Game Recommendation · Writing & Creative Hobbies

Benefits of Playing Video Games #4: Game Genres and Skills You Can Develop

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Would you believe if I said you could learn skills from a video game? ๐ŸŽฎ []
Previously I mentioned that different video game genres give different benefits, so this week we’ll be looking at some genres, skills you can learn from them and some game recommendations! Yep, we ain’t done with all the gaming benefits yet. ๐Ÿ˜†

If you’re a novel reader or a movie watcher, you’re probably thinking of genre in terms of fantasy, sci-fi, romance, etc… nope. Video games genre is more about the mechanics (strategy, puzzle, real time, turn-based, etc), not so much the story because not all games have stories!

And besides, even if the game has a story, it doesn’t necessarily fit into book genre โ€“ have you ever seen a novel that has a Wild West-theme (guns and barren frontiers), fantasy (swords and magic), sci-fi (advanced technology), and romance and comedy all rolled into one? There are games with all those themes โ€“ the Wild Arms series. (One of my favourite game series, by the way, so that’s a recommendation right there. ๐Ÿ˜†)

Today we’ll look at four major genres โ€“ Action, Adventure, Action Adventure and Role-Playing Games. ๐Ÿ˜€

Warning: Incoming wall of text alert!


Genre: Action

Not to be confused with Action RPG and Action-Adventure genre (more on that below), action games are what you’re likely imagining now; those that focus on hand-eye coordination and motor skills! This is the genre for you if you dream to be a surgeon. ๐Ÿ˜†

These games usually have little to no storyline; preferring to jump straight to the action. ๐Ÿ’ช๐Ÿป

Sub-Genre: Platformer

From a third person view, navigate your character from point A to point B through obstacles, enemies and traps! This can be a 2D side-scroller (left to right) or a 3D world, and often the characters have special skills to spice up the obstacle course. ๐Ÿ˜†

Sub-Genre: Shooter

This is where your accuracy and speed counts! Control a character to shoot enemies or monsters, whether from a first or third person view. ๐Ÿ”ซ

  • Possible Skills to Develop: Precision, calm in the face of chaos (don’t panic!), observation and awareness of surroundings (often you have to listen and watch out for danger), reaction time
  • Recommendations: Team Fortress 2, Overwatch

Sub-Genre: Fighting

Someone ticked you off and yet you don’t want to injure yourself punching a wall? Then this is the genre for you, where you can beat the heck out of the other character while feeling the glory of being a (digital) martial artist! It’s a good game to vent your frustrations on… that is, if you can remember the button sequence for each move. ๐Ÿ˜†

  • Possible Skills to Develop: Button mashing, hand-eye coordination, calm in the face of chaos, reaction time, memory (because you need to remember all those combo moves!)
  • Recommendation: Street Fighter series, Marvel vs Capcom series

Sub-Genre: Stealth

Like its name, rather than going into battle, your goal is to sneak past the enemies with the use of disguises, blending in with the crowd and such! Imagine a huge medieval castle full of guards and you need to rescue a friend in the dungeon; how can you reach your target without the entire army after you?

  • Possible Skills to Develop: Observation and awareness, reaction time, strategy, decision making
  • Recommendations: Assassin’s Creed series, Metal Gear Solid series

Sub-Genre: Survival

Suddenly you’re in the middle of the wilderness, with nothing but a sword / a torch / your clothes. You’re getting hungry and it’s getting dark… and you hear shuffling in the bushes. What now? With minimal resources, you’ll have to find a way to survive! (Think Robinson Crusoe. ๐Ÿ˜€)

  • Possible Skills to Develop: Resource management, planning, observation and awareness, decision making
  • Examples: Minecraft, Terraria

Genre: Adventure

While “adventure” may make you think of epic running scenes like in Indiana Jones movies, Adventure games are actually interactive stories focusing on exploration and puzzle-solving with little to no action, which is good if you’re new to video games in general or aren’t used to action games. ๐Ÿ˜€

Sub-Genre: Text Adventure a.k.a. Interactive Fiction

Basically it’s a novel with choices at various points, where you get to influence the outcome of the scene! They’re the digital version of gamebooks, often having branching plotlines and multiple endings depending on the choices you make. ๐Ÿ˜€

