According to the all-knowing
Oz Wikipedia, these are the major genres in video games.
Action – Quick reflexes, accuracy and timing. There’s a ton of sub-genres, which are generally the more used terminology. Fighting, platformer, shooter, etc…
Action-Adventure – Bastard child of Action, and Adventure! Their love, deemed unacceptable in the more moral times of the 1980s, they were forced to hide behind textual interfaces, and when their love brought forth the progeny of Action-Adventure Gaming, the world was united in harmony! Or something. The point is, we have this genre and its games are part adventure, solving puzzles and interacting with your environment, and part action, shooting things that aren’t puzzles to solve. Oh, and sometimes it’s better to not engage in a toe-to-toe fight, but that’s a whole other sub-genre of Action-Adventure.
Adventure – Puzzle-solving, Environment interaction and generally non-confrontational. Again, there are many sub-genres, but probably not the ones that you would have thought. Text Adventure, Graphical Adventure, Visual Novels, etc… It’s definitely redefining what I thought this genre was about…
Role-Playing – You take on the role of a character in the game and directly control their actions through the game. MMOs, Sandbox, Tactical, Action, are all sub-genres of Role-playing.
Simulation – So many things you can simulate! Construction sims like Civ City. Life sims like Spore. Vehicle sims like Gran Turismo.
Strategy – One of the other “30 day” questions deals with this genre. Asking, “Real-time or Turn based?” Since I’m going to answer that for you later, I wont go into it here, but those are two of the major Strategy sub-grenres. There’s others! Tower Defense, Multi-player online battle arena (MOBA), Artillery… lots of good stuff. You can’t just charge in strong and hope to win. If your opponent has any tactics at all, it wont work.
But which one do I personally like best? Find out after this
It’s a good toss up for me between RPGs and Action-Adventure. Lets take a deeper look into these genres and try to figure it out!
I love Role playing games. I’ve been playing them since I started gaming. I play them offline too, ala Dungeons and Dragons, Darkon, Amtgard. I love playing the role of the hero (and sometimes villain), because real life is just too normal. Its not a great idea to risk one’s life going against an unbeatable foe, IRL. But in a game, you’ve got magic, healing and save points. Man, we need save points in real life.
But I love Action-Adventure as well! It’s fast paced, save the girl, shoot the bad guys, use creative thinking to outwit or turn them against each other. You still get to play the hero, and you even sometimes are saving the world instead of the girl.
I think what it boils down to is mood. There are times when I want nothing more than to have my level 1 character, and build him up so he’s ultra-powerful and amazing, take on the world with a group of friends (pc or npc) and say, “That’s the guy I made, saving the world from the evil corporation, dictator, alien race, etc…” It’s a much slower style of game, which is fine, because it’s designed to immerse you in the world, make you a part of what’s going on and have you feel like you’re a part of things. Where the action-adventure genre is really more about fast-paced action and puzzle solving. There’s games that feel immerse as well, but they’re generally the exception to the rule.
All in all, I think I prefer the RPG game to the Action-Adventure. But there’s always times when the pendulum swings back over Action-Adventure, or just pure Action because sometimes you just need to not think about why you’re murdering all the little green goblins, and just bathe in their blood under the full moon’s light.