By Ben Hoffman
Genres have become an essential part of games, helping people decide which ones are worth $70.
There are eight main genres of video games: action, adventure, racing (or driving), puzzle, role-playing, simulation, sports and strategy. Beyond this, there are many sub-genres that have been created and exploited by game developers over the years.
The preferred genre of many seasoned gamers and l33t twelve-year-old children with inferiority complexes alike, action is a very diverse label. Action games are dominated largely by three sub-genres.
The first, and oldest, of the three is platformer (think Super Mario Bros.) Platformers are subjects of cute cartooney characters and children’s movie franchises, but are generally fun nonetheless. The second of these are first person shooters, or FPS, which games like Counter-Strike, Quake and Doom all fall under. The object of FPS games is usually to violently kill everything that moves with weapons of increasing gore.
The third type in ths category is fighting games, like Mortal Kombat and Street Fighter. No surprise, the point of these games is to fight, generally in martial arts styles.
Adventure games are similar in play to action games–that is, they inolve action–but are larger in scope. Of note in this genre is action RPG (The Legend of Zelda, where one wanders around through dungeouns collecting items and beating enemies and third-person shooters (Metal Gear Solid), which are lot like FPS games, but usually a lot slower.
Racing and Driving
There are many great driving games, but racing games are championed by Gran Turismo–a series hailed for realistic physics and depth. Driving titles of note include the Grand Theft Auto series, whose object is to drive around being totally bad-ass.
Every puzzle game is unique, and most are exciting. Puzzle games usually require rapid thinking and good hand-eye coordination, but that is almost all that they have in common. Some classic examples of puzzle games are Tetris and Dr. Mario.
Role-playing games–or RPGs–generally offer the most story content and game depth of any genre, albeit often at a slow pace. Many RPGs are endearing and hold a special place in the nostalgia of old-school gamers because of their great stories and compelling characters. Classic RPGs include the Final Fantasy and Dragon Warrior series.
Simulations are games about ordinary things. Most sims cast the player in some role they wouldn’t normally have and allow players to experience those roles. For example, that of a pilot, mech operator, a bald female named Persephone who lives in a doorless house with no toilet.
The classic Sim City cast the player as an immortal mayor who controls all aspects of a city. More modern sim games, like The Sims, let players micromanage the lives of characters they create.
Sports games are about, you guessed it, sports. Player act as their favourite sports stars or teams, in glorious battles to win awards or even the virtual Stanley Cup. Classics include Blades of Steel and Tecmo Bowl.
Strategy games are the domain of epics. The Warcraft series, for instance, are stories about the fictional wars between orcs and humans, while the more sedate Civilization series is about world domination. Strategy games notoriously require a keen memory and a good multitasking brain, as the player often gets to control up to 50 simple game characters called units.