The action category refers to the broadly applied term for games with major emphasis in testing and challeging the player's abilities, such as reflexes, dexterity, timing, reaction time and eye-hand coordination. This is a major video game genre, dating as far back as 1962's Spacewar, and it has spawned several subgenres, such as shooter and beat 'em up. While games from other genres can be encompassed by such definition, the action genre refers to games in which the gameplay is heavily based on the previously mentioned common factors. The prime distinction, between games that only incorporate some of the mechanics and factors from action games and actual action games, is based in the influence rather than the presence of such mechanics and factors in the general gameplay. That means that despite a game featuring and requiring real-time responses from the player, what matters and defines a game as an "action game" ultimately depends of how much and to which degree the progression of the game relies on the real-time responses, skills and abilities of the player.
Action-adventure is a term used for games that include elements of both, as its name suggests, the action and adventure genres and is thus considered by many to be possibly the broadest genre in video gaming. In traditional adventure games, the player is tasked with solving puzzles and difficult situations with little to no action. In contrast, action games focus on combat and reflex testing, so action-adventure ideally includes both of these aspects in one.
The adventure game is one of the oldest and most long-standing of all gaming genres. They are not necessarily games which feature the protagonist going on the dictionary definition of an "adventure"; the genre's name is instead derived from the 1976 game ADVENT (a.k.a. Colossal Cave Adventure or simply Adventure) - which is widely regarded as being the first ever adventure game - rather than from its actual mechanics or themes.
'Arcade' is a style of gameplay that was developed in the '70s and gained widespread popularity in the '80s. Most of the notable early examples of arcades were released in the form of coin-operated machines in amusement arcades. Titles such as Pac-Man, Donkey Kong, Space Invaders, Mortal Kombat, Metal Slug, Mario Bros., and Sonic the Hedgehog helped define and popularize the genre early on.
Games centered around controlling vehicles, which may or may not involve racing against opponents or completing laps of a course. These games may focus on exploration, completion of missions, finding collectibles or other objectives. While some of these games feature an open-world, others involve a specific set of levels that the player must complete.
Edutainment video games incorporate elements of educational software for the purpose of teaching players concepts and skills. These games are often intended for younger children, who are more likely to engage with learning materials when they are presented in the form of entertainment media.
Games which involve players doing forms of exercise via technology such as motion control or dance pads which tracks body movement and reaction.
Games in which the player must navigate a maze or maze-like environment. Maze games can fall under many other genres, such as maze puzzle games where the objective is to find the correct path to reach a maze's end, or action maze, such as Pac-Man and Bomberman, where the objective isn't to solve a puzzle but rather to avoid/defeat enemies and/or gather items in an area structured similarly to a maze.
Massively multiplayer online games (MMOs or MMOGs) are games in which a substantially large number of players can interact simultaneously over the internet in a world or universe that is persistent in some form.
2 subgenresOpen world
A game in which a player is given a large open world to explore, often choosing when to approach objectives or even a lack of objectives, as opposed to be given a set order of goals (though one may still have to complete some objectives to unlock others).
Most often describes video games that feature a collection of minigames that are generally meant to be played with multiple people at once. Minigames are often competitive and occasionally team-based.
Games that involve maneuvering a character from platform to platform, typically via jumping, and often avoiding obstacles and pits along the way.
Games that require the player to follow either a pre-set or randomly generated musical rhythm to progress, either by pressing a sequence of keys at the correct times on a traditional control pad (such as PaRappa the Rapper), or by using a bespoke controller to emulate dancing (dance), singing and rapping (singing), or the playing of a musical instrument. The latter can include plastic imitations of instruments (such as DJ Hero and Rock Band) or real-world electronic instruments connected to the gaming machine (such as Rocksmith).
Roguelite games are inspired by roguelike, almost always featuring elements like permanent death and randomly-generated levels. Unlike true roguelikes, however, they often eschew traditional RPG and turn-based combat elements in favor of other things like platforming or strategy. Additionally, roguelite games often have unlockables that persist across play sessions.
Role-playing games, or RPGs, are essentially but not exclusively defined by games which the player takes the role of a character (or a team of characters) in a certain fictional setting, what explains the applied term. In video games, the role-playing is performed meeting certain characteristics typical to the original tabletop RPGs. Basically, those characteristics consist of options regarding the character development and build, narrative and story progression, exploration, and decision-making. When the player opts certain choices, incidental restrictions and paths based in such choices are generated as the game proceeds. Such paths could be related to skills, aspects and attributes of the role-playing character, and depending how the player invest (or not) in certain factors, the gameplay gets restricted to what the player selected. Many RPGs have a fixed stat-leveling for the character(s), in these cases the gameplay restricts itself unless the character(s) meet a certain requirement after increasing stats. Those restrictions can, but not always, prevent progression and change the difficulty and approach of the game and how the player should act under certain conditions.
A broad genre of video games that emulates various activities and explores logical systems of interactions. While many simulation games attempt to capture the complexities of realistic activities in an accurate manner, some simplify the mechanics of the tasks they replicate or create fictional systems and mechanics for players to engage with. The success of simulation games in the 1980s led to increased interest in the genre, which has since expanded to include simulations of a multitude of activities both real and fictional.
Social network game
Mostly casual online games that feature multiplayer mechanics and are played through social networks such as Facebook.
Sports games emulate the practice of real life competitive and recreational sports.
Stealth games are a form of game with focus on avoiding detection by enemies rather than fighting them directly. While some games do allow for more direct combat, the emphasis in stealth games is to achieve objectives by sneaking past enemies or eliminating them without being detected, often making use of equipment, abilities and the game environment to achieve this. Early examples of the genre include 005, Castle Wolfenstein and Metal Gear, and well-known series' include Thief, Splinter Cell, Hitman and Metal Gear Solid.
Games requiring careful planning and decision-making to succeed. This can range from long-term strategic thinking essential in grand strategy games to shorter-term tactical thinking emphasized in, for example, turn-based tactics games. They most often feature an aerial view of the map. The games are primarily war-themed, descending from wargaming board games (including wargame games closely resembling them), but they also include video game adaptations of abstract strategy games such as chess, checkers or shogi.
Games that test either the player's general knowledge, or their knowledge of a particular topic such as sports or music. While these games may include visual representations of progression through 'rounds' or levels, sometimes imitating game shows and board games, the interactivity of the player revolves largely or entirely around answering questions. Typically the questions are in multiple choice format, and the player is given a time limit in which to answer them, but there are examples of trivia games that do not employ these features.
1 subgenreUser generated content
User-generated content describes games which revolve almost entirely around the creation of content by the player themselves. They share similarities with computer software creation tools, in that they can be used to create content from scratch or from a selection of pre-defined materials.