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What is an RPG?

MasterChiefMasterChief I didn't learn anything!Full Members
edited October 2006 in Role Playing Games
This discussion over here has got me thinking. We've talked about what should be covered on the site and what shouldn't, what the different types of RPGs are, and how RPG development differs from East to West. However, at the most basic and fundamental levels, what is an RPG? Is it an experience system? A Mideval setting? Magic systems? What do you guys think?



[SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
"What the f--- is a Shakespeare?"
-Rico Valasquez, showing off why no one likes him.

Comments

  • OmbresOmbres Games horder Full Members
    edited October 2006
    well the big question there... well for sure is not about the setting. It not about the experience system either.

    A pure RPG, is a game that you play... errr duh! It more a story where you control the main character in is path to discover new part of world and follow the plot. In a pure rpg, you do not need to be fast or agile to complete, it more a strategic fight, where you give order and the character do the action.

    If you control the part when the character fight directly, it more a hybrid rpg with action.
    If you play all you character like in a chess game, it not a pure rpg, it a strategy/rpg

    Game like Zelda, have always been to me an adventure game, not a rgp, it still a fun, but it is not a rpg in my book.

    So it is how I see what a rpg is!
    Always enjoy all the experience in life, you might gain a level or two.
    sig.gif
  • SolonSolon Member Full Members
    edited October 2006
    Lasciate ogni speranza, voi ch'entrate.
  • BewoulfBewoulf Member Full Members
    edited October 2006
    Now see I disagree on the Zelda part. I used to think an RPG was only a game with the number thing going on. But then I slowly started to include the "Adventure" part. I'm sure people thought RPGs were Adventure games at some point. What do you do? Go on an adventure. Very few RPGs aren't going on an adventure.

    It's difficult to include Action and RPG into a hybrid series. Every RPG should have a bit of action into it. What is action? Explosions, and adrenaline pumping chases to put it basically. Look at the videos of FFXII on IGN and you'll see all of those elements (I think I saw an Airship chase, or atleast airships fighting).

    When you think of the words "Role Playing game" you think it is YOU playing the role of the character. If this was the only thing to classify an RPG the only RPGs would be MMORPGs and those non-linear RPGs like Oblivion. I don't know about you, but I'm not role playing in many RPGs. I'm watching characters play out a pre-destined story created by some developers.

    To me, an RPG will always be easy to identify by looking at a game or how it plays. But it will always be difficult to clarify why that game is an RPG. It's just... when you see it in action you know. That's an RPG.
  • ExodusExodus Member Full Members
    edited October 2006
    <div>
    (Solon @ Oct. 13 2006,13:07)</div><div class="QUOTEHEAD">QUOTE</div><div class="QUOTE">Quick answer.</div>
    Heh, somebody likes Planescape.
  • Datguy86Datguy86 Member Full Members
    edited October 2006
    If the game has a system in place that is a reflection of what is considered to be the core aspects of the original RPG (Let's say D&D's stat based level progression as an example), then it should be considered an RPG.

    Instead of asking "is this game an RPG?" ask "what does this game have in common with the original RPG?"
  • Gouden DraakGouden Draak Member Full Members
    edited October 2006
    <div>
    (Bewoulf @ Oct. 13 2006,14:33)</div><div class="QUOTEHEAD">QUOTE</div><div class="QUOTE">When you think of the words "Role Playing game" you think it is YOU playing the role of the character. ?If this was the only thing to classify an RPG the only RPGs would be MMORPGs and those non-linear RPGs like Oblivion. ?I don't know about you, but I'm not role playing in many RPGs. ?I'm watching characters play out a pre-destined story created by some developers.</div>
    Problem is, that games we call RPGs are no longer "Role Playing Games." We don`t play as the lead in FF7, we watch Cloud play it instead. Thus, is FF7 not an RPG?

    I simply cannot think of a definition that covers both easter-style and western-style RPGs, save that some form of levelling up must be in the game. This includes hybrids like Parasite Eve, Okami and even FF:Dirge.

    Western style RPGs tend to be more "role-playing." The character "you" often does not have a preset story or characterization. Your actions determine the character. Action tends to have more importance than a story. Examples I have played on the PS2 include Baldur`s Gate, Champions of Norrath.

    Eastern style RPGs tend to have lead characters, but those leads are not you. They have their own personalities and you watch these characters. Even so-called mute characters often have a distinctive character, like Crono, Serph or the Suikoden leads. They do not lend themselves to pretending to be the character. The story tends to be a major selling point, with words like "epic" frequently used.

