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The Legendary Zoltan

How to define what games are RPGs

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As another user said, RPGs are typically focused on narrative reflection where you put yourself in the characters' shoes. As a gamer who views himself as an academic, I tend to like genres, mostly RPGs, where you get a tiny amount of personal development in return for playing for hours and hours.

For example, there's a great scene in one of my favorite games (not gonna say which one due to spoilers) where the supporting heroine is killed by the villain, and the hero can't really do anything about it. It's quite anti-Hollywood. At first the character, and thus the player, is sad because you have build a (romantic) relationship with her, but you quickly learn to get over your grief and continue your quest - just like if something bad or similar happens in real life. I love when games can educate oneself in such a way, and it's almost only RPGs that can do such a thing because you get so attached to the characters, not only by leveling up, but also because of the storylines that are generally long and thought-provoking in RPGs and often so good that you read analyzes about them online.

Planescape Torment is a good example too of how a game can inspire your thinking about your own world.

P.S. Greetings from Denmark;-)

Yeah Planescape Torment was almost like an interactive book. That was one helluva story that I wish other companies would try to emulate. And I agree, there should be some character development, but still, I consider my snes "rpgs" to be rpgs :P

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OK. Thanks a lot everyone. After reading what has been said so far, I've decided a few things.

1. There must be a certain degree of a storyline.

2. You must become more powerful through battling in some way other than just getting items or money.

3. Progress should be made through events rather than through obtaining items.

4. Must have locations as opposed to levels or stages.

Do all of these seem like good criteria to you? I haven't tested them against the RPG list I made but right off the bat, Alundra and Symphony of the night will be eliminated but Brave Fencer Musashi will be allowed to stay.

For all I know Call of Duty could be satisfying these requirements, hahaha.

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