Video game genre

A video game genre is a classification assigned to a video game based on its gameplay interaction rather than visual or narrative differences.[1][2] A video game genre is defined by a set of gameplay challenges and are classified independently of their setting or game-world content, unlike other works of fiction such as films or books. For example, a shooter game is still a shooter game, regardless of where or when it takes place.[3][4]

As with nearly all varieties of genre classification, the matter of any individual video game's specific genre is open to personal interpretation. Moreover, each individual game may belong to several genres at once.[1]


The first attempt to classify different genres of video games was made by Chris Crawford in his book The Art of Computer Game Design in 1984. In this book, Crawford primarily focused on the player's experience and activities required for gameplay.[5] Here, he also stated that "the state of computer game design is changing quickly. We would therefore expect the taxonomy presented [in this book] to become obsolete or inadequate in a short time."[6] Since then, among other genres, the platformer and 3D shooter genres, which hardly existed at the time, have gained a lot of popularity. As hardware capabilities have increased, new genres have become possible, with examples being increased memory, the move from 2D to 3D, new peripherals, online and location.

Though genres were mostly just interesting for game studies in the 1980s, the business of video games expanded in the 1990s and both smaller and independent publishers had little chance of surviving. Because of this, games settled more into set genres that larger publishers and retailers could use for marketing.[2]


This space-themed video game is a shoot 'em up, or a "side-scrolling shooter."

Due to "direct and active participation" of the player, video game genres differ from literary and film genres. Though one could state that Space Invaders is a science-fiction video game, such a classification "ignores the differences and similarities which are to be found in the player's experience of the game."[5] In contrast to the visual aesthetics of games, which can vary greatly, it is argued that it is interactivity characteristics that are common to all games.

Descriptive names of genres take into account the goals of the game, the protagonist and even the perspective offered to the player. For example, a first-person shooter is a game that is played from a first-person perspective and involves the practice of shooting.[7] The term "subgenre" may be used to refer to a category within a genre to further specify the genre of the game under discussion. Whereas "shooter game" is a genre name, "first-person shooter" and "third-person shooter" are common subgenres of the shooter genre.[8] Other examples of such prefixes are real-time, turn based, top-down and side-scrolling.

The target audience, underlying theme or purpose of a game are sometimes used as a genre identifier, such as with "games for girls," "Christian game" and "Serious game" respectively. However, because these terms do not indicate anything about the gameplay of a video game, these are not considered genres.[2]

In practice

Video game genres vary in specificity, with popular video game reviews using genre names varying from "action" to "baseball." In this practice, basic themes and more fundamental characteristics are used alongside each other.[9]

A game may combine aspects of multiple genres in such a way that it becomes hard to classify under existing genres. For example, because Grand Theft Auto III combined shooting, driving and roleplaying in an unusual way, it was hard to classify using existing terms. Since then, the term Grand Theft Auto clone has been used to describe games mechanically similar to Grand Theft Auto III.[7] Similarly, the term roguelike has been developed for games that share similarities with Rogue.[10]

Elements of the role-playing genre, which focuses on storytelling and character growth, have been implemented in many different genres of video games. This is because the addition of a story and character enhancement to an action, strategy or puzzle video game does not take away from its core gameplay, but adds an incentive other than survival to the experience.[11]


According to some analysts, the count of each broad genre in the best selling physical games worldwide is broken down as follows.[12][13]

Genre Softalk VGC top 100 ESA
2005 2010 2015 2016 2017
Action 61 12 15 27 25 22 22.5
Adventure 11 7 6 2 1 0 7.8
Fighting 5 2 5 3 5 5.8
Platform 10 9 4 3 4
Puzzle 6 1 0 0 1
Racing 13 8 5 4 6 3.3
Role-playing 18 7 16 12 15 17 12.9
Shooter 8 14 22 24 19 27.5
Simulation 5 0 4 4 0
Sports 17 16 12 13 15 11.7
Strategy 10 3 1 0 0 2 4.3
Misc 7 12 7 8 9 4.1

