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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 descending orderGame Title
ōdi∙um Linux Front Cover

Linux (2006), Windows (1999) and Macintosh (2002)

StoryMutants have been found in the bombed out Polish city codenamed 'Gorky 17' near Lubin, and a trio of soldiers...

Windows (1998)

You are awaken without any memory of your past. You don't know where you have come from, you don't even...

O.D.T. - Escape... Or Die Trying Windows Front Cover

Windows (1998) and PlayStation (1998)

The airship Nautiflyus, piloted by the famous hero Captain Lamat, was on its way to deliver the wondrous Green Pearl...

Apple II (1980)

Odyssey: The Compleat Apventure is a turn-based role-playing game. It consists of multiple parts and places the player in the...

PC-98 (1993)

Long time ago, the king god Reg and the evil god Barbados fought each other in a titanic battle. But...

Of Orcs and Men Windows Front Cover

Windows (2012), Xbox 360 (2012) and PlayStation 3 (2012)

Of Orcs and Men is a role-playing game where the player controls Arkail, an elite Orc soldier from the Bloodjaws...

Ogre Battle PlayStation Front Cover

PlayStation (1996), SNES (1993), SEGA Saturn (1996) and Wii (2008)

Twenty-five years ago Empress Endora conquered the entire continent of Zetegenia. Her reign proved to be tyrannical, and people of...

Ogre Battle 64: Person of Lordly Caliber Nintendo 64 Front Cover

Nintendo 64 (1999) and Wii (2010)

Magnus Gallant leads the revolution for the kingdom of Palatinus. The kingdom's Lord, Holy Lodis Empire, is rumored to be...

Okage: Shadow King PlayStation 2 Front Cover

PlayStation 2 (2001)

Okage: Shadow King is an RPG with a slight twist: it's humorous.The game's premise is that a boy (nameable by...

Linux (1991), DOS (1988) and Windows (2003)

Omega is usually considered the first roguelike game (CRPG dungeon crawls with top-down or isometric graphics and a high degree...

Once Upon a Knight Windows Front Cover

Windows (2003) and Macintosh (2005)

Knightshift is a hybrid of the RPG and the RTS genre. The singleplayer RTS part consists of three campaigns, in...

One Piece: Oceans of Dreams! PlayStation Front Cover

PlayStation (2003)

Monkey D. Luffy and the Straw Hat Pirates were once again engaged in a battle with another group of pirates....

Wii (2008)

One Piece: Unlimited Adventure is a role playing game based on the Japanese animé One Piece. When two of the...

One Way Heroics Windows Front Cover

Windows (2013)

One Way Heroics is a top down RPG created by Japanese indie game developer SmokingWOLF. In the game, you are...

Oni Zero: Fukkatsu PlayStation Front Cover

PlayStation (2001)

Long ago, during the Heian period, there was a village where humans and ghosts coexisted peacefully. Created by a ghost...

PC-98 (1995) and FM Towns (1996)

A Japanese teenager named Hiroki is interested in martial arts, and has to take care of his little sister. Their...

On the Rain-Slick Precipice of Darkness: Episode One Linux Front Cover

Linux (2008), Windows (2008), Xbox 360 (2008), Macintosh (2008) and PlayStation 3 (2008)

Gabe and Tycho of the popular web comic "Penny Arcade" are at their debut on the videogame scene in this...

On the Rain-Slick Precipice of Darkness: Episode One (Collector's Edition) Linux Front Cover

Linux (2008), Windows (2008) and Macintosh (2008)

The Collector's Edition of the game comes in a special box with magnetic latch and contains the following items: The...

On the Rain-Slick Precipice of Darkness: Episode Two Windows Front Cover

Linux (2008), Windows (2008), Xbox 360 (2008), Macintosh (2008) and PlayStation 3 (2008)

Penny Arcade Adventures: On the Rain-Slick Precipice of Darkness - Episode Two is the second part in the Penny Arcade...

Opal's Quest iPhone Front Cover

J2ME (2006) and iPhone (2009)

Set in a fantasy universe, Opal's Quest takes place on Faehrhen Earths, in the year 97 after the Unknown Sword...

Operation Darkness Xbox 360 Front Cover

Xbox 360 (2007)

Starting in the African front of WWII, the Wolf Pack, a squad of supernatural soldiers fighting for the Allies, must...

DOS (1990)

The Earth's water supply tainted through generations of heavy industrial contamination, the remaining quantities of unspoiled drinking water were converted...

Opoona Wii Front Cover

Wii (2008)

Opoona, is a lifestyle RPG where the player takes command of a boy who is descended from a race of...

PC-88 (1984), PC-98 (1984) and FM-7 (1985)

The title (translated as Do Dutchwives Dream of Electric Eel?, an obvious humorous allusion to Philip K. Dick's novel Do...

Orcs & Elves Nintendo DS Front Cover

Nintendo DS (2007), BREW (2006) and J2ME (2006)

Orcs & Elves is a turn-based role-playing game based on improved DOOM RPG engine. The story follows an elf named...

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