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Video Game Genres & Categories: Difference Between Game Genres

video game genres

Do you know the difference between an action or an action-adventure video game? Discover all video game genres & what separates the categories from each other.

The world of video games is as complex and diverse as the world of art. 

In fact, many experts have compared video games to works of art because of their beautifully designed characters and scenarios, their relevance to the modern situation, and the skill required to create them. 

Because the video game world is so diverse with so many different elements, video game enthusiasts have organized video games into several different genres or video game categories. 

Understanding these categories will help you in a career as a video game designer

Popular Video Game Genres

Not all video games fit specifically into a certain genre, and the genres of video games are always changing and adapting. 

While there is some debate regarding the genres of video games, most can agree that the games available today fall into a few basic categories:

  • Action
  • Adventure
  • Role Play
  • Simulation
  • Strategy
  • Sports and Activity
  • Music

Video Game Genres: Action

Action video games are games that require quick reflexes and fast-paced action on the part of the player.  Many action video games are based on a single hero in first person game play. 

The individual playing the video game must control the hero and maneuver him or her through an artificial world using reflexes and action to overcome obstacles. 

The “Shooter” game provides the hero with an arsenal of weapons that can be used to overcome these obstacles.  Halo, Call of Duty, and Duke Nukem are all action video games.

Video Game Categories: Adventure

An adventure video game is one of the oldest genres of video games.  In this type of video game, reflexes and quick-thinking are not required. 

This type of video game is usually appealing to individuals who don’t typically like video games.  In these games, players must navigate through a variety of puzzles and situations by interacting intelligently with their surroundings.

Visual novels are another type of adventure video game where players see a predetermined story play out before their eyes. 

Gamers encounter a series of choices or routes that can be chosen throughout the course of the video game.

Video Game Genres: Simulation

A simulation game is a video game that simulates a real-life situation.  In this type of video game, players operate on a global scale, functioning as a god-like character in the created world. 

Video games that require players to construct and manage cities, theme parks, worlds, businesses or governments are simulation video games. 

One of the first simulation video games was Sim City.  In this game, players were required to build a city from the ground up, constructing residential and commercial areas, building power plants, repairing damage from natural disasters, and providing jobs for the city’s inhabitants. 

These video games require a high level of intellect and multitasking ability.

Video Game Categories: Strategy

Strategy video games are very challenging and require a high intellectual ability.  Strategy games consist of a variety of puzzles and obstacles that must be solved with intellectual reasoning. 

Strategy video games are often turn-based.  This means that players take turns playing the game and responding to other players’ moves. 

Video Game Categories: Sports and Activity

Some video games are created to simulate professional sports teams or other sporting endeavors. 

These games were once thought to be included in the action video game genre, but have increased in number to merit their own category. 

Sports and Activity video games allow individuals to play their favorite professional sports by controlling famous athletes and competing in games and even entire sporting seasons. 

Football, basketball, baseball, hockey and soccer video games are some of the most common sporting games.  Sporting video games can also include golf, table tennis, dance, and equestrian sports.

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