What Are Role Playing Games ?
A role-playing game (RPG) is a genre of video game where the gamer controls a fictional character (or characters) that undertakes a quest in an imaginary world.
Defining RPGs is very challenging due to the range of hybrid genres that have RPG elements.
Traditional role-playing video games shared five basic elements:
The ability to improve your character over the course of the game by increasing his statistics or levels.
A menu-based combat system with several choices of skills, spells, and active powers as well as an active inventory system with wearable equipment such as armors and weapon.
A central quest that runs throughout the game as a storyline and additional (and usually optional) side quests.
The ability to interact with elements of the environment or storyline through additional abilities (e.g. lockpicking, disarming traps, communication skills, etc.)
The existence of certain character classes that define the characteristics, skills, abilities, and spells of a character (e.g. wizard, thief, warrior, etc.)
Modern and hybrid RPGs do not necessarily have all of these elements, but usually feature one or two in combination with elements from another genre.
RPG video games originate from tabletop or pen-and-paper RPGs, such as Rolemaster or Dungeons & Dragons (D&D) — a type of game in which the players impersonate their characters by actively describing their actions and thoughts.
In video game RPGs, the part of the “game master” (who acts as both the narrator and the referee) is automated, and the computer’s artificial intelligence (AI) decides the actions of the various non-player characters (NPCs) and enemies.
The development of a central storyline used to be a fundamental part of old-school RPGs, but is not a requirement anymore in more modern games such as massively multiplayer online RPGs (MMORPGs).
Most RPGs are set in a fictional world with traditional fantasy or sci-fi elements that are incorporated into the game mechanics. For example: choosing a race such as dwarf or elf can affect the character’s in-game choices or modify his characteristics or spell-casting abilities.
In classic tabletop RPGs, a set of clear rules defined how characters could interact with the environment. Usually characters had to roll a die to determine whether their attempt at a certain action (such as striking an enemy or scaling a wall) was successful.
Video game RPGs started out very similar to paper-and-pen games, but the dices were substituted by automated rolls performed behind the screen. Combat was handled with interactive menus, and could occur either in a turn-based or real-time fashion.
Modern games, however, introduced many hybrid variants that significantly broadened the genre.
The most important sub-categories of the RPG genre are: