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Genres

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I'M TRYING TO ROUGHLY sort the 2600 library into genres; for the purposes of seeing which genres really are underrepresented.It's a balancing act between defining the genres too narrowly and too broadly. Here's what I've got so far, with a few example games for each:1. Scrolling Platformers (Road Runner, Pitfall II)2. Non-Scrolling Platformers (Pitfall!, Xenophobe)3. 2D Non-Scrolling Shooters (Space Invaders, Galaxian)4. 2D Scrolling Shooters (Defender, River Raid, Thrust+)5. 3D (or first person) Shooters (Star Fire, Battlezone)6. Board Games (Othello, Chess)7. Breakout Clones (Breakout, Circus Atari)8. RPGs/Adventures (Adventure, DragonStomper)9. Frogger Clones (Frogger, Space Treat Deluxe)10. Maze Eaters (Pac-Man, Crystal Castles)11. Catchers (Kaboom!, Eggomania)12. Puzzles (Edtris, KLAX)13. Q*Bert Clones (Q*Bert, Frostbite)14. Car Racers (Enduro, Dragster)15. Sports (Tennis, Skiing)That's a big list (15 categories) but I think you lose something if you combine some of those - I could combine all 2D shooters into one category, but is Gravitar really similar to Galaxian?On the other hand, I could easily divide these up almost ad nauseum - separating 2D Scrolling Shooters into those with gravity (Thrust+, Gravitar) and those without (Defender, River Raid), etc. The sports games as well.More than 20 categories becomes unmanageable, I think. I guess the goal is the fewest helpful categories.Any comments? Come up with any games that don't fit anywhere in there?Here's my initial list of games that I'm not sure where to stick:TapperBump 'N' JumpStampedeMarble CrazeDark Mage (does it go in the RPGs/Adventures genre, or does it standalone in the Text Adventures category?)

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Hi there!

 

Hm... how about breaking it into larger pieces first?

 

As in

 

- Shoot'em Up

- Racing

- Sports

- Other

 

Then, you can breakup the larger categories into smaller subcategories, until you're happy with the result :|

 

EDIT: Well, of course you can always category-browse mobygames, starting here: http://www.mobygames.com/browse/games/atari-2600/ :|

 

Greetings,

Manuel

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Hm... how about breaking it into larger pieces first?

 

As in

 

- Shoot'em Up

- Racing

- Sports

- Other

 

Then, you can breakup the larger categories into smaller subcategories, until you're happy with the result ;)

That's basically what I did already; I started with shooters, platformers, sports, racing, ...and other.

 

The problem is the other. :|

 

So I've broken the shooters up into 2D vs 3D and scrolling vs nonscrolling and the platformers similarly, and the other has splintered 5 ways from Sunday.

 

I'm pretty happy with what I've got, actually, though feedback is always nice. Mostly I want to know which genres folks think are missing and/or which games don't fit in any of those categories. :|

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4. 2D Scrolling Shooters (Defender, River Raid, Thrust+)

4a. 2D, 1D-Scrolling Shooters (Defender, River Raid)

4b. 2D, 2D-Scrolling Shooters (Thrust)

:|

 

Maybe we should develop some kind of tree, like:

Racing

- 2D Racing

- 3D Racing

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4. 2D Scrolling Shooters (Defender, River Raid, Thrust+)

4a. 2D, 1D-Scrolling Shooters (Defender, River Raid)

4b. 2D, 2D-Scrolling Shooters (Thrust)

;)

 

Maybe we should develop some kind of tree, like:

Racing

- 2D Racing

- 3D Racing

:|

I have an excel file with just such a tree on it. ;) The problem is knowing where to stop.

 

Is Thrust a 2D, scrolling shooter (like Stargate) or...

 

is it a:

3rd-person, side-view, 2-dimensional, 2-directional scrolling shooter with simulated gravity/inertia, a space theme, and a steer-and-thrust control scheme in which you control a space ship with a primary objective of search-and-rescue, a secondary objective of seek-and-destroy, and a fuel limit for 1 player controlled with the joystick.

 

Which can now be distinguished from Stargate, which clearly (and simply) is a:

3rd-person, side-view, 2-dimensional, 1-directional (horizontal) scrolling shooter with simulated inertia (but no gravity), a space theme, and a direct control scheme in which you control a space ship with a primary objective of seek-and-destroy, a secondary objective of protection/rescue, and no fuel limit for 1 player controlled with the joystick.

 

:|

 

EDIT: And that still leaves things out, obviously. In both games there is terrain, but you can interact with it only in Thrust+, and...

