Rpg games

Role-Playing Games and… RPG

Role-playing games have been around for many years, long before home computers were a reality. The original form, the tabletop RPG, was a game played with pencil and paper in which players described the actions of their player characters, then relied on a rule book to decide the outcome. The game was as much a kind of group storytelling as it was a game. Nevertheless, it’s a form of gaming still very much alive today and one which still produces new forms, like the live-action roleplay, or LARP.

First, You Imitate

Early role-playing video games emerged in the seventies, developed on college mainframe computers out of text-based RPGs. They drew heavily from Dungeons & Dragons, the pen-and-paper roleplaying game. The influence of D&D can clearly be seen in most modern RPGs to this day, albeit often in a fantastically evolved form.

Going Rogue

By the turn of the decade, there were a handful of role-playing computer games available in America and the Western market, playable on the early home computers that were becoming available to families for the first time.

The release of Rogue in 1980 was a game-changer for the RPG genre. A dungeon crawler for Unix systems, Rogue introduced many features that have become mainstays of roleplaying games, and gave its name to a genre that is still popular to this day, the “Roguelike”—games that use chance elements to make every play-through unique for every player.

Ultima III, released just three years later, is the first clear example of the modern computer role-playing game. It took the party-based combat established in earlier games in the series and added a large, text-based story. It was a big development and opened the door to the huge, rich worlds you can play through in today’s role-playing games.


At the same time, the Japanese home computer game market was developing its own flavor of role-playing game. The early Japanese role-playing games, or “JRPGs”, generally benefited from better graphics and sound than their Western counterparts, and developed just as quickly, branching out into very early action RPG games such as 1984’s Dragon Slayer, a hack-and-slash dungeon crawler that has been a lasting influence on RPGs in the Eastern and Western markets.

JRPGs also introduced elements—such as the ‘random encounter’ combat system and changing environments—which are essential to many role-playing games today.

The Console Era

The genre came of age in the late 1980s, with the more capable graphics of the Super Nintendo and the Sega Genesis allowing for deeper characters, more detailed graphics and more involving gameplay.

The worldwide popularity of consoles also meant that it made sense for developers of role-playing video games to adapt them into other languages. Eastern and Western players could enjoy each other’s RPGs for the first time. This mixing of styles gave rise to many new ideas and mechanics which are still vital now—recruiting party members, pre-defined player characters, open-world settings and the mini-map, to name but a few.

Role-Playing Games Today

The RPG games of today can take many forms. From more action-orientated titles like The Legend of Zelda to turn-based, strategic Japanese RPGs like Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest, which release new versions every few years and sell globally in their millions.

There are also strong RPG elements to be found in many, perhaps most, action games. Whether it’s weapon customization or tracking how a player has behaved toward the hapless non-player characters of the game world, many mechanics that were developed in role-playing games are now borrowed for other genres.

The best thing about an RPG is that it’s a very versatile framework for storytelling. While the early games were mostly set in typical swords-and-sorcery universes, the flexibility of the genre has been pushed to its limits by game developers who have experimented with every setting imaginable—intergalactic space, the realms of myth and legend, even the golf course—if you can imagine it, there’s probably an RPG out there about it.

PC and console gamers of today are treated to hundreds of RPG game releases every year, with many of them (like the incredible Witcher series) containing enough content to last gamers hundreds of hours. Even action role-playing games can feature main quest lines that would take weeks to play through, often adding even more content with periodic DLCs (downloadable content drops).

What Makes an RPG

Although the role-playing video game now exists in an uncountable number of flavors and formats, they do share certain features, which distinguish them from other types of games.

In RPGs, you usually control a character, or team of characters, taking on quests and advancing your character and the story, as you explore a large and detailed world. Role-players feature complicated statistical tracking of player attributes and choices, to create a playing experience that differs widely from playthrough to playthrough.

Role-Playing Games on Gamepix

We have a wide selection of role-playing browser games here on Gamepix. As with all of our games, our RPG games are played in-browser, so you can play them on any device that has a web browser, with no downloads and no updates, completely free.

Whether you are in the mood for classic role-playing browser games or faster-paced action RPGs where your reflexes are as important as your choices, we have a great selection of games for you.


What are role-playing games?

A role-playing game, or RPG, is a game in which you control a character or team, following a story or quest, often with a lot of freedom in how you do it. Role-playing games emphasize player character advancement, with upgrades to abilities, power and appearance giving you a lot of choice in how you develop your character.

What role-playing game should I play?

That’s up to you! If you’re the sort of player that likes highly-customizable characters, then you’ll probably enjoy most RPGs. Whether you’re a future paladin, Martian raider or lowly bartender, you can try our browser-based role-playing games for free, so dip into a few worlds and see which ones you click with.

What are the most popular rpg?