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The Greater General Codex Theory of 'What is an RPG?'

Discussion in 'General RPG Discussion' started by Gregz, Jan 26, 2016.

  1. Gregz Arcane

    Gregz
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    The Greater General Codex Theory of 'What is an RPG?'

    Edit: Nov 1st, 2016. The conclusion of this thread seems to be that there is no such thing as an RPG, only a collection of RPG elements. This definition is still useful, because those elements can be isolated and cataloged within a relational database, allowing the player to find all games containing a specified set of RPG elements. (see Edit 2 and Edit 3 below)

    The following is a proposed general and final resolution of the age-old Codex question, 'What is an RPG?' It proposes a simple procedure by which anyone can determine if a game is an RPG or not by reviewing an exhaustive table of RPG elements, counting those elements, then determining if there are enough RPG elements to be classified as an RPG by comparing it to an arbitrary threshold number, or percentage.

    Problem: What is an RPG?

    Solution:
    1. Codify a specific and exhaustive list of discrete RPG elements
    2. Determine an arbitrary threshold whereby a game is eliminated or accepted as an RPG, based on the number of RPG elements found within that game
    Proposed exhaustive list of RPG elements (subject to change based on suggestions, corrections, or related editions)
    1. Character creation has some form of in-game consequences
    2. Statistics which define character(s) abilities are subject to change throughout the game
    3. Character(s) have skills or abilities which may improve or be altered over the course of gameplay
    4. Character(s) accrue experience which can be spent or result in gaining levels or abilities
    5. Character(s) accumulate items in some form of inventory, which the player can actively use (equip, sell, destroy, trade, etc.), which enhance or otherwise alter gameplay
    6. Character(s) accumulate currency which may be spent to enhance the character(s) in some way (items, guild membership, training, etc.)
    7. Character(s) gain levels throughout the game which result in some form of mechanical change (not just a change in character title, or description)
    8. Character(s) are able to explore over terrain, water, space, etc. ('explore' refers to free movement of main character(s))
    9. The game has some form of puzzle solving, which is resolved through combat, problem resolution, or some choice made by the player
    10. A choice made by the player alters the narrative, or some other significant part of the game (an item is found or lost, stats or skills are gained or lost, different ending, etc.)
    11. Character(s) interact with NPCs in some form of dialogue which have in-game consequences depending on what the character(s) say.
    12. Optional quests (defined here as some kind of task made available after the game has started, and which can be resolved by the player before the game ends, but is not required to complete the game) are available.
    Arbitrary threshold of 'RPG'
    1. Not an RPG (7 or less RPG elements)
    2. Generally agreed upon as an RPG (8-12 RPG elements)
    Example

    Is Dune II an RPG?

    Consult RPG elements list: Dune II contains RPG elements #1, #6, #7, #8, and #9.
    Add the number of RPG elements: 5 total
    Consult the threshold table: 5 < 8, therefore Dune II is not an RPG

    Is Deus Ex an RPG?

    Consult RPG elements list: Deus Ex contains RPG elements #3, #5, #6, #8, #9, #10, #11, and #12.
    Add the number of RPG elements: 8 total
    Consult the threshold table: 8, therefore Deus Ex is generally agreed upon as an RPG

    -------

    Edit 1: If you think the list of RPG elements is not exhaustive and is missing an important item, list it below in the comments.

    If you think 2 or more of the RPG elements should be combined, explain why below.

    If you think the threshold percentage should be tweaked in some way, explain why below.

    Edit 2:

    HiddenX's criteria (quite excellent imo) for comparison and research purposes

    Show Spoiler
    Definition of a CRPG (V0.94)

    The three core categories Character Development, Exploration and Story that need to be applied and quantified to determine if an interactive computerised game can be defined as a Computer Role Playing Game (hereafter referred to as CRPG) are listed to show the necessary component elements and qualifying factors. Any proposed or purported CRPG must contain all three core categories and their Must Have (MH) elements fulfilled to achieve CRPG status.

    These core categories must maintain some form of progressive nature that will improve from when the game starts and leads to a conclusive game ending.

