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Video Game Genres

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Video games are my favorite video games.

Genre, as applied to Video Games, customarily describes the style of gameplay rather than that of the story or setting as in other media. Many games mix and match among them.

It is also possible to move from one gameplay style to another within the same game, e.g. Mini Games, vehicle sequences within action games, etc. These gameplay changes can sometimes be unnecessary or unwanted, especially if the game transitions between them jarringly with poor integration between them.


Notable games in each genre can be found on the individual pages. Note that many games can and should be in multiple genres, as the lines can often get blurred, or games can incorporate elements of more than one genre. If you have a new game to add, put it in every genre you think it belongs! There are other, more thorough, game databases.

Also see Pinball, the arcade predecessor to Video Games.

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    General game genres 
These are the most common classifications applied to video games, usually pertaining to their style of gameplay.
  • Action-Adventure: A game that combines parts from Action Games and Adventure Games together. This means a balanced focus on combat and exploration/puzzle-solving. (ex: The Legend of Zelda, God of War)
  • Action Game: A game that is primarily about physical challenges, such as combat and obstacle crossing. (ex: Asura's Wrath)
  • Adventure Game: A game that is about puzzle-solving, exploration, and narrative, and a relative (or total) absence of randomized combat. (ex: The Walking Dead)
    • Environmental Narrative Game: A story-driven adventure game which emphasizes narrative and exploring a physical location, with very little in the way of interactivity or game play challenge. Also known by other labels including "walking simulator", "story exploration game", "first-person adventure" and "interactive stories". (ex: Gone Home)
    • Full Motion Video (Interactive Movie): A game that is based around video clips, and the player must press buttons at the right time, choose the right sequence of clips, or play other games using the video as a backdrop. (ex: Dragon's Lair)
    • Interactive Fiction: An Adventure Game in which the interaction is almost entirely text-based. (ex: Colossal Cave)
    • Point-and-Click Game: A game in which the player interacts with the environment by moving the mouse cursor over areas of the screen and clicking on them. (ex: Monkey Island, King's Quest)
    • Visual Novel: An Adventure Game that focuses more on character interactivity than world interactivity, with dialogue choices being the primary gameplay component. They often allow the player to choose their own adventure and get different endings based on your choices.
  • Breaking Out: A game in which a paddle at the bottom of the screen bounces a ball to destroy blocks, and missing the ball results in the player losing a life. (ex: Breakout)
  • Card Battle Game: A game in which players brings their own deck of cards to play.
  • Casual Video Game: A game that is easy to learn and relatively simple by design. (ex: Wii Sports)
    • Endless Running Game: A game about enduring an endless sequence of obstacles as long as possible. (ex: Temple Run)
    • Exergaming: A game that encourages the player to exercise and to get into shape. (ex: Wii Fit)
    • Hidden Object Game: A game in which there is a photo realistic cluttered scene and the player must find and click on a series of objects in it.
    • Idle Game: A genre of game defined by its game play, the primary feature of which is that the easiest way to win is to leave the game running by itself for long periods of time. (ex: Cookie Clicker)
    • Time Management Game: A game that requires the player to accomplish tasks as fast as possible. (ex: Diner Dash)
    • Virtual Paper Doll: A game that is about customizing a character's appearance.
  • Digging Game: A game in which the player digs through terrain while minding falling objects. (ex: Dig Dug)
  • Digital Pinball Tables: Computerized pinball games, whether replicas of Physical Pinball Tables or original boards with features that can only exist in software.
  • Driving Game: A game in which the player drives a vehicle of some kind. (ex: Driver)
  • Edutainment Game: A game that educates players as well as entertains them. (ex: Where in the World Is Carmen Sandiego?)
  • Escort Game: A game about escorting someone or something. (ex: Lemmings)
  • Game Maker: Software focused on creating whole games from the ground up with preexisting assets. Sometimes, the software itself is a game. (ex: LittleBigPlanet, Super Mario Maker)
  • .io Game: An online Player Versus Player game that is quick and easy to pick up and play. Mostly consists of Web Games with many having a mobile app version as well.
  • Maze Game : A game that takes place in a maze, and the player must either get from one side of the maze to the other, or clear it of every item that won't kill the player. (ex: Pac-Man)
