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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
SpellForce: The Order of Dawn Windows Front Cover

Windows (2003)

SpellForce is a RTS\RPG hybrid game similar to Battle Realms. The storyline is the usual "the fate of the world...

Spelljammer: Pirates of Realmspace DOS Front Cover

DOS (1992)

Based on the 2nd Edition of Advanced Dungeons & Dragons (AD&D) Spelljammer rule book, Spelljammer: Pirates of Realmspace leads the...

Spells of Gold Windows Front Cover

Windows (2002)

An interesting combination of an RPG with a trading game, this game puts you in a setting where the class...

The Spiderwick Chronicles Nintendo DS Front Cover

Nintendo DS (2008)

Play as Jared, Simon, and Mallory Grace as they explore the fantastical world around them with the help of a...

Spiral Knights Macintosh Front Cover

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

Spiral Knights is a free-to-play massively multiplayer action role-playing game, with a focus on instanced adventures. When the Spiral Knights...

The Spirit Engine II Windows Front Cover

Windows (2008)

The Spirit Engine II is the sequel to The Spirit Engine. Like its predecessor, it's a side-scrolling RPG with tactical...

Windows (2003)

The Spirit Engine follows 3 travelers (of your choosing) who run into each other by very uncommon means. Their goal...

Spirit of Adventure DOS Front Cover

DOS (1991), Amiga (1991), Atari ST (1991) and Commodore 64 (1992)

In a medieval fantasy world, strange drugs appear that create an addiction among the population. It appears that they are...

Spore Macintosh Front Cover

Windows (2008) and Macintosh (2008)

In Spore the player has to accompany a new race through five stages of its evolution.First there is the Cell...

Spore: Creepy & Cute Parts Pack Windows Front Cover

Windows (2008) and Macintosh (2008)

Creepy & Cute Parts Pack is an items add-on to the original Spore game, similar to the Stuff expansions for...

Spore: Galactic Adventures Macintosh Front Cover

Windows (2009) and Macintosh (2009)

Spore: Galactic Adventures is the first real add-on to Spore and focuses solely on the space phase of the game...

Spore Galactic Adventures Bundle Windows Front Cover

Windows (2009) and Macintosh (2009)

Spore Galactic Adventures Bundle includes: Spore (main game) Spore: Galactic Adventures (add-on)

Spore Hero Wii Front Cover

Wii (2009)

Spore Hero is the first appearance of the Spore franchise on the Nintendo Wii platform. This title merges both simulation...

Spore + Spore: Creepy & Cute Parts Pack Windows Front Cover

Windows (2008) and Macintosh (2008)

This compilation includes: Spore (base game) Spore: Creepy & Cute Parts Pack (content add-on)

Spyro: Shadow Legacy Nintendo DS Front Cover

Nintendo DS (2005)

The first Spyro game for the Nintendo DS brings rpg-lite features to the series. Spyro's friends have been sucked into...

NES (1989)

In 1855, Tom Sawyer and his friends are growing up in the town of St. Petersburg, Missouri in the United...

Sryth Browser Front Cover

Browser (2003)

Sryth is a mostly text-based, story-heavy online medieval fantasy RPG with limited graphics (including dungeon maps for better navigation). Characters...

Commodore 64 (1984) and Apple II (1983)

Kormath has stolen The Holy Grail and Excalibur from Merlin and Merlin has promised a great reward for anyone who...

Star Breaker TurboGrafx CD Front Cover

TurboGrafx CD (1994)

In the future, mankind has learned to navigate space ships. Human beings spread out to different planets of the Milky...

Browser (2009)

In Starcom the player has to defend the galaxy from an encroaching alien threat in a game of space combat...

Star Command DOS Front Cover

DOS (1988), Amiga (1988) and Atari ST (1988)

Star Command is a sci-fi role-playing game set in a vast fictional universe and featuring tactical space and squad-level combat,...

Star Control II DOS Front Cover

Linux (2002), DOS (1992), Windows (2002), 3DO (1994), Macintosh (2003) and GP2X (2008)

Following an on-going war with the alien Ur-Quan race, the Alliance has lost. The Ur-Quan armada systematically hunts down the...

Browser (2010)

Starfeld is a parody of space opera RPGs such as the Mass Effect series, especially their formulaic approach of conversations,...

Starflight DOS Front Cover

DOS (1986), Windows (2014), Genesis (1991), Amiga (1989), Atari ST (1990), Commodore 64 (1989) and Macintosh (1990)

A long time ago, a great empire comprised of Humans, Velox, Thrynn and Elowan ruled the stars. The Empire's currency...

Starflight 2: Trade Routes of the Cloud Nebula DOS Front Cover

DOS (1989), Windows (2014), Amiga (1991) and Macintosh (1991)

Following the events of the first Starflight, the galaxy is at relative peace. The balance of power is disrupted when...

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