amiga (1992)

After three games in the Bard's Tale universe, Interplay gave fans the chance to create their own games based on...

The Bard's Tale III: Thief of Fate DOS Front Cover

DOS (1990), Amiga (1991), Commodore 64 (1988), Apple II (1988) and PC-98 (1992)

The warriors who have destroyed the evil wizard Mangar receive a letter while celebrating their victory. The letter informs them...

The Bard's Tale II: The Destiny Knight DOS Front Cover

DOS (1988), Amiga (1988), NES (1992), Commodore 64 (1986), Apple II (1987), Apple IIgs (1988) and PC-98 (1991)

After a group of brave heroes defeated the wizard Mangar the Dark and freed Skara Brae from eternal winter, all...

The Bard's Tale Trilogy DOS Front Cover

DOS (1990) and Commodore 64 (1989)

This compilation contains: Tales of the Unknown: Volume I - The Bard's Tale The Bard's Tale II: The Destiny Knight...

Barkley, Shut Up and Jam: Gaiden - Chapter 1 of the Hoopz Barkley SaGa Windows Front Cover

Windows (2008)

In a post-apocalyptic world, basketball is banned and its non-existence is under the supervision of Michael Jordan, making sure that...

Baroque PlayStation 2 Front Cover

PlayStation 2 (2007), PlayStation 3 (2012) and Wii (2008)

An updated remake of Baroque, a post-apocalyptic RPG game in which all hell has literally broke loose on earth. As...

Bastion Windows Front Cover

Linux (2012), Windows (2011), Xbox 360 (2011), Macintosh (2011), Browser (2011), iPhone (2012) and iPad (2012)

Bastion is an isometric action/role playing game. It's the story of a city known as Caelondia after it has been...

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