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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

TurboGrafx CD (1993)

Long time ago, a thriving civilization blessed by the gods was ruined as a result of a perpetual war. Humanity...

DOS (1995), Windows (1995) and Windows 3.x (1995)

The third installment in the unique multi-user dungeon series by The Sierra Network. Ruins of Cawdor using the same game...

Rune Factory 2: A Fantasy Harvest Moon Nintendo DS Front Cover

Nintendo DS (2008)

In Rune Factory 2 the player, Kyle by default, is an amnesiac who wanders into the town of Alvarna and...

Nintendo DS (2010)

In Rune Factory 3 the player, Micah by default, is an amnesiac who wanders into the town of Sharance and...

Rune Factory 4 Nintendo 3DS Front Cover

Nintendo 3DS (2013)

Rune Factory 4 begins with the male or female protagonist on an airship, sent to deliver something important to a...

Rune Factory: A Fantasy Harvest Moon Nintendo DS Front Cover

Nintendo DS (2006)

As a wanderer in a town called Kardia, you are discovered by a mysterious girl named "Mist". She, seeing potential...

Rune Factory: Frontier Wii Front Cover

Wii (2008)

Rune Factory Frontier's story begins with the hero Raguna traveling to the village of Trampoli in search of his missing...

Wii (2011)

Rune Factory: Tides of Destiny introduces you to two new protagonists, Aden and Sonja who, due to mysterious circumstances are...

MSX (1989)

Rune Master is a board game with RPG elements. Up to 4 players compete to reach a magical tower, throwing...

MSX (1990)

Rune Master 2 is a board game with role-playing game (RPG) elements. Up to 4 players compete to reach the...

MSX (1991)

Rune Master 3 is a board game with RPG elements. Up to 4 players compete to reach the final gate,...

RuneScape Browser Front Cover

Windows (2001), Windows 3.x (2001) and Browser (2001)

Runescape is a browser-based 3D Java online-only continuous game in which you possess a character with an inventory and skills....

Runes of Magic Windows Front Cover

Windows (2009)

Runes of Magic is an online role-playing game in the tradition of World of Warcraft. It is free to play:...

Runes of Magic: Chapter III - The Elder Kingdoms Windows Front Cover

Windows (2010)

Runes of Magic: Chapter III - The Elder Kingdoms is the second add-on for Runes of Magic. It has the...

Runes of Magic: Chapter II - The Elven Prophecy Windows Front Cover

Windows (2009)

Runes of Magic: Chapter II - The Elven Prophecy is the first add-on for Runes of Magic. It has the...

ZX Spectrum (1985) and Amstrad CPC (1985)

Runestone takes the panoramic views and multiple characters of Lords of Midnight and allies them to adventure-style features. There are...

Runesword 2 Windows Front Cover

Windows (2001)

Runesword II is an RPG designed to appeal to "pen and paper" role-players. The game comes with two full-length adventures,...

Rurouni Kenshin: Meiji Kenyaku Romantan: Jūyūshi Inbō Hen PlayStation Front Cover

PlayStation (1997)

This is an RPG with an alternative plot to the original Rurouni Kenshin series in which the main protagonist isn't...

RYL: Path of the Emperor Windows Front Cover Human cover

Windows (2005)

RYL is an MMORPG based upon player versus player (PVP) combat. Players can assume the role of Humans from the...

Ryū ga Gotoku Kenzan! PlayStation 3 Front Cover

PlayStation 3 (2008)

Ryū ga Gotoku Kenzan! is a side story within the Yakuza series, this time changing neon-lit Tokyo setting with a...

S2: Silent Storm Windows Front Cover

Windows (2003)

Silent Storm is a 3D turn-based tactical combat game. Set in 1943 during World War II, Silent Storm plays much...

Sabotain: Break the Rules Windows Front Cover

Windows (2004)

In the distant future, the powerful Empire tries to hold its ground against the ever-growing Independent Confederation. The two states...

Sabres of Infinity Browser Front Cover

Browser (2013), iPhone (2013), Android (2013) and iPad (2013)

With echoes of the earlier and more protean Choice of Broadsides, this game deposits players in the polished boots of...

J2ME (2004)

Sacred for mobile phones is an action game with RPG elements and a spin-off of the Sacred series. There is...

Sacred Windows Front Cover

Windows (2004)

Sacred is an action role-playing game set in the fantasy world of Ancaria. You can choose from six different characters...

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