    Eastern style tended to be more menu-driven while Western was hack n slash, but this line is blurring with the popularity of action RPGs at present (Star Ocean, Kingdom Hearts, Rogue Galaxy).
  • PhatosePhatose Member Full Members
    edited October 2006
    RPG is by this point little more then a broad catergory that encompasses all games similiar enough to their predecessors who were catergorized because of the elements they borrowed from Pen and Paper RPGs. Attempting to get a solid definition or even a list of must have attributes is a waste of time, as those things don't exist.

    If a game has more in common with other games recognized as RPGs then it has with any other genre, it's an RPG.
  • MasterChiefMasterChief I didn't learn anything! Full Members
    edited October 2006
    <div>
    (Phatose @ Oct. 13 2006,18:15)</div><div class="QUOTEHEAD">QUOTE</div><div class="QUOTE">RPG is by this point little more then a broad catergory that encompasses all games similiar enough to their predecessors who were catergorized because of the elements they borrowed from Pen and Paper RPGs. Attempting to get a solid definition or even a list of must have attributes is a waste of time, as those things don't exist.

    If a game has more in common with other games recognized as RPGs then it has with any other genre, it's an RPG.</div>
    The problem with that, Phatose, is that "RPG" becomes less of an actual genre and more of a stupid marketing term. Think about it, every other genre/subgenre has a fundamental thing defining it.

    shoot-em-up - You go around shooting things.
    beat-em-up - You go around beating the crap out of things.
    fighting/wrestling - Mano a mano, last man standing in a fight.
    first-person shooter - Shooting in the first person perspective.
    adventure - a prolonged quest, or adventure.
    action-adventure - an adventure game with action elements.
    stealth action - sneaking around and trying not to be seen.

    So that leaves the point, what is an RPG? The problem, at least with a lot of people here, myself included, is that we've called games like Final Fantasy RPGs for so long that we've never really questioned whether they actually are RPGs at all. The question then becomes "how can we call them RPGs when, in reality, there's no RPing to speak of." Hell, is an RPG in the original sense of the term (as defined by early pen&paper RPGs) even possible in a video game?
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
    "What the f--- is a Shakespeare?"
    -Rico Valasquez, showing off why no one likes him.
  • Gouden DraakGouden Draak Member Full Members
    edited October 2006
    Perhaps "Adventure" and "RPG" should simply merge then. RPGs as we understand them are also prolonged quests or adventures. And what with the action RPGs these days, the line between Adventure and RPG has blurred anyways.

    Perhaps Final Fantasy, SMT, Star Ocean, Xenosaga, etc should all be adventure games. And games that more directly evolved from the pen-and-paper RPGs such as Baldur's Gate and Magic should be a sub-class of the adventure genre called RPGs.

    Course, now we gotta change the name of the site to Adventuregamer or something :!!!:



  • SolonSolon Member Full Members
    edited October 2006
    <div>
    (Exodus @ Oct. 14 2006,00:14)</div><div class="QUOTEHEAD">QUOTE</div><div class="QUOTE"><div>
    (Solon @ Oct. 13 2006,13:07)</div><div class="QUOTEHEAD">QUOTE</div><div class="QUOTE">Quick answer.</div>
    Heh, somebody likes Planescape.</div>
    A lot of people like Planescape: Torment. In fact, I've been hard pressed to find someone who doesn't, granted they gave it a decent attempt. The problem is that so few actually played it, due to ridiculous marketing.
    Lasciate ogni speranza, voi ch'entrate.
  • ExodusExodus Member Full Members
    edited October 2006
    I hear ya. My only complaint was the resolution, but that's more of a technology issue.
  • Daemon SadiDaemon Sadi Member Full Members
    edited October 2006
    <div></div><div class="QUOTEHEAD">QUOTE</div><div class="QUOTE">Perhaps "Adventure" and "RPG" should simply merge then. RPGs as we understand them are also prolonged quests or adventures. And what with the action RPGs these days, the line between Adventure and RPG has blurred anyways.

    Perhaps Final Fantasy, SMT, Star Ocean, Xenosaga, etc should all be adventure games. And games that more directly evolved from the pen-and-paper RPGs such as Baldur's Gate and Magic should be a sub-class of the adventure genre called RPGs.

    Course, now we gotta change the name of the site to Adventuregamer or something</div>

    No no, the people referring to the pen and paper aspect have the right idea. What makes the game an RPG is that it still has the D&D style system somewhere at it's core. JRPGs are very different than most Western RPGs but they still have the D&D style system being worked in.

