Beginner’s Guide to Video Game Genres


As an industry, gaming developed in leaps and bounds from the 1980s. This is largely because the hardware and software behind video games have evolved to points that could hardly be imagined. when Mario was still hopping barrels thrown by Donkey Kong.

The evolution of gaming has also meant that it’s possible for a game to be more of one thing. You can have RPG elements in a first person shooter or button-smash action in a strategy game. This mix of genres can make the classification of games confusing even for die-hard gamers. In this article, we’ll take a look at traditional video game genres and their evolution along with the processing power behind them. (Read more about why video games are so popular in 5 Psychological Tips Video Games Use to Keep Playing.)

Action / adventure games

Action / adventure is the broadest category of video games as it includes many original adventure video games, which were simply point-and-click or text-based, as well as action-oriented games like platform games and games. the beat’em ups. In an action / adventure game, the player progresses through the game by maximizing the specific abilities of the main character. These games are also heavily dependent on hand-eye coordination.

Platform games

Platform games are games in which the main character jumps from platform to platform or over obstacles to progress through a level. Famous platform games include the original series “Mario”, “Sonic the Hedgehog” and “Prince of Persia”.

Beat ‘Em Ups

Also known as hack-and-slash games, beat’em ups are video games in which the player controls a character who fights through waves of standard enemies punctuated by bosses of more difficult levels. The main character can use a variety of weapons – or just his bare hands. Grrr! Some notable beat’em ups include “Double Dragon”, “Golden Ax” and more modern games like the “God of War” series.

Survival-Horror and Action-Stealth Games

Survival horror and stealth action video games are adaptations of the original action / adventure concepts in which a brave hero defeats generic opponents. But the hero does not have the power or the supplies to beat the game using brute force. Whether it’s endless hordes of zombies and too few bullets or paramilitary forces that will regroup if the player is discovered, these two genres place limits on the main character that force the player to use unconventional strategies to beat the game. The “Metal Gear Solid” series and the “Resident Evil” series are both games that define the genre in this regard.

Fighting games

Fighting games could almost be a category of their own, but these one-on-one fighting games fall under the action / adventure umbrella because of their awesome qualities and progression gameplay. The “Street Fighter” series illustrates this category. As one of the most powerful franchises of any genre of games, it is also a testament to the popularity of this type of game.

Shooting games

Shooting games are all about the action created by shooting targets or enemies. There are different types of shooting games depending on the perspective like top down shooting games and side scrolling shooting games like “Contra”. However, by far the most popular type of shooter is first-person shooter (FPS). In this genre, the player sees through the eyes of the character and has to make their way through increasingly difficult game levels.

The Simulation category

Simulation games are a difficult category to define. Their goal is to make the experience as real as possible, so simulation games cut into very different subgenres from a gameplay perspective. These games often simulate construction management, sports or, as in one of the most popular games in this category, “The Sims”, simulation games can simulate real life.

Sports games

Sports games could also be a category in their own right, but they’re all about recreating the experience of a professional sports franchise. It’s not just limited to playing as a particular professional athlete, as many of these games include franchise management, draft and more. EA Sports has several dominant franchises in this sub-genre, including “Madden NFL Football”, “FIFA” and “NHL”.

Driving games

Just like sports games, driving simulations recreate the experience of controlling different vehicles. Racing games are all about cars, but there is a range of flight, navigation, and even train driving simulators. The “Need for Speed” series is a racing simulator that is one of the best-selling video game franchises of all time.

Music and rhythm games

Music and rhythm games combine music with button presses to create the experience of playing guitar, taiko drum, dancing, etc. “Guitar Hero” is one of the most influential franchises for popularizing musical games.

Role games

Role-playing is widely used to describe any video game in which a character is looking for something in an imaginary world. A central feature of role-playing games is that the character or group of characters can be improved through experience or by researching new items and weapons. There are many subgenres within RPGs, two of which are very important:

  • Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games (MMORPG)
    MMORPGs are played on the Internet and involve thousands of players occupying the same virtual world and advancing at different rates towards the same objective (the quest). MMORPGs have multiplied, but “World of Warcraft” is one of the gold standards of the sub-genre.
  • Sandbox games
    Sandbox games are hard to rank because one of the genre’s pioneers, “Grand Theft Auto III,” was partly beaten with quest items, but no real improvement to the character’s original stat levels. However, the open concept of sandbox games quickly caught the attention of RPG developers, and many sandbox games are RPGs or contain many traditional RPG elements, as seen in the “Fallout” series.

Strategy games

Strategy games focus on the actual tactical decisions that must be made to win a battle or a war. Strategy games can be Real Time Strategy (RTS) games, where players race against time to capture resources and build up strength, or Turn-Based Strategy (TBS) games, where every move can be considered without time constraints.

Puzzle games

Puzzle games are games in which players must complete increasingly difficult puzzles in order to advance in the game. These puzzles can be made more difficult by shorter time limits, more items per puzzle, or an increase in the amount of time. conceptual difficulty. “Minesweeper” and “Tetris” are two puzzle games that almost everyone will know.

Mix and match genres

Video game technology has evolved to the point that a game doesn’t have to stick to one genre or another. In fact, games were breaking down genre barriers in the era of platform games with platform shooters like “Contra” and platform games with RPG elements like “Castlevania”. Game producers now have more freedom to incorporate elements from other genres and change gameplay as they see fit. As a result, many hybrid genera have become well established genera, including:

  • Action-RPG
  • Strategy RPG
  • First person shooter RPG
  • Puzzle Strategy Games
  • Combat rpg
  • Racing RPG
  • Flight simulator shooting games
  • Massively Multiplayer Online First-Person Shooter Games (MMOFPS)

The mixing of genres is likely to continue to the point that assigning a single genre to a video game becomes nearly impossible. This is good for gamers, because at the end of the day, people don’t pay as much attention to the genre of a game as they do to whether it’s fun to play. (For more on the origin of video games, see New technology older than you might think.)


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