In today’s gaming world, there is a common misconception of the gaming genres. Gaming genres were created by gamers and do not accurately categorize every game because they are categorized to.
According to Whalen, gamers “organize their content into familiar categories not as a preseriptive designation of uniformality, but as acesponses to consumers’ understanding of games.” This means that gamers categorize games based on their own understanding of the game type. For example: A person who knows how to play turned-based strategy or strategy games knows that the category ‘Real Time Strategy’ (RTS) is going to have similar games according to the gamers experience. What is lacking from gaming genres, besides specificity, is a “hybridization of two genres,” when often time games fall under more than just one category (Whalen, 3). An excellent example of this is the game “Rise and Fall: Civilizations at War” for the personal computer (PC).
Rise and Fall was an innovative game that introduced an RTS game with First Person Shooter (FPS) and Hack and Slash elements. Though the game was not great, receiving a six out of ten from gamestop.com, it opened doors for huge hybrid games. This game was not the first game to be multi-genre. “The Legend of Zelda” series is the grandfather of hybrid genre gaming being the first to combine action and adventure.
It is clear that the genres affiliated with gaming are broad and inaccurate, but think for a moment what genres for gaming would be like if they were specific. There would not only be a enormous amount of genres but locating exactly what a person is looking for would be confusing. (Whalen, 2). Imagine trying to find a RTS/FPS/RPG (Role Playing Game) among hundreds if not thousands of other genres. It would be a tedious, long, and annoying endeavor. Also, if game genres were made to be specific, then there would be new genres created all the time to accommodate not only gamer choice, but the innovations in game play by the creators of the game.
People would get confused and annoyed by all the genre choices to find their specific game. A person searching for a RTS/FPS/RPG with hack and slash elements would have a hard time find it, but that is why games are categorized into broad, inaccurate titles. Categorizing games by the understanding the gamer has of the genre is simplistic but effective because new game innovations would stretch the genre list to utter confusion. Not to mention that some genres would have only a single game or two under its title.
These are the main genre categories for PC and console gaming:
Action Adventure – The Player must explore, solve puzzles, and “enjoy plenty of action,” in order to complete a quest or goal. (Loguidice, 1)
Role Playing Game (RPG) – This type of genre involves more of the “player-character management and advancement,” but is much like action adventure. (Loguidice, 1)
Massive Multiplayer Online (MMO) – Probably one of the most popular genres – this is a game type that can include thousands and sometimes several million players. Almost completely online play. (Loguidice, 1)
Racing – Though not accurate, racing is a compilation of most sports or any type of race-like games. (Loguidice, 1)
Real Time Strategy (RTS) – This genre is meant for games where the player can control an army and fight other players in real time. Players can also build bases and upgrade their troops or nations abilities. (Loguidice, 1)
First Person Shooter – When the Player takes control of weapons and shoots just about everything.