In January 1947, Thomas T. Goldsmith, Jr. along with Estle Ray Mann filed a patent request in the United States for the first video game, which the inventors described as a cathode ray tube amusement device.
In January 1947, Thomas T. Goldsmith, Jr. along with Estle Ray Mann filed a patent request in the United States for the first video game, which the inventors described as a cathode ray tube amusement device. After its disastrous collapse in 1983 and a subsequent rebirth two years later, the video games industry has experienced sustained growth since then.
What started off as a person using buttons and knobs to control a cathode ray tube beam to replicate firing away at air borne targets, has today spawned a whole new genre of video games and esports tournaments, right from FPS (First Person Shooter) and RTS (Real Time Strategy) to MMORPG (Massive Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game) and MOBA (Multiplayer Online Battle Arena). I bet the inventors of the first video game wouldn’t have imagined the avatar gaming has currently evolved into. Let’s get to know a bit more about the most popular gaming genres.
Adventure games focus on puzzle solving scenarios within a narrative framework. They typically demand strict and logical thought process opposed to sharp reflexes and put less emphasis on physical challenge. The backdrop consists of an interactive story-line. While they’re not extremely popular all over the world, they’re huge in East Asia. In Japan, they largely exist as Visual Novels which rely on static graphics, most often using anime-style art or occasionally live-action stills as well as video footage. Some worthy examples of the genre would be Grim Fandango, Professor Layton, Hotel Dusk: Room 215, Limbo and Tomb Raider.
In layman terms, platform games are the ones where the player has to walk and jump through different platforms to reach the end of a level. You can easily distinguish these types of games from the rest as they’ll almost always have a jump button and allow your player character to swing around to overcome obstacles. Some popular examples of the genre include games like Bionic Commando, Super Mario, Klonoa and Sonic the Hedgehog.
RTS (Real Time Strategy)
In a real time strategy game, just like other war based games, the objective is to secure map areas and destroy the opponent’s assets by positioning and maneuvering structures and units under the player’s control. In a typical RTS game, the game screen is sub divided into the game map area, which displays the game world and its terrains, buildings, units along with an interface overlay, which features controls for commands and production accompanied by a minimap or radar. In most of the modern 3D RTS games, players are provided with an aerial viewpoint. Players can view their buildings and units along with those of their allies. Opposing teams cannot view each others locations, unless it is mapped by allied units. Basically, the gameplay in a typical RTS involves defending units and buildings, building additional units, constructing buildings at strategic map positions, explore better tech options for more advanced units and buildings, gather resources as well as seek and destroy opponent units and buildings. This is why players must heavily rely on multitasking. However, one must remember, while RTS games generally progress at a fast pace and require quick reflexes, they are more about strategic planning to counter and destroy opponents than just having a faster reaction time. StarCraft is perhaps the most well known game in this genre, and more recently, StarCraft 2 has taken the RTS genre by storm with worldwide esports tournaments and livestreamed matches. Since the release of StarCraft 2, RTS has become the top most genre as far as esports are concerned. In fact, StarCraft 2 was rated as the best paying esport in 2011, with over $2.5 million in tournaments prizes. Some other examples include Dawn of War series and Age of Empires series.
Puzzle games consist of matching different pieces with each other to score points or to make them all disappear. Even though there’s a permeable line of control between genres these days, games like Portal 2 do not fall under this category and are classified as Action, Adventure games. Some great examples of classic puzzle games would be Meteos, Tetris, Puzzle Quest and Lumines.
MOBA (Multiplayer Online Battle Arena) / ARTS (Action Real Time Strategy)
Multiplayer Online Battle Arena also known as Action RTS or Action Real Time Strategy games are one of the most popular genres in esports. Sometimes considered to be a subgenre of RTS games, MOBA games require cooperative gameplay, involving two teams of players each with usually five players. Each player controls a single in-game unit, usually known as a hero. The hero is a powerful unit and possesses a number of advantages and abilities, based on which the team’s overall game strategy is formed. The goal of the game is to destroy the opponent’s base, collectively working as a team. In typical MOBA games, there is usually one main structure that has to be destroyed to win the game, although there are other structures in the enemy team’s base also destroying which, offers other benefits. MOBA games can also be classified into two types. In the first type (Defense of the Ancients type), the single in-game unit or the hero, which is being controlled by a player, kills other enemy units to gain experience points that allow it to level up. Leveling up basically means that the hero gains more powerful abilities and skills. On the other hand, when a hero is killed, the player must wait for a certain duration, until they are revived within their team’s base. The other type (Bloodline Champions BLC style), each player has a single avatar, which is already complete at the beginning of the game. Both of these two types of MOBA games have become immensely popular, particularly with the release of MOBA games like DotA, League of Legends and Heroes of Newerth. In fact, this genre has become one of the most popular esports genres for professional gamers.
