These days we are extremely lucky to have the cornucopia of games that we do. Not only is the quality of titles great, but the variation in game genres is extensive. We have your basic genres along with their extensive subgenres. We are going to be taking a quick look at all of these and see some of the best titles defining the genres.
How many different types of video games are there? There are over 30 different types.
Stealth games have the player act all sneakily, having them accomplish their mission through subterfuge and guile. Are you a good enough gamer to sneak from one side of the map to the other without being seen. Challenging and atmospheric, stealth games allow for experimentation and creativity. Games like Metal Gear Solid, the Thief series, and Splinter Cell are all stealth titles.
With the famous release of Street Fighter II in 1991, fighting games saw a huge uptick in popularity. These titles have you facing off against either a human or AI opponent, testing your knowledge of combos and your reflexes. Street Fighter II, Tekken, and Mortal Kombat are some iconic fighting games
In survival games, players are dropped into a hostile setting, (think jungle, desert, the Arctic), usually with little to no tools, and tasked with basic survival. This trend has been growing for the past few years. With games like Rust, the survival genre is becoming increasingly legitimate. These are a mix of strategy, action, and role-playing. Rust, The Forest, and Day Z are survival titles.
Survival Horror games
These games are sure to chill your blood and give you a scare. The player is thrown into an actively antagonistic setting, (usually), populated by eldritch horrors, forcing them to use their combat and intuition to survive. Games like Resident Evil pioneered the genre. Walking through the mansion, stalked by zombies and other horrors, gave the player the option of flight or fight when it came to the ghoulish horrors they came across. It even coined the phrase ‘enter the survival horror’ in the first game. Silent Hill, Resident Evil, and Alone in the Dark are all survival horror titles.
This refers to entirely text-based games, having the playing type in commands to move the story along. This was coupled usually with role-playing titles. The game would often prompt the player with an open-ended ‘what do you do?’ after describing the environment they are in. If the player wakes up in a cave, the player could type in ‘turn left’, ‘light torch’, and ‘walk forward’ to advance the game. This was a great mashup of fiction writing and role-playing.
The game Dragon’s Lair was a famous pioneer in this genre. In it, there is a pre-recorded ‘movie’, with the player controlling some aspect of the action. In Dragon’s Lair, you need to press the appropriate button to make sure that you don’t fall into a spiked pit or avoid a fireball. This genre added extra immersion for the player. However, the value of replayability is hampered by a linear story.
RPGs are games in which the player takes on a ‘role’ of a character in a (usually), fantastical setting, allowing the player to out the roles. These are made famous from tabletop gaming like Dungeons & Dragons, in which players would take their created character and journey through dungeons and towns, using skills to tailor their journey In unique ways. There are different types of RPGs.
Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game
MMORPGs like World of Warcraft throw players into the setting of WarCraft in which they can interact without thousands of other players simultaneously playing the same story and doing the same quests. Games like EverQuest, Star Wars The Old Republic, and Guild Wars are great examples.
Tactical Role-Playing Games
These RPGs heavily emphasize you guessed it, tactics. They are usually set up like classic tabletop RPGs, in which players and enemies are set up on a grid and use their unique skills to make use of the environment through turn-based rolls and moves. Games like Banner Saga, Fallout, and Valkyria Chronicles are all examples of tactical RPGs.
These RPGs emphasis freedom for the player. The player controls a character in a detailed world in which they have nearly complete control. In the Witcher III: Wild Hunt, the player controls the gruff Geralt of Rivia and can engage and complete quests at will. By that same token, Kingdom Come: Deliverance plops the player into early 1300s Bohemia, allowing the player to carry on as a young warrior. You can take part in the story, or you can simply ride around on a horse, hunt, and camp.
These games emphasize strategy to complete objectives. Whether playing virtual chess or building your civilization, brainpower is encouraged to get yourself to the end of the game. This is another genre with multiple subgenres.
These games are called ‘4X’ for the tenets of the subgenre: "eXplore, eXpand, eXploit, and eXterminate". Games like Civilization are the staples of the subgenre, in which you start humbly as a few units, eventually build your cities and arsenals, and destroy enemy players through combat, diplomacy, or technological advancement.
These games are all about the big picture. Many grand strategy games are based in history: games like Europa Universalis and the Total War franchise are grand strategies. In them, you need to steer a nation or faction to victory, managing economy, research of technology, and of course, military might.