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4a. 2D, 1D-Scrolling Shooters (Defender, River Raid)

4b. 2D, 2D-Scrolling Shooters (Thrust)

 

4a. "Rails" V-shooters (River Raid)

4b. "Rails" H-shooters (Phaser Patrol)

4c. "Free" H-shooters (Defender; Chopper Command)

4d. Are there any "free" V-shooters?

4e. "Free" HV-shooters (Thrust+)

 

Note that the different waves in something like Vanguard and Gorf are effectively different games.

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4a. "Rails" V-shooters (River Raid)

4b. "Rails" H-shooters (Phaser Patrol)

4c. "Free" H-shooters (Defender; Chopper Command)

4d. Are there any "free" V-shooters?

 

Note that the different waves in something like Vanguard and Gorf are effectively different games.

 

I was going to mention the vertical parts of Vanguard.

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4a. 2D, 1D-Scrolling Shooters (Defender, River Raid)

4b. 2D, 2D-Scrolling Shooters (Thrust)

 

4a. "Rails" V-shooters (River Raid)

4b. "Rails" H-shooters (Phaser Patrol)

4c. "Free" H-shooters (Defender; Chopper Command)

4d. Are there any "free" V-shooters?

4e. "Free" HV-shooters (Thrust+)

 

Note that the different waves in something like Vanguard and Gorf are effectively different games.

I'm trying to figure out what the truly underrepresented genres of the 2600 library are; in order to perhaps develop in those genres.

 

For that purpose, I think splitting #4 into 5 subcategories is overkill. Maybe into 2 categories, Rails and Free, might be good.

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That's a good list. Since you asked for comments, here are a few:

 

To me, Q*Bert and Pac-Man are basically the same game. The pyramid of cubes is very similar to a maze, and both games require you to traverse the entire layout.

 

On the other hand, some maze games have different objectives. (Crazy Balloon, Malagai)

 

You probably need some kind of card game category. Maybe make it cards/gambling so you can add Slot Machine too.

 

IMHO a text adventure is still an adventure.

 

Tapper is almost a Catcher. Maybe a Thrower/Catcher

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With Indy 500 there's only one single DC game in the original library :|

That's why I suggested a tree. It should list all games of the current category and then you can refine the selection by going deeper into the tree step-by-step.

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With Indy 500 there's only one single DC game in the original library :|

That's why I suggested a tree. It should list all games of the current category and then you can refine the selection by going deeper into the tree step-by-step.

Alright, the more I think about this the more I think the best way to do this is to get a complete list of 2600 games and then give TJs tree a try. :|

 

First step is the major categories. Any suggestions? I'm thinking (following, somewhat, Manuel's link):

 

Action

Sports

Adventure/RPG

Puzzle/Boardgame

Driving/Racing

Strategy

 

EDIT:

Actually, I think I will just use the Mobygames categories to start with:

Action

Adventure

Educational

Racing/Driving

RPG

Simulation

Sports

Strategy

 

EDIT EDIT:

On third thought, I'm going to add Tablegame to the category list. To include boardgames (Checkers, Chess) as well as card games (Blackjack, Poker Squares)

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With Indy 500 there's only one single DC game in the original library :|

That's why I suggested a tree. It should list all games of the current category and then you can refine the selection by going deeper into the tree step-by-step.

Alright, the more I think about this the more I think the best way to do this is to get a complete list of 2600 games and then give TJs tree a try. :|

 

First step is the major categories. Any suggestions? I'm thinking (following, somewhat, Manuel's link):

 

Action

Sports

Adventure/RPG

Puzzle/Boardgame

Driving/Racing

Strategy

 

EDIT:

Actually, I think I will just use the Mobygames categories to start with:

Action

Adventure

Educational

Racing/Driving

RPG

Simulation

Sports

Strategy

 

EDIT EDIT:

On third thought, I'm going to add Tablegame to the category list. To include boardgames (Checkers, Chess) as well as card games (Blackjack, Poker Squares)

"Action" is far too broad. Even with all those other categories, it probably comprises 90% of the games! At the very least, break out "shooters" from this.

 

And the categories "strategy" "simulation" and "RPG" probably comprise 5 games between them.

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"Action" is far too broad.  Even with all those other categories, it probably comprises 90% of the games! At the very least, break out "shooters" from this.

I know Action will be a bazillion games, but subcategories should clean that up somewhat.

And the categories "strategy" "simulation" and "RPG" probably comprise 5 games between them.

I think you underestimate a little. Though not by much.

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Hi there!

 

"Action" is far too broad.  Even with all those other categories, it probably comprises 90% of the games! At the very least, break out "shooters" from this.

