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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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Shin Megami Tensei II PlayStation Front Cover

PlayStation (2002), Game Boy Advance (2003), PSP (2010), PlayStation 3 (2010), iPhone (2012) and PS Vita (2012)

Following the remake of the first Shin Megami Tensei, this is a re-vamped version of the second game, originally released...

Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne PlayStation 2 Front Cover

PlayStation 2 (2003)

An ordinary Tokyo high-school student sees a strange dream. A mysterious woman warns him of an upcoming destruction, in which...

Nintendo 3DS (2013)

East Mikado is a fantasy land reminiscent of the feudal Japan. The protagonist of the game is a young samurai...

Shin Megami Tensei IV (Limited Edition) Nintendo 3DS Front Cover

Nintendo 3DS (2013)

The Shin Megami Tensei IV Limited Edition is also the initial release packaging for the North American release of the...

Shin Megami Tensei Nine Xbox Front Cover

Xbox (2002)

This is not the ninth Shin Megami Tensei game; "nine" is the number of character attributes and alignments used in...

Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne PlayStation 2 Front Cover

PlayStation 2 (2004)

Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne (known as Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne Maniax in Japan) is an enhanced version of Shin...

Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 2 - Innocent Sin PSP Front Cover

PSP (2011)

This enhanced version of Persona 2: Innocent Sin features improved graphics, new difficulty level choices and a new soundtrack arrangement....

Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 2 - Innocent Sin (Collector's Edition) PSP Front Cover

PSP (2011)

This collector's edition is exclusive to Europe and also the only edition available in the region. It contains: Persona 2:...

Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3 PlayStation 2 Front Cover

PlayStation 2 (2006)

Having lost your parents as a child, you lived in the suburbs with your relatives, until they decided to send...

Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3 FES PlayStation 2 Front Cover

PlayStation 2 (2007) and PlayStation 3 (2012)

This is an enhanced version of Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3. In addition to the original game, referred to as...

Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3 Portable PSP Front Cover

PSP (2010)

This is an enhanced remake of Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3 for the PSP. In addition to various battle system...

Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3 Portable (Collector's Edition) PSP Front Cover

PSP (2011)

The Collector's Edtion of Persona 3 Portable contains: Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3 Portable A 48 page artbook 6 postcards...

Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 4 PlayStation 2 Front Cover

PlayStation 2 (2008) and PlayStation 3 (2014)

Recently, strange murders began to occur in the quiet Japanese town Inaba. People are found dead under mysterious circumstances, and...

Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey Nintendo DS Front Cover

Nintendo DS (2010)

In the beginning of 21st century, an atomic explosion in the South Pole caused a strange, unseen phenomenon: a black...

Shin Megami Tensei Trading Card: Card Summoner  Game Boy Color Front Cover

Game Boy Color (2001)

A kid-friendly Megaten spin-off based on the collectible trading card game released at the time. You take the role of...

SNES (1993)

Momotarō is a boy who was found by an old couple in a giant peach, according to an old Japanese...

PC-98 (1997)

The game is based on the animated movie Legend of Crystania, which is set in the same universe as Record...

Shinsetsu Samurai Spirits: Bushidōretsuden PlayStation Front Cover

PlayStation (1997), SEGA Saturn (1997) and Neo Geo CD (1997)

Shinsetsu Samurai Spirits: Bushidōretsuden (unofficially known in the Western world as Samurai Shodown RPG) is a Japanese-style role-playing game based...

PC-98 (1991)

The great womanizing detective Max, whom we met in the first Shiritsu Tantei Max game is back! This time, he...

TurboGrafx-16 (1989)

This version of Shiryō Sensen: War of the Dead can be described as a cross between the MSX and the...

Shodai: Nekketsu Kōha Kunio-kun SNES Front Cover

SNES (1992)

First next-gen entry in the Nekketsu Kouha Kunio-kun brawler series. The story this time deals with the Nekketsu High gang...

Shuihuzhuan Genesis Front Cover

Genesis (1996)

This is a strategy RPG based on the events of the famous classic Chinese novel "Shuihuzhuan" (Water Margins, also known...

PC-98 (1990)

A young modern-day Japanese couple was paying their respects to the dead in a cemetery near a temple, when they...

Si Da Ming Bu Windows Front Cover

Windows (1998)

It is the end of Northern Song dynasty (12th century) in China. Rich people control the land, ignoring the rights...

Siege of Avalon Windows Front Cover

Windows (2000)

Siege of Avalon is a traditional fantasy-RPG with an isometric view. The setting is an imaginary land which has been...

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