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A List and Guide to Game Genres

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The Genres Edit

A Brief IntroductionEdit

When adding a game to a list or even creating a new page, you're going to want to put something in the genre box. Here you will find a list of acceptable Genres that may be put in the Genre tabs. Usually you'll find that a game fits into more than one category, this is not only acceptable but totally encouraged. A good example would be Action/Adventure, or Puzzle/Platformer, two very common cross genres. Sometimes games will fit into three genres, this is also acceptable (such as Lode Runner for NES, which is Puzzle/Platformer/Arcade) . Four is also possible, but this is very rare and should be used very sparingly (an existing example is Dark Cloud for PS2, which has RPG/Action/Sim/Roguelike). Anything past four is unacceptable.  If you see any games labeled with a genre that doesn't fit or a genre that is not on this list, then you should edit it to something more appropriate. There are two categories for Genres, the Legitimate and Joke Terms/Pet Terms. If you don't post a Genre from this list, if it's funny enough, we'll usually let it slide. If it catches on, it will probably be added!

  • NOTE: There are exceptions to every rule. Rmember that this is a guideline, and not absolute 100% requirement. If you feel a game fits more into a genre description not described, or that contradicts the description given here, put your Nathan Hermann in buttswn what your...uh...heart(?) tells you. If it's not considered the most appropriate given genre, it will probably just be changed by one of our butthurt editors.
    • Basically. - MFGreth1 12:52, January 10, 2012 (UTC)

