I see you. Stupid RPG. Thought I'd fail a perception check just because I haven't played you? I'm insulted that you'd assume so little of me. I'll show you: I'll play you till you beg me to stop. Minions! Bring me my calendar!

I play lots of games. I have played lots of games. But as the following extraordinary radar chart demonstrates, there's a severe lack of games that incorporate elements of metal mesh undergarments in my library. In short, I have an RPG deficiency. Here, look, it tells you what things are in games I have:

What this is saying, clearly, is that I need to play some more RPGs. It also said I should think of twelve and start from there. It also reminded me that it's been a while since I called my mum, the nagger.

Twelve months to play twelve RPGs. They say it can't be done. That it shouldn't be done. Well, they can suck it because I'm putting this thing into overdrive. I've missed far too many revered examples of this genre over the years. It's shameful, especially considering in those youthful days I chose to spend most of my free time bleeding all over de_aztec instead. It ends today! A little. Then, incrementally, for the other 364 days of this year.

These dozen titles were chosen using the most scientific of scientific methods: I rummaged around and to see what I already had. Most of them I've played, some a lot, some a little - some I got bored before I was done at character creation - but none have been played to completion. Various factors integral to innate 'RPGness' were punched into the supercomputer motherbrain and it soon started weighing them all justly and giving me names of games, not to mention changing all its typefaces to a Gothic format and smelling of old leather.

Oh man, I'm doing really good. I'm already three hours into Dragon Age. I don't know much, but I surmise that the best course of action to judge how 'RPGy' a game is should be through a single measurement that encapsulates the genre best: the frequency and volume of beards it can display on screen at any given moment or beards per minute (bpm), if you will. So far our first subject is doing well - my bearded man was introduced to another bearded man who inducted him in an order that, so far, seems to consist mostly of men with beards.

The supercomputer motherbrain obviously went a bit astray here. Not surprising, considering its wires are now arranged in Celtic knots.

What's wrong? There's guns, for one thing. And stun prods. Pretty sure any RPG worth its salt can't have a stun prod, or at the least, if it had to put one in there, it would have the good grace to list it as the Ornate Sceptre Of Taranis (+7 lightning damage). On the other mitt, there does still seem to be more leather on show than at a sadomasochism convention, even if it is arranged in a somewhat unusual trench coat formation.

I hear this is maybe worth playing for more than thirty minutes.

Supercomputer motherbrain, when not busy computing better tensity ratings for figure-hugging leather greaves these days, tells me that a must-have RPG trait is a terrifyingly grand inventory to store all your potions and axes. The Witcher definitely delivers on that count.

This might not be so left field as one might imagine. After all, what are super mutants if not orcs with machine-guns? I have never touched Fallout. This is virgin territory, which scares me, but virgins are definitely RPG, as long as they're on the receiving end of a ravishing or sacrificial summoning ritual. So it's probably okay.

This one's pretty low-scoring on the RPG scale, I'm afraid. Shamefully so. For one thing, it's in space, and we all know that there aren't any paladins with their own space-suits, which means fighting in a vacuum is out. That leaves spaceships, the cramped corridors of which are far too small to effectively wield a morning star. Nope, can't see this one working at all.

Much more like it. None of that space rubbish; even the giant space hamsters are appropriately miniaturised to fit into an adventurer's inventory. The setting can't be faulted, but let's hope there's an appropriately sizeable chunk of fetch quests to nobly undertake.

What in the name of Bilbo's braces is going on here, motherbrain? You trying to parse in Elvish now or something? We're back in space! And, oh God, fighting random encounters. I feel ill. Although that companion NPC does look rather druidic, considering the setting. Staff and everything.

As a boy I believed that a Minuteman was a fruit-based beverage due to the confusing similarity to Minute Maid. This is an erroneous belief, as fruit juice does not biff people, though the Man From Del Monte has been known to hang around in rough bars on occasion.

Motherbrain, your hemlock-addled circuits do realise that I've played what must be in excess of a hundred hours of Fallout 3 since its release? How is this on the list? Does it really matter that I never really bothered with the whole water thingy? I saw all the good bits.

What? Well fine. I'll just bloody well go and get to the end then.

Beard? Cowl? Crackly magics? You can't get much more RPG than that, unless you also told me to collect ten wolf pelts at the same time. NWN2 does seem to tick all the boxes, but I remember playing it back in 2006 and giving up after a few minutes when the first bandit camp I stumbled across kept slaughtering our noble hero due to his noble ineptness.

Didn't make it:
  • Arcanum: Of Steamworks and Magick Obscura - Didn't occur to me in time.
  • Icewind Dale - Too much combat.
  • Diablo II - Nah.
  • Titan Quest - I'm just not that into Action RPGs?
  • Risen - This was tough. I wanted something made by Germans, coded by a programmer who can trace his bloodline directly back 1500 years to a blood-and-mead-soaked Visigoth wearing black furry pauldrons. You know, hardcore. Maybe this'll be my first-choice substitute should one of the twelve get cold feet.
  • Divinity II: The Dragon Knight Saga - Just pipped by Freedom Force.
  • Final Fantasy VII - You can't make me.

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