The Gaming Industry has come a long way since the first-ever video game, Bertie the Brain was developed in 1950. In its long journey of 70+ years, numerous games have been developed so far, encompassing a variety of gameplay styles and mechanics.
In this article, we will explore the different types of video game genres and understand what makes them different from each other. Before we dive in, it is worth knowing how these genre types are defined.
How Video Game Genres are defined?
Video game genres are defined based on how players interact with the gameplay of a certain game. Gaming genres are not based on a game’s story (for example, a fictional video game) or its setting (for example, a military video game).
The ONLY exception to this is horror video games that are derived from a game’s narrative elements and/or gameplay settings.
Sub-Genres of Video Games
Due to the plethora of video games available today and their diverse gameplay styles, modern video games cannot be strictly classified into only one popular gaming genre.
We have a hybrid genre of action-adventure video games. Moreover, we have action horror and survival horror sub-genres of horror video games. In strategy games, we see RTS, RTT, TBS, TBT, and MOBA. And like this, the list goes on…
List of Different Types of Video Game Genres
This is a listicle overview of what you will see ahead in this article and their related dominant sub-genres.
– Action Games
– Adventure Games
– Role Playing Games
– Puzzle Games
Video Game Genre: Action
Action types of video game sub-genres:
- Fighting Games
In this type of video game, we get to see physical close-range combats. Fighting is usually unarmed 1V1 in PvP competitive multiplayer matches. Action fighting games typically feature a number of characters for players to choose from, each with its own unique combat style.
King of Fighters series and Tekken titles are the most popular action-fighting games. Moreover, usually unarmed, but the likes of Soulcalibur and Samurai Shodown, have incorporated melee weapons in 1V1 fights that also proved popular among players.
- Shooting Games
Shooting games bring ranged weapons into combats to hype up the action gameplay experience. Most notably, we get to see FPS (First Person Shooter) and TPS (Third Person Shooter) action games here. In FPS, you experience the game from the eyes of the protagonist while in TPS games you can see the protagonist’s body, and the game environment is rendered from a distance.
Call of Duty games, PUBG, Battlefield, and Fortnite are popular examples of shooting types of video games that employ shooting mechanics in their gameplay.
- Platform Games
A platform game is yet another popular gaming genre. Platform games revolve around climbing and jumping in a 2D environment that is usually side-scrolling or vertical scrolling. Players attack enemy characters mainly by jumping over them or can even throw projectile attacks if the game allows it.
Bubble Bobble, Donkey Kong, and Super Mario Bros are popular examples of platform games.
- Stealth Games
In every action game, combat is a central theme. But combat is not always mandatory. This is where stealth action games come into the picture. Stealth Action games are a type of video game where players have the ability to avoid combats if they wish to.
Usually, stealth is an integral part of narrative-defined horror games where open conflict is the last thing a player would wish for. However, games like Skyrim also incorporate stealth as a major but optional gameplay style.
Video Game Genre: Adventure
Adventure games are a type of video game that is propagated by the game’s story plot BUT it is not defined because it depends on the storyline. It is the kind of interactive interaction that gamers have with video games that make them “adventurous”.
Adventure games majorly employ puzzle-solving and people/environment interaction elements that drive the gameplay by further unraveling the game’s story. The adventure video game genre has the least number of confrontational mechanics that require good reflexes and considerable action from a player’s side.
Although rare today, some notable examples of early pure adventure games are Colossal Cave Adventure and Myst. Visual novels are yet another popular gaming genre which is an adventure sub-genre and is mainly dominant in Japan.
Action-adventure games are a hybrid combination of action and adventure video game genres. Action-adventure is a very popular gaming genre that delivers some of the best gameplay experiences to players!
Video Game Genre: Strategy
A Strategy game is a type of video game that makes gamers test their limits of critical thinking and delicate planning that, if done wrong, can lead to disastrous consequences. The gameplay scale ranges anywhere from squad-based tactics to galactic dominations!
Strategy games are a very popular gaming genre and are evident from the fact that it has their own unique set of several sub-genres which are equally popular among diverse gamers.
Strategy types of video game sub-genres:
- Real-Time Strategy (RTS)
RTS is a very popular gaming genre. In RTS games, everything is evolving in real-time and players have to constantly take into account the ever-changing game states. This ranges from managing their bases and producing units to researching technologies and finding resources. Popular RTS game examples are StarCraft and Command and Conquer.
- Turn-Based Strategy (TBS)
In TBS video games, a certain time is allotted to a player to deduce a proper analysis and game events and then commit to an action plan. TBS games are often contrasted with RTS games. Master of Orion is a popular example of the TBS video game genre.
