Video games are fun. They’re so fun that they were credited with saving America’s entire video game industry during its 1983 slump.
In addition, there’s a whole list of different genres of video games that caters to all those interested in this art form.
Of course, some of the newer genres are still relatively new by gaming history standards (for example, multiplayer online battle arena is considered relatively new), but it’s growing fast.
With a new genre comes new challenges for game designers and players alike. However, I’m not going to focus on them today but rather on one aspect which every video game needs in order to be considered a video game: It has to have enemies–>opponents for you (the player) to fight and struggle against in order to beat them at the game.
This article will discuss the various types of video game genres in order.
Table of Contents
- Survival and horror
- Party Games
- Multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA)
First on our list of video game genres in order. Action games are some of the most popular video game genres.
They’re fast-paced and often involve a protagonist (or protagonists) fighting against enemies or completing tasks.
Examples of action games include fighting games, hack and slash games, platformers, first-person shooters, third-person shooters, survival horror games, beat ’em ups (think Final Fight or Streets of Rage), and run ‘n gun style shooters like Contra.
While these genres vary wildly in settings and characters, they all share the same core gameplay: action. Action is generally defined as combat or direct interaction with an enemy.
Survival and horror
It is taking its place as second on our list of video game genres in order. You may think this is a subgenre of the action-adventure genre discussed in the previous section, but it’s a separate category.
The player controls an on-screen character who has to survive in a hostile environment. The game’s environment may be as generic as a haunted house or as unusual as outer space.
Still, one common theme is that the protagonist is usually outnumbered by enemies and has no weapons to fight back with.
In this type of game, you have to avoid being noticed by enemies while searching for items or completing other tasks.
If your character is seen by an enemy too many times or if they get killed, you’ll likely have to start over again at the beginning of the level.
These are meant for groups of people. You can play with up to four people simultaneously (think Mario Party).
These games typically have easy controls, so it’s not hard for anyone who joins halfway through a game night to quickly pick them up and jump into action! This is another great addition to our list of video game genres in order.
Shooters have always been a staple of gaming systems and technology, with their action-packed games demanding a lot from both players and the consoles they run on.
If you’re looking to pick up one of these games to become better at them, keep in mind the following:
- Shooters may be intimidating because they can be slow and time-consuming, but this is simply part of their appeal. The objective of most shooters is not to kill everyone as quickly as possible—killing everyone takes too long—but rather to survive until the objective has been completed or until all enemies are dead, whichever comes first. This means that killing everything on screen can take much longer than if you were trying to complete a level in another genre. When playing shooters, remember that you’re only responsible for yourself unless you create your AI-controlled ally (most don’t do this).
- Remember that there are quite a few sub-genres within shooting games; some are better than others depending on how fast-paced they are and how engaging the gameplay is for you, but generally speaking, each game will either focus on combat or non-combat activities (such as platforming or puzzles), which makes it easy to narrow down what interests you and what doesn’t without having to play through many different titles. There’s also an element of difficulty within the shooting genre based mostly on your skill level and reflexes; less experienced gamers should enjoy arcade-style shooters that require little thought, while more experienced gamers should look into more tactical titles such as Team Fortress 2.
A fighting game is a video game genre in which the player controls an on-screen character and engages in close combat with an opponent, either an AI or controlled by another player.
The fight matches typically consist of several rounds in an arena, while each character has distinctive abilities.
Games traditionally show fighters from a side view, but other viewpoints become more common in later games.
Fighting games typically revolve around close combat between two fighters or groups of fighters of comparable strength, often broken into rounds.
If multiple players are involved, players generally fight against each other. Fighting games usually feature special moves that are triggered using rapid sequences of carefully timed button presses and joystick movements.
Games traditionally show fighters from a side view, but other perspectives such as 3D and isometric became more common in later games and a first-person viewpoint.
Though not the first fighting game, Street Fighter II standardized the genre’s conventions. Since then, there has been many other popular mainstreams.
Fighting games such as Super Smash Bros., Marvel vs. Capcom, Killer Instinct, and Tekken, along with some that center on wrestling like WWF No Mercy WWE 2K16.
Whether you’re a fan of heavy metal, techno, or the Wii Music theme, there’s a music video game out there for you. Music video games are among the most popular genres; Guitar Hero alone sold millions of copies and inspired dozens of sequels.
Music video games are games where the player interacts with musical notes on-screen. The notes fall down the screen and hit markers at set times.
If you press the corresponding button at just the right time (or sing into your microphone), you get points; if you miss it, you lose points or start over from before.
The more difficult rhythm game modes are timed to match songs’ rhythms exactly so that players can feel as if they’re playing along to their favorite tunes.
Some music video games also have training modes that allow players to practice specific skills until they’ve mastered them.
