Here are the different styles of games we write about:
Let's introduce the different ways to play video games. In addition to the different genres of video game, each game also adopts a particular play style. The style of a game describes how it delivers its genre experience. Understanding these styles of games can help you find experiences you like and are comfortable with.
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Let's summarise the different types of games here:
- Assistance Multi-player: These types of game provide a cooperative experience where players of different abilities can collaborate. Some examples, such as Mario Galaxy or Modern Warfare Reflex on the Wii, enable a more experienced player to jump in and help the less experienced. This also works in reverse, where the expert player controls the main flow of the game and the novice plays a supporting role, such as in Viva Pinata on the 360, something that make these games ideal for families.
- Augmented Reality: These types of game overlay the play space on a real time view of the world. A camera usually feeds in the view and the player is tasked with playing through the environment. These games often introduce easily identifiable tokens so the player can interact with the virtual gamespace more easily - such as EyePet on the PS3. Augmented reality games are often combined with GPS location tracking technology to enable players to progress in the game by visiting certain real world locations. Geocaching is an example of a GPS augmented reality game where players use a GPS device to locate hidden containers that have been placed anywhere in the world.
- Competitive Multi-player: These types of game provide experiences where players compete against each other and the computer. Obviously lending itself to sports and team games, these competitive engagements have also dominated the shooting and fighting genres because of the direct combat and expertise involved in each. Although these games were originally played in a split screen style, more recently they are played online via services such as PlayStation Network, Xbox Live and the Nintendo Wireless Connection.
- Cooperative Multi-player: These types of game provide an experience that is played symaltaneously by multiple players. Unlike the simple arena competitive multiplayer style games where players try to kill the most enemies, true co-operative games are designed to take a group of players through a campaign experience together. This will involve sections where players have to work together to proceed - either from the sheer difficulty as in Halo 3 on 360 or by the design of levels such as LittleBigPlanet on PS3.
- Dating: These types of games are essentially puzzles based around relationships, identity, love and sex. They cast the player as a lonely singleton looking for love, who then has to develop strategies to win the affections of different potential partners, lovers and mates. Dating games fall into the role playing adventure genre, but with quests that are focused in a relational direction. Although this is typically played out as a man looking to date various women and girls, many games provide the option of being a male or female.
- First Person: These types of game view the world from the eyes of the in-game character. You don't see the character themselves apart from their hands, gun or possibly feet as in Mirror's Edge. Because of the imediacy of the experience and sheer volume of visual information the player is offered First Person games lend themselves to the shooting genre. The FPS view enables players to immerse themselves in the experience and react quicker to events in the game. Other games have used a first person view to deliver an unusual perspective on an old genre - Mirror's Edge for example delivers a Platforming genre through a First Person view.
- Meta-game: These types of game provide another way to measure success. A meta-game creates additional challenges that overarch the game itself. Co-operative style experiences often offer a meta-game as a way for players to compare their performance while still contributing to the team effort. Achievements on the Xbox 360 and Trophies on the PlayStation Network are examples of meta-games. They take things a step further by providing points for achieving goals across different games so that players slowly build up a score for their performance on the console as a whole.
- Physical: These types of game use real world cards, props and boards. Sometimes this complements a video game experience, but more often they simply exist as physical games in their own right. These games range from Eye of Judgement that uses a camera to detect which cards a player has, to interactive play experience like EyePet. Video games that make use of these props look to encompass the strong board gaming tradition that pre-dates and often outsells video games - such as Settlers of Catan or Carcassone.
- Real Time: These types of game are played without opportunity to stop and consider the next move. This creates an experience that is more reaction than strategy based. Sporting, fighting and rhythm action games obviously rely on this style of delivery to work. Other genres, such as strategy or adventure games, can choose whether to be played in turns or in real time. Some games such as Valkyria Chronicles PS3 and PSP provide a turn based strategy experience with real time elements - something that is becoming a popular compromise.
- Shared Screen Multiplayer: These types of game create a multiplayer experience where players all share the same screen space. Rather than splitting the screen into portions for each player the game scales to fit each player in view even when they are a long way apart. Football and fighting games often take this approach as the shared view doesn't impede the players ability to take part in the action.
- Single-player Campaign: These types of game focus on one player's experience. Rather than collaborate with other players either locally or online, players progress alone. The campaign style of gameplay offers a connected series of challenges to play through. These chapters work together to tell a story through which players progress. Single player games are able to focus on one experience of a scenario, so that it is usually a richer, more visceral game.
- Split-screen Multi-player: These types of game involve multiple players by providing a portion of the screen for each person. This enables two, three or four players to be involved in the game using just one console. Although popular for the PS2, Gamecube and Wii it is becoming less common in modern 360 and PS3 games which are less willing to sacrifice horsepower from the visuals to accomodate the extra players - they opt for an online multiplayer mode instead.
- Third Person: These types of game view the world from over the right shoulder of the character being controlled. This enables you to see the character you are controlling as well as their surrounds. Although not as immersive as first person, third person games enable more complex moves and interactions with the environment.
- Turn Based: These types of game are played in turns, so that players can stop and consider their next move. This is common in tactical experience such as strategy or adventure games as this enhances the sense of control and planning the player has. Other genres - such as sporting, fighting and rhythm action games obviously rely on realtime game play.
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