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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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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...

Sherlock Holmes Solo Mysteries 1: Murder at the Diogenes Club iPad Front Cover

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,...

PC-98 (1992)

In 1999, Armageddon came to the world. Japanese researchers have experimented with genetics and biological mutations; as a result, a...

PC-98 (1992)

In 1999, Armageddon came to the world. Japanese researchers have experimented with genetics and biological mutations; as a result, a...

PC-98 (1992)

In 1999, Armageddon came to the world. Japanese researchers have experimented with genetics and biological mutations; as a result, a...

PC-98 (1992)

In 1999, Armageddon came to the world. Japanese researchers have experimented with genetics and biological mutations; as a result, a...

DOS (1993)

As a flotilla of ships was crossing the sea, a horrifying monster surfaced and destroyed it. A young man was...

Shin Bokura no Taiyō Gyakushū no Sabata Game Boy Advance Front Cover

Game Boy Advance (2005)

Shin Bokura no Taiyō Gyakushū no Sabata is the third episode in the Boktai series and the only one not...

PC-98 (1993) and FM Towns (1993)

The plot of Shinc is as simple as its title: the hero - aptly named Hero Narcissus - is a...

Shining Blade PSP Front Cover

PSP (2012)

Sinister plans begin to unfold within the Dragonian empire, beginning with the revival of the villainous leader of the Dark...

Shining Force Windows Front Cover

Windows (2011), Genesis (1992), Wii (2007) and iPhone (2010)

In a wondrous land perhaps not so far from our world, a strange and terrible series of events took place....

Shining Force CD SEGA CD Front Cover

SEGA CD (1994)

This is a compilation of two strategy RPG titles from Shining Force titles: Shining Force Gaiden (the original version released...

Shining Force EXA PlayStation 2 Front Cover

PlayStation 2 (2007)

Shining Force EXA is an entry in the Shining Force series, but unlike most of the earlier titles it has...

Shining Force Gaiden Game Gear Front Cover

Game Gear (1992) and Nintendo 3DS (2013)

The first of the three Shining Force games for Game Gear, this is a Japanese-only gaiden (side-story) to the main...

Shining Force Gaiden: Final Conflict Nintendo 3DS Front Cover

Game Gear (1995) and Nintendo 3DS (2014)

One of the three gaiden (side-story) Shining Force games for Game Gear. The events of the game take place in...

Shining Force II Windows Front Cover

Windows (2011), Genesis (1993) and Wii (2008)

Shining Force II is a strategy/RPG hybrid with cartoon-like graphics. The game is comprised of two modes: exploration, in which...

Shining Force III SEGA Saturn Front Cover

SEGA Saturn (1997)

Set in a world of fantasy and magic, Shining Force III places you in the boots of a young general,...

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