Legitimate GenresEdit

Genre Explanation Type
Action Perhaps the most basic of genres, Action is practically all encompassing, thus, it should be applied to games whose main focus is Action. Good examples of Action games include Devil May Cry and God of War. Not to be confused with Fighting or Combat. Icon1Icon12
Adventure Another very basic genre, Adventure is in it's purest form a game that takes you on a journey with emphasis on locales and excitement and usually encourage freedom of exploration. The most basic examples of adventure games include point and click games like Full Throttle, Shadowgate, and King's Quest. Modern examples of Adventure games include Grand Theft Auto, Metroid, The Legend of Zelda and many RPGs such as Mass Effect or Final Fantasy. Icon4
Arcade A broad term genre usually applying to older games. Arcade games are games that do not have an expansive storyline other than bare essentials, with simple but effective gameplay, where the main focus is to finish the game with the largest amount of points possible. Never the main genre, it simply implies what sort of game to expect. Bubble Bobble and Metal Slug are good examples of Arcade games. A game does not actually have to have been in the arcade to apply to this genre (many downloadable titles are Arcade games). Icon12Icon6
Beat 'em Up A Beat 'Em Up is a sub-class platformer, where any element of actual platforming is removed and the player literally beats their way through a level. A Beat 'Em Up is as if a fighting game had a a stage roughly 15-30 times as long as a fighting game stage, and up to 20 opponents at once, except all those opponents were much weaker than you. An arcade favorite genre of the 90's, notable examples include Double Dragon, Final Fight, Streets of Rage, Yakuza, God Hand, Marvel Ultimate Alliance, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles in Time. Konami made a slew of excellent Beat 'Em Ups in the late 80's early 90's. Icon1
Combat Combat games, not to be confused with Action or FPS games, are a sub-classing genre that indicates the game has direct military-like characteristics that create a hard-boiled experience. Combat does not apply to any-one genre; the setting of these games is either realistic, modern/historical, or science fiction, rarely does a combat game step into fantasy-settings. A genre heavily steeped in the combat genre are RTS games, though this is usually implied and is not necessary to clarify. Combat games include SOCOM, Star Wars: Republic Commando, Ace Combat, Armored Core, Team Fortress 2, and Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare. Icon2
Defense A pseudo-strategy game where the player's focus is spent entirely on defending a single point. Some examples include Lock's Quest, Crystal Defenders, PixelJunk Monsters, and Plants vs. Zombies. Icon5
Fighting Not be confused with Action or Beat' Em Up, the genre of Fighting is a specific genre where the users battles an opponent to a certain outcome, such as the depletion of health or being knocked out of the arena. While fighting games can comprise of building teams, the actual gameplay is almost always a one versus one experience. There is usually a high emphasis of multiplayer and competition in fighting games. Examples include Street Fighter, King of Fighters, Soul Calibur, Tekken, and Mortal Kombat. Some sports games are also part fighting, such as Big Bang Pro Wrestling and Punch Out!! Icon1
Flight The Flight genre is focused on games who focus on flying, usually in a realistic/semi-realistic perspective. Few games are pure flight, but Pilotwings is a very notable example. Many flight games cross with the Combat genre to produce games that effectively represent an experience similar to fighting in a military jet vehicle or even a fantasy craft with similarities to real-world fighter-planes (Ace Combat, Skygunner, Crimson Skies). Flight games are felt in the Rail-shooter genre as well (Star Fox). Icon3
FPS The First Person Shooter genre literally stands for a genre where the player views the game in first person and shoots enemies with an arsenal of guns and ranged weapons. Examples include Wolfenstein, Doom, Goldeneye 64, Call of Duty, and Team Fortress 2. The genre does not often cross with other genres, but the storyline segments of FPS games can sometimes have puzzle and platforming elements, like in Half-Life 2, and some FPS games make minimal use of combat and instead stick to Stealth and Puzzling, such as in Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the Earth. FPS has also crossbred with Adventure games, like in the Elder Scrolls series, and the recent Fallout 3. Icon2
Light Gun A game where the player uses an often gun-shaped peripheral to 'shoot' enemies/targets on the screen. A stable mainstay at arcades, Light Gun games have found resurgence on the home market thanks to the Nintendo Wii. Many arcade Light Gun games have elements of Rail Shooters, but the two are NOT to be confused. Examples include Duck Hunt, House of the Dead, Time Crisis, and Dead Space Extraction. Icon2
Minigame The core gameplay of these games do not comprise of one single game, but rather a collection of many different games (usually puzzles) for a player to complete, sometimes in a row at rapid pace. Obvious examples include Warioware, Rhythm Heaven, and Mario Party. Icon6
MMO Stands for Massively Multiplayer Online. While most modern games are playable online, a MMO constitutes that online gameplay is the focus of the game, and that hundreds, thousands, even millions of users can interact with each other in a real-time space (theoretically). Very popular to mix with the RPG genre. Notable examples include World of Warcraft, Final Fantasy XI, Everquest, Monster Hunter, and EVE Online. Icon7Icon4
Platformer A platformer, at it's core, involves moving a character in a 2D or 3D environment to overcome impeding obstacles with physical movement, such as running and jumping over a cliff to a safe area on the other side. The most basic form of combat in platforming games are squashing or punching the enemy, though the earliest forms of platforming games had no attacking, just the ability to dodge. Platformers stem directly from the early arcade games like Donkey Kong. A few examples of platformers include Super Mario Bros., Sonic the Hedgehog, Prince of Persia, Jak & Daxter, Psychonauts, and Little Big Planet. Very rarely Platformers will take an isometric view as opposed to side-scrolling 2D or all encompassing 3D, but some examples include Knight Lore, Equinox, Sonic 3D Blast, and Little Big Adventure. Icon12
Puzzle A Puzzle game is a very basic genre. In it's most basic form, it is literally a game where you solve mind teasers, usually at a rapid pace (Tetris, Puzzle League, Warioware). However, the Puzzle genre is almost always incorporated into other genres, where the player must solve puzzles to progress in a larger environment (The Legend of Zelda, Metroid), especially in adventure games (Secret of Monkey Island, Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney, Professor Layton). Another popular combination includes Puzzle/Platformers, where the core gameplay is puzzle, but you control an avatar in a platforming environment (Bubble Bobble, Lode Runner, Super Mario Galaxy, Klonoa). Icon6
