The right game for the right time 2: confusing choices

In my last blog I told you about my intention to make something of a game chooser, for those moments when you want to play a game, but you just don’t know which one to pick. I asked you all what your favorite game genre was. (If you haven’t taken the poll yet, you will find it here: Choosing the right game for the right time, part 1) RPG is very much in the lead, but I also got a lot of questions: when is it an RPG, when is it an action game, and when is it adventure and can a simulation game have elements of the others too?

Choices, game categories, RPG, Adventure, Action

Indeed, difficult to define and separate them. I’ve been doing some searching and I think I’ve come up with some good definitions for the various genres that lead to most questions:

RPG or Role Playing Games: In these games you take the part of the hero, having to fight the evil (often in the form of Bosses). You start out at level zero, and level up yourself and your team, making use of objects you collect along the way and money you earn to be able to buy the best possible armor and weapons. Yes, there are some puzzles to solve, and there is some collecting, but the emphasis is on the battles. This sort of games can be sub-divided to:
– Turn based RPG
– Action RPG
– Strategic RPG

Adventure games:
 Much like in the RPG you take on the role of the hero, but these games are driven more by the need for exploration and puzzling, rather than for physical combat. The game is more like a story being played out and there will be fighting to be done, but it feel more like a whole wide world for you to explore. A special sub-genre here is the Visual Novel.

Action games: These games are about fighting, learning fighting skills for the battles and mastering the controls to make your character fight as best as he or she can. The story-line is less important, the battles are what it’s all about.Here I see these sub-categories:
– Platformers
– Fighting games
– Endless runner

Simulation games:These games simulate real-life activities. Other than in real life there are no major goals and there’s no pressure. Often, you are free to set targets for yourself, like collecting things, level up friendship in the game and such. Even these games aren’t neatly placed in one box, I think they are to be divided in:
– Real time simulation
– Simulation RPG
– (Time) Management
– City builder

I know, I know, this might all be a bit far fetched, but having the sub-categories is the only way to place some important game series. For instance, what kind of game is Rune Factory? Is it a simulation game or an RPG? And what about Pokémon, would you call it a RPG or an adventure game?

The other game genres are much more straight forward, no need to clarify puzzle games, music or card games, right? So for now, my question is: are we in agreement about the definitions? Or do you think something is missing or just plain wrong? Let me know, you know where to find me!


      1. Hmmm… not sure.. it could be, I guess! But I see it a bit differently. I see action games as shooters or other fast-paced titles that blend those thrilling moments with exploration segments.

          1. In my mind yes. Although I did just check a Wikipedia article that lists platformers and shooters under an umbrella genre called “Action”.

            So who knows…. It’s up to you! =D

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