At its most generic, I only consider there to be two truly distinct genres (and a third, hybrid of the two), which are based on what makes them distinctly challenging to play:

Action -- dexterity challenges
Strategy -- cerebral challenges (i.e. strategic, tactical or managerial decision making challenges)
Action/Strategy hybrids -- any obvious combination of the two above


Each one of these can be further broken down into unique classifications based on what makes them fun. The list below is not comprehensive, and the basic element of fun is listed in parentheses. In order to be a basic element, it must allow for fun gameplay on its own merit. There can be hybrids of each of these categories as well:


Jump-n-Run/Platform/Maze (navigation and/or evasion)
Shooter (destruction)
Simulation (imitation, action-oriented)
Action Contests (dexterity competition) -- tests of skill too abstract to be a simulation or variant of a real sport or competition. i.e. Ballblazer. Ballblazer can actually be sub-categorized into a group called "Fantasy Sport," which would also contain games such as Speedball, Cyberball, Grand Monster Slam, Projectyle, etc.


If a game is abstract enough, it can just be labeled an "Action" game. i.e. Breakout



Puzzle games (solution)
Simulation (imitation, strategic)
RPGs (growth/collection and their management)
Card Games (simulations or variations of real world card games)
Board Games (simulations or variations of real world board games)
Strategy Contests (intellectual competition) -- tests of intellect too abstract to be a simulation or variant of a real sport or competition. i.e. M.U.L.E., Master of Orion, Heroes of Might and Magic, Warlords, etc.


If a game is abstract enough, it can just be labeled a "Strategy" game. i.e. Hunt the Wumpus or Omega

Note that a simulation can be an action game, a strategy game or a hybrid.

You can also go one level deeper on most of these games. So under "Simulation," you could have "Flight Simulation", "Driving Simulation", "Sports Simulation", "War Simulation", etc. And you could have "Adventure" and "Jigsaw" under "Puzzle games."


Note to self (and others who are bored):  "Chance" is another main genre, but it is not very popular on PCs unless real money is involved. Most card games (including blackjack, poker, etc.) are actually strategy games. However, there are some true games of chance with no strategic element whatsoever (like cutting for high card, flipping a coin, and some other forms of gambling). Iím not bothering to list these since they donít demonstrate anything unique to video gaming.



icwawd99.gif (7411 bytes)

 Home Search Feedback Conditions Genres CURIOUS  icwawd2000.gif (8149 bytes)

This site uses frames and Java, and it is best viewed in 800 x 600 or higher. 
If you have any questions or comments, please send mail to
Last modified: February 21, 2004
Copyright 1998 - 2004 Hugh Falk International Interactive Enterprises Industries Incorporated Limited Etceteras.  All rights reserved.