User review spotlight: Carmageddon (DOS). Released in 1997.

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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The Chosen: Well of Souls Windows Front Cover

Windows (2006)

The Chosen: Well Of Souls is an action role-playing game (RPG) in a dark period of the 19th century. The...

The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian Nintendo DS Front Cover

Nintendo DS (2008)

While this game still features the story from the movie and novel, the gameplay is different from its console counterparts....

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe Nintendo DS Front Cover

Nintendo DS (2005)

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe for the Nintendo DS is an action adventure/RPG based...

The Chronicles of Spellborn (Premium Edition) Windows Front Cover

Windows (2008)

The Premium Edition includes: The Chronicles of Spellborn Three month of paid subscription time Art book with 152 pages Special...

The Chronicles of Spellborn Windows Front Cover

Windows (2008)

The Chronicles of Spellborn is an MMORPG set in the Deadspell Storm which is all that remains from the Ancestor...

Chrono Cross PlayStation Front Cover

PlayStation (1999), PSP (2011), PlayStation 3 (2011) and PS Vita (2012)

Serge is a young boy from a fishermen's village. One day, while strolling on the sea shore with his sweetheart,...

PlayStation (2000)

This Japan only re-release of Chrono Cross was part of the Square Millennium Collection, a collection of Square games packaged...

Chrono Trigger PlayStation Front Cover

PlayStation (1999), SNES (1995), Nintendo DS (2008), PSP (2011), PlayStation 3 (2011), Wii (2011), iPhone (2011), Android (2012) and PS Vita (2012)

A young man named Crono is about to enjoy a carefree day: he plans to go to the Millennial Fair,...

Chulip PlayStation 2 Front Cover

PlayStation 2 (2002) and PlayStation 3 (2012)

A young man and his father are the newest residents of Long Life Town, a strange little town with even...

CIMA: The Enemy Game Boy Advance Front Cover

Game Boy Advance (2003)

The CIMA aliens feed on humankind's hopes and dreams. They build elaborate mazes and trap people inside them as a...

Circuit's Edge DOS Front Cover

DOS (1990)

Marid Audran is a private investigator who has been out of luck (and money) for quite a while, being forced...

Commodore 64 (1984) and ZX Spectrum (1984)

You are a lone adventurer, trekking to the grim fort atop Craggen Rock in hopes to save the peaceful Vale...

ZX Spectrum (1985)

City of Death is a top-down RPG. The player controls a character named Swordbane. His objective is to find the...

City of Eternals Browser Front Cover

Browser (2009)

City of Eternals is a massively multiplayer online role playing game (MMORPG) with a vampire theme.In the game players take...

City of Heroes Windows Front Cover

Windows (2004)

City of Heroes is the first Massively Multiplayer Online Game (MMOG) that lets you step into the pages of a...

City of Heroes (Deluxe Edition) Windows Front Cover

Windows (2005)

City of Heroes allows its players to become crime-fighting superheroes in the fictional city of Paragon. The game's design is...

City of Heroes: Going Rogue Macintosh Front Cover

Windows (2010) and Macintosh (2010)

City of Heroes: Going Rogue is the second commercial expansion for the MMO City of Heroes. It allows players to...

City of Heroes (Good Versus Evil Edition) Windows Front Cover

Windows (2006)

Good vs. Evil Combined Edition includes both City of Heroes and City of Villains, including the expansion Issue 7: Destiny...

Macintosh (2009)

This special edition release is a compilation of NCSoft's earlier titles City Of Heroes and City of Villains, having been...

City of Villains Windows Front Cover

Windows (2005)

City of Villains is both the first expansion for City of Heroes, and a standalone game. In it, you can...

City of Villains (Collector's Edition) Windows Front Cover

Windows (2005)

Ever wanted to play the bad guy? Your time has come with the sequel to City of Heroes. In this...

PSP (2010)

Cladun: This is an RPG is a humorous action role-playing game. Gameplay mainly consists of fighting through levels (called "dungeons")...

Clans Windows Front Cover

Windows (1999)

Four Clans were living in harmony, until an evil demon appeared, attempting to sow discord between them. The elders, sorcerers,...

PSP (2008)

With the surprising apparition of the labyrinths, the whole world was changed. Many adventurers delved into these mazes, hunting for...

NES (1987)

Cleopatra no Mahō (Cleopatra's Magic Treasure) casts you as Daisuke Kusano, the son of an archaeologist. You had come to...

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