I’ve been unable to attend to all classes as I’ve been having the flu the last couple weeks. Therfore I have to catch up on lectures and reading. Why not do a little bit of both in this blog-post?
As the title suggests, I’ll explore the different genres games have to offer. Genres are not necessary to simply enjoy a game, but they can be helpful when it comes to studying them.
The first thing needed is a definition of the term. According to Understanding Video Games, a genre is «a category based on certain shared characteristics.» Four different genres were presented during lecture: Action games, adventure games, strategy games and process-oriented games. According to the definition of a genre, each category have the same characteristics.
Action games are intense and involve physical drama. They require mot-sill and hand-eye coordination. A few examples of action games would be Pac-Man and Red Dead Redemption. Both of those games are in many ways different, but they still share the same characteristics.
Adventure games require deep thinking and great patience; involve mysteries and puzzles. In my opinion, terms like «deep» and «great» are vague and can me interpreted differently. Regardless, a decent defintion. Examples would be Maniac Mansion and Dreamfall: the Longest Journey.
Strategy games are like a game of war, but the player resembles the General; conflict on a map (resembling classic board games). There’s an important to distinguish between an RTS (real-time strategy) and a TBS (turn-based strategy). In an RTS the fighting happens in real-time, such as in Warcraft and Age of Empires. The most popular TBS would be chess. Each player got as much time as they want to plan their next move (unless you play speed chess). An example would be Civilization and Heroes: Might of Magic 3.
Process-oriented games is the last category. In those, the player plays with a system. It could fit the definition of a toy to play with; the games lack consistent criterion for success. World of Warcraft is an example of a game like this. There is no specific goal. You do quest after quest, dungeon after dungeon, raid after raid. You grind.
Those were the genres we were introduced to during lecture. I’m quite familiar with those terms as a gamer myself. Seperating games into four genres isn’t much, but it might help someone to do the studying needed. How you categorize something might depend on what research you’re about to do.
When I play games on my computer, I mostly use Steam. Steam is a platform that distributes games online. As of today, I have 234 games in my Steam library. The reason I’m mentioning Steam is that I like how they categorize their games. They don’t only have 4 genres, but way more. I’ll show the main genres below.
Here are action, adventure and strategy games once again. World of Warcraft would go into the definition of RPG, Massively Multiplayer and arguably action and strategy.
Steam don’t just operate with these few genres. As stated in the beginning of this post, a genre is just certain shared characteristics. A genre can be pretty much anything. Below are some more of the genres Steam uses. Those are certainly not all of the genres, but just a few. It might be a bit hard to navigate through all of those, but it can definitely be beneficial to operate with this many categories. If I think females are not represented enough in video games, I can click the «female protagonist» category and play more female oriented games. It’s a quite specific category, but they can be very helpful if I want to play a specific kind of game.
Just because some of these categories are quite specific and narrow, doesn’t mean a game only can be put in a single category.
Let’s take a look at Elder Scrolls: Online, which is a game quite similar to World of Warcraft.
This game is considered as an RPG, open world, MMORPG, fantasy and an action game. If I click the + sign, I can see even more characteristics this game has. It’s worth to mention that all of those categories are defined by its users. I’d say all of those categories applies to World of Warcraft as well. It’s not just a process-oriented game.
My point with this post is that genres aren’t set in stone. A genre is just certain characteristics some games share. A category can be wide, but also quite narrow and specific. What genres you’d use depends on your kind of research as a student, or what kind of game you’d want to play as a gamer.