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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
Shadoworlds DOS Front Cover

DOS (1993), Amiga (1992) and Atari ST (1992)

In this sequel to Shadowlands, you find yourself commanding a team of explorers through a deserted space-station, trying to discover...

Shadowrun Genesis Front Cover

Genesis (1994)

The year is 2058. Following an event known as the Awakening, magic has returned into the world. Native American shamans...

Shadowrun SNES Front Cover

SNES (1993)

After the Awakening, magic has been re-discovered, and human beings have accepted the existence of those they thought to be...

Shadowrun SEGA CD Front Cover

SEGA CD (1996)

Shadowrun for Sega CD is a little-known game (and one of the very last ones released for this console) that...

Shadowrun: Dragonfall Windows Front Cover

Linux (2014), Windows (2014) and Macintosh (2014)

Dragonfall is an expansion pack for Shadowrun Returns and requires the original game to play. This new campaign builds upon...

Shadowrun Returns Linux Front Cover

Linux (2013), Windows (2013) and Macintosh (2013)

In the world of Shadowrun magic has returned to the world. Elves, trolls, orks and dwarves walk among humans in...

Shadow Sorcerer DOS Front Cover

DOS (1991), Amiga (1991) and Atari ST (1991)

Shadow Sorcerer is a tie-in with the Dragonlance series of novels. The player controls a party of four adventurers that...

Shadow Tower PlayStation Front Cover

PlayStation (1998), PSP (2007), PlayStation 3 (2007) and PS Vita (2012)

Shadow Tower is first-person dungeon crawler from the team that created the King's Field series. Though the two games share...

Shadow Tower: Abyss PlayStation 2 Front Cover

PlayStation 2 (2003)

Legends say that there was once a prosperous kingdom ruled by a mighty monarch, his powers bestowed upon him by...

Shadow Vault Windows Front Cover

Windows (2004)

It's man versus mutant in this strategy RPG. While the future is doomed, there may be hope for man in...

Windows (2007)

Shady O'Grady's Rising Star is a complete musician simulator/role-playing game with a heavy dose of strategy thrown in. You start...

Shaman King: Legacy of the Spirits - Soaring Hawk Game Boy Advance Front Cover

Game Boy Advance (2005)

Ghosts are everywhere. This comes as a simple fact to the Shaman Yoh Asakura, a young boy with the ability...

Game Boy Advance (2005)

Ghosts are everywhere. This comes as a simple fact to the Shaman Yoh Asakura, a young boy with the ability...

Shaman King: Master of Spirits Game Boy Advance Front Cover

Game Boy Advance (2004)

In this game you play Yoh Asakura from the Shaman King Japanese Manga and TV Anime series. Yoh is a...

Shaman King: Master of Spirits 2 Game Boy Advance Front Cover

Game Boy Advance (2005)

Sequel to the original Shaman King: Master of Spirits, you once again take the role of Yoh Asakura as you...

Shaman King: Power of Spirit PlayStation 2 Front Cover

PlayStation 2 (2004)

Control Yoh in an all-new adventure and use his powers as a Shaman to fight nefarious foes and train to...

Shaolin PlayStation Front Cover

PlayStation (1999)

Shaolin is a fighting game for the PlayStation. Duels take place in 3D fighting arenas. Between the fights, the player...

Shard of Spring DOS Front Cover

DOS (1987), Commodore 64 (1986) and Apple II (1986)

The blessed island of Ymros is always at ease thanks to the Shard Of Spring -- a crystal that bestows...

Shattered Light Windows Front Cover

Windows (1999)

A great evil has come across the land and it's up to you to destroy this horrible evil. That pretty...

NES (1991)

The end of the Mongolian Yuan Dynasty, which has ruled China in 13th and 14th centuries, is near. People rebel...

Shengnü zhi Ge: Heroine Anthem II - The Angel of Sarem Windows Front Cover

Windows (2003)

Edda grew up in a simple, pure village, and could never imagine she would have a life full of adventures...

Shengnü zhi Ge: Heroine Anthem - The Elect of Wassernixe Windows Front Cover

Windows (2002)

Edda is a young girl who grew up in a small northern village together with her childhood friend Hulen. One...

iPhone (2012) and iPad (2012)

This is an iOS conversion of Gerald Lientz's 1987 gamebook, initially published by Berkley and Iron Crown Enterprises. The player...

Sherlock Holmes Solo Mysteries 2: The Black River Emerald iPad Front Cover

iPhone (2013) and iPad (2013)

This is an iOS conversion of Peter Ryan's 1987 gamebook, initially published by Berkley and Iron Crown Enterprises. The player...

Shifters PlayStation 2 Front Cover

PlayStation 2 (2002)

The Castle of Bylandria is under attack by The Grand Inquisitor and his army of able-bodied soldiers. Bent on victory,...

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