Racing This genre simply implies that the main object of the game is to race a determined number of opponents to the finish. The most general differentiation in racing games is the one between racing simulations, which try to duplicate reality as accurately as possible both in terms of physics and in terms of the race track setting, for example GT Legends, iRacing and rFactor, and arcade/arcade-ish racing games, which place realism second to the often fantastic setting and a gameplay that is easy to understand for new players. Arcade racing games are of great variety, ranging from cartoonish kart racing games, like the Mario Kart series, to action-heavy racing in a semi-realistic setting, like the Burnout and Need For Speed series, to futuristic high speed racing, most notably the F-Zero and Wipeout series, to various kinds of ground, water or air vehicle racing. Crossovers with sports games possible, for example in snowboarding games like the SSX series. Icon7
Rail Shooter A Shoot 'Em Up subgenre to be used in place of, Rail Shooters comprise of a shoot 'em up in 3D. Rather than allowing 100% free movement, the player automatically moves on a linear path, though many Rail Shooters encourage small amounts of movement in order not to crash with an object. Notable examples include Silpheed, Star Fox 64, and Sin & Punishment. Not to be confused with Light Gun. Icon3
Rhythm A genre of game where the player uses rhythmic timing to solve a fast paced puzzle. Often times put to the beat of music. Notable examples include Rhythm Heaven, Guitar Hero, and Elite Beat Agents/Ouendan. Icon6
Roguelike Rogue is an ancient text-mode dungeon crawler, with randomly generated levels.  It has spawned many similar games. Diablo is sometimes, controversially, called a rogue like.  Nethack (and the *hacks), Angband (and the *bands) and Dungeon Crawl Stone Soup are better examples of modern roguelikes. Roguelikes used to be an 'underground' genre, but easier roguelikes have trickled into mainstream gaming, a notable example being the Mystery Dungeon series of games. Icon4
RPG The Role Playing Game genre, or RPG for short, is a genre based around concepts from early tabletop adventures. Usually the player consciously uses the application of mathematics to make their main character/avatar stronger and able to act in battle more efficiently. RPGs can either be with a lone hero or with a party, whereupon the player has to manage the statistics of several characters instead. Examples of RPGs include Fallout, The Elder Scrolls, Dragon Quest, and Pokémon. Icon4
RTS Stands for Real Time Strategy, these are hard-boiled military strategy games rife with conquest, micro managing, strategic warfare and carpel tunnel syndorme all in a real-time setting. Notable examples include Warcraft, Starcraft, Age of Empires, and Dune II. To be used in place of Strategy. Icon5
Run 'n Gun A subgenre of Shoot 'Em Up to be used in place of. A Run 'N Gun follows the same formula as a Shoot 'Em Up, but instead of auto-scrolling levels and vehicles, movement is free and the character is typically a person carrying a gun, giving them a more platformer feel. The series has diversified a bit to include games that resemble overall platformers more than Shoot 'Em Ups. Classic Run 'N Guns include Contra, Metal Slug, and Duke Nukem (not the FPS). Icon2Icon12
Shoot 'em Up A shoot 'em up game is a game where the premise is simple: annihilate everything on screen with whatever arsenal at your disposal. Typically shmup games refer to games where the player is in a space-craft or airplane and are sent through a series of levels, attempting to destroy as much as possible while racking up a high score. These games are typically rife with patterned enemies, plenty of power-ups, and very tough gameplay. Sometimes these games will scroll horizontally or vertically. Examples include R-Type, Gradius, and 1943. Icon3
Sim Sim is a shortening of the word Simulation, and that's exactly what Sim games are. They simulate an experience that people either do in real life (or are unable to do in real life due to limitations) that creates a unique experience. There are some Sim games where you control a person and try to find love amidst a slew of possible candidates (dating sims), try and save lives on the operating table (Trauma Center), there are sims where you create and maintain a farm (Harvest Moon), there are Sims where you create and manage entire civilizations (Sim City, Civilization IV), amusement attractions (Zoo Tycoon, Rollercoaster Tycoon), and even galaxies (Spore). Some Sims even let you play God (The Sims, Black and White). It's clearly a broad term, but easily identifiable. Flight games are a type of Sim, but have had enough individual success to warrant it's own genre. Sims often find elements of other games in their gameplay like RTS (Rome: Total War), SRPG (Romance of the Three Kingdoms), and even Platforming (Actraiser). Icon7
Sports A video-game simulation of a sport. Can be as realistic or unrealistic as the game creator wants. Examples include Tecmo Superbowl, Tony Hawk's Pro Skater, Mutant League Football, and Mario Golf. Icon7
SRPG The Strategy RPG is a type of RPG subgenre that exposes itself to wargames. Unlike more standard RPGs where a player controls from generally 1-5 characters at a single time, a SRPG may have a player controlling anywhere up to 30 units in a single battle, often times fighting enemy numbers greater than their own forces. The same managing and use of story is present, but on a much more group driven scale. As implied in the name, strategy is key to victory in battle. Examples include Fire Emblem, Disgaea, Shining Force, Valkyria Chronicles, and Fallout Tactics: Brotherhood of Steel. Icon4Icon5
Stealth A sub-genre that indicates sneaking around and avoiding detection are a major part of the gameplay. Obvious examples include Metal Gear Solid, Tenchu, Thief, and Splinter Cell. Icon11Icon2
Strategy A broad-term genre for games that have militaristic/strategic combat elements crucial to victory. Some examples include Advance Wars, Steel Panthers, and Sid Meier's Civilization. Icon5
Survival Horror Survival Horror is, relatively speaking, a newer genre with fluctuating demand in the game industry. The basis of a survival horror game is that the player has to face the unknown in an environment highly reminiscent of one might find in a horror movie. The player is often much weaker and handicapped compared to that which hunts them, and thus they must rely on their own ingenuity to make sure they don't die. Survival horror games often-times have complex and intricate plotlines, spun together with disturbing motifs. Notable examples include Resident Evil, Alone in the Dark, Silent Hill, Clock Tower, and Dead Space. Icon13
TPS Very much like the FPS genre, the Third Person Shooter genre trademarks itself with a third person perspective instead. These games can be straight shooters, but oftentimes cross-genre, becoming part platformer (Ratchet & Clank) or even RPG (Mass Effect). Icon2

