• The Pseudo RPG Versus a Real RPG


    On this page we will shoot down the inevitable, repetitive retorts that the previous pages will generate.

    "The Witcher 3 is an RPG because you role-play as Geralt." - By this logic, every video game with a single, directly controlled player character (that is a human/humanoid at least) is an RPG. Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare is an RPG because you "role-play" as Soap McTavish. Super Mario Bros is an RPG because you role-play as Mario. We've even seen people empty minded enough accept this, but it's wrong. Every game is not labeled an RPG as a matter of fact, and if that were the case then genre classification would be useless which would invalidate gaming as an art form. And it's completely illogical. Arguing in favor of all video games being called RPGs simply shows deficient mental capacity on behalf of the person arguing for it.

    No, the terms "RPG" and "Role-playing" come from the actual product market called Role-Playing Games. Pen and paper RPGs, folks, the creators of the entire genre. The definition of role-playing, listed on the first page, comes from them.

    "But there are RPGs with premade characters." - Partially premade yes, but you still get to control and define who the player character is, even if his/her gender, facial appearance, and even name are predefined (e.g. The Nameless One from Planescape: Torment). As the definition on the very first page of this article specifically points out, RPGs do not mandate scratch made player character creation because there are in fact RPGs without it. What is required however is meeting that definition, since every pen and paper wRPG does and uses a definition just like that one as their guidelines to say the least. If it doesn't meet that definition, it's not an RPG, plain and simple.


    "JRPGs don't tend to fit your definition." - Not our definition but the original definition, the pen and paper definition. As for JRPGs, we covered this already. Ever since the beginning, JRPG has for some reason been exempt from all of this. It has been a completely different genre since day one.

    JRPGs and other Pseudo RPGs are labeled "RPG" by retailers and the game studios themselves. Technically they are free to label the games whatever they want due to a lack of a regulating body in the gaming industry (aside from ESRB which has nothing to do with this). Because of this lack of regulation, the rules have been bent. The only thing we can do about it is to spread the truth as we've done here. Sure, video game RPGs and pen and paper RPGs are not one and the same, but the role-playing aspect should continue to be as it once was, for the sake of superior genre classification.

    "Every video game (with directly controlled individual characters) is an RPG because you role-play as the protagonist." - We have actually seen this claim, no kidding. Never before has there been such blatant misuse of the terms "RPG" and "role-playing" and this is the prime example of someone creating their own definition and ignoring the actual one. The term "role-playing" comes from Role-Playing Games (RPGs) which began with Dungeons & Dragons in 1974, which lives on to this day. RPGs are an established product and they defined role-playing, and this definition is posted on the first page. Thus, role-playing is a hell of a lot more than just controlling a character in a video game. This claim is also counter-intuitive to genre classification, something necessary for every art form such as gaming, so it is ridiculous on multiple levels not to mention objectively incorrect.

    We hope this article serves as a lesson and a reminder. Let us know what you think in the comments.

    Related Links:
    Which RPGs Have the Most Role-Playing?