WHAT DOES IT MEAN FOR A GAME TO BE AN RPG?

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I thought there was a topic like this one, but I couldn't find it.

I tried looking for a definition for the term rpg, but the definitions I found would class many games an rpg even though their not. What do you guys/girls think a role playing game is? What must it have to be an rpg? What distinguishes an rpg from any other game?
Wikipedia is not a valid source of information. Try again.
UPRC
Exciting, but ultimately pointless.
7380
To me, RPGs are all about intriguing stories, vast worlds to explore, and a neverending quest to find ways to make your character(s) stronger and stronger until, well, they're essentially unstoppable.
Well, I just refer to those games as adventure games, mainly because Role Playing Game has the potential to be plastered on "any" game, whether it has numerical performance statistics or not. Easy way out? Probably, but I'm standing by it since Wikipedia isn't a "good enough" source for "valid info"/
any game where you go on an adventure could be an adventure game
hey guys remember "super mario rpg"? haha how redundant am i right, because like you always play the role of mario am i right
I do not buy the argument that you play the role of Mario. The definition I found is in line of "...acting out or performance of a particular role..." and I don't call pressing a button to jump as acting out or performing. Going a step further, I do not think you're playing the role of Cloud in FF VII either, the game itself does the majority of acting out and performing. Even ignoring dictionaries, my impression of role playing is that you need to do the role playing, not just direct the character to a trigger where then the game will act out the character's personality.

However, video RPGs have never been about role playing. Personally, I identify elements common in most RPGs as RPG elements. The more RPG elements a game has, the more likely I am to identify it as an RPG. I do some exception, like I don't identify "medieval setting" as an RPG element despite it being present in most RPGs. Otherwise, this is basically it.
LockeZ
I'd really like to get rid of LockeZ. His play style is way too unpredictable. He's always like this too. If he ran a country, he'd just kill and imprison people at random until crime stopped.
6138
Wikipedia's simple definition is "games that play like D&D" which is a great definition. But its explanation of what that means is, like, ten pages. How awful. OK then, LockeZ to the rescue.

Major defining features of an RPG include:

- The ability for characters to become more powerful through combat experience or through repetition of already-mastered tasks

- A heavy emphasis on numerical representation of strength, and an expectation for the player to master their understanding of these numbers to maximize their potential

- Menu-driven combat, where abilities are selected from a list and effectiveness is not dependant on the player's reflexes, timing or speed



Features which are not really defining of the genre but still very important include:

- The ability to customize the abilities, and often the appearance and personality, of your character(s)

- Complex, tactically driven combat

- A heavy emphasis on the game's story


These days, RPG is like a sauce that you mix into your game recipe. You take an RTS game or an FPS game or a puzzle game as your base dish, and you blend some RPG in, to taste. Not too much, lest it become bitter (though some actually prefer the harder taste of a straight RPG, in the same way that some prefer straight whiskey to mixed drinks). As a result of this, and also as a result of the fact that none of the above parts of the definition are mutually exclusive with any other genre, naturally the genre distinction becomes extremely blurred.
This is one of my favourite websites for addressing such questions. --> http://gamestudies.org
To me RPGs are about a couple of things.

1) Choice & Consequence
In order to "play a role" a player has to be able to make decisions and those decisions need to have consequences in the world. That is the game shouldn't be completely linear with no choice whatsoever and the game shouldn't be a complete sandbox with no consequence whatsoever.

2) Player skill vs Character Skill
Another important aspect of "playing a role" is taking on the attributes of said role. So instead of relying on the player to be awesome at things the game relies on the character knowing certain things and putting them to use. The simplest way to do this is usually by experience points and leveling up. Making the characters stronger and "easier to use". But other examples are also using "to hit" rolls when attacking and similar things.


Obviously a game can have different amounts of these elements in it. But they're the most important things for a game to be an RPG. I think I had a third point but I've forgotten it.

edit:
author=Blitzen
This is one of my favourite websites for addressing such questions. --> http://gamestudies.org
I guess you could have linked to a relevant article on that site. Not that the articles on that site aren't interesting but... you know... not all of them are relevant.
author=LockeZ
Major defining features of an RPG include:
- Menu-driven combat, where abilities are selected from a list and effectiveness is not dependant on the player's reflexes, timing or speed


No. Many western RPG's have not tended that way: Baulders Gate, Fallout 3, Elder Scrolls, Mass Effect, Dungeon Siege, Diablo, Neverwinter Nights, Torchlight, Titan Quest, (Guild Wars, Everquest, WoW) etc...

