5 Underused Game Genres This Generation

Dominating this generation are a select few titles, resulting in underused game genres. Due to the big money involved in development, companies are hesitant to take risks. Games are making technological advances, but has it come at the cost of innovation?

One prime example is the ‘racing sim’. The physics of Gran Turismo, Forza Motorsport and others become more realistic year-on-year. Each release brings more cars, tracks, and weather effects. But, it is rare they add new gameplay elements to shake up the genre.

There is very little variety available to consumers nowadays, at least on consoles. Compare this generation to the PlayStation 2 era; there was more to choose from back then. What would create interest for the modern gamer? Here are five underused genres…

Story-Driven Shooters

TimeSplitters: Future PerfectDevelopers tend to focus on ensuring their games deliver the best online experience. Some go as far as incorporating their campaign into a multiplayer world, à la MMORPGs. As a result, story-driven single-player gameplay is an endangered species.

A lot of all-time greats – across all genres – were memorable because of their single-player. Now, people would rather immerse themselves in player-vs-player action, than against artificial intelligence. The first-person shooter (FPS) has been affected the most.

But it doesn’t all developers neglect offline gameplay. The latest Doom, played at an average pace, contains almost 12 hours of content. Compare this to Battlefield and Call of Duty, and you can see the difference. Decent single-player campaigns are still around, albeit rare.

Take a look at:
Call of Duty 2 (2005)
Doom (2016)
Red Dead Redemption (2010)
The Darkness (2007)
TimeSplitters: Future Perfect (2005)

Arcade Racers

Burnout 3: TakedownDominated by simulators, developers take advantage of powerful hardware to enhance realism. But, realism does not always equal fun. Arcade racers have a ‘pick up and play’ feel to them, thus appealing to casual gamers.

Whereas simulators penalise competitors for unsportsmanlike conduct, anything goes in arcades. Whether it is blowing away the competition or taking sneaky shortcuts, the aim is to win at any cost. Don’t let that put you off trying one out, though.

This generation, arcades have taken a backseat, with simulators increasing their lead. The odd title comes out now and then, but prepare to go back in time to find some of the best arcade racers around.

Take a look at:
Blur (2010)
Burnout 3: Takedown (2004)
FlatOut 2 (2006)
Micro Machines World Series (2017)
OutRun 2006: Coast 2 Coast (2006)

Non-Car Racers

SkyDriftSticking to the subject of racing games, it is rare we see a title that involves vehicles other than cars. There have been releases in which you can race jet skis, aeroplanes, and even trains. Even motorcycle games (both on and off-road) are becoming more infrequent.

Why do we never see this variety? With too many developers wanting to deliver the best experience on four wheels, this is a gap in the market. One game which will be a success is anti-gravity racer WipEout Omega Collection, out this year.

Besides the return of Wipeout, it is hard to find a decent racer which doesn’t have cars. Right now, the best place to look would be on Steam. Indie developers tend to come up with more innovative – and often better – ideas than bigger companies.

Take a look at:
Hydro Thunder Hurricane (2010)
Riptide GP: Renegade (2016)
SkyDrift (2011)
Super Hang-On (1989)
Wipeout 2097 (1997)

Multiplayer Beat-’em-Ups

Streets of Rage 2Popular in the past, Beat ’em Ups consist of players engaging in hand-to-hand combat. One of the key selling points of the genre is co-operative play of up to four players. Such games appeared in arcades, before console gaming came to prominence.

Controls are minimal: directions and punch/kick buttons are all that is necessary. Despite their simplicity, Beat ’em Ups are one of the most challenging to beat. Awkward bosses – often at the end of each level – are a common cause of ‘Game Overs’.

By the early 1990s, the formula of the Beat ’em Up became stale, hence the surge in popularity of fighting games. Many embraced the likes of Street Fighter II as a welcome change from co-op gameplay. Even to this day, Beat ’em Ups are a rarity.

Take a look at:
Castle Crashers (2008)
Double Dragon (1987)
Golden Axe (1989)
Michael Jackson’s Moonwalker (1990)
Streets of Rage 2 (1992)

Party Games

Rayman Raving RabbidsDeveloped for local multiplayer, party games differ from many other genres. They are best in groups, and are a great way for people to socialise. The common format is players aiming to win the most items from beating minigames.

People use social media to interact more than ever, often negating the need to meet in person. Online gaming is now the norm, whereas 20 years ago you would go to a friend’s house to play. A prime example of how the rise of the internet has positives and negatives.

Party games can still exist today of course, with online capabilities. But, it would take away the meaning of the genre. The decline in the number of party games, and local multiplayer, says that people don’t want to play in person.

Take a look at:
Crash Bash (2000)
EyeToy: Play (2003)
Mario Party 4 (2002)
Rayman Raving Rabbids (2006)
WarioWare, Inc: Mega Party Game$! (2003)

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