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

Posts

Don't be such a purist Locke, we're not defining a word to enter it in a dictionary, we're talking about a game genre, that has varied a lot since it appeared, so use common traits to define it, is perfectly okay.
Besides, there's really really not many elements that are in ALL rpg's. So far there has not been a single one mentioned that hasn't been rejected by another example.
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
If you start a thread whose only goal is to define a term

you can't

call people "purist" and bash them just for trying to define the term

&@$%

brain hurts
"bash"? I hardly think that just disagreeing with you is bashing.
I understand your position, but I'm just saying that in this case, seeing as mostly all aspects of RPG's mentioned in the topic aren't obligatory to the genre, in order to find a working definition we can use some of the most usual elements used in that genre, that's all.
author=LockeZ
As an aside, something that's "common" or even "extremely common" in a genre is absolutely not part of the definition. By definition of the word definition, for something to be part of the definition of an RPG, it has to be in every RPG. This whole thread is a semantic argument, so at least get your semantics right, guys.

Wrong. If its common within a genre it is part of the genre by the definition of the word genre. I think what you meant to say is if its common through all genres, then it can't be pinned on one genre. If its common in a genre its part of that genre, thus the commonality.

I think what I had listed a couple posts prior includes something every RPG game has that no other genres share twice of. To reiterate:

- A currency of some kind.
- At least one playable character with stats that must evolve (even if its one stat).
- An inventory of some kind or form.
- Battles of some kind or form.
- Interactive NPC's (not like the kind in shooters, these guys need A-button initialization).
- Some form of exploration.
- Some form of quests, missions, goals, objectives. (Read: Not necessarily "story").

You can see a quality can be shared in adventure games, or action games but not all of them at the same time. An RPG will have all of these at the same time.
RPGs do not need currency, battles, or quests (short of the primary storyline)

As I have stated previously, an RPG is defined by what is accomplished in the Menu. Inventory management, Character Upgrading/Customization, Party Management, etc.

All other features of an RPG can be found through-out many other genres.
author=prexus
RPGs do not need currency, battles, or quests (short of the primary storyline)

But name one that doesn't. We aren't talking hypotheticals here. These qualities, while indeed are the very most common, have to still be distinguishable, otherwise without them we've trailed a little further off the complex path that is an RPG game.

If you do manage to find one game, the exception doesn't disprove the rule. For every one game you could find I have 30 waiting.
author=Radnen
I pose a challenge for you to refute my opinion.

...but in the event that you managed to succeed, my opinion still stands.

Paraphrasing, of course.

Your list of RPG Elements are all too specific to be defining.
It would be like saying all RPGs need to have HP. While its true that almost all RPGs have some sort of health meter, HP is a specific type that isn't necessary present in all RPGs (not that all RPGs even have health meters this is an example not an opinion on the definition.)

I don't know if you missed my post (twice) Radnen, but my opinion on the RPG Genre is outlined below:

author=prexus
RPG is a flavor, not a genre. The primary elements of an RPG can be seen applied to any genre. The classic console 'RPG', such as Dragon Warrior and Final Fantasy had two or three key areas of gameplay.

Combat, which was a form of Turn Based Strategy (and later to become Real Time Strategy or Action Style.)

Out of Combat, which in the earliest genres were highly based on exploration and puzzles, and later added dialogue simulation and mini-games.

and Character Management, which is the defining feature of an RPG because it wasn't something really seen in video gaming yet. Inventory management, party management, character advancement, etc. The Menu Stuff.

RPG has never really been a genre, but a hybrid of genres. Yet the common element, which was drawn from Table Top RPGs (the purest form of RPG) was consistent enough to be able to label games that were hard to label.

The reason the discussion of "What is an RPG?" comes up so often in recent years, as opposed to "What is an adventure game?" or "What is a simulation game?" is because of this. Developers realized that the element of RPGs that was common throughout, was easily applied to any genre. Racing games with car improvement and customization. Shooters with leveling up and customizable load-outs. It is a flavor, much like Ketchup or Maple Syrup. It's not really a meal on its own (unless you are Canadian) but can be added to almost any meal to make it even more delicious.

The other key feature that RPGs had that not many other games did when it was first released was a Story. But that doesn't make it a defining feature. Story itself is a flavor, and not related to game-play except in dialogue related situations. Mario had a story, not a good one, but a story. Pac-man didn't. Mario isn't any more an RPG than Pac-man is (that is to say, neither of them are) but one had a story and one didn't. It is a common element through-out most RPGs, but not an element of RPGs.

To further refute your point, however, Radnen.