Even European games like Drakensang, The Witcher, Two Worlds, and Gothic, etc.

Some Japanese games: like SoM or to a lesser extent LoZ.
author=McBick
Wikipedia is not a valid source of information. Try again.


What's your point. RMN is not a valid source of information either.
LockeZ
I'd really like to get rid of LockeZ. His play style is way too unpredictable. He's always like this too. If he ran a country, he'd just kill and imprison people at random until crime stopped.
6138
author=Radnen
author=LockeZ
Menu-driven combat, where abilities are selected from a list and effectiveness is not dependant on the player's reflexes, timing or speed
No. Many western RPG's have not tended that way: Baulders Gate, Fallout 3, Elder Scrolls, Mass Effect, Dungeon Siege, Diablo, Neverwinter Nights, Torchlight, Titan Quest, (Guild Wars, Everquest, WoW) etc...

Even European games like Drakensang, The Witcher, Two Worlds, and Gothic, etc.

Some Japanese games: like SoM or to a lesser extent LoZ.

I stand by my assertion: gameplay that does not require reflexes, coordination or timing is a cornerstone of the classical RPG definition. This is why Super Mario RPG was considered an experimental adventure-RPG hybrid, and Secret of Mana is literally the definition of an action RPG. Everything you just named either is a genre hybrid, or allows you to pause the game and choose abilities from a list and thus qualifies under my definition. (Except for Zelda, which is a pure adventure game with no RPG elements.)

Yes, this means MMORPGs are not 100% pure RPGs. But you knew that, right? I mean, they're online, that alone makes them a different genre. Action RPGs aren't pure RPGs either. That's why they're called action RPGs and MMORPGs instead of just being called RPGs.

And like I said, RPG is a flavoring, it's not even really a genre any more. You can hardly find commercial games that are pure RPGs in the past five years. I can name two RPGs for the Wii, PS3 and 360 combined, and they both have Fallout in the name. DS RPGs are more common, but even they are all just endless streams of identical SMT/Pokemon/Etrian sequels, which only get developed because they require no effort or budget. Meanwhile, most games of almost all genres now have RPG elements stewed into them.
Magi
Resident Terrapin
1028
author=Strangeluv
author=McBick
Wikipedia is not a valid source of information. Try again.
What's your point. RMN is not a valid source of information either.

ahaha lol
tardis
is it too late for ironhide facepalm
308
author=Strangeluv
author=McBick
Wikipedia is not a valid source of information. Try again.
What's your point. RMN is not a valid source of information either.


post of the year
author=LockeZ
And like I said, RPG is a flavoring, it's not even really a genre any more. You can hardly find commercial games that are pure RPGs in the past five years. I can name two RPGs for the Wii, PS3 and 360 combined, and they both have Fallout in the name.

I don't know. By your strictest definition even with VATS you're still circlestrafing a fair amount.
author=Strangeluv
author=McBick
Wikipedia is not a valid source of information. Try again.
What's your point. RMN is not a valid source of information either.
He was trying to give me a definition of rpg from an invalid source, so I told him to find a different source. I don't know how you got the idea I thought rmn was a valid source of information since I didn't mention rmn. If your talking about my topic, well it's a discussion of what people think rpg means.
kentona
Your mom is a hero
20851
You didn't need to mention RMN, since you are polling RMN for a valid answer by posting this thread. :\

Anywho, the defining characteristics of RPGs tend to be numberz, a focus on character/avatar skill (vs. the player's skill or reflexes or whatever), quests/story, and tactical combat.
LockeZ
I'd really like to get rid of LockeZ. His play style is way too unpredictable. He's always like this too. If he ran a country, he'd just kill and imprison people at random until crime stopped.
6138
author=Shinan
I don't know. By your strictest definition even with VATS you're still circlestrafing a fair amount.

Heh, I was giving it the benefit of the doubt since I only played for five or six hours and barely got past the first town, and had only just discovered that you could pause in battle before my Xbox 360 was stolen.
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