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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. S0rcererV1ct0r Savant

    S0rcererV1ct0r
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    Barbie Dressing games like Diablo 3 and WoW where everyone at level cap is an clone and have his IQ/Muscle mass determined by their shoes, jacket, etc are IMO less RPG than survival games.
     
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  2. Grauken Arcane Patron

    Grauken
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    You've been on the codex since 2011 and don't know about the great post count heist?
     
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  3. HarveyBirdman Savant

    HarveyBirdman
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    Who came up with these criteria? Was it you, Gregz, you damned cretin?
    Show Spoiler

    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.

    2-4, and 7 are the same thing.
    5-6, 8-9, and 11-12 are irrelevant.

    What makes an RPG:
    (1) Player character(s) attributes/skills/whatever exist.
    (2) You develop these skills/attributes/whatever at the expense of simultaneously developing other skills/attributes/whatever.
    (3) A sufficient and debatable degree of narrative freedom exists.
     
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2019
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  4. Curratum Liturgist

    Curratum
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    Any game where your character has some numerical values that describe the extent of his proficiencies or the magnitude of his abilities is an RPG. Blammo!
     
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  5. HarveyBirdman Savant

    HarveyBirdman
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    [​IMG]
     
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  6. Gregz Arcane

    Gregz
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    There are RPGs with "learn by doing" systems like Dungeon Master, that don't use levels, which the list must be inclusive of.

    Also, the vast majority of RPGs distinguish stats from skills. In fact it's such a defining characteristic of the genre that a game without both features is very likely (but not certainly) not an RPG. There are very few exceptions to this heuristic on our Top 70.

    Inventory, exploration, puzzles, NPC interaction, and quests are hardly irrelevant...they are bread-and-butter RPG elements.

    So Metroid is an RPG?

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2019
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  7. Ranarama Learned

    Ranarama
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    RPGCodex is an rpg, because you have stats like post count and make choices about what shitposts to make
     
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  8. HarveyBirdman Savant

    HarveyBirdman
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    Agreed, but there isn't any reason to try itemizing every conceivable character progression system. We're liable to miss something, or to exclude something that hasn't been thought of yet. Cutting to the core of the idea makes more sense to me.
    They're window dressing. Very commonly seen window-dressing, but window dressing nonetheless. I can imagine RPGs that don't necessarily have those things.
    Why bother listing something that needn't be in an RPG?
     
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  9. S0rcererV1ct0r Savant

    S0rcererV1ct0r
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    RPG codex have more RPG elements than most modern RPG's, that is true. hu3
     
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  10. laclongquan Arcane

    laclongquan
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    2 is the general condition with or without xp/level, but 4 is the specific condition of a game using EXP system, and 7 is the specific condition of using level system.

    For example, FF8 use the level system, and can play at a fixed level, say 10, with the extensive use of Card ability.
    Unreal World doesnt use level system but use a (hidden and disguised) form of exp system that display as abilities.

    They are not exactly the same thing. By express this aspect of a game in three different kind of conditions, we do increase the weight of this aspect (stat change, xp, level).
     
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  11. HarveyBirdman Savant

    HarveyBirdman
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    And all squares are rectangles. No point going more narrow unless you want to define subgenres.
     
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  12. laclongquan Arcane

    laclongquan
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    It's not just a way to go subgenre, BUT a way to give weight to some aspect of the game. If we use one single condition only (2) it's 1 in 10 point. When it's 3 (2,4,7) it's 3/12. A much stronger position.
     
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  13. HarveyBirdman Savant

    HarveyBirdman
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    A stronger position for a specific kind of RPG, which necessarily excludes other kinds of RPGs. It's good for subgenres.
     
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  14. Wyatt_Derp Scholar

    Wyatt_Derp
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    There's a meme for this somewhere, but I don't know what it is.

     
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  15. Unorus Janco Lurker

    Unorus Janco
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    STOP THE LIES, START THE TRUTHS.

    An RPG is an adventure game that focuses on repeatedly asking the player what kind of character(s) does he want to play, through stats and character driven choices (like moral dilemmas, dialogue options, alignment systems, and so on). Ideally, the game should acknowledge the choices made by the player and react accordingly (which is why turn-based gameplay and even RTwP are better than action gameplay, focusing too much on the player skills alone would overshadow his character's attributes).

    This is true since the early days of Dungeons and Dragons.

    Titles that qualify as role-playing games:
    There are some ambiguous cases, games that don't care that much about the question, but due to convention or heritage they kind of ask it from time to time. Many JRPGs end up here, as the inherited Wizardry/Dungeons & Dragons mechanics do offer some way to customize player characters, but usually only as power-gaming exercises.
    • Dungeon Master
    • Lands of Lore
    • Diablo
    • Many JRPGs like Dragon Quest III and Final Fantasy V that let you customize your party members.
    • Dark Souls
    • Fallout 4
    If the game doesn't care about the question at all, then that's probably a tacticool game with stats, an adventure game with stats, or an action game with stats.
    • Questron (it cloned the grinding parts of the early Ultimas, but it never allowed the player to make his own character or forge his own path, as it was deprived of everything that made the first 3 Ultimas good role-playing games).
    • Final Fantasy IV, VI and VII, Chrono Trigger, Earthbound, Dragon Quest IV, and many other classic JRPGs that play more like graphic adventure games with random encounters, stats being there just to let the player grind.
    • The Linear RPG
    • Call of Duty and other action games that are just gamifying their systems.