RPG (Role Playing Games)
A role-playing game is a game in which each participant assumes the role of a character such as an ogre or a futuristic spaceship captain taht can interact within the game’s imaginary world. There is also a traditional difference between the more open-ended, flexible, western RPG’s like Mass Effect and the more linear, story-driven games made in Japan like Neverwinter Nights and Final Fantasy.
FPS (First Person Shooters)
The genre of gaming where the gameplay is centered around a gun or any projectile weapon combat in a first person perspective. The player gets to view the action through the eyes of the protagonist or the player character. While FPS games exist both as single player and multiplayer, it is the multiplayer version, which is more popular as far as esports are concerned. With FPS games, the gameplay tends to be reflex oriented being twitch action and click intensive. Some of the most popular games in this genre include Counter Strike, QuakeLive, Unreal Tournament, Battlefield 3 and Call of Duty series. These games involve a lot of teamwork, effective communication and blowing up the opponent team to smithereens. Also, First Person Shooters tend to be fast paced with high death counts on both sides. Fast reaction times are an advantage in this genre. When a player dies in an FPS game, the player’s character respawns at a predetermined location within about one to 10 seconds to join the game again. Another thing with FPS esports is that, it isn’t always just about shooting down the other team. There are a number of different modes in this gaming genre, including defending and holding strategic locations and destroying or overrunning enemy bases. No-respawn modes are also featured, where the player is out of the game once he/she dies, until his/her team completes the objective or the entire team is annihilated. Counter Strike, which has a number of versions, is a staple at most of the major esport tournaments worldwide. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 gave away $1,000,000 as prizes in the Call of Duty XP tournament.
MMORPG (Massive Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games)
MMORPGs are perhaps one of the most popular genres of RPG (Role Playing Games), where a huge number of gamers interact with each other within a virtual persistent gaming world. By persistent world, we refer to a virtual gaming world that continues to evolve and exist, even when the player is offline or away from the game. As in other RPGs, MMORPG gamers assume the role of a character and control its actions in the gaming world, which is more often than not, a fantasy world. A major part of the lure of MMORPGs are that they allow players to team up and form alliances with other players, allow social interaction, have an in-game culture, character customization, system architecture and have some sort of progression. In nearly all of the MMORPGs, the primary objective is the development of the player’s in-game character. Players start at level 1, with usually the worst in-game gear for their character. They must then level up their character and customize it, both at the visual as well as the technical level, equipping it with the appropriate gear. This level up is achieved by gaining experience points, which makes the player’s character better at whatever it is supposed to do. Generally, combats with in-game monsters and completing quests, either in groups or alone can help rake up experience points.
World of Warcraft is one of the ground breaking games in this genre and one of the most preferred games among professional gamers. Another reason for the popularity of this game as an esport is the prize money. In 2010, World of Warcraft launched a $200,000 esport league – doesn’t that make you want to be a pro gamer? Well, one does not simply walk into an MMORPG tournament and rake in these large cash prizes. Pro gamers invest a lot of time – months, sometimes even years to bring their characters to competitive levels. Other famous examples include names like Everquest and Lord of the Rings online.
Simulations strive to immerse the player behind the controls fo something they normally wouldn’t have access to. This could be a like a fighter jet or something like a mechanized warrior combat unit. In either case, the objective of SIMS is to strive for realism. Some famous examples include Train simulator, Microsoft’s Flight Simulator and Mechwarrior.
These are games based on sports, some of which even allow players to act as a manager for a team. These games usually mimic real-life sports and even keep the names of the sponsors and sporting celebrities intact. Their character models are kept as close as possible to their real-life appearances. Some notable examples of games from this genre include NBA, Tiger Woods PGA Tour, FIFA series and MOTO GP.
So, what are you going to play!!