1. What's your definition of RPG and how did it evolve over the years?
To me, there are a few factors that make up role-playing. First and foremost, I think, it should be an adventure, in the sense of that it creates an exciting world and story that pulls the player in on some kind of quest. Exploration is a big factor also, along with critical decision making, which leads to certain character developments. And then there is combat, of course. While not necessarily integral, I think combat is always fun and should be part of a good RPG.
The key, however, is that fun should always trump the mechanics. A game that is tedious is missing the point, I think. The game should captivate the player, entertain and challenge him in his actions and thinking.
With the graphic capabilities of today’s computers we have moved away from role-playing games where the imagination played a big part to something that resembles more of a movie experience. This has advantages and disadvantages. On the one hand you limit the player’s imagination, but at the same time you create something that is fascinatingly beautiful or exotic at the same time. Which one is preferable depends on how you look at it, I suppose.