Chapter 5: Game Genres

When describing a game to others, you must express its genre or type. Genres can fall into categories like action, adventure, casual, educational, RPGs, simulations, sports (including fighting games), strategy, and other (puzzle games and toys). Many games cross genre boundaries (“hybrids”) or are truly several genres in one.

Some games, like RPGs or adventure games, have been labeled by the game’s point of view (POV). A “first-person” POV is viewing your environment through the lens of a video camera. A “third-person” POV has the player’s character or persona in view as though a video camera is following the character’s movements. In the third-person POV, the video camera may be stationary (like on a tripod) or free moving, showing various angles of the player. First-person shooter (FPS) is another way to describe the POV for combat/shooter games like Doom or Quake.

Action Games

Action games are nonstop, finger flying (“twitch”) games.

In the early games, arcade-style action games involved shooting vector spaceships to dot-munching balls. Later came “platform,” “rail,” or “side scrollers,” which dominated the action game genre. Now, FPSs are the current trend in action gaming.

Action games have always been move, attack, move, react, and move again type games. They revolve around the gamer who is always central to the play and in control. During an action game, action is the emphasis, not storytelling. Action games will use pre-game “splash” screens and animation as well as interlevel screens to tell their story. Even in an FPS, the main emphasis is action by fighting, gathering weapons and ammunition, shields, and objects like health and experience points.

The next genre for the multiplayer masses will be MMFPS (massively multiplayer FPS) where millions of Internet weapon-toting, truck-driving fans will swarm planet-sized terrain hunting huge alien monsters the size of dinosaurs.

Top-Selling Action Games:


Aliens vs. Predator 2, Clive Barker’s Undying, Max Payne, Operation Flashpoint: Cold War Crisis, Red Faction, Return to Castle Wolfenstein, Serious Sam: The First Encounter, Soul Reaver 2, Tribes 2, Zax: The Alien Hunter


Conker’s Bad Fur Day, Devil May Cry, Grand Theft Auto 3, Halo, Jet Grind Radio, Klonoa 2: Lunatea’s Veil, Max Payne, Metal Gear Solid 2, Phantasy Star Online v 2, Red Faction, Resident Evil Code: Veronica X, Return to Castle Wolfenstein, Spy Hunter, Zone of the Enders

Look for


Global Operations, Medal of Honor: Allied Assault, Planetside, Soldier of Fortune 2: Double Helix, Unreal 2



Game Design Foundations
Game Design Foundations (Wordware Game and Graphics Library)
ISBN: 1556229739
EAN: 2147483647
Year: 2003
Pages: 179

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