Solomon's Key for the NES was released in Japan on this day in 1986.

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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Windows (2000)

The year is 2058. The destruction of the environment by human beings has caused several space distortions, which led to...

Buck Rogers: Countdown to Doomsday DOS Front Cover

DOS (1990), Amiga (1990) and Commodore 64 (1990)

Buck Rogers had once fought in the cold war, a pilot sent into outer space to destroy a Russian weapons...

Buck Rogers: Countdown to Doomsday Genesis Front Cover

Genesis (1991)

This version of Buck Rogers: Countdown to Doomsday retains most of the story and the core gameplay of the computer...

Buck Rogers: Matrix Cubed DOS Front Cover

DOS (1992)

Following the events of the previous game, N.E.O. the New Earth Organization, has gained some notoriety for defeating the forces...

DOS (1993)

In the year 2020, heavy pollution plagued the Earth. Natural environment was gradually destroyed. To serve the ever-increasing human greed,...

MSX (1992), PC-98 (1990) and FM Towns (1991)

The game is a direct follow-up to Burai: Jōkan, continuing its story. The eight heroes who were chosen by the...

Burai: Hachigyoku no Yūshi Densetsu SEGA CD Front Cover

SNES (1993), SEGA CD (1992) and TurboGrafx CD (1991)

The world of Kypros is populated by many races: humans, intelligent reptiles, dog-like wosshus, and others. There are also many...

Burai II: Yami Kōtei no Gyakushū TurboGrafx CD Front Cover

TurboGrafx CD (1992)

The beautiful planet Kypros, with its lovely view and rich population: humans, gods, intelligent animals... long ago, the god of...

Burai: Jōkan MSX Front Cover

MSX (1990), PC-98 (1989) and FM Towns (1990)

The evil god Daar was defeated long time ago. The difference races of Kypros could co-exist in peace. But Daar...

Burntime DOS Front Cover

DOS (1993) and Amiga (1993)

Deserts cover the globe, cities are destroyed, the end of every civilization is near. The few survivors search for drinking...

SNES (1997)

This game is set in a fantasy world that resembles feudal Japan. Long time ago, the first deity, the Emperor...

Cadash TurboGrafx-16 Front Cover

Genesis (1992), TurboGrafx-16 (1991), Wii (2008) and Arcade (1989)

Trouble is in the kingdom of Dilsarl: the young, beautiful princess Salasa was abducted by the evil arch-mage Balrog. The...

Cadaver: The Payoff Atari ST Front Cover

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

Cadaver: The Payoff is an add-on for Cadaver and requires the original disc from that game to play. It continues...

Windows (1998)

By the middle of the 21st century Earth has become so polluted that mankind began to look for other planets...

Call for Heroes: Pompolic Wars Windows Front Cover

Windows (2007)

A portal to the Outer Worlds was opened, letting the endless hordes of the dark army through, led by a...

Browser (2013)

Candy Box is a game of slow progression and discovery. At first the player is confronted with a number counter...

Browser (2013)

Candy Box 2 is the sequel to Candy Box. The game is still based on the slow progression and discovery...

SEGA CD (1994)

Captain Tsubasa for the SEGA CD is a football game that follows the style of Tecmo Cup. Just like the...

Captive DOS Front Cover

DOS (1992), Amiga (1990) and Atari ST (1990)

You awake in prison, without the memory of who you are, where you are and why you are imprisoned. In...

PC-98 (1991)

Long time ago, during the celestial war between the light and the dark heavenly realms, a beautiful goddess statue was...

Windows (2007) and Browser (2007)

In the near future a terrible series of environmental disasters strike globally. The civilization as we knew it ceased to...

Game Boy Advance (2001)

Car Battler Joe is a car battling game. The game involves using cars to fight opponents in action-styled battles, with...

Cardinal Quest Linux Front Cover

Linux (2011), Windows (2011), Macintosh (2011), Browser (2011), iPhone (2012), Android (2012) and iPad (2012)

The dreaded minotaur Asterion fell upon the peaceful town of Hallemot late one balmy night. The few townsfolk he did...

PC-88 (1990), PC-98 (1990) and Sharp X68000 (1991)

In 2051, in the city of Neo Tokyo, there was a popular rock band called Caroll. One day, the lead...

PC-98 (1993)

There is no real story in Case of Dungeons, beside the fact the player is greeted by a mysterious young...

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