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Generally story-based games that rely upon puzzle solving to move the story ... Puzzle games exist purely for the intellectual challenge of problem solving. ...

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game genres

Game Genres

The Different Types of Video Games

game genres2
Game Genres
  • There are about a dozen or so different types of video games.
    • Each video game belongs to one or more of these genres.
  • While games in the same genre can look vastly different, they share many of the same properties.
    • Similar design issues and problems.
    • In some cases, similar gameplay mechanics.
adventure games
Adventure Games
  • Generally story-based games that rely upon puzzle solving to move the story along.
    • Can be text based (requiring a parser of some kind) or graphical (point and click).
    • Can be first, second, or third person.
    • Generally has a large, complex world with many interesting characters and a good plot.
  • Generally not real-time games.
    • Can take as much time as wanted to take a turn; nothing else happens in mean time.
    • Action-adventure hybrids can be real-time.
adventure games4
Adventure Games

Myst V: End of Ages

(Graphical Adventure)

Zork I (Text


Tomb Raider (Action-Adventure)

action games
Action Games
  • Real-time games that require quick reactions to what is happening.
    • Includes first-person shooters (FPSs) like Quake and Unreal Tournament, platform games like Mario and Sonic the Hedgehog, maze games like Pac-Man, and shooters like Space Invaders, Metal Slug, or Gradius.
    • Opponents are either computer generated or other human players.
  • Far less cerebral than adventure games.
    • Players are looking for fast-paced action.
    • Some action games, however, also add adventure, strategic, or tactical elements for a different kind of experience.
action games6
Action Games



Mario 64




Metal Slug


role playing games rpgs
Role-Playing Games (RPGs)
  • In role-playing games, the gamer generally directs a group of heroes on a series of quests.
    • Huge world with unfolding story.
    • Players micromanage their characters.
    • Through the game, characters tend to grow in strength and abilities.
    • Combat is typically an important element – that is how experience, money and strength are accumulated.
  • Fantasy RPGs feature complex magical systems and diverse races of characters.
role playing games rpgs8
Role-Playing Games (RPGs)

Final Fantasy X



Star Wars KOTOR II

Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door

strategy games
Strategy Games
  • Players must manage a limited set of resources to achieve a predetermined goal.
    • Resource management entails deciding what units to create and how to deploy them.
    • Trade offs in time, money, and raw materials.
  • Can be either turn-based or real-time.
    • Turn-based strategies give you time to think and implement decisions at your own pace.
    • Real-time strategies (RTSs) have all opponents thinking and acting at the same time with no turns.
  • Opponents can be computer generated, human players, or some combination of the two.
strategy games10
Strategy Games


Age of Empires III

Full Spectrum Warrior

Rome: Total War

Command and Conquer

  • Simulations (sims) attempt to emulate real world operating conditions with great detail.
    • The more serious the simulation, the more important accuracy is.
    • Great time and effort may be required to learn all of the intricacies of the game.
  • Most simulate some kind of complex machinery, such as aircraft, tanks, cars, and so on.
    • The result is racing games, flight simulators, etc.
  • Not all simulations are so serious.
    • Simplified to allow players to play more easily.
    • Such games are referred to as arcade simulations.

Gran Turismo 4

Microsoft Flight Simulator

sports games
Sports Games
  • Allow players to participate in a sporting event or activity of some kind.
    • Can take player, owner, manager, or coaching roles.
    • Can be a single match, series, entire season or life-time of the team or franchise.
  • Prowess in the real sport does not translate to the video game, but that is the point!
  • Must accurately and realistically reproduce the rules and strategies of the sport.
    • Arcade versions with relaxed rules or reduced realism can also be entertaining.
sports games14
Sports Games

NHL 2006

Salt Lake 2002

Tony Hawk’s American Wasteland

Madden NFL 2006

fighting games
Fighting Games
  • Players control figures on the screen and use a combination of moves to attack opponents and defend from attacks.
    • Players expect a set of basic attacks and counters to start, as well as more complex combinations to master over time.
    • Most fights last only a few minutes, but there may be many rounds in a complete bout.
  • Games are generally viewed from the side.
    • Newer versions have 3D elements and multiple view angles and camera positions.
fighting games16
Fighting Games

Mortal Kombat Deadly Alliance

Tekken 4

Dead or Alive 4

Soul Calibur III

Virtua Fighter 4

casual games
Casual Games
  • Casual games are easy-to-play, short session games with little or no learning curve.
    • Includes adaptations of traditional games like chess, hearts, and solitaire.
    • Includes television games like Jeopardy, Wheel of Fortune and Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?
    • Also includes simple things like Reversi, Minesweeper and similar games.
  • Players are already familiar with the rules of the game and expect them to be followed here.
  • Players generally want to drop into and out of these games quickly.
casual games18
Casual Games



Who Wants to be a Millionaire?

god games
God Games
  • Games that do not have a real goal, other than to encourage players to fool around with them to see what happens.
    • There should really be no wrong way to play the game.
    • The games should be open-ended with few or no preset winning conditions.
  • Sometimes, they are called software toys.
god games20
God Games

The Sims 2

Black & White 2

Rollercoaster Tycoon

puzzle games
Puzzle Games
  • Puzzle games exist purely for the intellectual challenge of problem solving.
  • The puzzles are an end in themselves and are not integrated into a story, as is the case with adventure games.
  • Puzzles can be non real-time or real-time.
    • There are little or no time constraints in non real-time puzzles.
    • Real-time puzzles have some timing elements and contain some action.
puzzle games22
Puzzle Games



Zoo Keeper

The Incredible Machine

educational games
Educational Games
  • Intended to teach while they entertain at the same time.
    • Sometimes called edutainment as a result.
  • These games are generally aimed at a younger audience than most other gaming products.
    • Designers must work closely with the subject matter to ensure the content is appropriate for the target group.
educational games24
Educational Games

Carmen Sandiego

Reader Rabbit

Disney Learning Adventure

serious games
Serious Games
  • The premise is to apply game design, technologies, and skills to non-entertainment applications. This includes:
    • Medical applications.
    • Educational applications.
    • Social and public policy applications.
    • Business and management applications.
    • Military applications.
    • Plus many other types of simulations and applications.
serious games26
Serious Games

Screenshots from example serious games from the Serious Games Summit

online games
Online Games
  • Online games can include any of the preceding genres but their distinguishing feature is multiplayer network play.
    • Some can accommodate only 2-4 players, but others can taken dozens, hundreds, or possibly thousands of players.
    • Hence the term massively multiplayer (as in MMORPG, Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game).
  • Often, communities grow around these games.
  • Online gaming is still in its infancy, with many technical and business difficulties unsolved.
online games28
Online Games

Everquest II

Ultima Online

City of Heroes

Dark Age of Camelot

World of Warcraft