18 Video Game Genres That You Need to Know

9 minutes read
Video game genres

The video game industry is simply massive. New games are coming out every day across all platforms, with each one playing into a different genre.

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So many developers have toyed with the essence of video game genres in the past and present that now, hundreds of game genres exist.

As there are so many interweaving categories of games, we’ve refined the focus. Here, we’ll introduce you to the biggest, most popular, and most novel video game genres in existence. Variety is the spice of life, after all.

Hopefully, this breakdown will help you find the types of video games that will entertain you the most.

Action Games

Action, Robot and Shooter Games are among the most popular video game genres over the last few years

Of all the video game genres, action has to be one of the most diverse.

In these types of video games, you control the action and are often posed with reactionary or physical obstacles.

So, you could need to defeat your rival in a fighting game, shoot your way out of an airport, sneak around a crypt, or even speed run across a side-scrolling screen filled with foes.

Adventure Games

Adventure games are the quintessential hero story games.

These stand out among other similar video game genres by not focussing so much on combat or confrontation. Instead, you’re tasked with exploring and unlocking the secrets of an overarching story and the environment.

You’ll almost certainly need to battle at some point, but the more important combat scenes often come down to puzzle-solving.

Castle Games

Castle games are another recent favorite video game genre

The chances are that you’ll find castle games dotted around several game genres, from strategic defense games to casual castle builders. To stand on its own amongst other video game genres, a castle game needs to emphasize your place on the throne.

From there, you build within your castle, establish trade routes, and, importantly, upgrade its defenses.

Casual Games

There are many categories of games within the casual games banner of video game genres. However, they’re all connected by easygoing gameplay, simple controls, and a clear-cut progression system.

Many will offer you a bit of free roam to go about the game as you please, while others will have one direction.

Match 3 Games

A classic form of puzzler that’s gone mainstream, Match 3 games have become so popular that they’re now considered among the biggest video game genres.

Mobile is the main home for match 3 games now, with the touch-screen controls making the puzzles even more enjoyable to complete.

Medieval Games

Some of the leading video game genres lean heavily into a theme and all of its associated environments. This is the case for medieval games, which can see you playing in the old days of swords, shields, firing bows on horseback, and battles in the field.

With castles and maybe an infusion of fantasy, medieval games are always a huge draw.

MMO Games

Massively multiplayer online games have been popular since online gaming became a thing. There are now many video game genres that owe their existence to the MMO game trailblazers.

MMO games span a great many sub-genres, with the combining element being that they’re played online by a huge number of people at any one time.

Battle royale titles are one of the more recent types of video games to come under the MMO umbrella.

MMORPG Games

MMORPG games are, essentially, one of the categories of games under MMO. They’re massively multiplayer online games, but the game itself is strictly a role-playing game – or RPG.

As far as video game genres span, MMORPG is rather distinct, with it needing to infuse the common elements of an RPG into an online game that hosts hundreds, even thousands, of players at once.

It creates a role-playing world of its own.

Multiplayer Games

Multiplayer games don’t have to be as expansive as other video game genres that rely on an internet connection. MMOs require a massive audience, while a multiplayer game could just host standalone games between ten, four, or even just two players.

You could find yourself in a 1v1 fighting multiplayer game, or embark on a space odyssey with four others in a multiplayer survival game.

Puzzle Games

Often overlooked, puzzles are probably one of the oldest and most beloved videogame genre

There’s an argument to be made for many video game genres actually being puzzle games. For this list of video game genres, we’ll consider puzzle games to be those that take on the puzzle aesthetic.

So, you need to work out ways to move a set board or within a setting to make it to the end, with that puzzle resetting when you restart if you fail.

Puzzle games are often the ones that people who want to solve a more intellectual challenge rather than a gaming-skill-driven one take up.

PvP Games

When the game’s programming simply isn’t challenging enough, it’s time to throw down in the unpredictable field of PvP.