The most popular genres are currently Shooter, Action, Role-playing and Sports, with Platformer and Racing having both declined in the last decade. Puzzle games have declined when measured by sales, however, on mobile, where the majority of games are free-to-play, this genre remains the most popular worldwide.[14][15][16]

See also


  1. ^ a b Apperley, Thomas H. (2006). "Genre and game studies" (PDF). Simulation & Gaming. 37 (1): 6–23. doi:10.1177/1046878105282278. Retrieved 2013-04-19.
  2. ^ a b c Adams, Ernest (2009-07-09). "Background: The Origins of Game Genres". Gamasutra. Archived from the original on 2014-12-17. Retrieved 2014-12-03.
  3. ^ Adams, Ernest; Andrew Rollings (2006). Fundamentals of Game Design. Prentice Hall. p. 67. ISBN 9780133435719.
  4. ^ Harteveld, Casper (2011-02-26). Triadic Game Design: Balancing Reality, Meaning and Play. Springer Science & Business Media. p. 71. ISBN 1849961573. Retrieved 2014-12-19.
  5. ^ a b Wolf, Mark J.P. (2008). The Video Game Explosion: A History from PONG to Playstation and Beyond. ABC-CLIO. p. 259. ISBN 031333868X. Retrieved 2014-12-03.
  6. ^ Chris, Crawford (1982). "A Taxonomy of Computer Games". The Art of Computer Game Design (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on 2014-10-15. Retrieved 2014-12-03.
  7. ^ a b Lecky-Thompson, Guy W. (2008-01-01). Video Game Design Revealed. Cengage Learning. p. 23. ISBN 1584506075. Retrieved 2014-12-03.
  8. ^ Thorn, Alan (2013-05-30). Game Development Principles. Cengage Learning. pp. 4–5. ISBN 1285427068. Retrieved 2014-12-03.
  9. ^ Egenfeldt-Nielson, Simon; Smith, Jonas Heide; Tosca, Susana Pajares (2013-04-27). Understanding Video Games: The Essential Introduction. Routledge. p. 46. ISBN 1136300422. Retrieved 2014-12-03.
  10. ^ "ManaPool Guide to Roguelikes". ManaPool. 2010-11-21. Archived from the original on 2014-11-06. Retrieved 2014-11-06.
  11. ^ Clements, Ryan (2012-12-12). "RPGs Took Over Every Video Game Genre". IGN. Archived from the original on 2014-12-08. Retrieved 2014-12-03.
  12. ^ Softalk The Top Thirty, 1984, "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2018-04-15. Retrieved 2018-04-15.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  13. ^ "Essential facts about the computer and video game industry" Entertainment Software Association report, 2016, "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2017-12-27. Retrieved 2017-12-26.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  14. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2017-12-28. Retrieved 2017-12-27.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  15. ^ Hill, Simon. "Games rule the iTunes App Store: Most popular genres revealed". Archived from the original on 7 November 2017. Retrieved 7 May 2018.
  16. ^ "Most Popular Mobile Game Genres - Big Fish Blog". Archived from the original on 28 December 2017. Retrieved 7 May 2018.
Action-adventure game

Action-adventure is a video game genre that combine core elements from both the action game and adventure game genres.

With the decline of the adventure game genre from mainstream popularity, the use of the term (and the hybrid term "action-adventure") has been more liberal. It is not uncommon for gamers to apply the term "adventure" or "action" to describe the genre of fiction to which a game belongs, and not the gameplay itself.

Action-adventure is a hybrid genre, and thus the definition is very inclusive, leading it to be perhaps the broadest genre of video games, and can include many games which might better be categorized under narrow genres. Typically, pure adventure games have situational problems for the player to solve, with very little or no action. If there is action, it is generally confined to isolated minigames. Pure action games have gameplay based on real-time interactions that challenge the reflexes. Therefore, action-adventure games engage both reflexes and problem-solving, in both violent and non-violent situations.

