There’s no better area of entertainment than gaming for variety. Video game genres outshine films, television, books, and music in their range and scale, and that shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone who has stumbled across this blog. You’ve got the most popular game genres like action and horror, then there are stray video game genres like idle games and visual novels.
The list of types of video game genres is almost endless, but we’ve tried to break them down for you here in this guide.
Here’s our expert list of genres that you really do need to know in 2023:
Casual games do exactly what they say on the tin. These are titles that can be played quickly and aren’t too taxing for players. They’re sometimes referred to as pick-up-and-play games, and their popularity skyrocketed in the 2010s thanks to the rise of the mobile gaming sector.
MMORPG stands for massive multiplayer online role-playing game. You’ve probably heard of them – World of Warcraft, anyone? These are titles that allow players from all over the world to exist in the same gaming universe. Players create characters, complete quests, and often build their own narratives in the game.
Ever wanted to defend your own tower? Now you can. One of the biggest video game genres in 2023 is tower defense, which tasks players with protecting a stronghold against waves of enemies. Players need to manage resources and use tactics to survive the increasingly difficult onslaughts.
We don’t recommend guns in real life but, in the gaming world, anything goes. Shooting games are any titles that involve guns. These include first-person shooters or third-person shooters. They put players at the center of intense combat scenarios. Think you can handle the epic action?
Want to experience what it’s like to be in a war without having to parachute into a warzone? War games are usually shooters as well, but these take place within a war situation. These are often based on famous wars from the past, but they can also include imaginary war scenarios.
Are you a player in search of video game genres with narrative-driven experiences? If so, the adventure genre is the way to go. Players have the chance to do a range of things in immersive worlds, from solving puzzles to making choices.
Games that give players a chance to gather resources and survive against hostile enemies are referred to as survival games. They are highly immersive, and players get a sense of accomplishment when they manage to overcome adversity.
Match 3 puzzle games task players with aligning identical tiles or objects to clear them from the board, often employing cascading mechanics that lead to chain reactions, requiring strategic planning and pattern recognition.
Action is one of the all-time great video game genres, and it has reigned supreme since the dawn of gaming. If you want fast-paced gaming that combines combat and exploration, these games are for you.
MMOs are like MMORPGs, but they generally exist solely on mobile. They involve cooperative or competitive gameplay and focus on player-driven experiences.
Multiplayer games refer to any titles that enable friends or strangers to compete in shared virtual spaces. They encourage social interactions and have boomed in popularity in the internet age. Now, many top games come with a multiplayer option, with GTA V being one of the landmark titles to do this over the last decade.
PvP stands for player vs player, and these titles pit people against one another in a competitive scenario. They encourage skill development and strategy formulation and can foster huge spectrums of ability among players.
RPGs have been around for decades, and the genre was made famous by franchises like Final Fantasy. Players can embody characters within fantasy worlds and make decisions that affect the outcome of the story.
Strategy games are any titles that require players to plan and outmaneuver their opponents. The board game Risk is a classic example of this, and it inspired many digital games with similar themes.
Tower defense games are all about defending a prebuilt structure. Castle games are slightly different in that they combine elements of construction and defense. Your task is to build a sturdy stronghold using the resources at your disposal, and then defend it against enemies. There are loads of tactical elements to consider here, making it one of the up-and-coming video game genres to watch out for.
The great thing about video game genres is that they can sometimes transport you to a different time and place. Have you ever wondered what it would be like to have lived more than a thousand years ago in medieval times? Now you can with the help of medieval games. These titles almost always include knights and chivalry and often have rich narratives.
Solitaire is one of the world’s most recognizable computer games. It was literally the first physical card game to get the digital treatment when Microsoft first started offering it on its computers. Now, there are countless versions to choose from online, each with its own set of unique rules.
Puzzle games have been around since way before computers came along. However, they have never been more loved than they are today. The mobile gaming market gave puzzles a new lease of life, and games like Candy Crush sparked a boom in the genre. There’s no doubt that puzzle games are here to stay.
Are you a believer that there will be robots everywhere in the future? Artificial intelligence is here, so it seems likely, doesn’t it? In the gaming industry, robot-themed games are already prevalent, and they provide a glimpse into how the world of the future could look.
There’s nothing quite as scary as a fully immersive horror game. Players who like to scare themselves senseless often turn to this video game genre for thrills. Titles like Silent Hill demonstrated just how frightening the genre can be. With graphics getting even more realistic by the year, there’s no limit to how spinetingling these games will get.
Roguelikes are an interesting subgenre of games that have some unique characteristics. Players must get through procedurally generated levels. Usually, if you die it is permanent and you must start all over again.
The battle royale genre blew up recently with the success of games like Fortnite and PUBG. Players compete in an ever-shrinking play area to see who will be the last one standing.
Survival horror games take the horror genre to the next level and blend survival mechanics with other frightening elements. These titles tend to offer tense and atmospheric experiences.
A tactical RPG combines strategy and role-playing games. Players usually take part in turn-based battles, with an emphasis on tactics. Players need to have a solid plan to prevail.
Open world action RPGs are hugely popular, as they give players a sandbox to run around in but also have detailed character progression and storytelling. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is one of the best recent examples in the genre, and it was nominated for countless Game of the Year awards.
Sandbox simulation games were popularized after the immense success of Minecraft. Players basically get the chance to do anything they want within the game’s universe. They can shape their own environment and create their own mini-games and experiences.
Stealth action games have a heavy focus on avoiding detection from enemies. They require planning and patience and can be incredibly tense. The Metal Gear Solid series offers some of the greatest titles in the genre.
The hack ‘n’ slash RPG genre involves a lot of fast-paced action gameplay in which players will button bash in battle. However, it also includes RPG mechanics and storytelling to add more depth to the games.
Puzzle platformer games are great for players who want to navigate platform levels while also having some puzzles to solve along the way. There are loads of unique titles in the genre, such as It Takes Two and Unravel.
The top video game genres change over time, depending on what’s hot in popular culture. Some of the top video game genres of all time include action, horror, fantasy, and puzzle.
It’s virtually impossible to put a number on video game genres, as there are always new ones cropping up. There are plenty of recognized main genres, but new subgenres emerge as the industry evolves. There are also hybrid genres that combine other categories.
Despite there being countless video game genres, there are a few that are more prevalent than others. Sports, strategy, role-playing, action, adventure, and horror are all regarded among the most common video game genres.
The current top 3 video game genres are action, adventure, and RPG. However, these can change over time. All it takes is for one groundbreaking game to come along and shake up the market. Just look at what some casual and mobile games have done to the industry, with games such as Pokémon Go, Candy Crush Saga and Angry Birds, to name a few.