    Adventure games like Okami and Zelda do not have this and thus, are not RPGs. You can't tell me that when you play an adventure game and then an RPG that you can't feel a world of difference... well... maybe if you're crazy....
  • Born LuckyBorn Lucky New Member Full Members
    edited October 2006
    <div></div><div class="QUOTEHEAD">QUOTE</div><div class="QUOTE">No no, the people referring to the pen and paper aspect have the right idea. ?What makes the game an RPG is that it still has the D&D style system somewhere at it's core. ?JRPGs are very different than most Western RPGs but they still have the D&D style system being worked in.</div>

    That's exactly it. I used to play paper and pencil D&D a long time ago, and I consider anything with the basic principles to be an RPG. There's no way you could play a console or even PC RPG that retained all the aspects of the original concept, so developers have to pick what to keep and what to leave out.

    Western developers tend to focus on the harsher aspects of D&D, while the Japanese (usually) focus more on storytelling and creating a bond with the characters. I like both styles.
  • MasterChiefMasterChief I didn't learn anything! Full Members
    edited October 2006
    <div>
    (Solon @ Oct. 14 2006,04:43)</div><div class="QUOTEHEAD">QUOTE</div><div class="QUOTE"><div>
    (Exodus @ Oct. 14 2006,00:14)</div><div class="QUOTEHEAD">QUOTE</div><div class="QUOTE"><div>
    (Solon @ Oct. 13 2006,13:07)</div><div class="QUOTEHEAD">QUOTE</div><div class="QUOTE">Quick answer.</div>
    Heh, somebody likes Planescape.</div>
    A lot of people like Planescape: Torment. In fact, I've been hard pressed to find someone who doesn't, granted they gave it a decent attempt. The problem is that so few actually played it, due to ridiculous marketing.</div>
    That was published by Interplay if I remember correctly... Damn shame. The cult appeal makes it a prime candidate for the digital distribution scene. Everything I've heard about it makes me wanna try it, but I don't know if it'd even run on my WinXP box.

    And I don't mean a game would actually have to use D&D's system (Obviously, there's copyright issues tounge2.gif ) but the sort of customization and personalization that D&D offers has to be somewhere there. Japanese RPGs are slowly getting better, at least the ones that don't stick to the DQ/FF formula, but they're definately more along the lines of the older PC adventure games, being better at story vehicles than gameplay mechanic.



    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
    "What the f--- is a Shakespeare?"
    -Rico Valasquez, showing off why no one likes him.
  • ExodusExodus Member Full Members
    edited October 2006
    Here's some interesting news on Planescape-ish info: http://www.roguedao.com/PlanescapeTrilogy.html
  • BewoulfBewoulf Member Full Members
    edited October 2006
    <div>
    (Gouden Draak @ Oct. 13 2006,15:49)</div><div class="QUOTEHEAD">QUOTE</div><div class="QUOTE"><div>
    (Bewoulf @ Oct. 13 2006,14:33)</div><div class="QUOTEHEAD">QUOTE</div><div class="QUOTE">When you think of the words "Role Playing game" you think it is YOU playing the role of the character. ?If this was the only thing to classify an RPG the only RPGs would be MMORPGs and those non-linear RPGs like Oblivion. ?I don't know about you, but I'm not role playing in many RPGs. ?I'm watching characters play out a pre-destined story created by some developers.</div>
    Problem is, that games we call RPGs are no longer "Role Playing Games." We don`t play as the lead in FF7, we watch Cloud play it instead. Thus, is FF7 not an RPG?

    I simply cannot think of a definition that covers both easter-style and western-style RPGs, save that some form of levelling up must be in the game. This includes hybrids like Parasite Eve, Okami and even FF:Dirge.

    Western style RPGs tend to be more "role-playing." The character "you" often does not have a preset story or characterization. Your actions determine the character. Action tends to have more importance than a story. Examples I have played on the PS2 include Baldur`s Gate, Champions of Norrath.

    Eastern style RPGs tend to have lead characters, but those leads are not you. They have their own personalities and you watch these characters. Even so-called mute characters often have a distinctive character, like Crono, Serph or the Suikoden leads. They do not lend themselves to pretending to be the character. The story tends to be a major selling point, with words like "epic" frequently used.

