In the gaming industry, the classification problem was always a huge question. At the dawn of the industry, few gambing titles made a virtual code of genres. For example, all hack-and-slash RPGs were named “Diablo-clones”. Just because of a legendary Blizzard series, which is the essence of this kind of game. And even more: have you ever heard about Roguelike and Roguelite games? They are pretty popular even today and have a set of specific characteristics:
- a high level of randomness;
- a lot of loot and equipment;
- so-called “permadeath”. This means – your hero will live only once;
- usually, these games are pretty hardcore.
What does “genre” mean?
The genre was named after an ancient game – Rogue, released in the late eighties. Almost all the genres were born decades ago. Today we only have to play in the offspring franchises. And this is fine: the video game creators master their craft through the generations of consoles, making new games more joyful and comfortable.
Today we have a real fusion of genres. Pure Western RPGs are very rare, but their hybrids are prospering. Action games also include RPG elements, like various craft trades, custom weapon tuning, wide places to explore. All the successful hits have to be multi-genre. Well, the newest God of War was more about family relations than about killing gods. So, our chart will not be definitive. It’s just a guideline for enthusiastic gamers striving for real fun.
When the genre obtains its popularity?
It is a complicated question. The media market is constantly evolving. You can’t predict all the factors, but the main trends can be seen. The games become a hit when:
- the theme is fresh. In 2007, the war shooters were everywhere. And developers had to do much more than just another “assault on Omaha Beach”;
- it has to be a representation of new technology. Remember the first Crysis. It was a dynamic hooter, but the major glory and hype was about a benchmark;
- the series has a lot of evolution. Still, God of War, with stunning graphic effects and gorgeous soundtrack… but it is also a great leap forward, from slasher to fine drama;
- replayability. Witcher 3 is still one of the bestsellers today. And the game is six years old. Many activities, a bunch of features, a great story – this is what makes a bombshell on the market.
Action and action adventures
Like in the movies, actions at the games are different. From classic shooters (Medal of Honor, Call of Duty) to pure adventure Indiana Jones-style (Lara Croft, Uncharted, etc.). In the gambling industry adventure games are usually Egyptian-themed. You can play the Eye of Horus demo for free on review sites to understand how these games usually look. The common thing is an ability to show the aggressive hero. This guy knows about the good word and big iron on his hip. Why is this genre so popular? Pure testosterone dose, of course. The heat of the chase burns in our veins. The locations in these games are usually large and gorgeous. This is an escapist’s paradise. And the budgets of these games are huge, hundreds of millions of dollars.
Online possibilities are one of the most compelling reasons for the popularity of these games. There is no top shooter today that doesn’t have at least a co-op. These titles also are very social. You can post all of your achievements on social media, sharing your memories with friends, etc.
RPGs and Action RPGs
Pure role-playing games are almost exclusively for tabletops now. The relatively big names, like Pillars of Eternity, are famous and unusual brands. They are upcoming once in a few years. But back in the 90s, the classic “RPGs with the party” were a real deal. A lot of great franchises of yore are resurrected today. For example, the third part of Baldur’s Gate was successfully launched as an early access project.
Action RPGs are prospering now. Skyrim, The Witcher, Breath of the Wild, the newest parts of Final Fantasy conquered the market successfully. Gamers love rich role-playing narratives with a big part of the action.
Strategies and tactics
Classic strategies have practically disappeared into oblivion. There are not such titans, like Command and Conquer, single Warcraft, or Starcraft today. Base-oriented real-time game lived through its boom and ended as an old gold memory. No one from major studios is planning to make a full release of a classic RTS. The Relic Studio is trying to fix it, but its last projects are mediocre.
Unlike RTS, the turn-based, city-building, and tactical strategies are doing relatively well. The new XCOM remake was accepted warmly. Sid Meyer’s Civilization is a big event every time. Strategies evolved and have a solid piece of the marketplace.
Simulators are very different. Sometimes, they are popular in just one country. Look at the endless list of German building, cleaning, routine simulators. Yes, they are a local market wonder. First of all, this type of simulator is very relaxing. The second reason: you don’t need a powerful PC to run it (which is significant for some adults that are not enthusiastic gamers). The same thing is with the Czech truck simulators.
On the other hand, there is a hardcore simulation. Games like IL-2 Shturmovik or Microsoft Flight Simulator can give you either full control over the flight or traditional arcade steering.
Cozy and casual. Or blowing up mind games. You decide. Puzzles are perfect time killers that train your brain and allow you to have a good relaxing time. They fit perfectly as mini-games in big titles. The 2006-2017 period was an era of various card games and puzzles. Today we have quality relaxing little pieces that can be very helpful in our stressful time. Puzzle Agent, Baba Is You, Agent A, and other riddles are waiting for you!
Of course, there are other popular games. Fightings, races, sports simulators. But these 5 genres guarantee you a quality and joyful weekend, no doubt.