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Video games have gained in popularity since their introduction in the late 1970s. Today, the video game industry is a multi-billion dollar annual industry, with hundreds of new titles released every year. Games are an influential type of media, and here are some things to consider when playing them.

What types of elements make up the games in different game categories? Would you know how to tell the difference between a shooter game compared to an RPG? Similar to movies and television, games can be categorized into groupings called genres. The following is a list of popular video game genres and some representative games in each.

 

o   Action (Street Fighter, Counter Strike, Halo)

 

o   Adventure (Resident Evil, Tomb Raider)

 

o   Simulation (build, emulate reality – The Sims, Flight Sim)

 

These are just some of the genres and games popular today. The audiences taste in genres evolves continually, so a type of game that is popular today may not be popular in a year. Just like with other media, video games segment their audiences based on characteristics like age, gender, and interests. A game’s target audience can be determined by the game’s genre, the platform (smartphone or console?), and the characteristics of how the game functions. Here are some things to consider when you try to better understand a game, its audience, and how it works.

 

o   Game mechanics – how does the game work?

 

o   Audio – what does the game sound like?

 

o   Visuals – what does the game look like?

 

o   Programming – how does the game operate?

 

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o   Game activities – What kinds of things do you do in the game?

 

o   Story – what is the game about?

There is a lot to know about games to help you better understand how they work.

You can learn a lot more about this topic by buying our book, Practical Media Literacy: An essential guide to the critical thinking skills for our digital world. You would be supporting our work so that we can bring you more great resources.