    Weeaboos and minmaxers will disagree with me, and I recognize this is a very Arnesian interpretation of what a role-playing game is, and that it is impossible not to offend Gygaxian goons. Nevertheless, this is what moved this genre forward, if you don't like it you can always play squad tacticool titles and wargames.
     
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2019
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  16. Sreggin Etah I Educated

    Sreggin Etah I
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    RPGs are all about romances and sex
     
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  17. Darth Canoli Cipher

    Darth Canoli
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    This is brilliant!
    How come there isn't a "Fluent plays The Linear RPG" thread already ?
     
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2019
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  18. rohand Arbiter

    rohand
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    I kinda like the CRPG addict's definition, but has a few gaps

    1. There must be some form of character development, which might include increases in hit points, spell points, experience, levels, attributes, or skills. Basically, the character has to get intrinsically stronger and tougher as you play the game. Improvements in inventory do not count.

    2. Combat effectiveness (including accuracy and damage) must be dependent to some degree on character attributes. Again, these could include standard Dungeons & Dragons-style characteristics, like strength and dexterity, or a skill-based system as in Skyrim. Combat effectiveness based solely on inventory or player dexterity with a controller does not count.

    3. Characters in the game must have flexible inventories that are not based around solving puzzles. Characters should find some variety of weapons, armor, potions, and magic items during the game, and the player should be able to choose what the character wields and when he uses various items.
     
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  19. laclongquan Arcane

    laclongquan
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    Satisfy in all 12
    Ditto
    • Character creation has some form of in-game consequences
    • Statistics which define character(s) abilities are subject to change throughout the game
    • Character(s) have skills or abilities which may improve or be altered over the course of gameplay
    • Character(s) accrue experience which can be spent or result in gaining levels or abilities
    • 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
    • Character(s) accumulate currency which may be spent to enhance the character(s) in some way (items, guild membership, training, etc.)
    • Character(s) gain levels throughout the game which result in some form of mechanical change (not just a change in character title, or description)
    • Character(s) are able to explore over terrain, water, space, etc. ('explore' refers to free movement of main character(s))
    • The game has some form of puzzle solving, which is resolved through combat, problem resolution, or some choice made by the player
    • 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.)
    • Character(s) interact with NPCs in some form of dialogue which have in-game consequences depending on what the character(s) say.
    • 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.
     
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  20. Sigourn Arcane

    Sigourn
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    To me, an RPG is like a chair. You know it when you see it. The problem is that, unlike a chair, what an RPG is is subjective.

    How do I know I'm playing an RPG, the most barebones of them all?
    1. Combat is ruled by stats: stats always limit what you are able to do.
    2. These stats don't consist of fixed linear upgrades.
    3. The core of the game must resemble basic D&D: exploration, combat, getting stronger, NPC interaction, shops, etc.
    4. My own subjectivity when deciding whether the core of a game is actually all of that, or something else.
    Grand Theft Auto V has all these:
    1. You can buy weapons and armor.
    2. You can explore the world.
    3. You can fight.
    4. Stats influence your strength.
    5. These stats don't consist of fixed linear upgrades, i.e. there's no point at the game where you suffer a fixed boost in stats as opposed to being able to raise them on your own.
    But at the end of the day, when I play Grand Theft Auto V, I see the I could do without the stats and nothing really would change. That's because the core of the game is to engage in quests, escape from the police, and engage in shootouts. Meanwhile, in actual RPGs the stat-driven gameplay and progression is EVERYTHING. Symphony of the Night isn't an RPG either, it's an action-platformer with RPG elements that may as well not be there, and which only exist because Castlevania was too hard for some people as Igarashi himself explained as to why he maid SotN an "action RPG".

    The idea that Final Fantasy VI is an "adventure game with stats", when removing the stats pretty much means removing EVERYTHING about Final Fantasy VI minus the narrative (and thus drastically altering what the game plays like), is just dumb IMO. Like I said, all of this is subjective. This is what I personally think an RPG is. Fundamentally, RPGs all play the same. Some have more features than others. That doesn't change the fact that games like Final Fantasy VI don't fit any other genre.
     
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2019
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  21. Lilura RPG Codex Dragon Lady

    Lilura
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    Jagged Alliance 2.
     
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  22. Red Panda Still Best New Codexer of 2019 Patron

    Red Panda
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    Games with experience points.
    Experience points which give the player the choice to upgrade certain stats of the character.
    If more aspects of the game world are respesented in the stats and if these stats have a bigger influence on the gameplay then the game is more rpg.
    If upgrading different stats doesn't alter the gameplay it isn't a rpg.
     
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  23. Mystic_Quest Learned

    Mystic_Quest
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    So the final conclusion in the GGC Theory, is that RPG is a spectrum.
    Great job guys.
     
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  24. Red Panda Still Best New Codexer of 2019 Patron

    Red Panda
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    It's a pretty autistic question anyway.
    Is silence of the lambs a horror movie?
     
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  25. laclongquan Arcane

    laclongquan
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    The whole point of this list is to make "what is RPG" an objective answer. You dont have to think whatthatgame should be a RPG. You just check the list.

    Since I didnt play GTA 5, I have to ask you to do a review on the game. Based on 12 points, which point does GTA5 got? And on total, how many point?

    HiddenX that rpgwatch crpg analyzer is not working for grand theft auto series~
     
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