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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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Beneath Apple Manor Apple II Front Cover

PC Booter (1983), Apple II (1978) and Atari 8-bit (1983)

An early graphical rogue-like dungeon crawl. Slay some monsters, build up some experience, explore deeper levels.The goal is to find...

TurboGrafx-16 (1989) and Wii (2007)

For many years, monsters have been terrorizing the peaceful lands, until finally, the Buddhist priests known as the Dharma Eyes...

Betrayal at Krondor DOS Front Cover

DOS (1993) and Windows (2010)

Based on Raymond E. Feist's Riftwar saga (and co-written by Feist himself), Betrayal at Krondor is a medieval fantasy-themed role-playing...

Betrayal in Antara Windows Front Cover

Windows (1997) and Windows 3.x (1997)

Betrayal in Antara uses an updated version of the game engine from Betrayal at Krondor. However, it does not continue...

DOS (1996)

Following ten thousand years of the War of Dominion, the ten mutually battling races found surprise armistice beneath the domination...

Beyond Divinity Windows Front Cover

Windows (2004)

When Lucian the Divine defeated the evil organization known as the Black Ring, he was late to prevent a dark...

Beyond Oasis Windows Front Cover

Windows (2012), Genesis (1994) and Wii (2007)

Prince Ali has found the magical Golden Armlet, which was used many years ago to defeat an evil wizard who...

Beyond the Beyond PlayStation Front Cover

PlayStation (1995)

The hero of the game, an apprentice knight (named Finn by default), lives together with his father's friend in a...

Beyond Zork: The Coconut of Quendor DOS Front Cover

DOS (1987), Amiga (1987), Atari ST (1987), Apple II (1987), Apple IIgs (1988), Commodore 128 (1987) and Macintosh (1987)

Aimlessly wandering through the Southlands of Quendor, the hero of the game encounters the Implementors, powerful beings who warn him...

PC-98 (1994) and FM Towns (1995)

Bible Master 2: The Chaos of Aglia is a hybrid of a real-time strategy and a role-playing game. The game...

NES (1990)

The game is based on the Bikkuriman animé series. Once upon a time, the world was a peaceful place. Three...

Biocide City Browser Front Cover

Browser (2008)

Biocide City is a browser-based role playing game. Set in a post-apocalyptic environment in the middle of the 27th Century,...

Biomotor Unitron Neo Geo Pocket Color Front Cover Cardboard folding box

Neo Geo Pocket Color (1999)

Biomotor Unitron is a RPG for the Neo Geo Pocket Color.After a meteor brings a new source of energy to...

Game Boy Advance (2005)

Bionicle: Maze of Shadows is a top-down action game set in the LEGO Bionicle universe and based on the book...

Birthright: The Gorgon's Alliance DOS Front Cover

DOS (1996) and Windows (1996)

Birthright: The Gorgon's Alliance is a strategy role-playing game based on TSR's Birthright world of Anuire. It combines first person...

Bishōjo Senshi Sailor Moon: Another Story SNES Front Cover

SNES (1995)

The game is based on the Japanese manga and anime series Sailor Moon. It is set in the 30th century,...

PC-98 (1995)

In th early 21st century, Tokyo became the center of advance scientific research. Ground-breaking discoveries were made in the field...

Black Crypt Amiga Front Cover

Amiga (1992)

Twenty-two years ago a powerful cleric named Estoroth Paingiver was banished and sealed in a crypt. He has been gaining...

Blackguards Macintosh Front Cover

Windows (2014) and Macintosh (2014)

Blackguards is a role-playing game which focuses on tactical combat. It leaves the high-fantasy parts of Aventuria which is usually...

Windows (2002)

This is a compilation of most of Black Isle's Advanced Dungeons & Dragons licensed titles: Baldur's Gate Baldur's Gate: Tales...

Black Isle Compilation Part Two Windows Front Cover

Windows (2004)

This is a compilation of most of Black Isle's Dungeons&Dragons licensed titles: Baldur's Gate plus its expansion Tales of the...

Commodore 64 (1987), Apple II (1987), ZX Spectrum (1987) and Amstrad CPC (1987)

For centuries, the people of MariGold have suffered under the rule of the Red Warlock, Zahgrim, making a once prosperous...

Black/Matrix SEGA Saturn Front Cover

SEGA Saturn (1998)

The cosmic battle between angels and demons ended in the demons' victory. They took control of the world and reversed...

PlayStation (2000)

Black/Matrix + ("Cross") is a modified port of the Saturn title Black/Matrix that includes some of the additional features of...

Dreamcast (1999)

Black/Mtrix Advanced is an enhanced version of Black/Matrix. The game is set in a world which is controlled by demons,...

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