Today’s Wonder of the Day was inspired by Gideon. Gideon Wonders, “What is an RPG?” Thanks for WONDERing with us, Gideon!

Do you love video games? If you're like a lot of kids, the answer to that question is a rousing "Yes!" While not every kid these days is a gamer, there's no doubt that video games are a favorite form of entertainment for millions of kids today.

When you play video games, what types of games do you play? Do you enjoy creative, imaginative games like Minecraft? Or is a futuristic shooter more your style? Some kids prefer sports or racing games.

Another popular genre of video game is the RPG, which stands for role-playing game. Although RPGs may combine many elements from other types of genres, the key aspect of an RPG is that, as a player, you assume the role of a specific character.

Whether you're in a fantasy, science fiction, historical, or modern-day setting, you interact with the game's imaginary world as if you were the character you play. In most games, your character has a quest that guides the overall storyline of the game.

Some popular RPGs include RuneScape, Guild Wars, Neverwinter, Aion, Final Fantasy, and even games based upon popular movies, such as Star Wars and The Lord of the Rings.

RPGs can even take the form of massively multiplayer online role-playing games (called MMORPGs), such as World of Warcraft. These games feature persistent online worlds where players can interact with millions of other players around the world.

As fascinating as modern role-playing video games are, they all have a very low-tech origin: the pen and paper tabletop game Dungeons and Dragons. Created by Dave Arneson and Gary Gygax in 1974, Dungeons and Dragons (or D&D, as it's commonly known) was the first RPG.

D&D set the stage for all the RPGs that would follow. Even though it wasn't electronic, it had all the hallmarks that RPGs have become known for: interesting characters, classes, abilities, races, experience points, hit points, leveling up, and turn-based combat.

Instead of joysticks or controllers, D&D players used pencils, papers, books, and dice. They used their imaginations to create compelling storylines and, perhaps most importantly, had a lot of genuine, face-to-face social interaction with their friends.

Despite the prevalence of high-tech video games, D&D is still played today, and it still offers several benefits to players who dedicate some time to learning and playing the game. D&D and similar tabletop RPGs require a lot of reading, so they definitely sharpen reading skills.

Developing compelling, imaginative storylines for characters requires a high level of creativity. As players hone their storytelling skills, they also learn how to think critically and solve problems as part of a team. The amount of face-to-face interaction with friends also improves social skills.

D&D players will usually focus on how much fun they have playing the game. However, underneath all that fun, players of RPGs are also learning a variety of skills that will help them in school and their future careers.

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