Game Development Reference
In-Depth Information
Genres: the game types
The types of games that people play vary enormously and it can be difficult
for those who do not play games to appreciate the range of styles that games
are divided into. Also, there is a plethora of terminology attached to games,
some of which has been purloined from other media with their meanings
changed. For instance, the use of the term 'genre' in the games industry has
a basic similarity to its use in other media, but it is also very different.
Although genre is a word that refers to a game's type, how those types are
defined is where the difference to other media lies. Film genres are defined
by subject matter, style of story and sometimes the setting. Common film
genres include action, adventure, comedy, western, historical, science fiction,
crime, drama, horror, musical and war.
Game genres, however, are defined by the style of play, with little thought
for the criteria that define a film genre. In the games industry, then, we have
genres and sub-genres like First Person Shooters (FPS), Real Time Strategy
(RTS), Role Playing Game (RPG) and so forth, which tells you nothing
about the subject matter, but everything a player would need to know to be
sure that a game contains the type of gameplay they enjoy. Because gameplay
is the most important aspect of a game, it is only right that games should be
categorised by their most defining feature, even though some people feel it
is wrong to use the term genre in this way when discussing game types.
Subject matter or setting can still be very important - a devotee of First
Person Shooters may only like those that have a science fiction setting, where
others may prefer such games that have a horror theme.Whatever the game,
though, the setting and story style must be presented in a way that fits well
with the gameplay style and the genre as a whole.
Those of you who have grown accustomed to the use of genre in other
media may find the difference a little disconcerting, yet the underlying
meaning emphasises that games are not the same as those other media and
the writer (or any other creative person) who wishes to work in the field of
games must do so with an appreciation of these differences.
To show the variety of game types, this chapter takes a broad view of the
more common game genres; a task not without its potential pitfalls as there
is no clearly defined and generally accepted list of game genres. A number of
 
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