In this article you will learn about the most popular variations and sub-variations of video games, with examples in each case.
Video Games, a Versatile Industry
The gaming industry is massive, with numerous studios, developers, and platforms. And most importantly: the games, which expand the catalogs and the fun.
Since the emergence of OXO, the first video game in history that saw the light in 1952, the proposals have diversified into multiple types and genres.
In this article we will examine the main variations of video games, from classic platform titles, to action releases, to sub-genres that now gain center stage, such as battle royale, play-to-earn, and MMORPGs.
Let’s go for it!
What types and genres of video games exist?
The genres of video games are counted in the hundreds. That variety is consistent with the aforementioned versatility of an industry with great reach.
A statistic confirms the power of the video game sector: during 2022, this industry raised over 184 billion dollars worldwide, according to data from NewZoo reported by the GamesIndustry site.
That figure places the video game business above other segments of entertainment such as film and music in much of the international markets.
Let’s focus on the theme that calls us: what are the most popular video game genres? Next, the most well-known and played categories, with examples in each case.
As the saying goes, variety is the spice of life!
This genre of video games is probably the most popular among players. These are the ones where the characters run, jump, cross obstacles and fight to survive.
The category is very broad, with sub-variants such as the following:
Platform games: A classic example is Super Mario Bros; also Sega’s Sonic releases.
Shooting games: Also known as “shooters”, in these titles true action, sometimes bloody, prevails. Some emblems? Call of Duty and, further back in time, the legendary Doom.
Fighting games: Less weapons and more motor skills in the characters, who face each other in arenas, hand-to-hand. Street Fighter and Mortal Kombat are classics in this field.
Stealth games: Stealth titles are a particular category in the realm of action releases. As its name indicates, the user must move without alerting the enemies of his presence. An example of this variant is Metal Gear.
Survival games: Battle royale games conquered the gamer scene along with the success of the paradigm of this category, Epic Games’ Fortnite. Many games included a survival mode that, by the way, has another emblem, PUBG, and that has stretched with releases such as Free Fire, Apex Legends and Call of Duty: Warzone. Other survival proposals (something different from the cases mentioned) are Terraria and SCUM.
This also popular genre usually puts the player, alone, to face different contingencies, in which he must rely on skills such as speed and wit. There is also a breakdown in these arenas.
Graphic adventures: Visual design of releases takes priority and variants are offered in first or third person, modifying the perspective. Some examples are The Silent Age and Sherlock Holmes: The Devil’s Daughter.
Text adventures: Also known as “interactive fiction”, this category is based purely on narrative for users to interact with their environment. Some examples are A Dark Room and Zork.
Interactive movies: This variant is a sort of film that adds the interactivity of video games. Many Batman games serve as an example, for example Batman: The Telltale Series.
Adventure and action games: This genre deserves a prominent space. These are proposals that combine exploration with adrenaline, with a good dose of narrative. In this field, survival horror is also inscribed.
Role-playing games (RPG) are games in which the player takes on the role of the character appearing on the screen.
There are many variations of role-playing games. Let’s look at the most important ones:
Action RPG: ARPGs combine elements of action games with role-playing games. There are well-known cases, such as The Witcher, Grand Theft Auto, and Cyberpunk 2077. Although more “innocent”, we can also include Super Mario Bros. here.
MMORPG: These are the initials in English for “massively multiplayer online role-playing game”. That says it all: many users collide in the same virtual scenario, participating in real-time over the Internet. There are also industry stars in this area, such as World of Warcraft and Final Fantasy.
Sandbox RPG: These releases are characterized by the freedom of movement that players enjoy, and they encourage exploration. The classic sandbox classic is Minecraft. They oppose structured level games.
JRPG: A very unique variant that groups RPGs created in Japan, which usually have different mechanics than titles made in the West. The Pokémon releases serve as a sample.
Play-to-earn games, the crypto gesture of the gaming sector
Play-to-earn titles (Spanish for “play to win”) are also known as NFT games.
These are blockchain-based gaming releases that also use non-fungible tokens to reward users for their achievements.
As we reported in The 15 best NFT games to try for free, the rewards that users receive on the gaming platform can be exchanged for real money.
One of the leaders of play-to-earn games is Axie Infinity. Other video games in this category include Alien Worlds, Gods Unchained, CryptoBlades, Ox Universe, and Sorare.
Miscellany: Games for All Tastes (and Some Rarities)
We’ve said it before: the video game industry is versatile and gamers can celebrate that “variety is the spice of life.”
A complete account of the genres of video games could take hundreds of pages. To not overwhelm our readers, after reviewing some of the most famous variations, we close this article with a flyover of other essential categories and some rarities in this sector.
Sports games: Loved by many, they replicate in the digital scene the mechanics of sports disciplines. Famous examples? The EA FIFA franchise and those occasions when Mario and Sonic competed in arcade variations of the Olympic Games.
Racing games: Associated with sports, they deserve a separate paragraph. They’ve been part of the video game world since its origins and are especially fun when played with a steering wheel (not with traditional controllers). Celebrated cases are Forza Motorsport, Mario Kart, and also Daytona USA, which was a classic in arcade rooms.
Puzzle games: Far from the acceleration of action releases, these titles put the mind to work. Puzzles are classics in this field.
Simulation games: They put users in roles or tasks. The paradigm is The Sims, but there are variants for everyone.
Mobile games: Although not a genre in itself, they deserve their own space in this recount. Did you know that titles for phones and tablets surpass the profits of games for consoles and PCs? Its development is unique, different from those running on large screens. Some high points in this field are Candy Crush, Pokémon Go, and Call of Duty: Mobile.
MOBA games: Acronym for “multiplayer online battle arena.” Combines strategy and coordination with other users. Examples? Star Wars: Force Arena and Marvel Super Wars.
Advergames: A rarity in this list. Do you know what it’s about? They are games developed with the intention of promoting some product. As its name suggests, they combine the wits of advertisers with gaming entertainment.
After reviewing a large number of video game genres, as a summary, we can say that in an industry that is dedicated to entertainment, the boundaries between categories are super flexible.
In other words, the inclusion of elements from different categories in the same release is a common practice. One of the leaders in the sector, Nintendo’s plumber Mario, demonstrates this: his games have a lot of adventure, action, and strategy. A mixture that is evident in it and in many other games, usually difficult to place in a single box.