..or rather, it can be. Anything can be a role-playing game if you are willing to forgo the game mechanics and let role-playing trump the game. The famous John Wick wrote an article somewhat recently about how many rpg games, specifically early D&D, are not role-playing games. There have been a lot of discussion on the article, both for and against the article. All of them make good points. Ultimately, I do not agree with it.