Action game

The action game is a video game genre that emphasizes physical challenges, including hand–eye coordination and reaction-time. The genre includes a large variety of sub-genres, such as fighting games, beat 'em ups, shooter games and platform games. Some multiplayer online battle arena and real-time strategy games are also considered action games.

In an action game, the player typically controls a character often in the form of a protagonist or avatar. This player character must navigate a level, collecting objects, avoiding obstacles, and battling enemies with their natural skills as well as weapons and other tools at their disposal. At the end of a level or group of levels, the player must often defeat a boss enemy that is more challenging and often a major antagonist in the game's story. Enemy attacks and obstacles deplete the player character's health and lives, and the player receives a Game over when they run out of lives. Alternatively, the player gets to the end of the game by finishing a sequence of levels and seeing the credits. But some action games, such as early arcade games, are unbeatable and have an indefinite number of levels; with the player's only goal being to get as far as they can to maximize their score.

Adventure Classic Gaming

Adventure Classic Gaming is a computer game website created in 1996 dedicated to the genre of adventure games. It publishes reviews and previews of adventure games, as well as opinion articles and interviews with game designers. The site is listed as a trusted reviewer on GameRankings.Adventure Classic Gaming is respected by developers of adventure games. Scott Murphy, the co-creator of the Space Quest series has stated that an interview he gave to Adventure Classic Gaming was "very therapeutic to [him]". The site is also respected by fellow gaming websites. Kotaku features articles written by Adventure Classic Gaming and refers to them as "really nice" and "good reading". Rock, Paper, Shotgun created an article around an Adventure Gaming Classic interview and retrospective and referred to it as an "excellent piece".

Adventure Gamers

Adventure Gamers is a computer game website created in March 1999 dedicated to the genre of adventure games. It publishes reviews and previews of adventure games, as well as opinion articles and interviews with game designers.

The site's reviews have been quoted on many adventure game box covers, and it is listed as a trusted reviewer on CNET's Metacritic and GameRankings. Adventure Gamers was also referenced in the print book Rogue Leaders: The Story of LucasArts.Adventure Gamers is respected by developers of adventure games. Ragnar Tornquist, the creator of the adventure games The Longest Journey and Dreamfall: The Longest Journey, has stated that the reviews on Adventure Gamers are "very important to [him]". In addition, Straandlooper, the developer of Hector: Badge of Carnage, called Adventure Gamers "one of the foremost and widely respected websites about adventure games".

AVSIM is a free to join nonprofit flight simulation social networking service that focuses heavily on Microsoft Flight Simulator, X-Plane, and Prepar3D. It features a community forum, file library, and product reviews. The website is maintained by a group of volunteers and bandwidth and equipment is paid for by donations and advertising. It is one of the world's largest flight simulation websites and provides users access to information and addons for the flight simulator series of games. On May 12, 2009 the website was attacked by a hacker which resulted in a catastrophic loss of data. AVSIM was able to fully recover from the hack with the help of IT support from around the world.

First-person shooter

First-person shooter (FPS) is a video game genre centered around gun and other weapon-based combat in a first-person perspective; that is, the player experiences the action through the eyes of the protagonist. The genre shares common traits with other shooter games, which in turn makes it fall under the heading action game. Since the genre's inception, advanced 3D and pseudo-3D graphics have challenged hardware development, and multiplayer gaming has been integral.

