So there are genres like FPS, RTS and RPG, but every game is created around some sort of activity, like exploration, resource collection, storytelling or combat. What other basic activities exist?

  • \$\begingroup\$ Why is this down voted? \$\endgroup\$
    – CLo
    Sep 28, 2016 at 21:07
  • \$\begingroup\$ explained in the close plaque − not a good kind of question for the site \$\endgroup\$ Sep 28, 2016 at 22:53
  • \$\begingroup\$ What specifically is not a good fit? I'd say the question of what are the core activities we can provide to players is an essential game design question. \$\endgroup\$
    – CLo
    Sep 29, 2016 at 0:47
  • \$\begingroup\$ Maybe but there's no way the answers won't be long lists, which SE people don't like. I suppose somebody could make an exception but here we are. \$\endgroup\$ Sep 29, 2016 at 11:13

3 Answers 3


Here is a list of genres, description of possible gameplay/activities, and an example game demonstrating that genre/gameplay:

  • Action Arena
    • Fast-paced game where combat/conflict occurs in a closed arena. Often top-down view
    • Smash TV
  • Action FPS
    • First-persion shooter: fast-paced game viewed from first person perspective, where gameplay centers around shooting
    • Doom
  • Action Other
    • Any fast-moving, timing/twitch-dependant game not fitting into other
    • Action subgenres:
  • Action Platformer
    • Fast-moving or coordination-dependent game centered around a
      character navigating a maze or level to pursue goals
    • Cloning Clyde
  • Action Puzzler
    • Action games with a significant puzzle-solving component
    • Roboblitz
  • Action RPG
    • Action game with RPG features (i.e. experience levels, item
      acquisition, etc)
    • Diablo
  • Action Schmup
    • Aka ‘shoot ‘em up’, any vertical or horizontal scrolling game involving blasting through an onslaught of enemies.
    • Heavy Weapon, Scramble
  • Casual Action
    • Casual games with a faster pace, time-pressure, or twitch mechanic
    • Feeding Frenzy
  • Casual
    • Card/Board Electronic adaptations of traditional card and board games
    • UNO, Backgammon
  • Casual I-Spy
    • Object-finding games
    • Mystery Case Files
  • Casual Match3/Chain-pop
    • Match 3-or-more of same color or shape to clear
    • Bejewelled, Zuma, Luxor
  • Casual Other
    • Any casual game not fitting into other casual categories
  • Casual Puzzle/Word
    • Logic or word games
    • Sudoku, Hangman
  • Experimental
    • Games with an utterly new/novel mechanic. This is an extremely rare classification; be honest with yourself before selecting it. The very first version of Warioware would have qualified; subsequent versions no longer would.
  • Fighting
    • Person vs. Person combat
    • Street Fighter 2
  • Kids
    • Forgiving, simple-to-comprehend game with child-friendly content.
  • Music
    • Beatmatch, or any game where music is core to the gameplay
    • Boom Boom Rocket, DDR
  • Party
    • Games primarily designed around 4+ player, same-console play
    • Trivia games, Smash Brothers, etc
  • Racing Arena Combat
    • Vehicle combat in an arena
    • Novadrome, Mario Kart
  • Racing Toon/Fantasy
    • Fanciful racing environments and/or physics
    • Gripshift
  • Racing Traditional
    • Straight-up realistic racing
    • Need for Speed
  • Retro/Greatest Hits – Arcade
    • Arcade classics
  • Retro/Greatest Hits – Computer
    • Computer classics
  • Retro/Greatest Hits – Console
    • Console classics
  • Sims
    • System simulator, life simulator, work simulator, etc
    • SimCity, Nintendogs
  • Sports: Extreme
    • Themed around ‘extreme’ sports
    • SSX
  • Sports: Fantasy
    • Themed around make-believe sports (fantasy, future, etc)
    • Cyberball
  • Sports: Pub
    • Themed around real pub games
    • Darts, Billiards
  • Sports: Traditional
    • Themed around popular sports
    • Football, basketball
  • Strategy
    • Turn-based or realtime games of strategy; little to no twitch element
    • Advance Wars

Extra Credits has devoted an episode to so-called 'core aesthetics', the main reasons a game appeals to us, and provides a non-exhaustive list as a more accurate basis for defining genres than what we normally base our distinctions on. Nearly all games I've played fall into a few of these categories:

  • Sensation
  • Fantasy
  • Narrative
  • Challenge
  • Competition
  • Fellowship
  • Discovery
  • Expression
  • Abnegation

There are numerous "basic activities" that are found in games, usually dependent on the genre. For example, "empire management" games like Sim City, Civilization, and Dwarf fortress require the player to macro or micro manage cities and/or people. In these games, the player's goals generally involve keeping his "empire" stable and growing.

However, games can be based off just about any kind of activity. There are video games about dancing, exercising, sports, board games, card games, etc. Multiplayer can expand these into cooperative or competitive games. Even the activities you mentioned can be combined into unique activities, or broken down into simpler activities.

LostGarden.com has several articles that go very in depth into this subject. Here's one I particularly like.


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