RTS games are based don gathering resources and crushing your opponent, all in real-time. Games like Age of Empires and StarCraft are the standard. Collecting enough resources to build up your weapons and units to obliterate your opponent is the name of the game.
Mobile Online Battle Area
Out of the mod ‘DotA’, MOBAs have become extremely popular. You are set up on a map with 4 corners, in which you need to either score more points than your opponent or destroy them.
These games are nail-biters. You need to, unsurprisingly, defend your base. The AI will throw thousands of enemy units at you, and you are tasked with adapting and overcoming their onslaught. It requires you to change your playstyle on the fly, as well as making snap decisions to best minimize damage to your base and maximize efficiency.
These titles are all about immersing the player in the action of simulating an activity. They range from flight sims and city-building games. A sense of realism is emphasized, giving the player the sensation of actually performing.
These games have been around for decades. In them, the player is usually the pilot of a plane or some other vehicle like a train. The player pilots the vehicle as best they can, using realistic controls and schematics to land, take off, pull in and out of the station, and more.
City-building has the player construct cities from the ground up. Cities: Skylines and SimCity are great examples of this genre. Not only does the player build buildings, but they partake in connecting powerline, water mains, highways, and byways.
These games allow players to simulate life. Namely, The Sims has the player building both a family unit and a house for them to live. They are then tasked with controlling everything from job attendance to bathroom breaks. You are there every step of the way along with the characters’ lives.
Party games involve the participation of multiple people, best played at parties and gatherings of 2 or more people. They are multiplayer and usually pit the players against one another. A famous (or infamous depending on your experience), an example of a party game is Mario Party.
These games involve players in answering general or specific trivia questions to score points and win. Trivial Pursuit, HQ, and Trivia Crack are all great trivia games that are extremely popular.
Puzzles are great ways to engage in your logic and problem-solving skills. Portal is a great example,
Good, old fashioned board games have been around forever and occupy players of all ages with engaging, fun gameplay. They are usually party games, bringing multiple people together to either head off against one another or work together toward a common goal. Games like Cards Against Humanity, Risk, and Monopoly are all famous board games.
These games are based around multiple sports. They have a few subgenres, emphasizing a specific sport or activity. Some can even be considered simulation games due to realism and activities.
These are the bread and butter of sports games. Baseball, basketball, football; all of it is here. Over the years, sports games have gone through extreme innovation and growth, including real players, real teams, and even real venues pulled from everyday life to add to the realism. Different aspects like pitching mechanics, physics when performing a jump shot, and making that perfect pass all exemplify team sports games.
Fight Night and UFC are the staples of combat sports. These two sports border into the simulation, as the realism and strategic play, drive the success and failures of the participants. Real fighters populate rosters, and players can set up their dream matchups like Muhammad Ali versus Mike Tyson.
What is better than flooring it in an expensive car? Racing games allow players behind the wheel of cars, whether they be real, tricked out, or just plain normal. These head to head games have grown from arcade classics into great simulations. Gran Turismo has the player buy their cars, making it more than a racing game.
First Person Shooters
The cream of the crop, and some of the most popular games in recent memory, FPS titles have sold millions upon millions of copies and engage players of all ages in the fast-paced action. Call of Duty is the prime example, having an addictive multiplayer gameplay, as well as exhilarating single-player stories.
Maybe fast-paced is not your style in FPS games. Maybe you want to take it slow, be more methodical in the approach to your objectives. Rainbow Six, a tactical shooter in which you take control of a special unit resembling a SWAT team, you need to plan out every little detail to make sure your mission is a success. Any mistake could end up in you and your team members checking out early.
These games, usually based around music, make the player keeps in time with a beat. Guitar Hero allowed players to play along with some iconic guitar-based tracks; Dance Dance Revolution and Just Dance did the same with different genres of music. It is all about keeping in time and hitting all of your marks.
These games, like Mario, have the player take control of a character, usually in the third person. They have to usually jump and navigate around a level akin to an obstacle course. Tomba, Mario, and the Prince of Persia games all are famous examples of platforming games.
These games emphasize learning something. They are usually geared towards younger players. The Oregon Trail was a unique educational game, as it had different elements of game genres blended into an educational package that didn’t feel like an educational game. These games can teach kids to read, do math, study better, and get them interested in different subjects in school.
Wii Fit was an interesting advancement in gaming, as it introduced a comprehensive fitness tracker for the player as they exercised using a specialized mat. Other apps and games have followed Wii Fit’s example, tracking exercise patterns and trends, helping players lose weight, be active, and live a better life.