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Role-Playing (RPG)


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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Pagan: Ultima VIII DOS Front Cover

DOS (1994) and PC-98 (1995)

Ultima VIII: Pagan begins where Ultima VII: Part Two - Serpent Isle ended. The Guardian banishes the Avatar to the...

Pagan: Ultima VIII: Gold Edition DOS Front Cover

DOS (1996), Windows (2012) and Macintosh (2013)

This compilation includes both Pagan: Ultima VIII and the optional Pagan: Ultima VIII - Speech Pack on one CD-ROM. The...

Pagan: Ultima VIII - Speech Pack DOS Front Cover

DOS (1994)

Pagan: Ultima VIII - Speech Pack is an add-on to Pagan: Ultima VIII, which adds voices to some of the...

Paladin Amiga Front Cover

DOS (1988), Amiga (1988) and Atari ST (1988)

The Paladin is the ultimate warrior on the battlefield, he leads forces and is the master of swordsmanship. But Paladins...

DOS (1988), Amiga (1988) and Atari ST (1988)

The Kingdom of Waerna has been thrown into turmoil. The dark wizard, Talmouth uses the powers of magical scrolls he...

Paladin's Quest SNES Front Cover

SNES (1992)

The world of Lennus is a world of legends and wonders and is divided into two continents; Naskuot, the northern...

PAL: Shinken Densetsu PlayStation Front Cover

PlayStation (1997)

One rainy day, a shy young girl named Kaoru was walking home from school. Near her house, she found a...

Pandora's Tower Wii Front Cover

Wii (2011)

The game takes place in the mysterious Kingdom of Elyria. The player assumes the role of a novice warrior called...

Pandora's Tower (Limited Edition) Wii Front Cover

Wii (2012)

This limited edition comes in a cardboard box and includes: Pandora's Tower Steelbook cover Art book

Pangaea PlayStation Front Cover

PlayStation (1999)

Pangaea is a multiplayer randomly-generated dungeon RPG designed to play like a board game. Nearly all actions in the game...

PC-88 (1983)

In Panorama Toh the player assumes the role of an adventurer who is entrusted with the task of traveling to...

Panzer Dragoon Saga SEGA Saturn Front Cover

SEGA Saturn (1998)

Edge is one of the soldiers in the service of the mighty Empire. The Empire has recently ordered some excavations...

Paper Mario Nintendo 64 Front Cover

Nintendo 64 (2000) and Wii (2007)

Up in Star Haven, there exists a Star Wand that allows the stars to grant wishes to those who are...

Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door GameCube Front Cover

GameCube (2004)

A thousand years ago there was a city. One day the city was buried. Another city was built on top,...

Paper Sorcerer Windows Front Cover

Windows (2013)

Paper Sorcerer is a turned-based fantasy role-playing game, with a noticeable art style of completely hand drawn ink and pencil...

Paradise Cracked Windows Front Cover

Windows (2002)

Paradise Cracked is a mixture of a cyberpunk RPG and X-COM-esque tactical combat. All movement, attacks, and such is done...

Browser (2012)

What would happen if you removed all audiovisual and narrative from an RPG and abstracted everything to its core fundamentals?...

Parasite Eve PlayStation Front Cover

PlayStation (1998), PSP (2010), PlayStation 3 (2010) and PS Vita (2012)

An ordinary day in New York for rookie police officer Aya Brea. Christmas Eve is the present day, and you've...

Parasite Eve II PlayStation Front Cover

PlayStation (1999), PSP (2010), PlayStation 3 (2010) and PS Vita (2012)

Aya Brea is back in a new game. This time there are fewer RPG elements than the first game, and...

PlayStation (2000)

This Japan only re-release of Parasite Eve II was part of the Square Millennium Collection, a collection of Square games...

Partisan Windows Front Cover

Windows (2009)

Partisan is an action RPG set during World War II. The player takes the role of a commandant of the...

Windows (2005)

The two great continents, Rubens and Colwayd, are populated by humans and other, more exotic creatures. After Colwayd was discovered,...

Patapon 2 PSP Front Cover

PSP (2009)

This is a direct sequel to the game Patapon. The tiny eyeball warriors return in their quest to find "IT"...

Patapon 3 PSP Front Cover

PSP (2011)

Patapon 3 is the direct sequel to Patapon and Patapon 2. It follows the gameplay of its predecessor: guiding the...

Path of Exile Windows Front Cover Original cover

Windows (2013)

Path of Exile is a role-playing game with action combat; Diablo style. The game starts on the monster-infected continent Wraeclast...

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