Video game genre

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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]

Video game electronic game that involves interaction with a user interface to generate visual feedback on a video device such as a TV screen or computer monitor

A video game is an electronic game that involves interaction with a user interface to generate visual feedback on a two- or three-dimensional video display device such as a TV screen, virtual reality headset or computer monitor. Since the 1980s, video games have become an increasingly important part of the entertainment industry, and whether they are also a form of art is a matter of dispute.

Gameplay is the specific way in which players interact with a game, and in particular with video games. Gameplay is the pattern defined through the game rules, connection between player and the game, challenges and overcoming them, plot and player's connection with it. Video game gameplay is distinct from graphics and audio elements.

Computer graphics graphics created using computers

Computer graphics are pictures and films created using computers. Usually, the term refers to computer-generated image data created with the help of specialized graphical hardware and software. It is a vast and recently developed area of computer science. The phrase was coined in 1960, by computer graphics researchers Verne Hudson and William Fetter of Boeing. It is often abbreviated as CG, though sometimes erroneously referred to as computer-generated imagery (CGI).

Contents

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]

History

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.

Chris Crawford (game designer) Computer game designer

Christopher Crawford is a computer game designer and writer. He designed and programmed several important computer games in the 1980s, including Eastern Front (1941) and Balance of Power. Among developers he became known for his passionate advocacy of game design as an art form, founding both The Journal of Computer Game Design and the Computer Game Developers Conference. In 1992 Crawford withdrew from commercial game development and began experimenting with ideas for a next generation interactive storytelling system. In 2018, Crawford announced that he had halted his work on interactive storytelling, concluding that it will take centuries for civilization to embrace the required concepts.

<i>The Art of Computer Game Design</i> book by Chris Crawford

The Art of Computer Game Design by Chris Crawford is the first book devoted to the theory of computer and video games. The book attempts to categorize computer games and talks about design precepts that serve as guidelines for game designers. It was originally published in Berkeley, California by McGraw-Hill/Osborne Media in 1984. The original edition is now out-of-print but from 1997 became available as a free download from a site maintained by Washington State University, Pullman. In 2011 the free download was removed and the text is currently available as a Kindle e-book.

1984 has seen many sequels and prequels in video games and several new titles such as 1942, Tetris and Tower of Druaga.

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]

Game studies, or ludology, is the study of games, the act of playing them, and the players and cultures surrounding them. It is a discipline of cultural studies that deals with all types of games throughout history. This field of research utilizes the tactics of, at least, folkloristics and cultural heritage, sociology and psychology, while examining aspects of the design of the game, the players in the game, and finally, the role the game plays in its society or culture. Game studies is oftentimes confused with the study of video games, but this is only one area of focus; in reality game studies encompasses all types of gaming, including sports, board games, etc.

The video game industry is the economic sector involved in the development, marketing, and monetization of video games. It encompasses dozens of job disciplines and its component parts employ thousands of people worldwide.

A video game publisher is a company that publishes video games that have been developed either internally by the publisher or externally by a video game developer. As with book publishers or publishers of DVD movies, video game publishers are responsible for their product's manufacturing and marketing, including market research and all aspects of advertising.

Definition

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

Literary genre category of literary composition

A literary genre is a category of literary composition. Genres may be determined by literary technique, tone, content, or even length. The distinctions between genres and categories are flexible and loosely defined, often with subgroups.

Film genre classification of films based on similarities in narrative elements

A film genre is a motion-picture category based on similarities either in the narrative elements or in the emotional response to the film. Most theories of film genre are borrowed from literary-genre criticism. Each film genre is associated with "conventions, iconography, settings, narratives, characters and actors". Standard genre characters vary according to the film genre; for film noir, standard characters are the femme fatale and the "hardboiled" detective; a Western film may portray the schoolmarm and the gunfighter. Some actors acquire a reputation linked to a single genre, such as John Wayne or Fred Astaire. A film's genre will influence the use of filmmaking styles and techniques, such as the use of flashbacks and low-key lighting in film noir, tight framing in horror films, fonts that look like rough-hewn logs for the titles of Western films, or the "scrawled" title-font and credits of Se7en (1995), a film about a serial killer. As well, genres have associated film-scoring conventions, such as lush string orchestras for romantic melodramas or electronic music for science-fiction films.