The first-person shooter genre has been traced as far back as Maze War, development of which began in 1973, and 1974's Spasim. Later, and after more playful titles like MIDI Maze in 1987, the genre coalesced into a more violent form with 1992's Wolfenstein 3D, which has been credited with creating the genre's basic archetype upon which subsequent titles were based. One such title, and the progenitor of the genre's wider mainstream acceptance and popularity was Doom, one of the most influential games in this genre; for some years, the term Doom clone was used to designate this genre due to Doom's influence. Corridor shooter was another common name for the genre in its early years, since processing limitations of the era's hardware meant that most of the action in the games had to take place in enclosed areas.1998's Half-Life—along with its 2004 sequel Half-Life 2—enhanced the narrative and puzzle elements. In 1999, the Half-Life mod Counter-Strike was released and, together with Doom, is perhaps one of the most influential first-person shooters. GoldenEye 007, released in 1997, was a landmark first-person shooter for home consoles, while the Halo series heightened the console's commercial and critical appeal as a platform for first-person shooter titles. In the 21st century, the first-person shooter is the most commercially viable video game genre, and in 2016, shooters accounted for over 27% of all video game sales. Several first-person shooters have been popular games for eSports and competitive gaming competitions as well.

FlightSim.Com is a flight simulation review and resource website that focuses heavily on Microsoft Flight Simulator. It is one of the main flight simulation websites along with and provides users access to information and addons for the flight simulator series of video games.


Gamezebo is a website that focuses on editorial coverage of the mobile gaming industry, offering interviews, reviews, previews, strategy guides, and news. It had been centered on casual games, but after a redesign in 2014, the site changed direction to primarily highlight mobile games.

The site has featured games from studios and publishers including PlayFirst, Big Fish Games, Oberon, RealArcade/GameHouse, MumboJumbo, Playrix, Gogii Games, Sandlot Games, Reflexive Entertainment, Row Sham Bow, Inc and Last Day of Work. The site also spotlights new web games, casual massively-multiplayer online (MMO) games, and casual console video games.

The site is also referred to by casual game developers and publishers, in regard to their reviews, news and walkthroughs.


GotFrag was a website, founded in 2002, that covered daily events and news about e-Sports and professional video gaming. New York Post writer Michael Kane called GotFrag "the best source of gaming [information] for the hard-core community". The site provided gamers with a place to find information and current events about their favorite eSports teams and players. In 2007, GotFrag became a wholly owned subsidiary of Major League Gaming.

Just Adventure

Just Adventure is a computer game website dedicated to the genre of adventure games. Founded in 1997, it publishes reviews and previews of adventure games, as well as opinion articles and interviews with game designers. The site was founded by Francis "Randy" Sluganski, who died on November 6, 2012 after a ten-year struggle with cancer.The site's reviews have been quoted on some adventure game box covers, and it is listed as a reviewer on CNET's Metacritic and GameRankings.

Ragnar Tornquist, the creator of the adventure games The Longest Journey and Dreamfall: The Longest Journey has stated that the reviews on Just Adventure are "very important to [him]". In 2000, PC Gamer US columnist Michael Wolf called Just Adventure "the best site on the Web for the adventure game fan".

Lunar Lander (video game genre)

Lunar Lander is the name of a genre of video games in which the player controls a spaceship as it falls towards the surface of the Moon or other astronomical bodies, and must maneuver the ship's thrusters so as to land safely before exhausting the available fuel. In many games in the genre, the player must adjust the ship's orientation, as well as its horizontal and vertical velocities. The first Lunar Lander game was a text-based game named Lunar, or alternately the Lunar Landing Game, written in the FOCAL programming language for the Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC) PDP-8 minicomputer by Jim Storer while a high school student in the fall of 1969. Two other versions were written soon after by other programmers in BASIC. Lunar was converted to BASIC by David H. Ahl, who included all three versions in his 1973 101 BASIC Computer Games; by the end of the decade, the type of game was collectively known as a "lunar lander" game.

In 1973, DEC commissioned the creation of a real-time, graphical version of Lunar Lander, which was intended to showcase the capabilities of their new DEC GT40 graphics terminals. The game, which was written by Jack Burness and named Moonlander, was distributed with DEC computers and displayed at trade shows. An arcade game version of the game concept was released as Lunar Lander in 1979 by Atari, which featured a fuel-for-money system allowing the player to purchase more fuel to continue their current game. Other graphical Lunar Lander games were released for various systems, including Jupiter Lander for the Commodore 64, Retrofire for Atari 8-bit computers, and Apollo 11 for the ZX Spectrum. Critics have claimed that the text-based version of the genre was collectively the most popular computer game of its time, and so many graphical examples of the genre exist that in 1981 Electronic Games claimed: "sometimes it seems as though every company capable of copying a cassette is trying to sell a game on this theme."


