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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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Dragon Quest VIII: Journey of the Cursed King PlayStation 2 Front Cover

PlayStation 2 (2004), iPhone (2014), Android (2014) and iPad (2014)

The court jester Dhoulmagus of the kingdom of Trodain stole a powerful magical scepter sealed beneath the royal castle. Using...

Dragon Quest VI: Maboroshi no Daichi SNES Front Cover

SNES (1995)

You and two of your friends decide to attack the Archenemy - the evil Mudo - in his castle. But...

Dragon Quest VI: Realms of Revelation Nintendo DS Front Cover

Nintendo DS (2010)

A remake of the Super Famicom role-playing game, Dragon Quest VI: Realms of Revelation is based on the same engine...

Dragon Quest V: Tenkū no Hanayome SNES Front Cover

SNES (1992)

The hero of this game is the son of a brave warrior named Papas. It appears that his mother died...

Dragon Quest V: Tenkū no Hanayome PlayStation 2 Front Cover

PlayStation 2 (2004)

Dragon Quest V: Tenkū no Hanayome is a remake of the earlier game of the same name. It retains the...

Wii (2012) and Wii U (2013)

Upon witnessing the destruction of his village, the human hero must take the form of another race in the hope...

Dragon Quiz MSX Front Cover

MSX (1991)

Taking its name as pun on the Dragon Quest series, Dragon Quiz is a hybrid of a role-playing and a...

Windows (1996) and Macintosh (1996)

Set in the fantasy world of Elanthia, DragonRealms is a massively multiplayer text-based roleplaying game. Players can choose from eleven...

Dragon Riders: Chronicles of Pern Windows Front Cover

Windows (2001) and Dreamcast (2001)

The Dragon Riders of Pern have protected their world from the alien oppressor Thread, but now they have all gone...

Dragon's Crown PlayStation 3 Front Cover

PlayStation 3 (2013) and PS Vita (2013)

The Dragon's Crown is a legendary artifact that allows its bearer to control any dragon. The king of Hydeland has...

Dragon's Dogma Xbox 360 Front Cover

Xbox 360 (2012) and PlayStation 3 (2012)

Dragon's Dogma is an action RPG set in an open world fantasy universe. It is ruled by a giant dragon...

Dragon's Eye Atari 8-bit Front Cover

Apple II (1981), Atari 8-bit (1981) and Commodore PET/CBM (1981)

Dragon's Eye is a fantasy RPG in which you are cast as a valiant warrior tasked with saving the lands...

Dragon's Gate Windows Front Cover

Windows (1996)

This long-running online fantasy role-playing game started out in 1990 on GEnie (General Electric Network for Information Exchange) as a...

Game Boy (1990), MSX (1985), PC-88 (1984), Sharp X1 (1985), FM-7 (1984) and Epoch Super Cassette Vision (1986)

Dragon Slayer is commonly considered one of the progenitors of the action RPG genre. The premise is similar to Roguelikes:...

Game Boy (1992)

A spin-off from the successful Dragon Slayer series by Falcom, Dragon Slayer Gaiden casts you once again as the nameless...

Dragon Slayer: The Legend of Heroes TurboGrafx CD Front Cover

SNES (1992), Genesis (1994), TurboGrafx CD (1991), MSX (1990), PC-88 (1989), PC-98 (1990), FM Towns (1990) and Sharp X68000 (1993)

Dragon Slayer: The Legend of Heroes tells the story of a young prince named Selios. One day his old teacher...

Dragon Slayer: The Legend of Heroes II TurboGrafx CD Front Cover

SNES (1993), Genesis (1995), TurboGrafx CD (1992), PC-88 (1992), PC-98 (1992) and FM Towns (1993)

Years have passed since prince Selios, the hero of the first game, defeated the demon god Agunija in the ultimate...

Dragons of Flame DOS Front Cover

DOS (1989), Amiga (1989), NES (1992), Atari ST (1989), Commodore 64 (1990), ZX Spectrum (1990), Amstrad CPC (1990), PC-98 (1992) and FM Towns (1992)

Set in between the SSI's AD&D Dragonlance action games Heroes of the Lance and Shadow Sorcerer. This game follows the...

PC-98 (1992)

The setting of Dragon Sōseiki ("Dragon Genesis") is based on true historical evidence of a pre-Inca civilization in South America,...

Dragon's Prophet Windows Front Cover

Windows (2013)

Dragon's Prophet is set in Auratias, a world made by dragons. One of the most important happenings of the world's...

DragonStomper Atari 2600 Front Cover

Atari 2600 (1982)

Dragonstomper is notable for being the first role-playing game (RPG) released for a home console.Long ago, a Druid magician created...

DOS (1990)

A band of fearless dungeon crawlers must seek out The Dragon Sword and confront the dragon Oijngate. The Dragon Sword...

Dragon View SNES Front Cover

SNES (1994)

Many years ago, four brave warriors have reclaimed the magical Drakkhen tears for humanity, liberating it from the yoke of...

Dragon Warrior NES Front Cover

NES (1986) and MSX (1986)

Dragon Warrior is the first famous console RPG. You assume the role of a descendant of Erdrick, a brave warrior...

Dragon Warrior II NES Front Cover

NES (1987) and MSX (1988)

Dragon Warrior II is an early top-down RPG that expands and improves on its predecessor, Dragon Warrior. Taking the role...

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