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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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NES (1987)

The game is based on the animé series Saint Seiya and follows the adventures of its main hero who bears...

Saint Seiya: Ōgon Densetsu - Kanketsu Hen NES Front Cover

NES (1988)

Another game based on the animé series Saint Seiya. The animé (and the game) tells the story of the noble...

Saiyuki: Journey West PlayStation Front Cover

PlayStation (1999), PSP (2011) and PlayStation 3 (2011)

Saiyuki: Journey West is loosely based on one of the four classical novels of Chinese literature, Journey to the West...

Sakura Taisen 4: Koi seyo, Otome Dreamcast Front Cover

Windows (2005) and Dreamcast (2002)

In the fourth installment of the Sakura Taisen series, Ichiro Ogami returns to Japan after having defeated the evil that...

Samurai Legend Musashi PlayStation 2 Front Cover

PlayStation 2 (2005)

This world has come under the threat of Gandrake Enterprises when Gandrake begins to control the worlds precious fuel source...

Samurai Warriors 2: Empires PlayStation 2 Front Cover

PlayStation 2 (2007) and Xbox 360 (2007)

Samurai Warriors 2: Empires is an expansion to Samurai Warriors 2. It is the third Empires expansion by KOEI, following...

Sansara Naga 2 SNES Front Cover

SNES (1994)

In Sansara Naga 2, you can play as either a male or a female character. Ten years ago, the elder...

Savage 2: A Tortured Soul Windows Front Cover

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

Savage 2: A Tortured Soul is the sequel to 2003's Savage: The Battle for Newerth, a game which mixes real...

Scarlet Blade Windows Front Cover

Windows (2013)

Scarlet Blade is a MMORPG set in a post-apocalyptic world where Arkana, adaptative semi-nude female warriors created by "Mother", fight...

Scavengers of the Mutant World DOS Front Cover

DOS (1988)

Scavengers of the Mutant World is a role-playing game that focuses on the survivors of the Earth after an apparent...

Windows (1996)

This is a role playing game set in a traditional fantasy world where you try to save the world from...

PC-88 (1988)

The inhabitants of the planet Rhea are being terrorized by a mysterious organization known as Hell Stones. To save his...

Science Girls! Linux Front Cover

Linux (2009), Windows (2009) and Macintosh (2009)

Science Girls! is a role playing game, featuring six girls of the local schools "Science Club". When one day suddenly...

Scotland Yard Windows Front Cover

Windows (1998)

Scotland Yard is a faithful computer version of the popular board game of the same name, developed by Cryo in...

PC-98 (1986) and Sharp X1 (1986)

The Screamer is set in a dark futuristic environment. The existence of a megalopolis called Beast City depends on a...

Game Boy Advance (2003)

SD Gundam G Generation Advance is a turn-based strategy game with some RPG elements. It is part of the G...

SD Snatcher MSX Front Cover

MSX (1990)

The year is 2042, the stage is a huge futuristic city Neo Kobe. Among the remains of passengers who died...

Sea Dogs Windows Front Cover

Windows (2000)

A combination of role-playing, action, strategy and simulation reminiscent of Pirates!, Sea Dogs puts you on the bridge of a...

Seal of Evil Windows Front Cover

Windows (2004)

The game takes place in China during the Warring States period (476-206 B.C.) at the end of the Zhou dynasty....

3DO (1994)

Seal of the Pharaoh is a light RPG with simple real-time combat and some puzzle-solving. The player takes control of...

Windows (2003)

Seal Online is a massively multiplayer online role-playing game. It is set in the medieval fantasy world Schiltz and shares...

Seal: Travelers of Destiny Windows Front Cover

Windows (2000)

The world of Shiltz is home to many political factions and two major religions: Church of Elios, apparently a benevolent...

Second Life Linux Front Cover

Linux (2008), Windows (2003) and Macintosh (2004)

In Second Life you are dropped into a virtual world with the ability to perform a variety of actions You...

Secret of Evermore SNES Front Cover

SNES (1995)

A boy and his dog live together in the town of Podunk. One day, the boy chases the dog into...

Secret of Mana SNES Front Cover

SNES (1993), Wii (2008) and iPhone (2010)

Once upon a time, the power of Mana was used by all people and helped their civilization grow. But as...

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