Joke Term/Pet Term GenresEdit

These genres, while not necessarily an accurate representation of the game's gameplay, should be used just to spice up the articles and keep people interested. We at /v/ love our in-jokes and sarcasm, so these flavor-enhancing genres should help keep people reading.

Genre Explanation Type
Ball Rollan Games

Katamari Damacy, duh (also Billy Hatcher and the Giant Egg, man). See also: Marble Madness, Rock of Ages.

Being A Badass A joke-genre that implies your main character is the fucking bee's knees, a macho manly figure of totally awesome that beats on his enemies with the fire of a thousand suns. Easy examples include God Hand, Bonk's Adventure, Yakuza, River City Ransom, Punch Out!!, Devil May Cry, and Shatterhand. A favorite for the PS2 page (where it originated in Yakuza's description). Icon1
Being A Dickhead A genre that ensures your main character is a total asshole who does nothing but cause other people misery and suffering the likes of which they have never encountered til they met you, just so you can get your jollies from doing this. Examples include Bully, Overlord, Prototype, God of War, Stubbs the Zombie, and Noby Noby Boy.
Bullet Hell Also known as "manic shooter" or "danmaku". A variation of shoot 'em up where enemy projectiles come FROM FUCKING EVERYWHERE. It's really about pattern memorization and twitch reflexes more than anything or in all fairness, surviving the bullets (sometimes not bothering to fire at the enemy in exchange for safety) instead of shooting everything down. Difficulty is so ridiculous that it will make you sweat enough bullets that you will have to dodge those too. Batsugun and DonPachi are usually cited as the first of this style. Other notable examples include Touhou and Ikaruga. Icon3
FMV A genre that almost no one wants to play, FMV games are games that have Full Motion Video. It's more like watching a C-movie than actually playing a game as there is little interaction. This genre is single-handedly responsible for some of the worst games ever made (Plumbers Don't Wear Ties, anyone?) However, some great FMV games include Dragon's Lair, Space Ace, and Brain Dead 13. Icon7
FREE "Free Reactive Eyes Entertainment" is a term coined by Sega to describe the unique blend of styles of Shenmue. 256px-ShenmueDCbox-1-
Metroidvania Contesting for a legitimate genre, Metroidvania games are a very specific type of platformer in the vein of Metroid and Castlevania II where the player must collect plenty of items to unlock areas and has total freedom of exploration/progression. Arguably, Impossible Mission, Montezuma's Revenge, Pitfall II, and Starquake can be seen as the predecessors of this genre. Other examples include Cave Story (arguably!), Tomba!, Faxanadu, and Shantae. Icon12
Pinball Simply a video game that plays as a Pinball machine. Obvious example include Pokémon Pinball, Devil's Crush, Metroid Prime Pinball, and Alien Crush. Amusingly, Pinball on the NES is NOT a Pinball game, as it plays more like an Arkanoid clone. Icon6
Point 'N Click A pet term applied to games whose main method of control are pointing and clicking with a cursor. Usually applied to retro (or retro styled) Adventure games such as The Secret of Monkey Island and Maniac Mansion, although, these games have seen a large resurgence on the Nintendo DS, like Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney and Hotel Dusk. Icon7Icon4
Pong its pong. Icon8

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