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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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Summon Night 3 PlayStation 2 Front Cover

PlayStation 2 (2003) and PSP (2012)

Third game in the strategy RPG series Summon Night. You take the role of either a male or female summoner...

PlayStation 2 (2006) and PSP (2012)

Another entry in the Summon Night strategy-RPG series. You play as either a male or female character that lives happily...

Game Boy Advance (2005)

Third game in the Summon Night "Swordcraft" action-RPG spin-offs. You take the role of a young craftsknight (a combination of...

Summon Night Ex-thèse: Yoake no Tsubasa PlayStation 2 Front Cover

PlayStation 2 (2005)

A spin-off to the Summon Night strategy-RPG games, SN Ecstasy is an action-RPG in which you have direct real-time control...

Summon Night Granthese: Horobi no Tsurugi to Yakusoku no Kishi PlayStation 2 Front Cover

PlayStation 2 (2010)

Long, long ago, the world was bound together on one great continent, but through years of war and strife, the...

Summon Night: Swordcraft Story Game Boy Advance Front Cover

Game Boy Advance (2003)

Three years after your father was lost, you are an apprentice Craftknight. A tournament is held to find the next...

Summon Night: Swordcraft Story 2 Game Boy Advance Front Cover

Game Boy Advance (2004)

You are a male or female apprentice Craftknight and the Edge Fencer. It is your job to protect the seal...

Nintendo DS (2008)

In Summon Night: Twin Age, the player takes control of a female protagonist named Reiha along with a "summon beast"...

SNES (1993)

Following the events of the first Super Chinese World game, the world has been saved and Rub-A-Doc has invited the...

SNES (1995)

Following the events of Super Chinese World 2, the people of Chinaland are enjoying intergalactic peace. While ninja masters Ryu...

Super Columbine Massacre RPG! Windows Front Cover Manifesto Games release

Windows (2006)

Super Columbine Massacre RPG! is a recreation of the events at Littleton High School on April 20th, 1999 in the...

Super Dragon Ball Z PlayStation 2 Front Cover

PlayStation 2 (2006)

Super Dragon Ball Z is a fighting game featuring 18 fighters from the Dragon Ball franchise, of which 13 are...

PC-98 (1995)

It all began very innocently: a beauty contest in a quiet Japanese town. The hero, an ordinary young man (default...

Superhero League of Hoboken DOS Front Cover

DOS (1994)

Superhero League of Hoboken is a hybrid of adventure and role-playing, set in a post-apocalyptic wasteland in the Northeastern United...

Super Hydlide Genesis Front Cover

Genesis (1989), NES (1989), MSX (1987), PC-88 (1987) and Sharp X1 (1988)

A long time ago, evil descended upon the peaceful people of Hydlide. Old legends tell of a lone brave hero...

Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars SNES Front Cover

SNES (1996) and Wii (2008)

Super Mario RPG is a console RPG starring none other than Nintendo's popular character Mario. This game starts off like...

SNES (1995)

Rulue no Roux is a spin-off of the real-time puzzle series Puyo Puyo with a twist. Whereas the main Puyo...

SNES (1996)

Sequel to the original Super Nazo Puyo, Rulue no Tetsuwan Hanjōki is a Puyo Puyo spin-off which combines arcade puzzle...

Super Ninja Boy SNES Front Cover

SNES (1991)

One day a spaceship came down from the heavens and into the skies of Chinaland. It began broadcasting an image...

Super Paper Mario Wii Front Cover

Wii (2007)

In this action-platformer, Bowser and Peach find themselves at the wedding altar, forced into marriage by the evil Count Bleck....

Apple II (1983)

A maze top-down dungeon crawl computer game for the Apple ][. In "Super Quest", your objective is to penetrate the...

Game Boy (1991)

The very first installment of the Super Robot Taisen series is quite different from all of its successors; most notably,...

Super Robot Taisen 64 Nintendo 64 Front Cover

Nintendo 64 (1999)

The basic concept remains unchanged in this N64 installment of the series - it's a turned based strategy game where...

PlayStation 2 (2007)

Super Robot Wars Original Generations Gaiden, or SRWOGG for short, is a direct sequel to the PS2 title Super Robot...

Super Robot Taisen OG Saga: Endless Frontier Nintendo DS Front Cover

Nintendo DS (2008)

Super Robot Taisen OG Saga: Endless Frontier is a story-driven turn-based role-playing game and spin-off in the Super Robot Taisen...

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