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The unwritten rules of Game Genre’s


DrBloodmoney

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I was having a conversation with a less game-y person the other day, and a during a discussion about Cuphead, the subject of ‘Boss-Rush’ games came up. 

 

I was explaining that in a Boss-Rush game, there are no standard enemies or long levels, it’s just one boss fight then the next then the next, so it’s just a series of fights against unique, difficult to defeat bosses that each require specific strategies and approaches.

 

I thought that made sense, until she said “Oh! You mean like Street Fighter 2!”

 

At first I was like “no, no, no...” but then the more I thought about it, I realised that actually, yes, it is like that - Boss-Rush games are just like fighting games, even though game-y people like me would never equate the two, even though the broad definition would absolutely categorise them as the same - particularly for people who don’t engage in multiplayer.

 

Thought that was interesting, and it got me wondering: what are some of the unwritten distinctions of game genres that gamers know are specific to certain genres, but non-gamers wouldn’t necessarily think of or make the distinction?

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There is a lot of confusion around this, and some of the categories and definitions used don't help either. 

 

For instance, a RPG or Role-playing-game. Wikipedia defines this as "a game in which players assume the roles of characters in a fictional setting." Well, that definition would apply to any of the Telltale games but no gamer that I have ever met would describe these as RPGs. So the unwritten rule that gamers would probably use here would be that RPGs include some sort of character progression and stats system in addition. 

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I think for example in a fighting game it's essential that the main portions of gamplay are done with playable characters that start out with the same odds (i.e. both have balanced health bars).

Whereas in Cuphead you have to follow patterns and tactics to defeat a boss that is stat-wise leagues above your player character.

 

That is at least, the quickest I can come up with.

 

This is a super interesting thread by the way!

 

J

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Gamer: "So, it's a game about a man on an adventure to find a hidden treasure. Along the way, there will be bad guys that try to slow down his progress, most of the time you'll kill them to get past. The man is very agile and half the game is spent climbing or jumping around obstacles in the terrain, or solving puzzles to unlock the next room. It's called Uncharted and you should check it out." 

 

Non-gamer: "Sounds a bit like Mario, is it a platforming game?"

 

Gamer: ... 

___

 

Unwritten rule: It's only a plaformer if there are plenty of collectibles. If there is just one mcguffin to collect at the end of the game, then that's an Action Adventure game. 

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For JRPGs, long hours of play with lots of story and dialogue, typically a command based battle system be it turn based or action with a party, exploration via dungeons and towns, the concept of grinding and leveling up are usually what I expect to see. Extras like a job system and transport via airship or something.

 

Not sure what non-gamers thing RPGs are though, or of they even know what it stands for. When I mentioned role playing game a non gamer, the first thing they thought was the Sims...  

 

 

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15 hours ago, Lava_Yuki said:

For JRPGs, long hours of play with lots of story and dialogue, typically a command based battle system be it turn based or action with a party, exploration via dungeons and towns, the concept of grinding and leveling up are usually what I expect to see. Extras like a job system and transport via airship or something.

 

Not sure what non-gamers thing RPGs are though, or of they even know what it stands for. When I mentioned role playing game a non gamer, the first thing they thought was the Sims...  

 

The thing is that RPG's nowdays are all over the place. The new God of War is 100% RPG for example, but somehow it feels really wrong to call it that.

I think the main part of RPG's to be stats and loot. Because there are a lot of RPG's without a party system, a job system or even a narrative.

Typically a story focused genre that no doubt has pumped out some (great) story-less game nonetheless,

 

I wouldn't say you're wrong, although FF XIII for example doesn't really has that many typical rpg-tropes, but everyone still thinks of it as one.

 

J

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