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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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Sorcery! Android Front Cover

iPhone (2013), Android (2014) and iPad (2013)

While the previous game adaptation of The Shamutanti Hills, the first quarter of Steve Jackson's Sorcery! gamebook series, was a...

Sorority Life Browser Front Cover

Browser (2008)

Sorority Life is a game very similar to Mafia Wars but tailored to a female audience. Like Mafia Wars the...

Soul Blazer SNES Front Cover

SNES (1992)

You have been called by the Master to restore life to the Friel empire. The ruler, King Magridd, struck a...

Soulbringer Windows Front Cover

Windows (2000)

After the death of your father, you are sent to live with your uncle, Andrus outside the snowy town of...

PlayStation 2 (2007)

This Japanese-only limited edition includes: Soul Cradle: Sekai o Kurausha Soul Cradle: The Master Guide art book 2-disc soundtrack by...

Soul Nomad & the World Eaters PlayStation 2 Front Cover

PlayStation 2 (2007)

Soul Nomad & the World Eaters is a strategy/RPG hybrid and takes place in Prodesta, a place where war has...

South Park: The Stick of Truth Windows Front Cover

Windows (2014), Xbox 360 (2014) and PlayStation 3 (2014)

South Park: The Stick of Truth is an RPG based off the South Park franchise. You play as a new...

Apple II (1978)

Space I is a futuristic role-playing game unofficially based upon Game Designer Workshop’s "Traveller" pen and paper game. Players build...

Space 1889 DOS Front Cover

DOS (1990), Amiga (1991) and Atari ST (1990)

A role-playing adventure set in the "future" as seen by Victorian era science fiction writers. Players explore the far corners...

Spaceforce: Captains Windows Front Cover

Windows (2007)

Spaceforce: Captains, the sequel to Spaceforce: Rogue Universe, is a classic turn-based strategy game set in the future, but it...

Spaceforce: Rogue Universe Windows Front Cover

Windows (2007)

Spaceforce: Rogue Universe is space simulation in which the player has to make a living in space. Like other games...

Space Griffon VF-9 PlayStation Front Cover

Windows (2000), PlayStation (1995) and Dreamcast (1999)

Space Griffon VF-9 is a graphically enhanced version of the earlier computer game Hamlet.The largest moon base, "Hamlet", has stopped...

Space Hack Windows Front Cover

Windows (2004)

Overpopulation on Earth has made governments pass a restrictive law established to force people off the planet. Playing the role...

Space Hulk Ascension Linux Front Cover

Linux (2014), Windows (2014) and Macintosh (2014)

Space Hulk Ascension is the sequel of Space Hulk, the turn-based strategy game based on the 1989 Games Workshop boardgame.This...

Apple II (1979)

This expansion of Edu-Ware's Space role-playing game includes two new scenarios: Shaman, in which your character launches a career on...

Space Miner: Space Ore Bust iPhone Front Cover

iPhone (2010) and iPad (2010)

In Space Miner you play Joe (or Jade) Gritstone, a fresh college graduate who starts working at his/her uncle's asteroid...

Space Rangers Windows Front Cover

Windows (2002)

Space Rangers sets you up as a member of the Space Rangers, a small group of individuals who are there...

Space Rangers 2 Complete Windows Front Cover

Windows (2008)

This is a collection of Space Rangers 2: Dominators and Space Rangers 2: Reboot released on Impulse.

Space Rangers 2: Dominators Windows Front Cover

Windows (2004)

Space Rangers 2: Dominators is a blend of space exploration and trading, role-playing and real-time strategy, played from many different...

Space Rangers 2: Dominators. Reboot Windows Front Cover

Windows (2007)

Space Rangers 2: Dominators. Reboot includes: Space Rangers Space Rangers 2: Dominators Space Rangers 2: Reboot Exclusive game developing materials....

Space Rangers 2: Reboot Windows Front Cover

Windows (2008)

This is an expansion to the Space Rangers 2: Dominators game.It adds: Five new text quests. 27 new planetary battle...

Space Siege Windows Front Cover

Windows (2008)

As humanity explores space, they encounter an evil and very powerful race called the Kerak. The humans have no chance...

Spacewrecked: 14 Billion Light Years From Earth DOS Front Cover

DOS (1991), Amiga (1990) and Atari ST (1990)

In this sci-fi RPG you are sent to a fleet of spaceships which have been invaded by aliens who escaped...

Spandex Force Windows Front Cover

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

Create your own hero and clean up the crime-infested town of Vigilance Valley in this puzzle RPG. Save citizens in...

SPAZ: Space Pirates and Zombies Linux Front Cover

Linux (2013), Windows (2011) and Macintosh (2012)

Space Pirates And Zombies is a top-down open-world science-fiction space action / combat RPG somewhat reminiscent of classic games like...

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