  • Possible Skills to Develop: Storytelling, decision making, memory
  • Recommendations: Iย personally haven’t played any, but you can try this:ย 80 Days

Sub-Genre: Graphic Adventure

Here you have an adventure in graphical form! Rather than text adventures where you need to imagine the environment from the text, here it’s conveyed directly to you in the form of graphics! Examples of this genre are point-and-click games, like mystery games where you click around to look for clues, talk to people and solve the case. ๐Ÿ”Ž

Sub-Genre: Visual Novel

Unlike a Graphic Adventure game, a visual novel is like an interactive fiction with “graphics” that are mostly static pictures. This is a popular genre in Japan, comprising 70% of PC games released, but is not as popular as other genre outside Japan. Nonetheless, this genre has one of my favourite game series! ๐Ÿ˜€

Sub-Genre: Interactive Movie

It’s like interactive fiction, except that everything unfolds in the form of a movie! At certain points the movie offers action choices (i.e. use words to persuade or violence to get an answer) and depending on the choices, the movie will unfold differently. ๐Ÿ˜€

  • Possible Skills to Develop: Storytelling, quick decision making, calm in the face of chaos
  • Recommendations: I personally haven’t tried any, but apparently there’s a cinema version: Late Shift

Genre: Action Adventure

You can probably guess by now; the Action Adventure genre has adventure games that are full of action! Like the Adventure genre, they’re more focused on exploration and searching for tools and items, and like the Action genre, there are lots of battles and action. If you want to be like Indiana Jones, this is your genre. ๐Ÿ˜†

  • Possible Skills to Develop: Hand-eye coordination, observation and awareness, calm in the face of chaos, logic and puzzle solving, spatial abilities (exploration), spatial abilities (gauging if you can jump over that pit)
  • Recommendations: Legend of Zelda series, Tomb Raider series

Sub-Genre: Metroidvania

A portmanteau of Metroid and Castlevania series, this genre focuses on the exploration of a huuuuuge dungeon with many sealed areas at first, which are later opened with tools, weapons or skills found along the way (usually by defeating powerful enemies). The emphasis is a lot on the exploration, so I hope you can read a map. ๐Ÿ˜†

  • Possible Skills to Develop: Spatial abilities (exploration), spatial abilities (gauging if you can jump over that pit), hand-eye coordination, observation and awareness, calm in the face of chaos, memory (you’ll really need to remember what obstacle is where…)
  • Recommendations: Metroid series, Castlevania series

Sub-Genre: Survival Horror

Turn a horror movie into a video game and you get survival horror! It’s very dark and you’re stranded alone in a place full of ghosts / spirits / something, and you need to last the night / escape the place… but can you withstand the scary atmosphere?

Best played at night with the lights off and together with a bunch of squirmy, screamy friends. ๐Ÿ˜›

  • Possible Skills to Develop: Heart of steel, spatial abilities (exploration), hand-eye coordination, observation and awareness, calm in the face of chaos
  • Recommendations: Fatal Frame series, Five Nights at Freddy’s series (I dare you to watch someone play this on YouTube! ๐Ÿ˜†)

Genre: Role-Playing Game (RPG)

My favourite genre! I love a video game with a good story. ๐Ÿ˜€

Like its name suggests, RPGs lets you play the role of a character (usually an adventurer) with a particular skillset (sword, magic, etc) and progress through a storyline while navigating through the world usually filled with monsters. One of the main mechanics is the strenghening of characters (indicated by levels) throughout the game. If you ever wanted to participate in a story, this genre is your answer. ๐Ÿ˜†

Sub-Genre: Turn-Based RPG

The battles are turn-based; think of it as a card came where you and the enemies exchange turns! Rather than controlling the characters directly, you choose what they should do during their turns, i.e. attack, defend or escape? You can take the time to think because the enemies won’t move on your turn. ๐Ÿ˜€

Fun fact: There are some card games that emulate an RPG’s turn-based mechanics! If you can’t get enough of RPGs but want a break from the screen and have bored friends, try this. ๐Ÿ˜†

Sub-Genre: Real-Time RPG

In Real-Time RPGs, the battles are like turn-based ones where you decide what your characters do, except that the enemies won’t wait for you to decide before they attack! Do you want to attack, defend orโ€“ aw, nuts, the enemies have just hit you again!

