The orc (or ork) is the classic fantasy punching bag. In many ways, they're treated as little bags filled with gold and experience points. Each system has their own version of this monster (and some have their own version of the spelling).

Dungeons and Dragons, being the grandfather of the games, uses them in the Tolkienesque view, as a race of brutish evil humanoids. Your classic foes whom you can attack without fear of retribution, whom your dungeon master can throw at you in droves without you worrying about the widows and orphans you are creating. As time progressed, they started to allow for some sympathy for the race by allowing you to play a half-orc, but even this was half-hearted as the race was described as the result of an unwilling union between your human mother and a marauding humanoid.

The new Dungeons and Dragons Third Edition has brought back the half-orc, and given a bit more depth to the character. In much the same was as the Klingons from Star Trek, their culture is described as mostly just different. A bit more primitive, but more honest, and not evil. They use scars as marks of pride amongst themselves, they adopt the very Nietschean philosophy of "What does not kill me, makes me stronger," and live in the harshest environments possible. Despite that, in the classic D&D fashion they do have an alignment, and the alignment is Chaotic Evil.

Other games have examined Orks and come up with their own views of them. The Warhammer universe created their own mythology, and called them orks (a very excellent writeup exists in that node.)

Shadowrun and Earthdawn (both by FASA) examined the orc from an even more sympathetic view. (And lump them in with the troll, as the "goblinoid" races. Typically called by the derogative terms "trog" or "troglodyte.") In both games, their strength and their shorter lifespan (venerable orks may live to be 50, but they typically live much shorter lives, and infant mortality is much higher, due to their living conditions), their natural strength, and their unusual looks have put them permanently in the role of "beast of burden" or "thug in the shadows." In Earthdawn, they're a slave race, with no rights. Some have gone rogue and are "scorchers" (basically marauders). And yet some have managed to win their freedom, and create a nation of Orks called Cara Fahd. In Shadowrun, they're not faring much better, forced to live in the slums of the world, only occasionally earning a job as a bouncer or a bodyguard. In this way, they take a role similar to the minority of the 20th century United States of America. (Although, it's the UCAS in Shadowrun.)

Finally, the most sympathetic view of the orc comes from John Wick in Orkworld, who casts them as a race of people connected to the land. Both primitive and innocent, attempting to survive in a shrinking wilderness. The elves, dwarves, and humans in that world are rapidly depleting the resources which the Orks need to survive. In addition, they are killing any Orks they see due to superstitions and fear.