Taking your list:
- A currency of some kind.
- At least one playable character with stats that must evolve (even if its one stat).
- An inventory of some kind or form.
- Battles of some kind or form.
- Interactive NPC's (not like the kind in shooters, these guys need A-button initialization).
- Some form of exploration.
- Some form of quests, missions, goals, objectives. (Read: Not necessarily "story").

and applying it to a game that is well known for not being an RPG; The Legend of Zelda.

- Rupees
- Link (Hearts)
- Bombs/Arrows/Tools
- er, Combat.
- It's Dangerous to Go Alone, take this!
- er, a Zelda game.
- POE SOULS PLZKTHX

Yet it's not an RPG. Why isn't it an RPG?

It's not an RPG because it is missing the majority of The Menu Stuff.
Character advancement is too simple, and simply a measure of how far you have progressed in the game. It does not represent Link's increased ability.
Inventory Management is reduced to how many bombs or arrows you have, what items are on what hotkeys, and what tunic you are wearing. This is the closest thing to an RPG that Legend of Zelda has.
Ability/Skill Management doesn't exist.
Party Management doesn't exist (while not necessary in all RPGs, it is present in a vast majority of them. It is a considerably 'out there' feature for a classic RPG not to have a party of some sort.)

Legend of Zelda can be played almost entirely without the menu, short of switching some hot keys. It isn't an RPG, yet it fits your criteria.
author=prexus
Legend of Zelda can be played almost entirely without the menu, short of switching some hot keys. It isn't an RPG, yet it fits your criteria.

Legend of Zelda is, and always has been classified as a Action Rpg, never as a Arcade beat them up. If something has the element of playing a role and grants certain flags that resemble the classic paper rpgs, it can be safely classified as a rpg.
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
Legend of Zelda is an action-adventure game.

It is the reason the action-adventure genre exists. It is the definitive game in that genre. You cannot possibly call it any genre other than the genre that was literally invented to accomodate it.
author=LockeZ
Legend of Zelda is an action-adventure game.

It is the reason the action-adventure genre exists. It is the definitive game in that genre. You cannot possibly call it any genre other than the genre that was literally invented to accommodate it.

No, it still is a Action Rpg due to its system. Besides that, "Adventure", the game that all adventure games were based on anyways is really just a predecessor of the modern rpg, thus allowing it to be an rpg.
I actually consider Zelda games fairly simplified RPG's. So besides that I can see why some people would want to think my definition is not wholly applicable.

That is to say, Zelda games have been weak RPG's but stronger Action Adventures games. So with all intents and purposes it is an RPG, but not called by it formally since other attributes are stronger because it also is (keyword: also) an action adventure game. Charizard is fire type but also flying, so in essence he is also flying, but identified as fire. You know what ... Define "is". :/

But the point here is really what you think it means. I stand by my definition, you stand by yours.

Its why this thread exists in the first place. ;)

RPG's I have come to know have a sort of identity crisis at times. I have said this before and I'll say it again, RPG's have traditionally been the odd one out. When other genres don't quite match, here comes mister RPG lumbering about.
Thiamor
I assure you I'm no where NEAR as STUPID as one might think.
63
I've always considered Zelda RPG. From the NES when it started, and up.
kentona
Your mom is a hero
20851
Zelda games are action-adventure games. The character management isn't enough to warrant the RPG label, and the game relies heavily on player skill/twitch/reaction times/reflexes and not the character's abilities to decide the outcome of the game.
RPG = HAS A SWORD

obviously.
Technically you need to play a character in an RPG. However people think it involves stats and leveling up.
kentona
Your mom is a hero
20851
Granted, "Every Game Ever Made is an RPG" isn't a very useful criterion for defining a genre.
I think RPGs are games where you have the choice todo something, and there is no real wrong answer, acting out how you think the character would. Like in pokemon,there are quizes in the game, but for all I know most of the time the prize isn't really worth it! So if you were him, what would you do? Get the prize, or continue on? And, you got to think real here even if it's not.
It also needs problem solving,character being governed by statistics, and a bad/good ending.
Versalia
must be all that rtp in your diet
1405
author=ShortStar
Technically you need to play a character in an RPG. However people think it involves stats and leveling up.

I feel like this discussion happens once a week and never has anything new added to it. This post is pretty much the epitome of how I feel about what the conversation turns into after talking endlessly in loops about definitions of words: "I have opinions"

How does this topic help us design better games? :(

author=Cray
Besides, there's really really not many elements that are in ALL rpg's. So far there has not been a single one mentioned that hasn't been rejected by another example.

^ Quite correct. Endless conversation loops
kentona
Your mom is a hero
20851
An introspective look at the genre we are trying to develop will increase our understanding of its core elements and hopefully that translates into deeper consideration for the designs choices we make when we create our games.