PvP games can come in the form of many other video game genres, but all of them put you online against another human player to compete.

PvP – or “player versus player” – games could see you face one other player to battle your teams of fantasy creatures, or you and a bunch of others battle another group in a lane game.

Robot Games

Robot games are continuing to be increasingly popular, which is another reason we decided to include them in our list. Like many other genres, robot games can fit into several game genres.

However, as they usually task you with playing as robots, there’s almost always a sci-fi theme.

As for more general genres, robot games can often be found as strategy or action titles.

RPG Games

Perhaps the biggest of all video game genres, role-playing games continue to be huge sellers.

Drawing from the classic tabletop RPGs, they put you in the protagonist's role. From there, you need to explore the world, complete quests, find items, craft, upgrade, build, fight, and get to the end of one or several story threads.

Core to RPG games is the leveling up system through experience points, as well as the decision-making mechanics.

Shooters

If you’ve got a gun in front of your character, you’re playing a shooter. At a time, shooting games were one of the video game genres under action.

However, the format – particularly of first-person shooters – became so dominant that shooting games became their own genre.

While the themes vary greatly, mostly, you’ll be playing from the character’s point of view, aiming down the sights to kill whatever’s in your path.

Solitaire Games

No list of video game genres is complete without solitaire

Who would have thought that with all of the technological innovations across video game genres that solitaire would still be a hugely popular game?

Available both offline with a physical stack of cards, or as more complex, visually compelling games, solitaire games are so accessible and well-known that anyone can enjoy them with ease.

This also makes solitaire one of the most beloved card games and video games worldwide.

Strategy Games

Many video game genres have a bunch of sub-categories, but strategy games only really have two.

There are turn-based strategy games where you move and then wait for all other players or factions to make their moves in order.

Or, there are real-time strategy games in which you need to adjust your tactics and plans in the moment of what is usually a battle.

Survival Games

Usually invoking elements of RPG and adventure games, survival games have become super hot in recent years.

Your task: survive. It’s one of the more simple ways to describe video game genres, but that is the premise of each. The usual setup is that you’re dropped into an increasingly hostile environment with little more than the basics and your bare hands.

You need to then find somewhere to set up, harvest resources, craft tools, build defenses, and explore the world around you.

War Games

War games are among the most popular action video game genres

Of all video game genres, few have the same draw as war games.

Whether they take place in the 1940s, medieval era, or at some undetermined time in the future, war games invoke action and strategy to conquer all those in your path.

There are many PvP and real-time strategy war games, but they really made their name in the space of turn-based strategy and first-person shooters.

Questions From Around the Web

How many genres are there in video games?

Including all the sub-genres, fringe genres, and fusion genres, there are easily over 100 video game genres for you to play and explore. Many titles fit into a couple of video game genres, allowing you to get the best aspects from both and enjoy an infused experience.

Right now, the list of popular video game genres includes shooter games, action games, adventure games, action-adventure games, role-playing games, MMORPGs, sports simulation games, racing games, battle royale games, and casual games. Of course, within each of those video game genres, there’ll be popular sub-genres, too.

What are the top five video game genres?

The top five most popular video game genres right now are:

  • Action Games (including FPS, Fighting, and Platformers)
  • Adventure Games (including Action-Adventure titles)
  • Role-Playing Games (including MMORPGs)
  • Strategy Games (including RTS and TBS)
  • Simulation Games (including Sports, Life, and Management Sims)

What genre is GTA?

Technically speaking, Grand Theft Auto is listed as an action-adventure game. Having said that, however, GTA V could just as easily fit into the video game genres of shooting games, racing games, crime games, multiplayer games, and open-world games.

This is why the games boast such a massive amount of appeal to the gaming community.

A Plethora of Options

So, there you have it, our list of the top video game genres currently ruling the gaming industry. 

As previously mentioned, there are, in fact, hundreds of video game genres these days, but our list only includes the leading ones in terms of popularity and players. 

What's your favorite?

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