    Each core category and the auxiliary category Combat also has a related Should Have (SH)sub list, the reviewer should make a comment if a sub list item is not fulfilled. Should one or more (SH) not be fulfilled the game is most likely a special CRPG (see Tags) or a CRPG light.

    If all (SH) are fulfilled too there's no further discussion necessary -> the game is a true CRPG.

    Optional elements are listed in the Nice to Have (NtH) list. With it you get precise information which optional CRPG elements are implemented in the game. A general game info questionnaire is added too, to do some rating.


    I. A CRPG is a computer game that fulfills these criterions:

    Character Development
    Describes ways to change or enhance your characters in order to increase their effectiveness in the game.
    • Must Have
      C1: you can control one or more characters
      C2: you can progressively develop your characters' stats or abilities (=> e.g. through quests, exploration, conversation, combat, …)
      C3: you can equip and enhance your characters with items you acquire
    • Should Have
      C4: you can create your characters
      C5: character development requires careful thought and planning

    Exploration
    Includes how you can move through the game world, as well as everything you can find, see, manipulate or interact with, like locations, items and other objects.
    • Must Have
      E1: by exploring the gameworld you can find new locations
      E2: you can find items that can be collected in an inventory (=> not only puzzle items)
      E3: you can find information sources (=> e.g. NPCs, entities, objects that provide info)
    • Should Have
      E4: there are NPCs in the game
      E5: you can choose a path (=> there is at least some branching)
      E6: you can manipulate the game world in some way (=> e.g. pull levers, push buttons, open chests, …)
      E7: the gameworld can affect your party (=> e.g. weather, traps, closed doors, poisoned areas, …)
      E8: you may have to think or plan to progress or overcome obstacles (=> e.g. unlock locked areas, repair bridges, dispel barriers, …)

    Story
    Concerns all narrative elements like setting, lore, plot, characters, dialogue, quests, descriptions, storyline(s) and similar, including how you can interact with them.
    • Must Have
      S1: you can get info from information sources (=> e.g. hints, goals, quests, skills, spells, training, …)
      S2: you can follow quests (=> there is at least one main quest)
      S3: you can progress through connected events (= Story)
    • Should Have
      S4: the story is influenced more or less by your actions
      S5: you can interact with information sources (=> e.g. NPC conversation, riddle statue question, …)
      S6: you can make choices in those interactions
      S7: your choices have consequences
      S8: advancing in the story requires thought (=> e.g. irreversible choices, moral dilemma, riddles, …)

    Combat
    Describes how combat is influenced by elements of Character Development, Exploration and Story.
    • Should Have
      F1: Combat efficiency is in some way tied to character stats or abilities (=> e.g. amount of damage, chance to hit, weapon access, …)
      F2: Combat works with some random elements (game internal dice rolls)
      F3: Combat should be challenging (=> e.g. preparing, use of tactics or environment possible)


    Edit 3: As an aside, instead of determining if a game is or is not an RPG, the following could potentially lead to a very powerful cRPG search engine, by which you could specify what you like in a cRPG (blobber, turn based, isometric, post-apocalyptic, etc.) then an associated database could provide all games that match those criteria. A lot of work on the database and statistics end, but might result in a very useful 'cRPG Search Engine':

    http://www.rpgwatch.com/crpg-analyzer.html + database + statistical normalization -> 'cRPG Search Engine'
     
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2019
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  2. dag0net Arcane

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    A game is a role-play game if you game it to role-play. Technical constituents are irrelevant to the definition.
     
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  3. hoverdog dog that is hovering, Wastelands Interactive Developer

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    I think we should have a subforum dedicated to this controversial subject.
     
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  4. Crispy Who's really in charge here? Undisputed Queen of Faggotry

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    Not this again...

    Someone retardo this shit.
     
