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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Blades of Heaven Windows Front Cover

Windows (2005)

Laura Vujovic is a Shadow Blade from the town of Frechette. She works at the Guild and is finally given...

Bladestorm: The Hundred Years' War Xbox 360 Front Cover

Xbox 360 (2007) and PlayStation 3 (2007)

Bladestorm: The Hundred Years' War has players take control of a mercenary for hire during the legendary English / French...

Blade & Sword Windows Front Cover

Windows (2002)

In BC 1044, Emperor Jo sets fire to himself when invaders destroy his country. Emperor Jo's grand wizard Wen creates...

Blaze & Blade: Eternal Quest Windows Front Cover

Windows (1999) and PlayStation (1998)

Blaze & Blade: Eternal Quest is an action RPG where you control a party of four. Character creation allows you...

Blazing Heroes SEGA Saturn Front Cover

SEGA Saturn (1995)

You are Aragon, the prince of Mystaria. Long time ago, your father was one of the twelve mighty warriors who...

DOS (1995)

Blind Justice is a post-modern fantasy role-playing game. You are a shapeshifter - a genetic experiment which has managed to...

Blood Gear TurboGrafx CD Front Cover

TurboGrafx CD (1994) and Wii (2008)

The Deguna Empire is terrorizing the planets and their inhabitants, using their unbeaten military force consisting of "Powered Gears", giant...

BloodNet Linux Front Cover

Linux (2014), DOS (1993), Windows (2014), Amiga (1994) and Macintosh (2014)

BloodNet is an adventure game with RPG elements.You play as Ransom Stark, a computer hacker, scrounger or mercenary (depending on...

Blood of the Zombies Android Front Cover

iPhone (2012), Android (2012) and iPad (2012)

In celebration of the 30th anniversary of the Fighting Fantasy series of gamebooks, Icon Books published a new FF gamebook...

PC-98 (1991)

The spaceship "Triant II", carrying an all-female crew under the command of Rachel Hugett, was attacked by mysterious aliens. The...

Bloodstone: An Epic Dwarven Tale DOS Front Cover

DOS (1993)

A group of evil goblin-like creatures known as Taldor have attacked the clan to which the hero of the game...

Bloodwych DOS Front Cover

DOS (1989), Amiga (1989), Atari ST (1989), Commodore 64 (1990), ZX Spectrum (1990) and Amstrad CPC (1990)

The land of Trazere was once ruled by the powerful and benevolent organization of mages known as Bloodwych. Governed by...

Bloodwych: Data Disks Vol. 1 Atari ST Front Cover

Amiga (1990) and Atari ST (1990)

This data disc for Bloodwych loads in a saved game from the original and thrusts your party into a new...

NES (1990)

In Bloody Warriors, you play the role of a nameless young man from an ancient village, which suffers from attacks...

Windows (2003)

It is a little known fact that a quarter of humans on earth do not have souls. When a person...

Blue Breaker: Ken yori mo Hohoemi o SEGA Saturn Front Cover

PlayStation (1997), SEGA Saturn (1997) and PC-FX (1996)

The world of Blue Breaker is called "the path in the middle of empty sky": floating islands connected with each...

Blue Dragon Xbox 360 Front Cover

Xbox 360 (2006)

For the past ten years, mysterious purple clouds have been appearing in the sky, bringing destruction with them. On one...

Blue Dragon Plus Nintendo DS Front Cover

Nintendo DS (2009)

Blue Dragon Plus is a sequel to Blue Dragon. Join Shu once again as he attempts to save the world....

PlayStation (1996) and 3DO (1996)

Blue Forest Story is set in a medieval fantasy land, which is controlled by the powerful Empire. There are in...

Blue Seed: Kushinada Hirokuden SEGA Saturn Front Cover

SEGA Saturn (1995)

Long time ago, at the dawn of Japanese legendary history, the godly princess Kushinada defeated the Aragami, monsters who drew...

PC-98 (1992) and FM Towns (1992)

The kingdom of Ishut was the most powerful on the continent and considered the protector of peace. That peace was...

WonderSwan Color (2001)

There are six nations living in the world of floating islands. The most powerful one is the Ordia Empire, possessing...

DOS (1992)

Bob's Dragon Hunt is an exercise in using filled polygons to simulate a three-dimensional dungeon crawl, wading through all variety...

TurboGrafx-16 (1993)

The story of this game is rather simple: the world is in peril, as the evil witch Topaz sends her...

Boiling Point: Road to Hell Windows Front Cover

Windows (2005)

Saul Myers is a veteran of the French Foreign Legion living abroad in Paris. His daughter Lisa is a journalist...

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