Genre (computer games)

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Computer game or video game genres are genres of computer games that differ from one another in the type of interaction and game mechanics. A division into a certain genre is only possible to a limited extent for many games, as elements from different genres are often mixed. This leads to an expanded division (sometimes with subcategories). However, there is no scientifically recognized classification here either. It is therefore preferred to address individual features of the game rather than forcing a game into a specific genre.

List of genres

Action games :

Adventure games:

Strategy games :

Simulations :


Theory of computer game genres

The genres of computer games are determined more than in other media by the technical possibilities and limitations. Since reality cannot be reproduced one-to-one in a computer game, the aspect to be realized must first be precisely determined and then strongly abstracted, because only the very special partial aspects can be simulated that are perceived as elementary for the joke.

In the early days of computer games, the tennis game in the game of pong was realized as two bars (rackets) that reflected a small box in an apparently empty room - due to the low resolution, no circle was possible. Despite the immense abstraction, the basic idea of ​​a tennis game or general ball game was clearly evident.

However, the progressive improvement in hardware makes it possible to lower the level of abstraction ever further. This also has consequences for the game genres. Due to its level of detail, a computer game can now realize several previously separate genres at the same time. This allows the player e.g. B. the choice between an action-rich or rather stealthy game style, instead of limiting it to a single simulated game style. In addition to mixing genres, new genres are always being created. “Survival” simulations as a (sub) genre, for example, have not existed for long compared to classic genres. This example also shows that emerging trends in the gaming industry often lead to new genre names.

History of Computer Game Genres

In the early two-dimensional computer games era, games viewed from the side dominated. Shoot 'em ups , side scrollers and jump' n 'runs were the most popular genres. In the late 1980s, role-playing games and adventure games were also increasingly successful. The games from LucasArts in particular were considered flagship products during this period.

Mid-1990s began the transition from 2D to 3D - graphic one. The main reason behind this change was the new first-person shooter genre, which was founded practically single-handedly by id Software , mainly with the games Wolfenstein 3D and Doom . At this time was as successful only the immense real-time strategy games boom that with the success of Command & Conquer by Westwood was initiated. Games of this type almost completely replaced the turn-based strategy games that had dominated the mass market until then due to their simpler technical feasibility , by addressing a new, more action-oriented target group.

Today's games are increasingly showing a trend towards so-called genre mixes. This is justified both technically (see theory) and market economy, so that the target group can be drawn from several genre followers at the same time.

For example, Diablo uses features from classic role-playing games (e.g. improving the character being played by collecting objects), but has a much higher proportion of actions.

Change in usage behavior

Due to technical developments in the field of miniaturization and the mobile internet, complex games can now also be used on mobile devices such as smartphones, tablets or the like. This has opened up new target groups for the computer game industry - especially for so-called casual games . The inclination sensors integrated in the devices are now used for many games , e.g. B. to steer a virtual car with the movement of the smartphone. This also contributes to the development of new sub-genres.

See also


  • Matthias Bopp, Rolf F. Nohr, Serjoscha Wiemer (eds.): Shooter. A multidisciplinary introduction . Lit-Verlag, Münster 2009, ISBN 978-3-643-10189-1 .
  • Andreas Rauscher: Playful Fictions: Transmedia Genre Concepts in Video Games . Schüren, Marburg 2012, ISBN 978-3-89472-730-7 .
  • Thomas Klein: Genre and video game. In: Markus Kuhn, Irina Scheidgen, Nicola Valeska Weber (eds.): Film-scientific genre analysis. An introduction . de Gruyter, Berlin / Boston 2012, ISBN 978-3-11-029698-3 , pp. 345-360.

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