Sub-Genre: Action RPG

In Action RPGs, the battles no longer have options for you to select (attack, defend or escape); you still follow the storyline and quests, but during battles you control your characters like you do in Action Adventure games!

  • Possible Skills to Develop:ย Storytelling, hand-eye coordination
  • Recommendations: Mass Effect series,

Sub-Genre: Tactical RPG

Whether turn-based or real-time, Tactical RPGs incorporate some mechanics from Strategy games (more on that in the next post) by giving you battles that require tactics! Think of the battles as a chess game, where every battle has its own set of objectives (usually defeat all enemies, but can also include escaping, protecting another character, etc). ๐Ÿณ

Sub-Genre: Open World RPG

I’m sure you’re thinking of a big, open world with a name like “open world”. Unlike other types of RPGs where the storyline is more linear, Open World RPGs lets you explore the world at your own pace, and you can go off on a tangent doing side quests and choose when you want to proceed with the main storyline. ๐Ÿ˜€

Some Open World RPGs are also known as “Sandbox” games. Sandbox games are those that give you the ability to change the environment; for example, in Minecraft, you can mine away an entire mountain given enough time and persistence!

Sub-Genre: Massively Multiplayer Online RPG (MMORPG)

When one says “online games”, they’re usually games of this genre! You can customise your characters (race, class, abilities, etc) and go on to explore the world, usually of the fantasy sort. There usually is some kind of story (in the form of quests), but the main focus is to interact with other people and complete quests (or battle powerful monsters) together! Best played with a group of friends. ๐Ÿ˜€

Note: You might have noted that there are “pay-to-play” (P2P) games โ€“ which usually require a monthly fixed-cost subscription โ€“ and “free-to-play” (F2P) gamesย โ€“ which do not. However, don’t be fooled by the free part! There’s a reason why many of us gamers call them “Free to Play, Pay to Win”; there are in-game items that cost money and may make you stronger faster than non-paying players, and over time you might eventually spend more than a P2P game. Be warned. ๐Ÿ˜…

Sub-Genre: Open World RPG

I’m sure you’re thinking of a big, open world with a name like “open world”. Unlike other types of RPGs where the storyline is more linear, Open World RPGs lets you explore the world at your own pace, and you can go off on a tangent doing side quests and choose when you want to proceed with the main storyline. ๐Ÿ˜€

Some Open World RPGs are also known as “Sandbox” games. Sandbox games are those that give you the ability to change the environment; for example, in Minecraft, you can mine away an entire mountain given enough time and persistence!

Sub-Genre: Roguelike

No, this doesn’t have anything to do with rogues. ๐Ÿ˜…

Roguelike games are basically RPGs with a catch: every time you revisit a dungeon, the roads are totally different. That’s because the dungeon is randomly generated with each entry, so the items, monsters, location of the exit and everything are different. Usually these games have less


Whew, that’s a lot of info! It’s a good thing I decided to split the genre post instead of cramming them all here. ๐Ÿ˜†

Hope you enjoyed reading that wall of text, and do let me know if you think I missed some skills we can learn from each genre!

~Nicolle โค

A Short Self-Compassionate Letter

Dear Self,

You did well researching all of these information! It’s incredible how much time and effort you took; it’s almost as though you were back in college again, doing assignments. ๐Ÿ˜€


More in the Benefits of Playing Video Games series:

#1: Cognitive Benefits and a Mini-Rant
#2: Health & Social Benefits
#3: Creativity and a Disclaimer
#4: Game Genres and Skills You Can Develop โฌ… You are here!
#5: More Game Genres and Skills You Can Develop

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19 thoughts on “Benefits of Playing Video Games #4: Game Genres and Skills You Can Develop

  1. I’m beginning to wonder if I’m the only one doing the spying. You’ve literally used my favorite games as recommendations. ๐Ÿ˜†๐Ÿ˜†๐Ÿ˜†
    Wow, you’ve done a chunk load of research, Nikki. Woohoo!! Benefts on benefits. Gamers rule!! ๐Ÿ˜†๐Ÿ˜†
    My favorite genre is Action (fighting and stealth – I HATE SHOOTER. I always die ๐Ÿ˜ฆ ) followed by Action Adventure.
    this is great, Nikki.

