Turn Based RPG

Distinguishing Features of the Genre

Turn Based Role Playing Games (TRPG’s) consist of some key characteristics that define the genre. The core concept of the RPG elements separates this genre from other turn based genres, for example turn based strategy games. This means there is always a character or team of characters that improve and develop throughout the course of a narrative story. The turn based elements refer to the combat system of these games. The player selects an attack or ability from a menu, which is then executed by the currently selected character. The enemy AI will then select an attack and this will continue in turn until either the player or the enemy AI wins the encounter.

First Examples of the Genre

The generally accepted first iteration of a TRPG was ‘Fire Emblem’ created for the NES games console in 1990 by Intelligent Systems. Nintendo published this game, which introduced the first role playing elements to the turn based strategy genre, creating a whole host of imitators and sequels. Fire Emblem was a top down game and many imitations used the same viewpoint as well as introducing new ones, for example ‘Bahamut Lahgoon’ used a side view to convey its battles.

Among the most influential iterations of the TRPG throughout the last decade has been the ‘Final Fantasy’ series from Square Enix which has spawned many ‘copy cats’ including the recent Xbox 360 game ‘Blue Dragon’, which uses very similar combat mechanics.

Life Span

The appeal of the TRPG genre is mainly to the hardcore and not the casual games player. This can be attributed to the difficulty and length of games of this nature. Due to this only the very best of the genre become commercial successes. It can be argued that this is beneficial to the genre as it encourages developers to innovate and create good games in order to be successful.

The Genre itself has a huge following in Japan and is showing no signs of slowing down for the foreseeable future. Improvement to TRPG’s over the past decade have mostly been graphical ones so the future will likely follow the same path and continue to improve the graphics seen in examples of the genre without making major changes to the key gameplay mechanics. It could be argued that this threatens to make the genre stale and unimaginative although the story in these games is often the major draw for fans.

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