Categories in the computer game industry are used to group games based on their style of gameplay or game interactions. Genres in the gaming market are setting independent, meaning that a title can be classified as an action title whether it set in a fantasy setting of goblins and warlocks or a futuristic city setting with aliens and hover cars.
The following is a list of some popular computer title genres and a description for each. Each one of these categories could be divided up into several sub-categories but I haven’t covered any of these in this list.
Playing action games requires quick reflexes, and the skills to overcome obstacles very fast and sometimes under pressure from enemy characters. The action game category is very open and covers lots of types of games from modern first person shooter games mainly focused on combat-like or fighting right the way back to some of the first video games like Pong or PAC-man.
Everyone loves playing adventure games, being taken to some far off land, of goblins, monsters and spell casting. Adventure titles were many of the first games created. Starting with text-based adventure games and evolving into the massive adventure, role play and puzzle solving games of today.
Adventure games often require the gamer to directly interact with his or her game environment either by conducting conversations with other characters or by quickly solving problems to proceed to new zones.
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Action-adventure titles contain all the greatest parts of the genres action and adventure. The games often need the player to quickly solve simple puzzles while also being directly involved in fighting situations. These titles often have open-ended stories where one action at the beginning of the story can indirectly affect the outcome not only of the current scenario but also of the story ending itself.
Role play games (RPG’s) have come to a huge distance in the last 10 years, from being influenced by original tabletop pen and paper games. Role play games are commonly set in ancient or medieval times where gamers take on roles of travelling adventures or mercenaries and take on quests in order to gain experience and progress through the game.
Fighting, puzzle solving and conversational persuasion of in-game characters are very common. RPG’s (role-play games) can either be fairly open where the player has huge amounts of available options and can wander off exploring on his own (i.e. Baldur’s Gate) or follow a quite strict and linear storyline (i.e. Final Fantasy Series).
Role-play titles are very often played online with hundreds of other human played characters. This MMO (Massive Multi-player Online) titles are hugely popular with games like World of Warcraft having thousands of online players at any one time.
Simulation titles frequently put the player’s character in a god-like role, where they directly control either the world as a whole, a town, a theme park or a railway. These simulation games tend to be grouped into either a construction based sub-genre where the character must build up a city or theme park from nothing to a hugely popular destination.
There are also simulation titles where you are in control of just one character. Life simulation titles are hugely popular with teenage females players, because not only can you control a single character but sometimes you can nurse an animal from being born into a fully grown adult pet. You can sometimes manage a full ecosystem like an aquarium.
Strategy titles are frequently played by quick thinking skilled players. Using carefully planned and advanced strategies their aim is to destroy opposing characters or clans. Strategy games can be both real-time or turn based.
Real-time strategy games are much more complex than turn based as character decisions are often made on the spot and during combat with opposing teams. Turn based games are like chess where you consider every move when placing your pieces then when the time is correct you execute your strategies in the hope of winning.
I hope this article gives you a better understanding of the various categories used in the video game industry and inspires you to play some other genres or games.