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  5. Ellef Deplorable

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    PC RPG Website of the Year, 2015
    First gay experience

    Well my first gay experience happened like this:

    I was about 50 yards or so up this path when I noticed a man standing off the side of the path apparently staring into the woods. As I got closer I realized his pants were down around his ankles and I could see his ass. Now, I'm straight but I have to say that it was a really nicely shaped ass for a man and I took notice. I figured maybe he was drunk and just peeing in the bushes, so I started to walk quieter so I wouldn't disturb him. But as I got closer I started hearing strange grunts and sucking sounds. I realized there was another man blowing him.

    Now, I'm not gay but I slowed my pace down to watch. I slowed and approached the standing man from behind. His friend didn't take any notice as his eyes were tightly closed. I came right up behind the man standing so that I could have reached out and touched him. That's when I brought the cinder block down on his head, hard. He collapsed on top of his faggot friend and I quickly finished them both off. I rolled them into the bushes and finished my walk. That was only my first of many such gay encounters.
     
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  6. Neanderthal Arcane

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    An you know what were last thing that went through poor queer blokes mind? His mates cock.
     
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  7. Mustawd Arcane

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    In the old NCAA football games you could play as one single character whose stats would improve over time with use and successful accomplishments. It's the original ARPG.
     
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  8. Gregz Arcane

    Gregz
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    Prove it, how many RPG elements from the table above does NCAA football have?
     
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  9. Sordid MCA/Prosper Hybryd Arcane Patron

    Sordid MCA/Prosper Hybryd
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    I like your approach. It's quite analytical, but also wrong.

    It's not a contradiction to imagine a game which has more than 6 listed elements but still can't be considered even as BethestardRPG.

    Let's take Borderlands. It has 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7. Is it RPG?
     
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  10. Tito Anic Magister

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    In before

     
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  11. dag0net Arcane

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    idem.

    The thread would be better titled "What tools do devs commonly adopt to instill association with player characters"

    When we call something an rpg as opposed to something else we're saying it has a strong enough sense of association that other attributes of the game are secondary.
     
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  12. Sordid MCA/Prosper Hybryd Arcane Patron

    Sordid MCA/Prosper Hybryd
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    Divinity: Original Sin Torment: Tides of Numenera Pathfinder: Kingmaker
    I propose to give all these elements different weight. For example, alternative solutions should weigh more than getting new levels.
    Something like that:

    alternative solutions - 5 pts. of RPGness
    getting new levels - 2 pts. of RPGness
    complex system of atributes and skills - 5 pts. of RPGness
    items which enhance or otherwise alter gameplay - 2 pts.
    etc.

    you can go full aspie with this shit
     
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  13. Excidium II Self-Ejected

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    A game that lets you use all sorts of weaponry but the best weapon is always a sword.
     
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  14. Gregz Arcane

    Gregz
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    Absolutely. It's an action RPG. Also, as I mentioned above, the threshold may be incorrect, if it results in certain games which are absolutely haram not RPGs as being categorized as so, then the threshold needs to be adjusted accordingly.

    I'm actually hoping someone can think of a game that doesn't fit the scale above.
     
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  15. Mustawd Arcane

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    1. Character creation has some form of in-game consequences. Has it as your performance in a tryout during character creationm determines your skills. Also you can pick a position (aka Class)
    2. Statistics which define character(s) abilities are subject to change throughout the game. Has these. Speed, Agility, Throwing, blocking, etc. Al essential to the gameplay of football
    3. Character(s) have skills or abilities which may improve or be altered over the course of gameplay. Over time your PC improves his skills with drills (quests) or winning specific games (achievements/bosses). Also, over time each year the PC gets better fomr year to year. From Freshman to sophmore (levels).
    4. Character(s) accrue experience which can be spent or result in gaining levels or abilities. See #3. These are related.
    5. Character(s) accumulate items which enhance or otherwise alter gameplay. You can earn bonus cards with successful gameplay that you can use during a game. So for a example, there might be a card that gives you 10% more speed. Basically works like a one use item such as a scroll.
    6. Character(s) accumulate currency which may be spent to enhance the character(s) in some way (items, guild membership, training, etc.). You can earn points (not money because NCAA football is an amateur sport :roll:) to enhance your dorm room. (i think..someone double check me on this).
    7. Character(s) gain levels throughout the game which result is some form of mechanical change (not just a change in character title or description). see #3. related epxlanation
    8. The game offers some form of exploration over terrain, water, space, etc. As you play you visit different cities around the US and each has its unique looking stadium. Some even have nicknames like "Death Valley". This is especially the case if you make it to a coveted bowl game.
    9. The game has some form of puzzle solving, which is resolved through combat, problem resolution, or some choice made by the player. Strategy is hugely important in terms of personnel, play calling, and recruiting.
    10. A choice made by the player alters the narrative, or some other significant part of the game (an item is found or lost, stats or skills are gained or lost, different ending, etc.). Teams are ranked according to wins. So the more you win the better your rank. Likewise if you lose. Also, your team's recruiting suffers with loss after loss.
    11. Character(s) interact with NPCs in some form of dialogue. As a college football player you interact with fans through fan mail; where they tell you how much you suck or how awesome you are.

