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The term role-playing game has also been appropriated by the video game industry to describe a genre of video games. These may be single-player games where one player experiences a programmed environment and story, or they may allow players to interact through the internet. The experience is usually quite different from traditional role-playing games. Single-player games include Final Fantasy, Fable, The Elder Scrolls, and Mass Effect. Online multi-player games, often referred to as Massively Multiplayer Online role playing games, or MMORPGs, include RuneScape, EverQuest 2, Guild Wars, MapleStory, Anarchy Online, and Dofus. As of 2009, the most successful MMORPG has been World of Warcraft, which controls the vast majority of the market.[15]

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Role-playing games, often abbreviated as RPGs, are a type of game in which the participants (usually) assume the roles of characters acting in a fictional setting. The original role playing games—or at least those explicitly marketed as such—are played with a handful of participants, usually face-to-face, and keep track of the developing fiction with pen and paper. Together, the players may collaborate on a story involving those characters; create, develop, and "explore" the setting; or vicariously experience an adventure outside the bounds of everyday life. Pen-and-paper role-playing games include, for example, Dungeons & Dragons and GURPS.

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A guessing game has as its core a piece of information that one player knows, and the object is to coerce others into guessing that piece of information without actually divulging it in text or spoken word. Charades is probably the most well-known game of this type, and has spawned numerous commercial variants that involve differing rules on the type of communication to be given, such as Catch Phrase, Taboo, Pictionary, and similar. The genre also includes many game shows such as Win, Lose or Draw, Password and $25,000 Pyramid.

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Video games are computer- or microprocessor-controlled games. Computers can create virtual spaces for a wide variety of game types. Some video games simulate conventional game objects like cards or dice, while others can simulate environs either grounded in reality or fantastical in design, each with its own set of rules or goals.

A computer or video game uses one or more input devices, typically a button/joystick combination (on arcade games); a keyboard, mouse and/or trackball (computer games); or a controller or a motion sensitive tool. (console games). More esoteric devices such as paddle controllers have also been used for input.

There are many genres of video game; the first commercial video game, Pong, was a simple simulation of table tennis. As processing power increased, new genres such as adventure and action games were developed that involved a player guiding a character from a third person perspective through a series of obstacles. This "real-time" element cannot be easily reproduced by a board game, which is generally limited to "turn-based" strategy; this advantage allows video games to simulate situations such as combat more realistically. Additionally, the playing of a video game does not require the same physical skill, strength and/or danger as a real-world representation of the game, and can provide either very realistic, exaggerated or impossible physics, allowing for elements of a fantastical nature, games involving physical violence, or simulations of sports. Lastly, a computer can, with varying degrees of success, simulate one or more human opponents in traditional table games such as chess, leading to simulations of such games that can be played by a single player.

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Pencil and paper games require little or no specialized equipment other than writing materials, though some such games have been commercialized as board games (Scrabble, for instance, is based on the idea of a crossword puzzle, and tic-tac-toe sets with a boxed grid and pieces are available commercially). These games vary widely, from games centering on a design being drawn such as Pictionary and "connect-the-dots" games like sprouts, to letter and word games such as Boggle and Scattergories, to solitaire and logic puzzle games such as Sudoku and crossword puzzles.