I have recently talked about the most popular genres within the gaming industry. I have discussed the pros and cons of Simulation and Real time strategy games. I have delved into the Role Playing genre and why I believe it is worth every penny when investing in these lengthy titles. I have not however included beat em up’s, puzzle and platform, and driving games. These I consider to be the lower end of the spectrum, even though once they were at the forefront of the gaming market. Games as old as Tekken, Croc, Tomb Raider, Need for speed, Forsa, Dynasty Warriors, Midnight Club, Street fighter and many more come to mind.
In the beginning these genres were held in the same regard as the First Person shooter. Driving games like Need for speed were inspired by popular films like Fast and Furious; films were made from games like Street Fighter. The Beat em up genre inspired late nights for young men, drinking and fighting through the night. Driving games were given the ability to customize vehicles and race in dynamic environments. Platform games, or puzzle games eventually went on to become titles held in high regard by children and no one else. Today’s Puzzle and platform games consist of low budget titles mainly aimed at a very young audience.
These genres do appear to be dying; even the popular driving games like Gran Turismo aren’t as popular, even with Top Gear backing, and featuring real tracks from around the world, including the infamous Nurbergring it still doesn’t match sales on other brands. Beat em up’s have become merely downloadable arcade content from the Xbox and Playstation stores. Even with the invention of the Kinect and Playstation Move, this brand of gaming has a very bleak future indeed.
On the other hand, sports games do continue to improve and reach consistently high sales targets. This is due to real world events from which most sports games are based on. Games like Fifa and Football Manager continue to sell because it involves real football players and managers and the matches themselves are commentated by real commentators. Fifa itself added the extra option to take a rookie footballer from the low leagues to the top through playing matches and upgrading skills points to improve ability. Basketball, American football and others aren’t as popular in England as they are in America but there is still a market for them here.
There is a genre of game in particular that I feel generally saddened by, a genre that may have actually become a novelty rather than a established, continuing brand. The type of gaming I’m talking about of course is the Music genre. Most of you will undoubtedly associate music and games with Guitar Hero or Rock Band. There have also been various other titles which had the player either singing or dancing with a group of friends in their living room. It appears that the dance and instrumental genre isn’t as popular as it once was. Apparently sitting with a plastic guitar with five buttons, dancing around your living room, or “being active” with Zumba isn’t what it’s all about after all. However I must admit I did enjoy Guitar Hero, which has now become an arcade game to play at your local bowling alley.
Most of these genres have been relegated to IOS devices and online console stores like the PSN. It is sad to think that the defining games of our generation have slowly withered away over time. I grew up playing the first ever Tomb Raider, Croc, and many other titles of that time. It is down to games like the Grand Theft Auto series, Saints Row, Crackdown and other open world games that have rendered genres of old redundant. Even Facebook games and online browser games have insisted in the demise of the once great games of the past and present.