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A role-playing game (RPG) is a genre of video game where the gamer controls a fictional character (or characters) that undertakes a quest in an imaginary world. Defining RPGs is very challenging due to the range of hybrid genres that have RPG elements. Traditional role-playing video games shared three basic elements:
Modern and hybrid RPGs do not necessarily have all of these elements, but usually feature one or two in combination with elements from another genre.
Video game RPGs have their origins in the paper and pen role-playing games pioneered by Dungeons & Dragons. These were defined games with clear rules. The video game RPGs started out very similar to paper-and-pen games, minus the dice and with the addition of animated battles, but with the turn-based menu combat intact. Since then, the genre has been broadened to include:
The popularity of the role-playing concept – becoming someone else, somewhere else – assures that many more variations on the theme have yet to emerge.