Time to redefine game genres?

23rd July 2012

Single Player First Person Shooter Maps and Mods for Half-Life 1, 2 and Episodes 1, 2 and 3

As I sat in the park yesterday soaking up the sunshine and wondering why everybody else was in the shade, Only mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday sun sprang to mind.

I almost became delirious and my mind began wondering why it was so hard to find certain types of games via the Steam Sale.

Now. it’s not Valve or Steam’s fault, it’s just how the industry has not changed with the times.

We have had this idea of “First Person Shooter”, or “Platform Puzzler” that is so fixed. It’s time we recognize that things have changed and changed for the better.

Long gone are the days when a game had one gameplay style or feature.

So what do we do?

Well, I would suggest that we have two basic elements:
View and gameplay.
For view we could have FP: First person, TP: Third person, TD: Top Down, Side View: Side View and MP or MV: Multi-Perspective or Mutli-View.

Next we have the gameplay styles: Shooting, Driving, Puzzles, Roleplaying, Fighting and Abstract.

It would mean Half-Life 2 would go from First Person Shooter to FP: Shooting, puzzles and driving, which is a bit more complicated but definitely more descriptive.

If the industry and modding agreed to work to a new standard of describing games, we might be able to easily find games that interest us but also, and more importantly, find things that we might have overlooked.

Of course, my suggestion is not perfect, but this article is only to get the discussion started.

How would you like to reclassify games?

Imagine stolen from Robert Yang’s bog about a game called P0nd


  1. mrhappy

    Describing games is very important to understanding them, and breaking them down will let us do that efficiently and identify places where there is unexplored potential for innovation. Your post has made me think, “what about games where manipulating the view is the primary goal?” There are mechanics where framing a shot and taking a photo, or maintaining crosshairs on a moving target (simply ‘locking on, not even shooting). Also games such as the student project Perspective and Echochrome rely on manipulating the view. Or maybe these ideas are simply TP: abstract?

    I think the industry does have a more sophisticated vocabulary for describing games than simply FPS/RTS/etc.

    Phillip, have you read a book called “Unit Operations?” I just picked it up and am only a few pages in, it’s about video game criticism and I believe the authors goal is to break game criticism down into modular chunks like this. It is a bit academic/hard to read so far.

    1. Well, that’s the interesting question. Splitting games down into too many genres would have the opposite effect of the objective.

      That said, being too vague also misses the point. Perhaps, we could use “View or perspective control”? That could include all games but I what I mean is that the control must be very accurate.

      I suppose “Abstract” could have some sub-categories.

      I haven’t heard of that book but a quick look on Amazon shows that it might be really interesting, although a little too high-brow for my education level (I have no idea about the difference between Badiousian and Deleuzian philosophies. 🙁

      1. mrhappy

        I’m afraid I don’t know the difference between those two philosophies either, I’m only a few pages into that book, reading several at once. Hopefully I will be able to understand it!

  2. Aaron

    Blah = you made a game
    Wow = you surprised gamers and they enjoyed it
    Awesome = you made something spectacular
    Epic = you should get this and 20 copies for your pals and show them you love them since this game is the shit

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