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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
Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Children - Shiro no Sho Game Boy Color Front Cover

Game Boy Color (2001)

White Book is a sequel to two editions of the first GBC Devil Children title. It stars two new main...

Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Summoner SEGA Saturn Front Cover

SEGA Saturn (1995) and PSP (2005)

A modern-day Japanese college student is about to go on a date with his girlfriend Kumiko, who has found a...

Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Summoner 2 - Raidou Kuzunoha vs. King Abaddon PlayStation 2 Front Cover

PlayStation 2 (2008) and PlayStation 3 (2014)

The events of this game occur shortly after the ones described in the first installment of the series. Once again,...

Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Summoner - Raidou Kuzunoha vs. the Soulless Army PlayStation 2 Front Cover

PlayStation 2 (2006)

For many years, the members of the Kuzunoha family have been skillful detectives, specializing in supernatural cases. They have mastered...

SEGA Saturn (1996)

This special edition of Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Summoner includes the game itself, an expanded manual with liner notes and...

Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor Nintendo DS Front Cover

Nintendo DS (2009)

The main character and his friends, Yuzu Tanikawa and Atsuro Kihara, get caught up in a mess when the main...

Shin Megami Tensei: Digital Devil Saga PlayStation 2 Front Cover

PlayStation 2 (2004)

Junkyard is a grim wasteland, a realm of eternal rain and eternal battle. Its inhabitants are divided into six tribes...

Shin Megami Tensei: Digital Devil Saga 2 PlayStation 2 Front Cover

PlayStation 2 (2005)

Shin Megami Tensei: Digital Devil Saga 2 is a direct sequel to Digital Devil Saga, and the conclusion of its...

Shin Megami Tensei If... SNES Front Cover

SNES (1994), Wii (2011), iPhone (2013) and Wii U (2013)

Something terrible has happened in the perfectly ordinary Karukozaka high school. A resentful student named Hazama made contact with a...

Shin Megami Tensei If... PlayStation Front Cover

PlayStation (2002), PSP (2010), PlayStation 3 (2010) and PS Vita (2012)

Like the first two entries in the Shin Megami Tensei series, the spin-off with the mysterious title If... got its...

Shin Megami Tensei II SNES Front Cover

SNES (1994), Wii (2010) and Wii U (2013)

Fifty years have passed since the hero of Shin Megami Tensei followed the neutral path, defeated the leaders of Law...

Shin Megami Tensei II PlayStation Front Cover

PlayStation (2002), Game Boy Advance (2003), PSP (2010), PlayStation 3 (2010), iPhone (2012) and PS Vita (2012)

Following the remake of the first Shin Megami Tensei, this is a re-vamped version of the second game, originally released...

Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne PlayStation 2 Front Cover

PlayStation 2 (2003)

An ordinary Tokyo high-school student sees a strange dream. A mysterious woman warns him of an upcoming destruction, in which...

Nintendo 3DS (2013)

East Mikado is a fantasy land reminiscent of the feudal Japan. The protagonist of the game is a young samurai...

Shin Megami Tensei IV (Limited Edition) Nintendo 3DS Front Cover

Nintendo 3DS (2013)

The Shin Megami Tensei IV Limited Edition is also the initial release packaging for the North American release of the...

Shin Megami Tensei Nine Xbox Front Cover

Xbox (2002)

This is not the ninth Shin Megami Tensei game; "nine" is the number of character attributes and alignments used in...

Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne PlayStation 2 Front Cover

PlayStation 2 (2004)

Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne (known as Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne Maniax in Japan) is an enhanced version of Shin...

Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 2 - Innocent Sin PSP Front Cover

PSP (2011)

This enhanced version of Persona 2: Innocent Sin features improved graphics, new difficulty level choices and a new soundtrack arrangement....

Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 2 - Innocent Sin (Collector's Edition) PSP Front Cover

PSP (2011)

This collector's edition is exclusive to Europe and also the only edition available in the region. It contains: Persona 2:...

Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3 PlayStation 2 Front Cover

PlayStation 2 (2006)

Having lost your parents as a child, you lived in the suburbs with your relatives, until they decided to send...

Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3 FES PlayStation 2 Front Cover

PlayStation 2 (2007) and PlayStation 3 (2012)

This is an enhanced version of Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3. In addition to the original game, referred to as...

Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3 Portable PSP Front Cover

PSP (2010)

This is an enhanced remake of Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3 for the PSP. In addition to various battle system...

Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3 Portable (Collector's Edition) PSP Front Cover

PSP (2011)

The Collector's Edtion of Persona 3 Portable contains: Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3 Portable A 48 page artbook 6 postcards...

Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 4 PlayStation 2 Front Cover

PlayStation 2 (2008) and PlayStation 3 (2014)

Recently, strange murders began to occur in the quiet Japanese town Inaba. People are found dead under mysterious circumstances, and...

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...

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