<i>Space Invaders</i> 1978 video game

Space Invaders is an arcade game created by Tomohiro Nishikado and released in 1978. It was manufactured and sold by Taito in Japan, and licensed in the United States by the Midway division of Bally. Space Invaders is one of the earliest shoot 'em ups and the first fixed shooter. The aim is to defeat waves of aliens with a laser to earn as many points as possible.

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.

First-person shooter video game genre centered around gun and other weapon-based combat in a first-person perspective

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.

Shooter games are a subgenre of action game, which often test the player's speed and reaction time. It includes many subgenres that have the commonality of focusing on the actions of the avatar using some sort of weapons. Usually this weapon is a gun or some other long-range weapon. A common resource found in many shooter games is ammunition. Most commonly, the purpose of a shooter game is to shoot opponents and proceed through missions without the player character being killed or dying. A shooting game is a genre of video game where the player has limited spatial control of his or her character, and the focus is almost entirely on the defeat of the character's enemies using long-range weaponry.

Third-person shooter (TPS) is a subgenre of 3D shooter games in which the player character is visible on-screen during gaming, and the gameplay consists primarily of shooting.

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]

Popularity

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

GenreSoftalkVGC top 100ESA
20052010201520162017
Action 61121527252222.5
Adventure 11762107.8
Fighting525355.8
Platform 109434
Puzzle 61001
Racing 1385463.3
Role-playing 1871612151712.9
Shooter81422241927.5
Simulation 50440
Sports 171612131511.7
Strategy 10310024.3
Misc7127894.1

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

Related Research Articles

Platform game video game genre

Platform games, or platformers, are a video game genre and subgenre of action game. In a platformer the player controlled character must jump and climb between suspended platforms while avoiding obstacles. Environments often feature uneven terrain of varying height that must be traversed. The player often has some control over the height and distance of jumps to avoid letting their character fall to their death or miss necessary jumps. The most common unifying element of games of this genre is the jump button, but now there are other alternatives like swiping a touchscreen. Other acrobatic maneuvers may factor into the gameplay as well, such as swinging from objects such as vines or grappling hooks, as in Ristar or Bionic Commando, or bouncing from springboards or trampolines, as in Alpha Waves. These mechanics, even in the context of other genres, are commonly called platforming, a verbification of platform. Games where jumping is automated completely, such as 3D games in The Legend of Zelda series, fall outside of the genre.

Roguelike subgenre of role-playing video games

Roguelike is a subgenre of role-playing video game characterized by a dungeon crawl through procedurally generated levels, turn-based gameplay, tile-based graphics, and permanent death of the player character. Most roguelikes are based on a high fantasy narrative, reflecting their influence from tabletop role playing games such as Dungeons & Dragons.

A role-playing video game is a video game genre where the player controls the actions of a character immersed in some well-defined world. Many role-playing video games have origins in tabletop role-playing games and use much of the same terminology, settings and game mechanics. Other major similarities with pen-and-paper games include developed story-telling and narrative elements, player character development, complexity, as well as replayability and immersion. The electronic medium removes the necessity for a gamemaster and increases combat resolution speed. RPGs have evolved from simple text-based console-window games into visually rich 3D experiences.