A mini-map or minimap is a miniature map that is often placed at a screen corner in video games to aid players in orienting themselves within the game world. They are often only a small portion of the screen and thus must be selective in what details they display. Elements usually included on Mini-maps vary by video game genre. However, commonly included features are the position of the player character, allied units or structures, enemies, objectives and surrounding terrain.

Mini-maps have become very common in real-time strategy and MMORPG video games because they serve as an indication of where the current screen lies within the scope of the game world. Most first person shooter games also have some version or variant of the mini map, often showing enemy locations in real time.


NoFrag is a French reviews website that focuses exclusively on First-person shooters. It's the only French web site specialized on this type of games.

The name of the site is composed with the two English names "No" and Frag, which means to kill someone temporarily in computer games.

Being focused on First-person shooter hardcore gaming, they have sometimes been considered as "elitists" by other gaming websites They are usually around the 20th position by Alexa for French video game sites

Snake (video game genre)

Snake is the common name for a video game concept where the player maneuvers a line which grows in length, with the line itself being a primary obstacle. The concept originated in the 1976 arcade game Blockade, and the ease of implementing Snake has led to hundreds of versions (some of which have the word snake or worm in the title) for many platforms. After a variant was preloaded on Nokia mobile phones in 1998, there was a resurgence of interest in the snake concept as it found a larger audience. There are over 300 Snake-like games for iOS alone.


Stratics is a portmanteau of the words strategy and statistics. It is currently a website dedicated to supporting the community of the Ultima Online Massively multiplayer online role-playing game and is the oldest, continuously running MMORPG news and fansite having been formed in 1997. The domain name was registered on January 27, 1998 to facilitate the community's uniqueness and purpose. The earliest instance of any part of the site is recorded in the WayBackMachine on December 19, 1998.

The Mud Connector

The Mud Connector, abbreviated TMC, is a computer gaming website that provides articles, discussions, reviews, resource links and game listings about MUDs. The site lets MUD owners, administrators and enthusiasts submit information and reviews about specific MUDs. The site contains over 1000 MUD listings and designates a subset of virtual communities suitable for children. Mud Companion magazine praised the site.

Time management (video game genre)

Time management games are a subgenre of strategy video game and of casual games focused around fast real time allocation of resources in a consequent order to fulfill the level objectives. The player must react to the incoming requests that occur as they play and serve them in the most effective manner to get the greatest possible reward. They are usually limited in time, and their resources limit the speed at which they can serve the requests. Tapper and Diner Dash are popular games in the genre.

Turn-based tactics

Turn-based tactics (TBT), or tactical turn-based (TTB), is a computer and video game genre of strategy video games that through stop-action simulates the considerations and circumstances of operational warfare and military tactics in generally small-scale confrontations as opposed to more strategic considerations of turn-based strategy (TBS) games.

Turn-based tactical gameplay is characterized by the expectation of players to complete their tasks using only the combat forces provided to them, and usually by the provision of a realistic (or at least believable) representation of military tactics and operations.

Vault Network

The Vault Network, or VN, was a game network dedicated to role-playing video games (including massively multiplayer online role-playing games), providing gamers with information such as news, editorials, guides, hints and tips, as well as discussion. The Vault Network consists of RPG Vault, the Vault Wiki and the VN Boards, as well as several other hosted sites, called "Vaults", dedicated to specific game titles or topics. The Vaults use a single, unified discussion forum for all their websites, resulting in a combined total of about 40,000 to 50,000 posts a day, over 400+ forums. Together, this group of message boards is known as the VN Boards.

The VNBoards are consistently ranked very high on the list of most active Internet forums.

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