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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 ascending orderGame Title
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...

Secret of the Silver Blades DOS Front Cover

DOS (1990), Amiga (1991), Commodore 64 (1990), Macintosh (1991) and PC-98 (1992)

The heroes from Pool of Radiance and Curse of the Azure Bonds return once again. This time, they arrive naked...

SNES (1993)

You are a young boy named Ray, who lives with his foster-father in a small country house on an island....

The Secret World Windows Front Cover

Windows (2012)

The Secret World is an MMORPG set in a modern day environment, but with elements from urban legends, myths, magic...

Seed Windows Front Cover

Windows (2006)

After having colonized the Moon and Mars, humanity wanted to spread even further across the universe. The sent off colonization...

SEGA AGES 2500 Vol.17: Phantasy Star - Generation:2 PlayStation 2 Front Cover

PlayStation 2 (2005)

Phantasy Star - Generation:2 is a remake of Phantasy Star II. Story progression and most areas are the same as...

PlayStation 2 (2005)

A remake of the Saturn RPG-Strategy hybrid Dragon Force, in which you get to select 6 of the generals that...

SEGA AGES 2500 Vol.1: Phantasy Star - Generation:1 PlayStation 2 Front Cover

PlayStation 2 (2003)

Phantasy Star - Generation:1 is a remake of Phantasy Star. The remake retains many cardinal aspects of the original, including...

SEGA AGES 2500 Vol.32: Phantasy Star Complete Collection PlayStation 2 Front Cover

PlayStation 2 (2008)

This compilation is the third Phantasy Star title in the SEGA AGES 2500 series, and has the four first titles...

PC-88 (1983)

The protagonist of Seiken Densetsu must explore dangerous wilderness in a fantasy land in order to locate and obtain four...

Seiken Densetsu 3 SNES Front Cover

SNES (1995)

Seiken Densetsu 3 is set in the same world as the two previous Seiken Densetsu games (the first is Final...

PlayStation (2000)

This Japan only re-release of Legend of Mana was part of the Square Millennium Collection, a collection of Square games...

PC-98 (1992)

Seiken to Maken no Densetsu tells a rather traditional story of a young boy named Aleph, who grew up in...

Seireishin Seiki  Fhey Area SEGA CD Front Cover

SEGA CD (1992)

In this game, you control a young man named Raphael, who lives with his mother in the small village Serdia....

TurboGrafx CD (1991)

On one fateful night, a purple meteor has fallen down from the skies. Harnessing its power, the Demon Folk grew...

Seiya Monogatari: Anearth Fantasy Stories TurboGrafx CD Front Cover

TurboGrafx CD (1995)

A mysterious young woman with a baby was attacked during the Holy Night. She managed to escape, but collapsed and...

Windows (2006)

Sengoku Rance is the seventh installment of the Rance role-playing series. Unlike its predecessors however, this game is primarily a...

Senjō no Valkyria 3: Unrecorded Chronicles PSP Front Cover

PSP (2011)

Similar to the original Valkyria Chronicles for PS3, this game takes place in the fictional land of Europa during the...

Sentinel Worlds I: Future Magic DOS Front Cover

DOS (1988) and Commodore 64 (1989)

The merchants who live on the three planets of the Caldorre star system have been recently assaulted and robbed by...

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