Is there a trade industry term to refer to games with feel and gameplay like "Final Fantasy IV" etc...?

I would like to search for similar games (especially if, ideally, a good open source ones exist), but having trouble with proper genre for search terms. Wiki simply dubs them "role playing games" which is very vague as far as searching.

  • 2
    The correct term is, JRPG. They've changed over the years, but that's essentially what they are.
    – Frank
    Dec 12, 2012 at 21:43
  • 2
    I wish more games came out like the classic Final Fantasy games 1-6. Dec 12, 2012 at 21:45
  • Pretty sure it's either 'Role Playing Game' or 'Adventure Game'. Not sure what it has to do with being Japanese.
    – GnomeSlice
    Dec 12, 2012 at 21:49
  • Are we disallowing terminology questions now?
    – Niro
    Dec 12, 2012 at 22:09
  • @Fluttershy If you see his comments here, it would appear what he's really looking for is a game recommendation question.
    – Wipqozn
    Dec 12, 2012 at 22:10

3 Answers 3


For the most part, RPG is the main classification. Some might also opt to say JRPG, or "Japanese RPG", meaning to distinguish this narrative-style from the more open-ended style of western RPGs such as Fallout.

Past that, it's pretty rough and there probably isn't a specific terminology. Genres are kinda broad by nature and it's by tagging a ton of extra labels on top of it that specificity is found. For example, the descriptors for the early Final Fantasy games will generally be "turn based" and "menu driven" party combat in an "overworld exploration" RPG.

If you want to narrow it down to the essence specifically of the full combination brought by Final Fantasy, I think there isn't really any general term so much as a "likening". That is, you'd call a game of similar substance as "a turn-based menu-driven RPG like the Final Fantasy series". This is kinda like how Etrian Odyssey had been marketed as an "old-fashioned first-person dungeon RPG like the Wizardry games". First-person dungeon RPG isn't the most descriptive, but it kinda fits those games to a T and "Wizardry-like" never really took off quite like "roguelike" did.

Past this, there really isn't a unique terminology for these games. Early SaGa games, early Final Fantasy, Dragon Quest... RPG has pretty much been the identifying term for them since very early on, and little has changed in that department.

  • +1 and accept for "menu driven" and "overworld exploration". That was the terms that I was mainly missing. Thx
    – DVK
    Dec 12, 2012 at 22:20
  • There are two episodes from Extra Credits where they argue that (western) RPGs and (asian, not necessarily Japanese) JRPGs are two quite distinct genres that just share a set of mechanics. Dec 13, 2012 at 7:45
  • I wonder if in Japan they call their them JRPG... Perhaps JRPGs are called RPGs and "Occidental" one are called ORPG there :D
    – Emiliano
    Feb 28, 2013 at 14:40

The name used in the industry is Role-Playing game, but they are commonly referred to as "Japanese Roleplaying Games" (JRPG) within the gaming community. Eastern RPG is another commonly used term, but it's not as widespread as JRPG.

  • Sorry, but RPGs are extremely varied. I specifically was looking for games with similar feel and gameplay mechanics to FF.
    – DVK
    Dec 12, 2012 at 22:02
  • 3
    @DVK In that case your question appears to be off-topic. We don't allow game recommendation questions on Arqade, which seems to be what you're asking.
    – Wipqozn
    Dec 12, 2012 at 22:04
  • I asked for what to call them, not examples of them. JRPG may work, but RPG is definitely wrong (too generic)
    – DVK
    Dec 12, 2012 at 22:18
  • 2
    @DVK As I stated in my answer, RPG is the term used by the industry, but not the community at large. What you're looking for is JRPG, or Eastern RPG.
    – Wipqozn
    Dec 12, 2012 at 22:18

Honestly, a more specific term doesn't exist besides JRPG. A lot of gaming personas and shows have mentioned that fundamentally our game genres are not of any use. I could write out the entire the reasoning and logic but I'm not nearly qualified enough. Which is why it's a good thing someone else has done this already:


In regards to this question I'd say the most relevant part is pointing out how our genre definitions are incorrect (Around 2:30 minutes). The reasoning is that we define based on systems and surface elements and core reasons for playing.

So honestly, the answer to your question is, there isn't really a current term for those exact sorts of games. We can list aspects but the whole or niche they play is difficult to define. At the moment I would suggest turning your search into "16 Bit JRPGs" if you want to catch a lot of them.


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