role-playing game (RPG) is a game in which each participant assumes the role of a character, generally in a fantasy or science fiction setting that can interact within the game’s imaginary world. Players take responsibility for acting out these roles within a narrative, either through literal acting, structured decision-making, or character development.

The first commercially available role-playing game, Dungeons & Dragons (D&D), was published in 1974 by Gygax’s TSR. TSR marketed the game as a niche product. Gygax expected to sell about 50,000 copies. After establishing itself in boutique stores, it developed a cult following among college students and science fiction fandom.

The earliest RPG designed for console gaming was Dragonstomper for the Atari 2600 in 1982. The game laid the foundation for the tactical role-playing game genre, or “simulation RPG” as it is known in Japan. It was also an early example of a real-time, action role-play-ing game.




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Todd Friedman Todd Friedman (375 Posts)

Todd Friedman is currently a writer for Old School Gamer Magazine and the Walter Day Trading Card Collection. He is the author of 2 books and has co-promoted the Video Game Summit for the last 15 years. Todd is also a board member of the International Video Game Hall of Fame.