Game Development Reference
the following headings may well be classed as sub-genres by some people,
whereas others may feel that the list should include a greater number of
categories. However, the aim is not to create a definitive catalogue of genres
but to give you an idea of the many different gaming styles.
The intention, also, is not to define the genres as a set of rules, but to give
a flavour of each genre. Whatever game projects you may work on, the fine
details can only be gained from the development team.
As a specific genre in its own right, action is possibly less clear than many
others. A high proportion of games have an action element - requiring fast
responses from the player - so the ones that fall within the action genre tend
to be games that have not been included in any of the other genre categories.
Action is often combined with other genres to create cross-genres, so you get
games that are action-adventures or action-puzzlers, for instance.
At one time, most games that involved the player shooting things or the
on-screen avatar running and jumping would have been regarded as an
action game, but as games have become more sophisticated, an increasing
number of game styles have split off into their own genres (shooters and
racing games, for example).
Typical games that fall into the action genre are scrolling shooters, plat-
form games, and maze games, where the player is under constant pressure to
keep the avatar safe while navigating towards the game objectives. These
games may use 2D or 3D graphics, and regularly offer enemies to defeat or
destroy, items to collect, obstacles to overcome and traps to avoid. Most of
these games offer some kind of scoring system with bonuses, power-ups and
end of level objectives.
Due to the nature of these games the opportunities for the writer can be
limited, but there are many action games that include a story of some kind
that ranges from the very basic linking levels through on-screen text to
stories that tie into the gameplay. The amount of work involved is likely to
be small, but the variety on offer can be great fun.
Although many consider the adventure genre to be misnamed because so
many adventures are relatively sedate affairs, it is a name that has stuck.
Because of their emphasis on thought over dexterity skills and taking time
over fast reactions, a contrast exists in how the word adventure is used in