  • Minigame Game: A game that has a series of puzzles, challenges and games with very different requirements for defeating them. (ex: WarioWare)
    • Party Game: A Minigame Game in which two to four players compete against each other in a board game-like environment. (ex: Mario Party)
  • Puzzle Game: A game that requires mental skill as well as, or instead of, dexterity and quick reflexes.
    • Bizarre Puzzle Game: A Puzzle Game that is so weird and mind-defying that trying to label it with a genre is a puzzle in and of itself. (ex: Katamari Damacy)
    • Match-Three Game: A game in which the player must match three objects of similar color/shape/species to eliminate said objects from the playing field. (ex: Candy Crush Saga)
    • Programming Game: A game in which the player has little to no direct control over the game's events, and must set up the solution, then hit a "go" switch to activate the solution and see if it accomplishes the task correctly.
    • Teamwork Puzzle Game: A game in which the player controls a group of characters, and progress frequently depends on puzzles making use of this fact.
    • Falling Blocks: A game in which blocks fall from the top of the screen, requiring the player to move and flip them so that they'll be arranged in a way to make them disappear, and if the blocks reach the top of the screen then the game ends. (ex: Tetris)
  • Rhythm Game: A game that will flash commands, and the player has to input the same, synchronized to a beat or melody. (ex: beatmania, Guitar Hero)
  • Rising Up The Food Chain Game: A game in which the player must eat creatures smaller than himself and become bigger, which allows him to eat more creatures. (ex: Feeding Frenzy)
  • Role-Playing Game (RPG) — see also Tabletop Games (Tabletop RPG): A game in which the player controls a character or party of characters in a statistically abstracted way.
  • Romance Game: A game in which the primary goal is to establish a romantic relationship between the Player Character and one or more of the NPCs.
  • Simulation Game (Sim): A game that simulates parts of a reality, fictional or real.
    • Construction and Management Games: This type of game focuses on elements like gathering and management of resources, construction, expansion, research and exploration.
    • Disaster Relief Game: A game where players have to cooperate in order to prevent, survive or rescue people from a disaster event.
    • Immersive Sim: A game that simulates a consistent lived-in world, facilitates Emergent Gameplay, and rewards creative problem solving. (ex: Deus Ex)
    • Life Simulation Game: A game in which the player plays as, or at least has control over the lives, of living beings and goes through their life. (ex: The Sims, Animal Crossing)
    • Raising Sim: A game in which schedules for a game to process are applied, which in turn affects characters in the game, who then develop 'on their own' without constant user interference.
      • Virtual Pet: A game where the player interacts with a digital pet, with the goal of caring for it like a real one. (ex: Tamagotchi)
  • Sports Game: A game that simulates playing a traditional physical sport. (ex: FIFA, Madden NFL)
  • Strategy Game: A game in which the player's strategical and/or tactical thinking is required in order to achieve victory.
    • 4X (4X): A game that has four simple goals, which are eXplore, eXpand, eXploit and eXterminate. Sub-genre of a Strategy Game. (ex: Civilization)
    • Artillery Game: A game that tasks the player with successfully aiming at an opponent with a ballistics trajectory under various conditions. (ex: Worms)
    • Political Strategy Game: A game that simulates a conflict over influence, policy, and ideology, rather than territory, trade, or production.
    • Real-Time Strategy (RTS): A game that focuses on construction and control of a fighting force in battle that takes place in real-time. (ex: StarCraft, Pikmin)
      • Multiplayer Online Battle Arena (MOBA): A game that has teams of players competing with each other, typically using the point-and-click interface of a Real Time Strategy; but, unlike RTS games, players control only one Hero Unit instead of a military-industrial complex. (ex: League of Legends)
    • Tower Defense: A game in which the player defends a building from monsters using other buildings, sometimes with a unit or two as back-up. (ex: Plants VS Zombies)
    • Turn-Based Strategy (TBS): A game that is about abstract mechanics of efficiently waging war, exploiting resources and controlling huge groups of combatants all at once. (ex: Total War)
    • Turn-Based Tactics: A game in which the player must control individual soldiers or vehicles. (ex: Valkyria Chronicles, X-COM)
  • Toys To Life Game: A game involving physical toys interacting with the game. (Skylanders, Disney Infinity)
  • And lastly, Miscellaneous Games: A page that contains games that nobody could identify the genre of. It really should be cleaned out.

