Game Genres

This generation is so dead. You ask a kid, 'What are you doing this Saturday?' and they'll be playing video games or watching cable, instead of building model cars or airplanes or doing something creative. Kids today never say, 'Man, I'm really into remote-controlled steamboats.' [Jack White]


Videogames are more than just games. They have the ability to tell stories and communicate a narrative. When creating your final project you should be thinking about how you will tell a story with your game.

Basic Plot Types

  • The Quest (action / adventure)
  • Voyage and Return (circular journey)
  • Comedy (not a great game idea)
  • Tragedy (arcade games)
  • Rebirth (? game ?)
  • Overcoming Monster (definitely)
  • Rags to Riches (rpgs)

Best Video Game Stories (maybe)

  • Metal Gear Solid
  • Grim Fandango
  • The Longest Journey
  • GTA San Andreas
  • Beyond Good and Evil
  • AstroBoy Omega Factor
  • Portal
  • Half Life 1 + 2 + Episodes
  • Gabriel Knight: SOTF
  • Bioshock
  • Planescape: Torrent
  • Fallout 2
  • God of War
  • Star Wars: KOTOR
  • Final Fantasy VI
  • Silent Hill

Action / Adventure Example

  • Heroic Journey
    • Man vs. Man
    • Man vs. Nature (or machines)
    • Man vs. Himself


  • Dialogue - 2 or more characters advancing the story, providing hints and clues
  • Cut Scene - A pause in the action to narrate or show dialogue
  • Trash Talk - Dialogue before a fight or boss scene
  • Banter - Useless chatter between characters to fill space
  • NPC - Non playable character
Choose a basic plot type and research stories in that domain
Think about how you will tell your story during your game: what format will you use? Will there be NPCs or narrated cut scenes?

Game Genres

Videogames have an incredible technical scope in terms of the stories they can tell. This creates a wide range of genres that have further been split into sub sub sub sub ... genres. For your final project you should be chosing a game genre that you can (1) implement and (2) explain why you chose it and (3) tell a story.

Genres (incomplete)

  • FPS (first person shooter)
  • Side Scroller
  • RPG (role playing game)
  • Shooter (raiden / time crisis)
  • Top Down (dual stick) Shooter
  • Simulation (plane / god)
  • RT / TB Strategy (tower def.)
  • (real time / turn based)
  • RPG (TB or RT action)
  • Puzzle + Zen


This list is incomplete, do the reading in order to find out about other genres and ideas
There are many sub genres that are quite interesting and within your ability to implement

Graphics and Perspectives

How you see the world is how you see yourself. [Anon]

Due to the limited scope of this course, you will of course be limited technically by what you can achieve in terms of graphics and perspective. We will only discuss 2D game implementations in order to keep things simple, but I don't want to discourage you from looking into 3D games and possibly taking a simplified approach.

Fixed Perspective

Top Down

Side Scroller

2.5D Pseudo 3D (Isometric)

Tunnel (also 2.5D)


Some of these perspectives are difficult to implement and need some careful planning
Choose a perspective you feel com

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