    More reasons to play!! ๐Ÿ˜€ ๐Ÿ˜€
    P.S. you forgot to add the “you’re here bit” For someone who missed out the previous posts.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Maybe what you did was two-way spying instead of one-way! ๐Ÿ˜†

      Yes, gamers rule! ๐ŸŽฎ๐ŸŽฎ๐ŸŽฎ
      My favourite is RPG, though I’ve played quite a bit of everything else and I’m not great with fighter games (the only skill I learned from there was button mashing ๐Ÿ˜†). I only like shooters if I’m fighting against computer, rather than other players. Once upon a time I used to be pretty fantastic in an online PC 3rd person shooter against other players (one of the fighting styles require 5-keys-per-second rapid combos), but now I prefer a waaaay slower play style. Must be getting old. ๐Ÿ˜…

      P.S. Oops, thanks for catching that! I was wondering what was causing that nagging “I think I forgot something” feeling. It’s nice to have a little editor butterfly. ๐Ÿ˜›

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Butterfly. ๐Ÿ˜ ๐Ÿ˜ ๐Ÿ˜†๐Ÿ˜†
        A two-way spying? I must check up on that ๐Ÿ˜†
        RPGs are not that bad. But am a “red” person, remember? So that explains my choice.
        I completely HATE shooter. Especially when you advance in levels and it gets harder. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

        P.S. Everybody becomes an expert at button mashing after playing for two weeks @fighting games.
        Old?…. Can’t process that. ๐Ÿ˜›
        My database does not confirm that information๐Ÿ˜†

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Oh, right, a red person prefers action games! Does that mean a blue person likes RPGs? ๐Ÿ˜†
        Maybe you’d prefer console shooters, like The Last of Us? It has some auto-aim. ๐Ÿ˜›๐Ÿ˜›๐Ÿ˜›

        Well, there’s one fighting character I absolutely can’t button mash with – Phoenix Wright from Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3! Do see if you can look up on YouTube on how to play as him, it’s interesting. ๐Ÿ˜†

        Liked by 1 person

      3. ๐Ÿ˜†๐Ÿ˜† Probably.
        I played that twice I think. Didn’t enjoy it. Basically because any game that I discover is in the “shooter” sub-genre loses my interest almost immediately. The only time i sort of enjoyed shooter games was when I had the gun in my hand, firing at the screen and it was on EXTREMELY easy mode. ๐Ÿ˜†๐Ÿ˜†

        I’ll look him up and see. Don’t think I’ve ever used him.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Haha, I get your shooter feeling when I play sports games! Not a fan of sports. ๐Ÿ˜›

        I like playing shooter games in the arcade, but I think these games are meant to make us spend more tokens because a good aim isn’t enough to prevent getting hits from the enemies! I haven’t been able to beat one in a single playthrough yet. ๐Ÿ˜…

        Liked by 1 person

      5. My point exactly! I don’t see the point of games like that apart from survival. And P.S. I’m a pretty good survivor already. ๐Ÿ˜›

        Sports games are cool but also pointless too. Take soccer for instance, you keep playing matches, advance in tournaments, etc.. BORING. The only interesting bit can be Manager Mode but after one season, it gets boring.

        The only sports games i truly enjoy are the Olympics. I just love the randomness.

        Liked by 1 person

      6. Haha, then if I get stranded on a Robinson Crusoe island, I’ll make sure you’re with me. ๐Ÿ˜›

        I agree on the sports games being boring! I played the occasional racing games, but for me these are only fun with a bunch of friends at the arcade. ๐Ÿ˜›

        How is The Olympics random? I’ve never played that before. ๐Ÿ˜…

        Liked by 1 person

      7. Knowing myself, it is I who needs to make sure YOU are there with me. ๐Ÿ˜†๐Ÿ˜†

        Yes, yes. Racing is no fun alone.

        Random as in different sporting activities at one go. It’s even better with friends. From swimming, to archery to long jump, javelin throw, discus throw, 100m dash, 400m dash, gymnastics, hurdles and so many others!! And you get to rep your country.

        Liked by 1 person

      8. ๐Ÿ˜†๐Ÿ˜†๐Ÿ˜†
        Ah, yes, that’s definitely random! Reminds me of the sports pack game that came with with PS3’s Move, it has random stuff like archery and frisbee throwing and table tennis. ๐Ÿ˜†

        Liked by 1 person

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