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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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Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey Nintendo DS Front Cover

Nintendo DS (2010)

In the beginning of 21st century, an atomic explosion in the South Pole caused a strange, unseen phenomenon: a black...

Shin Megami Tensei Trading Card: Card Summoner  Game Boy Color Front Cover

Game Boy Color (2001)

A kid-friendly Megaten spin-off based on the collectible trading card game released at the time. You take the role of...

SNES (1993)

Momotarō is a boy who was found by an old couple in a giant peach, according to an old Japanese...

PC-98 (1997)

The game is based on the animated movie Legend of Crystania, which is set in the same universe as Record...

Shinsetsu Samurai Spirits: Bushidōretsuden PlayStation Front Cover

PlayStation (1997), SEGA Saturn (1997) and Neo Geo CD (1997)

Shinsetsu Samurai Spirits: Bushidōretsuden (unofficially known in the Western world as Samurai Shodown RPG) is a Japanese-style role-playing game based...

PC-98 (1991)

The great womanizing detective Max, whom we met in the first Shiritsu Tantei Max game is back! This time, he...

TurboGrafx-16 (1989)

This version of Shiryō Sensen: War of the Dead can be described as a cross between the MSX and the...

Shodai: Nekketsu Kōha Kunio-kun SNES Front Cover

SNES (1992)

First next-gen entry in the Nekketsu Kouha Kunio-kun brawler series. The story this time deals with the Nekketsu High gang...

Shuihuzhuan Genesis Front Cover

Genesis (1996)

This is a strategy RPG based on the events of the famous classic Chinese novel "Shuihuzhuan" (Water Margins, also known...

PC-98 (1990)

A young modern-day Japanese couple was paying their respects to the dead in a cemetery near a temple, when they...

Si Da Ming Bu Windows Front Cover

Windows (1998)

It is the end of Northern Song dynasty (12th century) in China. Rich people control the land, ignoring the rights...

Siege of Avalon Windows Front Cover

Windows (2000)

Siege of Avalon is a traditional fantasy-RPG with an isometric view. The setting is an imaginary land which has been...

Sigma Star Saga Game Boy Advance Front Cover

Game Boy Advance (2005)

Ian Recker, a spy for Earth, is sent undercover as a prisoner so that he can become enlisted in the...

Linux (2004), DOS (1990), Windows (2004) and Macintosh (2004)

Silmar is a rogue-like/hack type of RPG, with random generated dungeons, in which you as an adventurer are descending to...

Silver Windows Front Cover

Windows (1999), Dreamcast (2000) and Macintosh (2000)

An RPG set in a medieval land where all the women have been kidnapped and it is up to you...

Silverfall PSP Front Cover

PSP (2007)

The PSP release of Silverfall is a port of the initial PC release from 2007, with various adaptations to make...

Silverfall Windows Front Cover

Windows (2007)

The city of Silverfall is the capital city of the kingdom Egreïd in the land of Nelwïë and a proud...

Silverfall: Complete Windows Front Cover

Windows (2008)

This compilation contains both Silverfall and its add-on Silverfall: Earth Awakening.

Silverfall: Earth Awakening Windows Front Cover

Windows (2008)

Silverfall: Earth Awakening is an stand alone add-on to Silverfall. Several years have passed since the end of Silverfall. After...

Silverfall (Gold Edition) Windows Front Cover

Windows (2008)

This gold edition includes the game Silverfall as well as the add-on Earth Awakening

PC-88 (1988)

Silver Ghost is very loosely based on the Camelot cycle of legends, starring the legendary Lancelot - who, in this...

Simple RPG iPhone Front Cover

iPhone (2010)

Beefing up Progress Quest's gameplay with some interface beautification, the designers of this game have concluded that the best part...

The Sims 2 Nintendo DS Front Cover

Nintendo DS (2005)

Welcome to Strangetown! In the Nintendo DS version of the Sims 2, players take on the role of the custodian...

The Sims 2 Game Boy Advance Front Cover

Game Boy Advance (2005)

Welcome to Strangetown! The Sims 2 for Game Boy Advance is inspired by the weird town in the original PC...

Simulation RPG Tsukuru PlayStation Front Cover

PlayStation (1998) and SEGA Saturn (1998)

Simulation RPG Tsukuru is, much akin to its brethren in the RPG Maker line of games, a construction kit and...

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