Rockstar Games multinational video game developer and publisher

Rockstar Games, Inc. is an American video game publisher based in New York City. The company was established in December 1998 as a subsidiary of Take-Two Interactive, and as successor to BMG Interactive, a dormant video game publisher of which Take-Two had previously acquired the assets. Founding members of the company were Sam and Dan Houser, Terry Donovan and Jamie King, who worked for Take-Two at the time, and of which the Houser brothers were previously executives at BMG Interactive. Co-founders Sam and Dan Houser head the studio as president and vice-president for creative, respectively. Jennifer Kolbe, who started at the front desk of Take-Two, acts as Rockstar Games' head of publishing and oversees all development studios. Simon Ramsey is the company's head of PR and communications.

A mod is an alteration by players or fans of a video game that changes one or more aspects of a video game, such as how it looks or behaves. Mods may range from small changes and tweaks to complete overhauls, and can extend the replay value and interest of the game.

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

<i>Computer and Video Games</i> UK video game magazine and website

Computer and Video Games was a UK-based video game magazine, published in its original form between 1981 and 2004. Its offshoot website computerandvideogames.com was launched in 1999 and closed in February 2015. CVG was the longest-running video game media brand in the world.

<i>Grand Theft Auto</i> video game series

Grand Theft Auto (GTA) is an action-adventure video game series created by David Jones and Mike Dailly; the later titles of which were created by brothers Dan and Sam Houser, Leslie Benzies and Aaron Garbut. It is primarily developed by Rockstar North, and published by Rockstar Games. The name of the series references the term used in the US for motor vehicle theft.

Video game clone

A video game clone is either a video game similar to, or inspired, by a previous popular game or series. Usually the term is derogatory, implying a lack of originality and creativity; however, an intentional clone may be anything from a "ripoff" to an honorary homage to its exemplar. The accusation of a game being a clone carries the implication that its developers or publishers try to profit off of the exemplar's success. It may even take the form of an allegation of plagiarism or fraud, which could be taken to court.

Action role-playing video games are a subgenre of role-playing video games. The games emphasize real-time combat where the player has direct control over the characters as opposed to turn or menu-based combat. These games often use action game combat systems similar to hack and slash or shooter games. Action role-playing games may also incorporate action-adventure games, which include a mission system and RPG mechanics, or massively multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPGs) with real-time combat systems.

<i>Grand Theft Auto</i> clone

Grand Theft Auto clone is a controversial subgenre of open world action-adventure video games, characterized by their likeness to the Grand Theft Auto series in either gameplay, or overall design. In these types of open world games, players may find and use a variety of vehicles and weapons while roaming freely in an open world setting. The objective of Grand Theft Auto clones is to complete a sequence of core missions involving driving and shooting, but often side-missions and minigames are added to improve replay value. The storylines of games in this subgenre typically have strong themes of crime and violence.

A space flight simulation game is a genre of flight simulator video games that lets players experience space flight to varying degrees of realism. Many games feature space combat, and some games feature commerce and trading in addition to combat.

In video games, an open world is a virtual world in which the player can explore and approach objectives freely, as opposed to a world with more linear gameplay. While games have used open-world designs since the 1980s, the implementation in Grand Theft Auto III (2001) set a standard that has been used since.

A variety of computer graphic techniques have been used to display video game content throughout the history of video games. The predominance of individual techniques have evolved over time, primarily due to hardware advances and restrictions such as the processing power of central or graphics processing units.

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<i>Grand Theft Auto V</i> 2013 open world action-adventure video game

Grand Theft Auto V is an action-adventure video game developed by Rockstar North and published by Rockstar Games. It was released in September 2013 for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, in November 2014 for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, and in April 2015 for Microsoft Windows. It is the first main entry in the Grand Theft Auto series since 2008's Grand Theft Auto IV. Set within the fictional state of San Andreas, based on Southern California, the single-player story follows three criminals and their efforts to commit heists while under pressure from a government agency. The open-world design lets players freely roam San Andreas' open countryside and the fictional city of Los Santos, based on Los Angeles.

This is a glossary of video game terms which lists the general terms as commonly used in Wikipedia articles related to video games and its industry.

References

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