    See this link. They even use the term XP.
     
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  16. undecaf Arcane Patron

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    Shadorwun: Hong Kong Divinity: Original Sin 2
    If you want to go full autist on this, first define a role. What is it and what is needed for it to exist. The define roleplaying. Then define game. And finally define what in this context is the relation between the terms roleplaying and game since "roleplaying game" is a unified term. And there you have it.

    :troll:
     
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  17. Gregz Arcane

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    Definitely sounds like an RPG. With the exception of #8, which just sounds like gated 'on rails' content which you'll see as you pass through the game. Still, qualifies, and sounds like it plays like one. Doesn't have to be dragons and lightsabers to be an RPG. Your party is the football team.
     
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  18. Mustawd Arcane

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    I honestly think it is. But of course most of the Codex will disagree because they were picked on by football players as a kid. Even the ones in Potato countries were bullied by Soccer or Rugby players. I bet even Scrooge was probably stuffed into a locker by a muscular female lacrosse player.

    EDIT: Cleveland Mark Blakemore definitely was. a true 'thal persecuted by hopmosapien idiots? It's your typical American story.
     
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  19. Sordid MCA/Prosper Hybryd Arcane Patron

    Sordid MCA/Prosper Hybryd
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    The problem is that all possible what-is-rpg theories are vulnerable for open-question argument.

    There is always a retard who would say that yr. favourite geam isn't rpg. Because it doesn't feel to him as rpg, or because it lacks a feature which he counts to be most important in rpgs, or because it is made by bethesda, or because it lacks soul, or because "Joined: Jan 1, 2016" or whatever.

    I think it's intuitive thing. You just know that Fallout is RPG. Pool of Radiance is RPG. Wizardry (provided that you aren't retard like Sawyer) is rpg. Call of Duty isn't rpg.
     
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  20. Mustawd Arcane

    Mustawd
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    In all seriousness, this discussion is always kind of dumb because anything that doesn't follow the typical fantasy or sci fi tropes is iusually not considered an RPG.
     
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  21. Gregz Arcane

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    Maybe a different way to look at it, is to ask if there is a single title in the RPG Codex Top 70 PC RPGs which doesn't conform to the suggested test in the OP?
     
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  22. Mustawd Arcane

    Mustawd
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    Gregz , are text adventures like Zork RPGs to you? Do you need a graphical component?
     
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2016
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  23. Gregz Arcane

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    Not really, Barkley, Shut Up and Jam: Gaiden is pretty respected around here.

    Graphics shouldn't be a requirement. I was thinking about Zork when I wrote this up actually.
     
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  24. Mustawd Arcane

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    Ok, good point. I withdraw my statement.
     
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  25. Mustawd Arcane

    Mustawd
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    Brofist on the team is a party. However, Road to Glory also let's you RP as a coach or individual player.

    Anyhow, I'll push back a bit on your dismissal of #8. For the regular season...yeah it's basically on rails. However, terrain (such as a dome or grass field) matters when you have inclement weather such as snow, rain, and wind. In addition, you can affect which stadium you go to depending on which bowl game you play at. Plus, your gameplay affects crowd noise, which can affect how effectively you can audible (aka give orders to your party).
     
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