    Eastern style tended to be more menu-driven while Western was hack n slash, but this line is blurring with the popularity of action RPGs at present (Star Ocean, Kingdom Hearts, Rogue Galaxy).</div>
    Oh, no I agree. ?A game like FFVII isn't an RPG when you think about what a "Role playing game" is. ?That was the point I was trying to make. ?Those western RPGs where you actually pick your character and set out to do exactly as you want to do have their appeal. ?My brother tells me about Fable (he just got it) and I actually thought that sounded like fun. ?The world is yours to explore.

    Honestly... The West developed RPGs first. ?They were the Pen and Paper RPGs people played before Video games. ?The East though, took that formula and changed it. ?Does this mean they changed it so much that it no longer falls into that category, is the real question. ?Could it be that the whole number system of experience points, hit points, magic points, ability points, etc, are just something that the Japanese RPG pioneers decided was good for their game?

    The genre RPG has moved from being a game about you playing as a character to a game with a slower story. ?Atleast that's what I think. ?I still believe FF is an RPG. ?But when you think about the differences, it's so far from the pen and paper RPGs that you wonder if it's an RPG anymore.



  • PhatosePhatose Member Full Members
    edited October 2006
    <div>
    (MasterChief @ Oct. 13 2006,20:14)</div><div class="QUOTEHEAD">QUOTE</div><div class="QUOTE"><div>
    (Phatose @ Oct. 13 2006,18:15)</div><div class="QUOTEHEAD">QUOTE</div><div class="QUOTE">RPG is by this point little more then a broad catergory that encompasses all games similiar enough to their predecessors who were catergorized because of the elements they borrowed from Pen and Paper RPGs. Attempting to get a solid definition or even a list of must have attributes is a waste of time, as those things don't exist.

    If a game has more in common with other games recognized as RPGs then it has with any other genre, it's an RPG.</div>
    The problem with that, Phatose, is that "RPG" becomes less of an actual genre and more of a stupid marketing term. Think about it, every other genre/subgenre has a fundamental thing defining it.

    shoot-em-up - You go around shooting things.
    beat-em-up - You go around beating the crap out of things.
    fighting/wrestling - Mano a mano, last man standing in a fight.
    first-person shooter - Shooting in the first person perspective.
    adventure - a prolonged quest, or adventure.
    action-adventure - an adventure game with action elements.
    stealth action - sneaking around and trying not to be seen.

    So that leaves the point, what is an RPG? The problem, at least with a lot of people here, myself included, is that we've called games like Final Fantasy RPGs for so long that we've never really questioned whether they actually are RPGs at all. The question then becomes "how can we call them RPGs when, in reality, there's no RPing to speak of." Hell, is an RPG in the original sense of the term (as defined by early pen&paper RPGs) even possible in a video game?</div>
    The thing is, RPG IS a stupid marketing term, just like all other genre names. It exists solely for the purpose of broad catergorization so the marketing people will know who to aim for. And it works precisely because it's not based on any single element, but rather similarities to existing members of the genre. You can often make broad generalizations, because the marketing people aren't completely insane, but in the end hard and fast rules always end up with exceptions.


    Really, if you look at that list there, how many of the directly overlap? How many games really don't involve some form of adventure? Is an FPS not a shoot em up? Both of them involve shooting, and if that's the key then FPS is really a subgenre of shooters - yet, I'm guessing you'd protest (rightfully) if I said doom had a whole lot in common with gradius.

    Really, I suppose what I'm saying is that we can make all the rules we want, but in the end we'll just end up ignoring them and classifying any given game by best fit. Unless of course, the marketing guys decide we need a new genre, in which case marketing wins. (see: Survival horror)
  • knightofhyruleknightofhyrule Member Full Members
    edited October 2006
    Or "Survival-Horror RPG" (Dragon Quarter). And didn't they try to classify Parasite Eve as a "Cinematic RPG" or something back in the day? Let's not forget FPA (First-Person Adventure), the genre with only one series: Metroid Prime. If you call MP a FPS, fans (myself included) will jump you.

    Inventing sub-genres is fun.
  • BewoulfBewoulf Member Full Members
    edited October 2006
    <div>
    (knightofhyrule @ Oct. 15 2006,20:31)</div><div class="QUOTEHEAD">QUOTE</div><div class="QUOTE">Or "Survival-Horror RPG" (Dragon Quarter). ?And didn't they try to classify Parasite Eve as a "Cinematic RPG" or something back in the day? ?Let's not forget FPA (First-Person Adventure), the genre with only one series: Metroid Prime. ?If you call MP a FPS, fans (myself included) will jump you.

