It could be argued that most any video game is a role-playing game; what are we doing when we grab a controller and settle in to session, after all, if not playing the role of a sniper, a race car driver or mushroom-stomping plumber? Yet throughout the ye

What makes things tricky is that while generalizing the specific criteria required in role-playing gaming, the borders of these classifications are hazy at best. Medieval fantasy settings are common, but role-playing examples are often set in a dystopian future, alien world or even contemporary environment.

Gameplay mechanics are no less helpful in establishing a solid criteria for classification. While turn-based combat largely reigns supreme, it isn’t uncommon to encounter examples that rely upon strategic movement systems or even action and jumping mechanics.

At one time, certain gaming elements such as character customization and the ability to level up with experience accumulated, were easy indicators of the role-playing experience. These days it isn’t uncommon to encounter these systems in everything from party games to shooters.

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Jason Russell Jason Russell (8 Posts)

Jason Russell has been working in video game journalism since the early 1990s before the internet existed, the term "fanzine" had meaning and sailors still debated as to whether or not the earth was flat. More recently he has been the guy responsible for Thunderbolt Games' Under the Radar column as well as scribes for Game Skinny on a plethora of video game topics. He's somehow managed to author nine novels, writes and runs the blog CG Movie Review in his spare time. And sometimes, when the planets align and the caffeine has fully left his system, it's rumored he sleeps.