Gamers Thoughts: The sense and nonsense of game genres

genre-mind-mapIn theory I would have this topic for a podcast. Yet, when I suggested this to Dark_Legend and Q, they told me to first write an article about it. So, this is the article that were serve as the base for the podcast. Also, this will be the last gamer’s thoughts for a short while. Since I want to avoid that one category of articles gets too many new posts in a short while. It’s just to have a bit more variaty in what I write. So, I started to write an article about this and that one got deleted. Because I thought it would be better for a podcast. Now, there will be big differences with my original thoughts and this article. Since in the time between the original writing and the podcast idea, I did a bit more research on this subject. So, hopefully I won’t be “shot down” for mistakes. As usual, feel free to leave a comment with your opinion on this subject and or this article. It might possibly be a part of the podcast. Who knows? 

RPG games are the thriller movies.

D&D dice1So, in the past I wrote an article about RPG’s. It was an answer to Ryu’s article about what makes a good RPG. Now, how does that article relate to the question of today? Well, what if you ask yourself, what makes a game a RPG game?

The most obvious answer is a game where you play a role of a character. You level up and you see the character develop in a story. So, at this point, can’t you already guess where I’m going with the title of the article?

Before I started this blog, I wrote a Dutch blog about myself and the games I played. On there, I wrote one article where I tried to prove that the Legend Of Zelda series is a RPG. Now, I have enough reasons why I think that it’s very possible.

While you think about it, I think you can put the pieces together yourself why the series can be a RPG. Now, is it a RPG? Quite clearly, no. The series has big influences of the RPG genre, but that doesn’t make it a RPG.

While I was talking to Q to make this a podcast subject, he said something very true. “The rules are just too vague.” That’s what he said. I wrote it down with my notes. RPG games are the thriller movies. Almost every game has RPG elements. Could RPG just be a too wide term?

Action Adventure games or Point-and-Click?

Dark-Flight-1Now, question time. Name me one adventure game that isn’t an action game as well. Simple! Freddi Fish, Myst, Broken Sword 1 & 2… Okay, that was easy wasn’t it? Now, name me one adventure game that isn’t an action game OR a point-and-click game.

Now, I do believe there are those rare games out there that fit my description, but it got just a whole lot tougher to answer the question.

Some genres are almost combined every time. I can’t think of any single genre that has only one genre. Before anyone makes a comment about casual games, let me prove you that it would be wrong. Take Tetris for example. That’s a popular casual game. But it’s also a puzzle game. Or Minecraft, it’s a casual game as well… Nope, it’s a sandbox game too.

Clones with a twist!

Clonetroopers_all_colorsNow, let’s take Bejeweled as an example. This game is a casual, match3 puzzle game. At it’s core, Candy Crush is the same game. The only big difference is that there are more styles of gameplay. Did you even know that one of the first Match3 games was called SameGame? Here is the WikiPedia entry.

In a way, each genre has it’s “example” game. If I ask to name a shooter, it would be safe to say that most of you reply with something among the lines of Call Of Duty. Honestly, I think it isn’t safe to say. Since in the shooter genre, you have a flood of amazing titles that have a big fanbase. To name just a few: Doom, Wolvenstein, Killzone, Medal Of Honor, Gears Of War…

In every genre you have an “example game”. From that game, developers make some unique changes to the formula and try to make a game. It might be a bold statement, but I think there is some truth in it. Some games, mostly the mediocre ones, are called something among the lines of “just another shooter” or “clone of game X”.

Once in a while, you have these games where you can’t really put a genre on. I think of “Gone Home” and “the Stanley Parable”. These games are more experiences then games? Or am I wrong here?

We need more genres?

9a781ac4de4bd7695c2b08b7bcc1d011If somebody tries to make a list of very game genre that exists, I think you would still be able to prove that person wrong. Since we could find a new genre every day. Even in the list that WikiPedia gives you, I can name a few genres that aren’t included. Take a look for yourself. Props to the original writer to add the visual novels. Since that’s a highly underrated genre.

Let’s take a look together. Now, I miss games like genres like: Tower Defense, Turn Based Strategy… To just name the ones that directly pop into my head.

And here I found a more complete list. You would think that it’s complete. Allow me please to prove you wrong once more. They didn’t include: visual novel, sandbox, dungeon crawlers and MMORPG’s. But it’s an interesting site to take a look at.

That site lists a decent description of the genres and a list of games that are part of that genre. Now, take a moment and look at the amount of genres we have. Also, take into a count that the list is incomplete. Isn’t this silly? We don’t have many “main” genres, but if you look to the sub-genres; it’s an overflow!

Closing words

So, I think I’ll close this article off here. I think that a podcast would really be quite nice to talk about this subject. While I honestly do think that genres make sense, I have proven that there is a lost of nonsense with it as well.

Feel free to follow me on my social networks. That way you will be kept up-to-date with my latest articles and such. Also, you will be notified when we publish the podcast.

Anyways, thanks for reading this article. I hope you enjoyed reading this article as much as I did writing it. I’m really looking forward to the actual podcast! Also, I hope to see you at one of my next articles!


About NekoJonez

I'm a Dutch video game blogger. I play old and new games. On my blog I give my opinion and views on them. These are my personal views. I say what I think. I also talk about more then just games. I talk and discuss the gaming industry or elements of games. To get to know me better, you should come on my blog. :) Keep the most up to date with me on my twitter: Reviews, first impressions and more. Visit my blog: Besides blogging, I also act on stage, have a job in education, play games and study to become a better IT guy.
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