Exploring Video Game Genres


Learning which genres you’re interested in will help you narrow down titles the next time you shop. The list will also show you what you have been missing so far.



Action relies heavily on fighting and requires the player to have fast reflexes, quick decision-making and good hand-eye coordination. Some action games have stories. Under action are shooters, fighting and platform games like Counter-Strike, Mortal Kombat and Super Mario.




Adventure lets you explore and requires the player to come up with strategies to overcome obstacles or complete a task within a story. They immerse the players in an elaborate story and gameplay more than action games. It includes visual novels, and real-time 3D adventures like Amnesia, Uncharted, Myst and Heavy Rain.




Action-adventure has the qualities of both action and adventure genres. The line between the two has blurred over the years. Examples are Grand Theft Auto V, Tomb Raider, and Dark Souls. Survival horror like Resident Evil are also considered action-adventure as well as metroidvania games like Axiom Verge, Cave Story and Ori and the Blind Forest. The name comes from the games Metroid and Castlevania.
Card and Text


Card and text games of old have digital versions. Most of these games can be played on mobile phones and handhelds but are also available in other platforms. Check out card games like Magic Duels, Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft, and Pathfinder Adventures. Text games usually employ an elaborate story and background for the player to interact with, that’s why it’s called interactive fiction. Examples are Andrew Plotkin’s Shade and The King of Shreds and Patches.




Puzzle games require the player to overcome obstacles by coming up with witty solutions. Some however need only one solution out of many possible choices. Examples are Tetris, Limbo, Trash Panic, Echochrome, and Picross 3D.



Role-playing games or RPG require players to handle a predefined or customized character who improves as the game progresses. It usually has an overarching story and a menu-based system of combat. RPGs may also employ game mechanics in other genres like action, adventure, and strategy. Examples are Suikoden, Baldur’s Gate II, Skyrim, and Dragon Age. It also includes sandbox games like Minecraft.




Simulation constructs an environment for you or places you in situations that imitate real-life persons, objects, places and events. SimCity, Gran Turismo, Flight Simulator X, and The Sims are examples.




Strategy lets you control pieces to outwit your opponents. It’s like chess but in video games you usually command a unit or an entire army. Examples are Red Alert, Warcraft, XCOM and Civilization.




Sports lets you experience sports without having to sweat so much. Sports games include racing like Burnout Paradise, professional sports league-inspired games, and extreme sports like SSX Tricky and Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater.




Most games cannot be rigidly classified within one category. Each of those mentioned above serve only as guidelines for classification. Action can be part of any game. Puzzles are also becoming more common in adventure games. Some RPGs also employ strategy and all games are fundamentally simulations.