    Inventing sub-genres is fun.</div>
    Yes, I never though of Metroid Prime as a FPS. FPS are... when you think of Halo and Call of Duty, etc.. they run this way, kill that, go through this door, kill that... Mission complete! Metroid Prime was all over the place, with back track, and as much adventuring as a First Person view game where you shoot stuff can get.

    But Phatose brings up a lot of good points about marketing. They throw these games out in a genre so they know who they are trying to sell this game to. But I never considered Dragon Quarter a Survival horror RPG^^;; But you know, when you think about it it involves many of the same elements. Careful conservation of your resources, yet knowing what enemies you're gonna need to kill and which ones you need to run past. But really, that was a fundamental aspect of RPGs back when they were a real challenge.

    It's funny that they called Parasite eve a Cinematic RPG. They've all become a cinematic RPG lately (atleast SE's main RPGs). I always enjoyed watching some good FMVs during an RPG, but sometimes they get a little excessive. I can't really mention a game that did it terribly. Xenosaga had really long cut scenes and sometimes it was watching a cut scene >>> Running your character to a certain area >>> Watching more cut scenes that take a long time. But you know, as those cut scenes were almost always a treat to watch, I won't complain.
  • jknjkn Member Full Members
    edited October 2006
    RPG's have always been about story telling first. A good dm in a pen and paper game is weaving an on-going story arc - the players are fleshing that story out and filling in the details of events as they go. There's usually an overall story arc though - the major events that the dm will guide the players towards - and that overall story carries over into CRPG's (both west and east as far as I know).

    I'm a huge fan of the Elder Scrolls games - I love the huge openness - the ability to ignore the "story" or to approach it when I get around to it. The story is still there, and it influences the entire game. There are set quests to achieve a game 'win' if you follow that path. History is provided through conversations with characters and various books. This is also a very solitary game - you don't gather a team, and face the loss of members of your team as you go along...

    With the more eastern CRPG's - the set quest is a bit more solid, more locked in. There's more emphasis on going deeper into the one story. And more emphasis on a team of people working together, sacrifice, etc...

    RPG's in general tend to live in fantasy / sci-fi worlds - which is another reason I love them so much. They all tend to have some sort of a level system - although there are a number of different approaches to that. I think the goal of the leveling system is to have the sense of seeing your character(s) grow and develop over time.

    I'm not sure "adventure" is a great term to start using - as at least in marketing terms - it generally refers to first person puzzle solving type games (at least all the ones I've noticed). My wife and I love to play these games over the winter. ;-)
  • OmbresOmbres Games horder Full Members
    edited October 2006
    <div>
    (Bewoulf @ Oct. 13 2006,17:33)</div><div class="QUOTEHEAD">QUOTE</div><div class="QUOTE">Now see I disagree on the Zelda part. ?I used to think an RPG was only a game with the number thing going on. ?But then I slowly started to include the "Adventure" part. ?I'm sure people thought RPGs were Adventure games at some point. ?What do you do? ?Go on an adventure. ?Very few RPGs aren't going on an adventure.

    It's difficult to include Action and RPG into a hybrid series. ?Every RPG should have a bit of action into it. ?What is action? ?Explosions, and adrenaline pumping chases to put it basically. ?Look at the videos of FFXII on IGN and you'll see all of those elements (I think I saw an Airship chase, or atleast airships fighting). ?

    When you think of the words "Role Playing game" you think it is YOU playing the role of the character. ?If this was the only thing to classify an RPG the only RPGs would be MMORPGs and those non-linear RPGs like Oblivion. ?I don't know about you, but I'm not role playing in many RPGs. ?I'm watching characters play out a pre-destined story created by some developers.

    To me, an RPG will always be easy to identify by looking at a game or how it plays. ?But it will always be difficult to clarify why that game is an RPG. ?It's just... when you see it in action you know. ?That's an RPG.</div>
    Sure you can describe action everyway you can, but the "action" part I am talking about, is when you control your character directly, not giving him order and he execute them.


    On an other note sure, a true RPG is game like D&D, but in game you can never be as good as with Pen and paper, so that why the description I give at first is more a video game RPG.
    Always enjoy all the experience in life, you might gain a level or two.
    sig.gif
  • RavonoxRavonox New Member Full Members
    edited October 2006
    well im lazy but heres something to read and think about.

    <span style='font-size:14pt;line-height:100%'>Role playing games

    Console Role-playing game</span>
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