    Aesthetic game genres 
Non-gameplay genres that can be found in other mediums, related to the game's story, setting, tone, etc.

    Gameplay modifiers 
There are several modifiers that can be applied to the genre of a game, as a twist on the standard formula.
  • Asymmetric Multiplayer: A multiplayer mode in which different players have totally different roles and capabilities.
  • Battle Royale Game: A multiplayer mode in which players (often a very large number of them) eliminate each other until only one remains.
  • Competitive Multiplayer: A multiplayer mode in which players compete against each other as players or teams.
  • Co-Op Multiplayer: A multiplayer mode in the main game in which every player is on the same team and playing against the computer.
  • Gameplay Roulette: A scenario in which games within a franchise switch from one Video Game Genre to another in an attempt to continue appealing to fans.
  • Isometric Projection: A graphical projection that squishes the vertical axes, thus forcing perpendicular angles to look wider and more three-dimensional.
  • Massive Multiplayer Crossover: A Crossover with at least three different continuities.
  • Meta Multiplayer: A multiplayer mode in which players are playing their own game at a time, but other players are doing this as well.
  • Minigame: A separate game present inside the main game. May or may not be relevant to progressing through the main game itself.
  • Museum Game: A game that is primarily about paying tribute to or heavily referencing a franchise or company's past.
  • Music Player Game: A game in which the levels are procedurally generated from the music you feed it, typically the more intensive and loud the music, the more action you are going to see.
  • Pop Up Video Games: A game in which clicking on background items results in cute animations.
  • Physics Based: A game that is primarily about the developers showing off applications of physics.
  • Real Time: When one minute of game play equals one minute in game time.
  • RPG Elements: A game that isn't exactly a Role-Playing Game, but the player character is gaining experience points and levels like in an RPG.
  • Side View: A perspective that views all objects from the side and nowhere else.
  • 3/4 View: A perspective that is a tilted bird's eye view perspective in which both the top and front of an object is seen at the same time, and the vertical axis indicates both height and depth.
  • Top-Down View: A perspective that views all objects straight and nowhere else.
  • Turn-Based: When the player and the computer take turns in making moves.
  • Turn-Based Combat: A game that isn't an all-out turn-based strategy/tactics but switches to turns whenever combat starts.
  • Turn-Based Strategy, Real Time Combat: A TBS game where the combat sections take place in Real Time, meaning no Turn-Based Combat.
  • Unexpected Gameplay Change: When the genre in a game suddenly changes to a different genre with little warning.
  • 3D: When a video game series goes from having two-dimensional sprites to having three-dimensional polygons.
  • Wide Open Sandbox: When the massive open world and optional material outweigh the actual, goal-oriented game play.

    Other categories 
There are also a number of particularly distinctive ways a game can be marketed or categorized.
  • 30-Day Free Trial: Software which you're allowed to use for a fixed, limited amount of time without paying for it. Once that time expires, you must send money to continue using it.
  • Advertisement Game: A video game created to advertise a product such as a food or store. They're often stealth ads.
  • Allegedly Free Game: A game that you can play for free, but you will have to pay money to access other game areas or get particular abilities and items.
  • Beta Test: A development version of the game, built to test how the various components of the program interact with one another and the computer. Some developers have an "Open Beta" process, giving access to a pre-release version of the game to the general public (or play testers selected from a public pool) for more extensive testing.
  • Downloadable Content: Additional, optional content provided by the developer via digital distribution and purchased separately from the main game.
  • Episodic Game: A game that is divided into separate episodes, and allows for cheaper prices, shorter wait times, and shorter development times.
  • Expansion Pack: Additional content released after the original game that is purchased separately and (usually) requires the original game to run.
  • Freemium: A game that you can play for free, but if you pay premium then you'll get full access to features that you couldn't get for free and remove advertisements.
  • Freeware Games: A game that can be downloaded and distributed legally for free.
  • Game Mod: Third-party modifications applied to an existing game. Can range from cosmetic improvements to additional fan-created content to full-on total conversions that only share an underlying game engine.
    • Game Mod Index: This is where you'll find Game Mods listed in one place.
  • H-Game: A game that features sex or heavy fan service.
  • Indie Game: A game that is developed without the backing of a publishing company, thus making it independently developed.
  • Licensed Game: A game based on an existing property, usually a movie, TV series or comic book.
    • License-Added Game: A specific type of Licensed Game in which the license is added to a new version of an existing video game franchise.
  • Microtransactions: A game that has individual, one-off payments for accessing additional content in a game.
  • Mission-Pack Sequel: A sequel with so few changes from its predecessor that it feels more like an Expansion Pack than a "true" sequel.
  • Obvious Beta: An unfinished game (often egregiously so) marketed as a finished one, for whatever reason.
  • Online Games: Video games that require an Internet connection for some, most, or all of its features. While many games nowadays have some sort of online multiplayer mode, there are some games which only exist on the Internet itself.
    • Virtual Worlds: An online game (or quasi-game) which revolves around the player exploring and interacting in the game's setting itself.
    • Web Games: An online game is that is played on a website via your web browser.
  • Perpetual Beta: A game which undergoes a long process of bug fixes, tweaks, and re-balancing even after its official release. So named because the developers seem to be "outsourcing" their beta testing to the player base without telling them the game's not really finished.
  • Shareware: A game that can be played to a certain extent without purchasing it. Buying the game will allow the player to play it to completion, instantly picking up exactly where they left off upon purchase without the need to install anything.
  • Shovelware: Software that is normally sold in bundles of several products, but it can refer to lowest-common-denominator software in general.
  • Unlicensed Game: A playable Shoddy Knockoff Product.
  • Video Game Long-Runners: A franchise that has at least six games in its main series and spans ten years.
  • Virtual Reality: A game that makes use of a headset display to make the player feel as though they are physically present in the game's setting.

Alternative Title(s): Video Game Genre


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