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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
Ahriman's Prophecy Windows Front Cover

Windows (2004)

You must explore a medieval fantasy world with the intent to stop a dark prophecy. To win the game, you...

Aidyn Chronicles: The First Mage Nintendo 64 Front Cover

Nintendo 64 (2000)

Aidyn Chronicles: The First Mage follows the story of Alaron, poisoned by mysterious goblins while out on patrol in the...

Aion Windows Front Cover

Windows (2009)

Aion is a massive multiplayer online role-playing game which takes place in the world of Atreia, a land divided by...

Windows (2009)

The Aion (Special Collector's Edition) includes the full Aion game plus several enhancements exclusive to this release: the Black Cloud...

Airs Adventure SEGA Saturn Front Cover

SEGA Saturn (1996)

Airs Adventure takes place in an environment reminiscent of 17th century Europe. The game follows the story of an aspiring...

SEGA CD (1992)

Aisle Lord is a 3D dungeon RPG in the tradition of western RPGs such as Wizardry and Might and Magic,...

PC-98 (1991)

Somewhere on the continent of Fandell, there is a kingdom known as Wineslem. For hundreds of years, this kingdom has...

Akalabeth: World of Doom Linux Front Cover

Linux (2014), Windows (2014), Apple II (1980), Macintosh (2014) and iPhone (2010)

Once, the land of Akalabeth was peaceful and quiet. But then came Mondain, an evil and ambitious man who created...

Akaneiro: Demon Hunters Linux Front Cover

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

Akaneiro: Demon Hunters is a free-to-play role-playing game. Its setting is strongly influenced by Japanese mythology and Little Red Riding...

PC-98 (1994)

The game's story is based on a fantasy novel of the same name by Hiroe Suga. In a world with...

Akuma: Demon Spawn Windows Front Cover

Windows (1998)

The story takes place in a time when demons are terrorizing the world. Three warriors come together and form a...

NES (1990)

In this game, you play the role of a little boy who is given a very important assignment by a...

SNES (1993) and Wii (2010)

The town of Gouto hosted a miraculous artifact, the Key of Resurrection. The evil wizard Oswald invaded the town with...

SEGA Saturn (1996)

The Limited Edition of Albert Odyssey Gaiden: Legend of Eldean includes a calendar featuring Albert Odyssey artwork.

Albert Odyssey: Legend of Eldean SEGA Saturn Front Cover

SEGA Saturn (1996)

The Legend of Eldean tells of a trio of powerful magic-wielding siblings from the ancient kingdom of Fargasta: Radoria, Estan...

Albion DOS Front Cover

DOS (1995)

The year is 2227. The powerful DDT Corporation has sent a factory ship called the Toronto to harvest minerals and...

Alcahest SNES Front Cover

SNES (1993)

Past and future are connected in a way mortals do not understand... A star was glowing up in the sky,...

WonderSwan Color (2001)

In the city of Salburg, there has always been a long tradition of alchemy - a magical science that dealt...

DOS (1997)

Since the beginning your parents knew you were somehow different from the others. You have the spark of Elemental Powers...

Alexander: The Heroes Hour Windows Front Cover

Windows (2004)

In Alexander: The Heroes Hour the player takes the role of three elite soldiers aligned to Alexander the Great: Megacles...

Alfa Romeo Racing Italiano Windows Front Cover

Windows (2005), PlayStation 2 (2005) and Xbox (2005)

The prestigious Alfa Romeo brand's cars feature in this racing game. There are several real tracks such as Hockenheim and...

Windows (2009)

Alganon is a fantasy-based MMORPG. The combat elements are familiar to anyone who has played other games in the MMORPG...

Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves Atari 8-bit Front Cover

Apple II (1982), Atari 8-bit (1981), PC-88 (1985) and FM-7 (1985)

Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves is an overhead dungeon crawler with strong RPG elements that sends you on a...

PC-88 (1989), PC-98 (1989) and Sharp X68000 (1989)

The plot of this game is very simple: there is a big Expo in Japan, and the protagonist - working...

PC-88 (1989), PC-98 (1989) and Sharp X68000 (1989)

As the name implies, this is the continuation of Alice-tachi no Gogo Vol. 1. The two volumes were released as...

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