 

"Action" is only a top level entry @ mobygames. You can break things down in many ways there. While still incomplete in several spots (They started with DOS/ Windows, then added other computers, then added consoles) I really love browsing it and it is by far my fafourite overall games database. I especially love "credits" browsing, it's amazing to see who worked on which games from 1981 to 2005 :|

 

Also they have immense crossreferences, like listing all versions of a game or grouping games by thousands of groups and themes like:

 

Ghosts'n'Goblins

Western Games

NES Light Gun Games

 

I can spend hours there just browsing infos :|

 

Greetings,

Manuel

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Actually, I think I will just use the Mobygames categories to start with:

Action

Adventure

Educational

Racing/Driving

RPG

Simulation

Sports

Strategy

The real problem with the list above is that it's a modern list applicable to modern games and not games for the 2600. A good heirarchy will have a reasonable split between the categories. The list above will probably have a huge tree with tons of branches for Action, but the tree will probably not fork at all for Strategy, Simulation, RPG, Adventure or Educational due to the lack of games (and lack of diversity among the games.)

 

Also, Racing and Sports are really action games (and isn't racing a sport?) And Adventure, RPG, Simulation all kind of fit under "Strategy" under the dictionary definition. So I'd recommend two main categories and an "other."

 

Action:

- Shooters

-- top-down shooters

-- Side-shooters

-- many others?

- Platformers

-- ?? subcategories?

- (other categories I can't think of)

- Sports

-- Driving/Racing

-- Football

-- Baseball

-- etc.

 

Strategy:

- RPG

- Adventure

- Simulation

- Puzzles

- Table games

- etc.

 

Other:

- Educational (who cares about educational anyway, all the games here suck.)

- Stuff like Paul Slocum's Testcart, Loopcart and Synthcart would go here

 

No I am not recommending this - just making a point.

 

Anyway, I think that categorizing is a good idea. But you stated that your original goal was to find what genres were underrepresented. I don't think that full categorization is needed for this.

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Anyway, I think that categorizing is a good idea.  But you stated that your original goal was to find what genres were underrepresented.  I don't think that full categorization is needed for this.

If I jigger the categories so that they all have close to the same numbers that kind of defeats my purpose in doing this! :|

 

Really, I can see it both ways (what you are suggesting is close to what my original categories were, in blog post at the top).

 

But I think I'd rather have categories that are approximately equally broad in scope, even if one of them (Simulation) has 3 games and one of them (Action) has 400.

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Hi there!

 

But I think I'd rather have categories that are approximately equally broad in scope, even if one of them (Simulation) has 3 games and one of them (Action) has 400.

 

Interesting enough, in Germany we had another category in the classic days that you'll never find in American literature: Dexterity

 

There would stuff go like Marble Craze or Crazy Balloon.

 

Greetings,

Manuel

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I just went through AA's database and copied, to a spreadsheet, a list of every unique game (I think). Have about 470 of them. I went through and categorized about 290 of the ones I knew off the top of my head (213 of them Action :|).

 

I'm going to start going through the rest a little more slowly, looking at screenshots and possibly playing some of them, to try to categorize the rest.

 

I think I'll make a separate blog post for each category and solicit opinions on subcategories. :|

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But I think I'd rather have categories that are approximately equally broad in scope, even if one of them (Simulation) has 3 games and one of them (Action) has 400.

One fundamental problem here is that the definition of "underrepresented" is kind of subjective. Do you mean compared to modern games? Classic coin-op video games? Classic computer games? Classic console games? All lists are different in some way. I mean, Adventure is not well-suited for a coin-op, nor is something like Archon, and there aren't a lot of Scott Adams adventures for consoles... And as for modern games, there are lots of simulators now (the Sims, that roller coaster game, etc) and back in the day there were just a handful of crap-tastic flight simulators.

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One fundamental problem here is that the definition of "underrepresented" is kind of subjective.

I don't see that as a real problem; trying to choose a project is pretty subjective anyway, after all! :|

And as for modern games, there are lots of simulators now (the Sims, that roller coaster game, etc) and back in the day there were just a handful of crap-tastic flight simulators.

I'd consider the various pinball games to be simulations as well.

 

I've done an initial categorization of 370 games so far (of ~470) and here is the breakdown:

Action: 271 (73%)

Adventure: 13 (4%)

Driving/Racing: 12 (3%)

Educational: 7 (2%)

RPG: 1 (0%)

Simulation: 11 (3%)

Sports: 34 (9%)

Strategy: 3 (1%)

Tablegame: 18 (5%)

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Driving/Racing: 12 (3%)

Wow, I would have thought there would be more. Here's your answer! On every other platform, it seems that you can't swing a dead cat without hitting another driving game.

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