- Real-Time Tactics (RTT)
Often considered a sub-genre of RTS, RTT video games’ primary focus is on complex battlefield tactics. Unlike RTS, there are little to no elements of resource management, base building, or unit production. A popular RTT game example is Warhammer: Dark Omen.
- Turn-Based Tactics (TBT)
Everything RTT but the addition of timeframe before players commit to game action. Fire Emblem and Final Fantasy Tactics are some examples of TBT video games.
- Mobile Online Battle Arena (MOBA)
A very popular gaming genre, MOBA video games revolve around team cooperation in strengthening their defense base and beefing up their combined attack to destroy enemy bases. Warcraft III, Dota 2, and League of Legends are some examples of MOBA games.
- War Games
War games emphasize strategic or tactical warfare on a map that can be either turn-based or real-time, depending on the game’s mechanics.
- Tower Defense
Tower Defense is a kind of classic but very popular type of video game. Usually, players are put against incoming waves of monsters, and players’ task is to hinder them by placing towers along their way or at set positions. Depending on the type of game, defense towers vary in their types of attacks.
Video Game Genre: MMO
Massively Multiplayer Online games, also known as MMO, are internet-dependent video game titles that cover a wide diversity of video game genres. MMO games support a large number of players in a single “game world” setting where users either compete or cooperate with each other. If there is not a consistent “game world” established on servers then MMO games typically create temporary game sessions where players get together for a time-limited showdown such as in battle-royale games.
Video Game Genre: Sports
As the name indicates, Sports games are a video game genre that simulates sports games. This ranges from physical game activities to racing and even competitive sports fights.
The FIFA series and NBA 2K series are best known for their engaging football and basketball gameplay styles respectively. On the other hand, Forza and NFS (Need For Speed) are titles for the car racing video game genre. Meanwhile, UFC and WWE 2K series are best known for their competitive sports fights.
Video Game Genre: RPG
Role-Playing games (RPG) are indeed a very popular gaming genre that is a primary go-to for many gamers out there. Typically, RPGs are set in open-world environments and as the game progresses, players earn experience points that they use to further develop their character’s abilities to take down stronger opponents.
Often players have the freedom in choosing which stat to increment for their character. This can be anything from a list of abilities the game offers such as Attack, Defense, Magic, Health, Tolerance, etc.
Due to its popularity, we get to see further sub-divisions in the RPG Video game genre. As of now, we have ARPG (Action RPG), MMORPG (Massively Multiplayer Online RPG), as well as Tactical RPGs.
Video Game Genre: Puzzle
All of the modern game titles employ a combination of video game genres mentioned above in the article. And almost every game title employs some kind of action elements in it. However, there is a big community of gamers that do not like this action element of video games. For them, this puzzle video game genre is best suited.
Puzzle games are a type of video game genre that makes players use their mental abilities in solving puzzles that require the implementation of various cognitive strategies. Players test their problem-solving skills in logic, pattern recognition, sequence solving, and word completion. Puzzle games give players conceptual and logical challenges who find thrill in solving them.
Like other major video game genres, Puzzle games are also classed into sub-genres such as physics games, matching games, coding games, as well as breakout clone game sub-genres.
Video Game Genre: Sandbox
In its finest definition, sandbox video games are games with no purpose. The gameplay style is non-linear and players have the maximum freedom in crafting their own storyline. Although, there may be some objectives to complete in order to unlock further options and activities.
In Sandbox games, players find themselves in an open-world environment where they are free to do whatever they want to do. Although the in-game activities are limited by the tools provided by the game. Sandbox games often include a multiplayer option to allow players to collaborate with each other on a custom-defined objective.
You may wonder if these games are worth considering. There are many fine-selling sandbox titles out there. The most notable ones are Minecraft, Second Life, as well as Grand Theft Auto III and its following titles.
Video Game Genre: Simulation
At last, we come to a not-so-popular gaming genre but a very useful one: Simulation video games. Although this video game genre might not be popular among gamers, simulation video games are of tremendous assistance in educating military personnel, especially pilots.
Apart from their educational purpose, these types of video games also provide other real-life simulation experiences such as economy, construction, management, as well as life simulations.
Conclusively, these are the major categories of popular gaming genres and their respective sub-categories. I hope you now have a clear perspective on different types of video game genres and what each category represents. Nowadays, almost every game employs a combination of these.
If you have any questions in mind about video game genres then let us know in the comments below!