Another good addition to this list of video game genres in order. The platformer is a gaming staple. It has been around for decades and dates back to the age of arcade games, although it came into its own in the late 1980s when 2D platformers like Super Mario Bros. and Sonic the Hedgehog took the world by storm.
To this day, platform games remain popular, but they have evolved with time; we now have 3D platformers like Super Mario 64 (1996) and Banjo-Kazooie (1998), as well as endless runners like Subway Surfer (2012) and Temple Run (2011).
So what exactly is a platformer? A platform game asks players to navigate various environments using platforms of all shapes and sizes—hence, “platformer”! Platformers often also require players to jump from one area to another while avoiding obstacles and enemies. These types of games tend to be fast-paced and action-packed.
Taking up this position on our list of video game genres in order. Puzzle video games are a genre of video games that emphasize puzzle solving.
The puzzles can test many problem-solving skills, including logic, pattern recognition, sequence solving, and word completion.
The player may have unlimited time or infinite attempts to solve a puzzle, or there may be simple puzzles made difficult by having to complete them in real-time, as in Tetris.
The genre is very broad, but it generally involves some level of abstraction and may make use of colors, shapes, numbers, physics, or complex rules.
Unlike many other video game genres, puzzle games do not typically progress through levels with increasing difficulty; instead, they often maintain the same general challenge throughout the game.
Puzzles can involve shapes, colors, or symbols, and the objective is to match those elements together. This type of puzzle usually requires players to use logical thinking to deduce which pieces fit together into complete patterns.
While this category can include many different types of puzzles, such as jigsaw puzzles, mazes, and optical illusions, it has been most popularly associated with tile-matching video games.
These usually require players to move tiles in specific patterns to clear them from the playing field.
Next on our list of video game genres in order. Racing games have you do something likely familiar to many of us: driving a car.
While it may seem like a simple game style, racing games are more nuanced than that and can include boats and motorbikes—sometimes even people.
There are different subcategories within the genre, including arcade racing, which involves cars that handle more like go-karts than real vehicles.
In contrast, there are also simulation racing games, which have cars that handle realistically and simulate the experience of being in a vehicle.
Different races may require you to complete laps around an environment or race against other opponents and whoever reaches the finish line first wins.
Racing games typically involve getting your car from point A to point B as quickly as possible—some games feature other objectives such as destroying opponents’ cars or reaching checkpoints before expiry.
As with most video game genres, there is often an element of story at play in these games; for example, you might be competing against evil aliens or your arch-nemesis.
Here’s a basic definition of the genre, according to GamesRadar:
A role-playing game is any game in which the player takes on the role of a character (or characters) and then undertakes a quest. The character is usually presented with a problem or series of problems, and the character must overcome obstacles or enemies that stand in the way of doing this. In most cases, the goal is to save the world, but it may be to advance some other plot.
Many popular video games have elements of RPG games within them. For example, in Minecraft, you can create your character and go on missions within your world, while Fortnite allows you to level up through quests like unlocking new weapons and finding secret areas.
Simulation games are the most realistic of all video game genres. These games give you the chance to control a real-life concept, like a family or an entire city. A couple of well-known simulation games include The Sims and SimCity.*
You may be familiar with The Sims, which puts players in charge of every aspect of their characters’ lives: how they live, what jobs they have, who they marry, etc.
The player is responsible for ensuring that their character’s needs—like food and sleep—are met. The player is also in charge of the character’s emotions: for example, if your character has a bad day at work, you can choose to have them watch television or talk to friends to help cheer them up.
Now let’s talk about another simulation game called SimCity. In this game, players get to control everything about an entire city!
You can control aspects of your simulated city, including taxes and traffic levels. Many people love playing SimCity because it allows them to take on roles that do not exist in real life, like being mayor or city planner, without having any responsibility outside of controlling their virtual town.
Multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA)
With the advent of internet connectivity, video games evolved from a solo experience to one that could be shared with others.
Inevitably, this led to competition in the form of multiplayer gaming. The first online battle arenas (OBA) could be found in the late 1990s, with games like Starcraft and Counter-Strike pitting players against each other in a combat scenario.
These games had a top-down perspective, where all players could see the entire map. Players would typically form teams and compete against each other while also completing objectives.
These games were considered a combination of real-time strategy games, which have been around since the early 1990s, and action games, which have been around since the 1970s. The MOBA genre evolved from this style of gameplay.
The acronym “MOBA” was popularized with the release of Defense of the Ancients (DotA) in 2003 as a mod for Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos and its expansion, The Frozen Throne.
DotA only had two teams fighting against one another but allowed for up to ten players on each team. By 2009, League of Legends was released by Riot Games as a standalone game based on DotA.
League of Legends was similar to its predecessor but added many new features. This is a very good video game genres in order.