To appeal to specific demographics, and also to facilitate clear and easy explanations to consumers, video games are categorized into genres. While this may make for "clear and easy" differentiations in reviews, it's generally a lazy system, especially if it doesn't list all included sub-genres contained in the game. There are plenty of great games out there that some people will never play simply because of the way they are categorized. Some of the best games ever contain elements of virtually all genres.
But as we all know, gamers can be a pig-headed, stubborn, ignorant lot, refusing to try something new. Some of these gamers identify personally with their chosen field of gaming interest, marking their territories like dogs (hopefully only in a metaphorical way.)
Some gamers will only play shooters. Some will only play RPGs. Others prefer sports, or simulators. These players have their preferences and are catered to by developers. We've all seen examples of games that won't cross pollinate genres; as though it would sully the reputation of the franchise, or worse, offend the snobby nerds that won't play anything outside of their coveted genre.
Genres include, but are not limited to, shooters, RPGs, adventure, action adventure, puzzles, horror survival, platformers, sims, fighting, hack-and-slash, sports, music-based, and strategy. There are variations on each theme, but these categories are supposed to give you a "clear and easy" explanation of a particular game. Let's see just how clear and easy that is when applied to a classic such as Space Invaders.
Most people would classify Space Invaders as a shooter, and more specifically a top-down, or vertical progressive shooter. But it's more than that. It's also a RPG since you play the role of a laser cannon technician defending the Earth from an alien attack, accumulating combat points to be used for extra lives. It's also a puzzle, as you attempt to memorize the bombing pattern, which also makes it a bit of a strategy game. Don't discount the premise of the evil aliens attacking the Earth giving it horror survival status. And just try to tell me this game doesn't have action. Each level gets progressively faster, with a dynamic soundtrack that increases in tempo to further enhance the adrenaline rush.
Who's to say Space Invaders wouldn't be an accurate portrayal of an actual alien attack? Therefore it could be a sim. Okay, I know I'm stretching it, but I'm just attempting to illustrate a point through my inane exaggerations. Did you forget what the point was already? I am not surprised.
Here's some advice: Try a variety of games. Don't be a genre snob. You shouldn't even use the word "genre" in conversation. It looks fine in print, but don't vocalize it. It's too soft and weak of a word. It's the kind of word you would expect an effeminate French fashion designer to use. You wouldn't want anyone calling you a sissy, now would you, killer?
By Cole Smith
CCC Senior Contributing Writer
*The views expressed within this article are solely the opinion of the author and do not express the views held by Cheat Code Central. This week's is also purely a work of fiction*