User review spotlight: Carmageddon (DOS). Released in 1997.

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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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...

Septerra Core: Legacy of the Creator Windows Front Cover

Windows (1999) and Macintosh (2013)

Septerra is a world which is composed of "layers" - continents that spin around the planet center. In the center...

Sequence Windows Front Cover

Windows (2011) and Xbox 360 (2011)

Sequence is a mashup of the rhythm and RPG genres. You play as Ky, a young man who wakes up...

DOS (2001)

The evil sorcerer Blackmagic took over a village named Jolimy. Only a lone apprentice magician named Serguei can eventually defeat...

Serious Sam: The Random Encounter Windows Front Cover

Windows (2011)

Serious Sam: The Random Encounter is a turn-based role-playing game with retro-inspired graphics and chiptune music. It is one of...

PlayStation 2 (2000)

Trouble is in the land of Acralind. Thousand years ago, seven legendary heroes have sealed the powers of evil with...

The Seven Spirits of Ra DOS Front Cover

DOS (1987)

Osiris was once a pharaoh of the Old Egypt, ruling the land in happiness, as it enjoyed great prosperity. But...

Seventh Cross Evolution Dreamcast Front Cover

Dreamcast (1998)

A life simulation which shows how organisms evolve. Take control of one of life's earliest lifeforms and, depending on what...

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

Seventh Sense is an interpreter for play of the Project Aon ebook versions of Joe Dever's Lone Wolf gamebook series,...

PlayStation (2000)

Shachō Eiyūden: The Eagle-Shooting Heroes is based upon the popular Chinese Wuxia novel written by Louis Cha (better known by...

Shadowbane Macintosh Front Cover

Windows (2003) and Macintosh (2003)

Shadowbane is a dark fantasy Massively Multiplayer Online Roleplaying Game (MMORPG) with a large amount of player interaction with other...

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