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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Skies of Arcadia Dreamcast Front Cover

Dreamcast (2000)

Arcadia is a world where continents float high above, and people travel by airships. Among the countries of this world,...

Skies of Arcadia: Legends GameCube Front Cover

GameCube (2003)

Skies of Arcadia: Legends is a re-release of Skies of Arcadia, a well-known RPG for the Dreamcast. Two young pirates,...

Skyborn Windows Front Cover

Windows (2014)

Skyborn is a Japanese role-playing game (JRPG) inspired game, where the player controls Clarent Spener, a mechanic of a repair...

Skyward Collapse: Nihon no Mura Linux Front Cover

Linux (2013), Windows (2013) and Macintosh (2013)

In the first add-on for the game Skyward Collapse the new fraction of the Japanese have reached Luminith. They have...

Slammed! iPad Front Cover

Macintosh (2013), Browser (2013), iPhone (2013), Android (2013) and iPad (2013)

In this multiple-choice game, players flesh out the spangled tights of a pro wrestler. From humble NCAA college beginnings, the...

Windows (2009)

Slapshot is an aggressive online street roller-blade hockey game without any principles and rules on the rink. Each game-player logs...

Browser (2008)

Slave Maker is 2D flash-based adult fangame. It is a hentai parody of the Princess Maker series, and here the...

Slaves to Armok: God of Blood - Chapter II: Dwarf Fortress Linux Front Cover

Linux (2011), Windows (2006) and Macintosh (2008)

Slaves to Armok II: Dwarf Fortress is an 2-in-1 interconnected ASCII based game currently still in its alpha stage (under...

Slayer 3DO Front Cover

3DO (1994)

Slayer is a first-person action RPG using the AD&D 2nd Edition license and rules. Choose from the usual assortment of...

SNES (1994)

Slayers is based on an manga series of the same name (also known as Lina the Teenage Sorceress). The heroine...

Slayers PC-98 Front Cover

PC-98 (1994)

Lina Inverse, the teenage sorceress, and Gourry Gabriev, her swordsman sidekick, are out traveling the countryside after having successfully "liberated"...

Slayers Wonderful PlayStation Front Cover

PlayStation (1998)

Teenage sorceress Lina Inverse and her bumbling swordsman companion Gourry Gabriev, forever questing for fame, fortune, and foreign food, are...

Linux (2010), Windows (2010) and Macintosh (2010)

Sleep Is Death (Geisterfahrer) by Jason Rohrer is a turn-based 2-player storytelling game in which one person plays a character...

PC-88 (1989) and Sharp X68000 (1989)

Slime Master is a very simple doujin (independent freeware) role-playing game. The player character is sent by a seductive princess...

Windows (2009)

Smugglers IV: Doomsday is a turn-based space trading game where the player takes the role of an ensign of one...

Sniper: Path of Vengeance Windows Front Cover

Windows (2002)

A first person shooter powered by the Lithtech Jupiter engine wherein you take the role of an unknown lunatic only...

SNK vs. Capcom: Card Fighters' Clash - Capcom Cardfighter's Version Neo Geo Pocket Color Front Cover

Neo Geo Pocket Color (1999)

Compete in the SC Card Fighters' Clash tournament with your Capcom deck in this NGPC card game. Collect the 300...

SNK vs. Capcom: Card Fighters' Clash - SNK Cardfighter's Version Neo Geo Pocket Color Front Cover

Neo Geo Pocket Color (1999)

Compete in the SC Card Fighters' Clash tournament with your SNK deck in this NGPC card game. Collect the 300...

SNK VS. CAPCOM Card Fighters DS Nintendo DS Front Cover

Nintendo DS (2008)

In this unique strategy card fighting game a tower made to hold card tournaments has been taken over by the...

Soccer Star Commodore 64 Front Cover

Commodore 64 (1989), ZX Spectrum (1989) and Amstrad CPC (1989)

In Soccer Star you are trying to be the best football manager with the best team. At the beginning you...

Solatorobo: Red the Hunter Nintendo DS Front Cover

Nintendo DS (2010)

In a world filled with robots, giant hermit crabs, and kitten pirates, everyone has jobs they need done. That is...

Sol Bianca TurboGrafx CD Front Cover

TurboGrafx CD (1990)

The game is based on the anime movie of the same name. In 24th century, piracy is still an issue,...

SNES (1997)

In the far future Solid City is overrun by mecha-related crime, and few dare face the underworld mafias and street...

TurboGrafx CD (1994)

As earthquakes occurred in the kingdom of Itchy, and demons began roaming freely through the wilderness, the king realized that...

Nintendo DS (2008)

In a world where a magic energy called Soma is a part of everyday life, seven characters part of a...

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