3 Up, 3 Down: Video Game Genres

When it comes to videogames, genres come and go, rise and wane in popularity, disappear for a while and then make a resurgence. Lately, the genre mashup has blurred the discrete lines between game types, and while a tossed salad of mechanics is sometimes a revelatory treat, more often than not it creates an unpalatable and confusing mess. So, listen up developers, here are three genres you’ve been overlooking, and three that should be put on ice for the foreseeable future. Oh, and if you’re about to release that cool genre mashup? Just. Don’t.

3 Genres We Need to See More Of

Music Games

I just played an upcoming adventure game, and the “fighting” mechanic was a Simon-like minigame of matching musical pitches in sequence. It was a refreshing and underused idea, and it reminded me that we just haven’t had any mainstream music games in a long time. Is it time for Guitar Hero to make a comeback? (I get it, it might be hard to have a Rock Band party during quarantine). I say “mainstream” because in the VR space there are a lot of outstanding music games like Beat Saber. But not everyone wants, or can afford, to strap into an Alien-like face-hugging device just to get their music game on.

Real Time Strategy

Although Age of Empires 4 is just around the corner, it has been a while since we’ve seen a (good) full-on real time strategy game that wasn’t an afterthought mechanic in some other genre, or itself didn’t include some other superfluous mechanics like collectable card battles. Sure, the Total War series continues but it really only has one foot in the genre at best. It’s definitely time for some good, old-fashioned base-building, Zerg-rushing, turtling action.

Games with Wit and Humor

 

Is this a genre? Maybe, maybe not. Psychonauts 2 reminded me that it sure has been a while since a developer released a game with genuine wit, humor and intelligence. Humor that wasn’t crude or just mean-spirited, or low-hanging, self referential fruit (yeah, I’m looking at you, Rustler), but smart and funny at the same time. Of all the things to get right in a game, this might be the most difficult because the team has to hire a genuine writer with comic chops and the voice acting has to be spot on.

For the three genres we’d like to see disappear, read on after the break!