Why role playing is the perfect form of escapism
Role-playing games are among the most popular forms of video games and have been hugely influential in the industry and the wider world of entertainment since of the turn of the millennium, with the likes of World of Warcraft providing gamers with unique and interesting ways to escape from the routine of everyday life.
RPGs usually promote self-expression and character creation aspects so they often resonate on a deeply personal level with players. They not only allow us to be who we would like to be in real life but explore interesting subjects and themes in a fantasy world. These qualities and the common use of exploration, quests and exciting character actions and abilities make RPGs the perfect form of escapism.
There a wealth of rich RPG gaming experiences, from massive multiplayer online role playing games (MMORPG) featuring a large number of people participating online simultaneously to offline single player orientated experiences. If the player controls the action of a character or party of people in a world, then it has role playing elements and can be viewed as an RPG.
Management sim Football Manager is a classic example of a sports based RPG as it allows you to create fantasy teams and simulate real world elements within a game. It is even possible to transfer your management skills to real life dream teams via online hubs such as Best Fantasy Bet, which allows players to select their favourite team and place a bet on them.
Action RPGs grew in popularity in the 1980s with the arrival of The Legend of Zelda series, which combines an open world and nonlinear real-time action combat. Diablo and Deus Ex both built on and adapted this formula to bring fresh and innovative experiences to gamers in the 1990s and early 2000s. These games also popularised the use of dialog options when conversing with characters and a move away from stat heavy mechanics.
Massive multiplayer RPGs came to the fore in the mid 90s and were transformed with the arrival of World of Warcraft, which surpassed seven million subscribers in 2013. These games offer immersive graphics and gameplay, providing perhaps the ultimate in role-playing escapism so far, and focus on character customisation, progression and community to keep players engaged for years on end.
Strategy and tactical
Tactical RPGs are like standard RPGs in that a player controls a party and often battles a similar number of enemies but incorporates tactical movement on grids and playing fields instead. This genre has its roots in 8-bit in the early 1980s in Japan and has seen releases including Valkyria Chronicles, Final Fantasy Tactics and Fire Emblem Awakening. It remains more of a niche genre compared to the rest.
People seek out to RPG experiences to escape from the stresses of real life. They enable players to embrace new and exciting worlds and engage with quirky characters and stories, which is great for immersion and relaxation.