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Game Types

Learning Intentions

  • Understand what a video game is

  • Understand that there are different types of video games

  • Understand how the classifications of games are carried out

Success Criteria

  • I can provide examples of different video game types
  • I can explain the differences between certain video game types

Put the following games into groups

  • Super Smash Bros Brawl

  • Warcraft III

  • Call of Duty 4

  • Diablo

  • FIFA

  • Super Mario Bros U

  • Super Mario Party

  • Mario Kart 8

What's the difference?

What makes a video game different from a movie?



Classifying video games further

  • Video games were grouped around 1984 when Chris Crawford’s book The Art of Computer Games Design successfully stated that video games can be broken in to different categories.
  • We can classify video games into different types. A video game is classified based on the way the game plays and the way that the player interacts with the video game. 

My list

  • Super Smash Bros Brawl - fighting
  • Warcraft III - strategy
  • Call of Duty 4 - shooter
  • Diablo - role-playing game
  • FIFA - sport
  • Super Mario Bros U - platformer
  • Super Mario Party  - puzzle
  • Mario Kart 8 - racing

What other types are there?

  • Action
  • Action-Adventure
  • Adventure
  • Fighting
  • Platform
  • Puzzle
  • Racing
  • RPG
  • Shooter
  • Simulation
  • Sports
  • Strategy

What is a video game type?

Just like movies which fall into categories such as Action, Comedy, Romance etc, games fall into types and we shall look at some of the most common. There are too many to cover them all here but carry out some research of your own to see which others you can find.

Adventure games

Adventure games require the player in interact with their environment and often require tactics or strategy. They can be based around a story or puzzle and interaction is usually driven by point and click or keyboard interaction. Fighting plays a minor role and the emphasis is on conquering or achieving a given task. Adventure games include Zork and Myst.

Fighter games

Fighter games involve an amount of violence, sometimes graphic and involve the player fighting to render characters unconscious or dead using differing moves and techniques. The interaction usually involves two or more players and a certain amount of skill is required to carry out the technical combinations of buttons or clicks required to perform particular moves along with quick reactions and timing. Popular fighting games are Super Smash Bros, Street Fighter II and Tekken 3.

FPS games

First Person Shooter (FPS) games focus on shooting and combat from your perspective as the main character. This gives the feeling of being in the game and is the main focus for this game type. Doom was the first major title in this type and has been followed by a constant stream of successful titles - Halo, Killzone, Unreal Tournament, Call of Duty, to name a few. War and violence feature highly in this type of game and there are ethical arguments against these games. A sub-type of FPS games is First Person Sneaker where the focus is on stealth rather than combat or shooting.


Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games (MMORPG) are multi-player role-playing games that enable thousands of players to play in an evolving virtual online world at the same time. These emerged in the mid 90's as a graphical alternative to MUDs. MMORPGs include Diablo, World of WarCraft, Dungeons and Dragons. MUD and MMORPG games involve completing quests and developing your characters abilities. The most popular game, World of WarCraft, holds over 60% of the pay-to-play game market.

Platformer games

Platformer games are also referred to as platformers or side scrollers and are games in which the background scrolls and the player jumps from platform to platform by running and jumping. Games usually involve several different levels which are populated with enemies and puzzles or problem-solving tasks.
Players can collect abilities, potions and health as they journey through the level. There have been several iconic platform games through the years Donkey Kong, Sonic the Hedgehog, Mario, and many more.

Puzzle games

Puzzle games are those addictive little games that we struggle to put down, the king of all puzzle games continues to be Tetris (which is also the most popular game of all time).

Puzzle games usually require the game to solve a puzzle, maze, logical or positioning problem. This type of game frequently crosses into educational and adventure genres due to its nature. An example could be Tetris.

Racing games

Racing games involve the player competing in races traditionally in a car or alternative vehicle. They cover a wide range of styles from fantasy to real life simulations in Formula 1.
Examples of racing games include Formula 1 and Forza.

RPG games

Role Playing Games are games in which the player's character has skills and abilities represented by statistics. Gameplay involves the characters exploring and completing quests that build up their statistics and possessions. Can be single or multi-player.

An example of a popular RPG game is Diablo.

Shooter games

Shoot em' Up or shooter games involve shooting or destroying object, in games like Asteroids, and opponents, in games like Doom. The character comes with an array of weapons which have specific uses to help the player shoot their way out of dangerous or volatile situations. Although these games are violent by their nature, it is frequently the tactical nature that has players hooked.

Strategy games

Strategy games require the player to be quick thinking and forward planning and usually focus in a war context. Strategy gamers enjoy the tactical and skilful thinking necessary for success. The origin of strategy game is found in traditional board games.
An example of a very popular strategy game is Warcraft III.

Game types by purpose

  • It is also possible to classify games by their purpose. 
  • Casual games and education games are two major categories:
    • Casual games have very simple rules and are extremely easy to play, many of the mobile and social games played fall into this category. The purpose of these games is to entertain with little commitment or skill. 
    • Educational games teach the user and are frequently targeted at young users to help with learning the alphabet or simple numeracy.

You should be able to classify games based on the way that they are played and the way that the player interacts with the game.

Get in to groups of two or three and pick four different games. Discuss how they are different in terms of:

  1. The way the game is played.
  2. The way the player plays the game.
  3. The way in which the story is different.

Produce a set of slides or a word processed document to describe what you have discussed.


  • Choose three of the common game types and write a description for each game type.
  • For each game type you should list two games which come under each category.
  • You should describe common features of the game type for example game modes, camera angles, controls, etc


We’re going to become game experts!

You’ve got five minutes to pick or find a game (you can use the Internet) and learn all about it.

In your pairs, take it in turns being the Game Expert and the Game Investigator. Once both of you have been the Game Expert and the Game Investigator, both of you can become the Game Analyser.

Sample questions have been provided.
Take notes on what the other person has said


Presentation Overview
Game Types
© 2020 - 2024 J Balfour
15:55 | 23-05-2024
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