Perspectives and Viewpoints
Action: In action games players are required to have good reflexes and quick reaction in order to overcome challenges. Action games typically focus on combat, during which the player must press buttons or keys rapidly or in timed intervals in order to execute attacks and other moves. Non-combat challenges may include avoiding traps, jumping, running, completing tasks within a pressing time limit, etc.
Common action sub-genres are shooters, fighting, and platform games.
Though most racing / driving, sports, and many simulation games contain action-oriented gameplay, they can be considered action games only if they specifically emphasize arcade-like, reflex-based gameplay.
Action games may include extensive non-violent exploration and/or puzzle-solving, or combine themselves with other genres, e.g. role-playing or driving.
Quick thinking is often required to succeed in action games; however, games that specifically emphasize quick thinking over reflexes are usually real-time strategy or puzzle games.
Adventure: In adventure games, the emphasis is placed on experiencing a story as seen by one or more user-controlled characters, often by manipulating said character(s) and the environment they exist in. Adventure games are characterized by general lack of reflex-based gameplay (action), though they may feature such segments sporadically.
Adventure games initially featured text input and little to no graphics (interactive fiction). Afterwards, graphical adventures became more prominent and text input was replaced by a limited amount of icons/menus with verb commands.
Two distinct sub-genres of adventure games are Western-style adventures (also referred to as puzzle-solving adventure) and Japanese adventures, which typically have no puzzles and minimal interaction. Visual novels are traditionally also considered a sub-genre of adventure games.
Educational: Denotes a game specifically designed to educate the player in an area. Usually intended for younger children, educational games offer a fun, indirect way to practice "non-fun" subjects like spelling, math, history, etc.
Racing / Driving: This genre encompasses all games in which either driving a vehicle or participating in a race (often both) is a primary gameplay element. Many such games revolve around racing, i.e. trying to move faster than an opponent to reach a specified goal or beat a specified time. Usually racing games use cars and other vehicles (motorcycle, powerboat, etc.), but on-foot racing games also qualify.
Role-Playing (RPG): Role-playing video games are descendants of pen-and-paper RPGs. In those games character development is the main driving gameplay mechanic. Typically one or more characters are created and shaped by the player, then embark on a series of encounters that increase the inventory, wealth, or combat statistics of said character(s).
A role-playing game is not just any game in which the player "plays a role", i.e. controls a character and participates in exploration and narrative. Rather, the defining characteristic of role-playing games is player-dependent character growth. A role-playing game can be seen as such when player-controlled characters become stronger ("levels up") because of the player's actions (usually depending on experience points received for vanquishing enemies), rather than being upgraded automatically as dictated by the storyline. The degree of the player's involvement in shaping the characters may vary considerably: some RPGs offer vast customization possibilities, while others tend to simplify and even nearly automatize the process.
Traditional RPGs have turn-based combat and a fantasy setting (Wizardry series, Ultima series, Roguelikes, etc.). Later, other settings were introduced, and many RPGs - such as Diablo - began favoring action-based combat. In these games, Action is used as a modifier to the RPG genre.
By the late 1980's, the genre has been distinctly split into two main sub-genres: Western and Japanese (sometimes called console-style) RPG. Western RPGs typically favored free exploration and player-made decisions, while Japanese RPGs focused on following a linear story line. Japanese RPGs also tended to retain simple turn-based combat mechanics, and in many cases also random enemy encounters.
In many early Western RPGs the player was given the option to create an entire party of characters (usually up to six). Ultima games introduced the possibility of recruiting initially non-playable characters (NPCs) with their own personalities from the game world into the party. Beginning with Phantasy Star, Japanese RPGs followed this template and even elevated it to their cornerstone mechanic.
Late 1990's saw a "RPG revival" in the West. Fallout greatly expanded the usage of non-combat statistics and moral decisions during gameplay, while Baldur's Gate popularized real-time party-based combat.
Simulation: Simulation games are created with the goal of putting the player in control of a certain activity while attempting to make it as realistic as possible.
In the strictest sense of the word, all electronic games are simulations, since they cannot exist without simulating aspects of real life. However, simulation genre only includes games that focus (entirely or mostly) on imitating real-life activities. That does not mean that simulation games must be completely realistic; for example, space combat simulation games simulate an activity that is (yet) unknown to human beings. The distinguishing feature of simulation games is their emphasis on realism and detail comparable to those encountered in real life.
Most simulation games are not story-driven, since they concentrate on describing general activities, not concrete situations. Among notable exceptions are Wing Commander games, which combine space combat simulation with a continuous narrative.
Simulation themes vary greatly; theoretically, they are limited only by the amount of activities known to human beings. Simulation themes include, for example, traffic networks, medical care, romance, music, and many others.
Simulation games can be roughly divided into five main groups:
Simulation can also be used as a modifier for other genres, for example Strategy (realistic re-creation of historical battles), Racing / Driving (particularly realistic vehicle-handling, tuning, repair, etc.), or Sports (team management, training, trading, etc.).
- Managerial simulations put the player in a position of a manager or a similar role.
- Construction simulations primarily involve building, for example cities.
- Life simulations may deal with human life or life in general.
- Professional / Social simulations are dedicated to specific social activities and professions.
- Vehicle simulations allow the player direct control of a vehicle with a certain sense of realism, for example plane, space ship, tank, etc.
Sports: Sports games put the player in control of individual athletes/competitors or sports managers. In the latter case, the sports game is also considered a managerial simulation.
Most sports games are dedicated to popular team sports (e.g. football/soccer) and are action-oriented. A sports game that deliberately favors arcade action over realistic simulation, or adds arcade challenges non-existing in the real-life sport is considered both an action and a sports game.
Strategy: In its broad sense, the strategy genre encompasses games that emphasize problem-solving. Thinking and planning are necessary components of strategy; they can be used for such diverse purposes as preparing and positioning troops to gain advantage in a war, or figure out the principle of a puzzle. While adventure games may include puzzles, they focus on following a linear story while occasionally dealing with obstacles rather than being entirely dedicated to problem-solving. Puzzle, chess, and card games fall under the strategy category.
In a more specific (and more common) sense, strategy games refer to a genre that puts the player in command of an armed force (sometimes an entire nation), trying to gain the upper hand in a conflict either through diplomatic means or warfare. Strategy games can be either turn-based or real-time.
Managerial simulations that involve competition with the computer AI are classified as both simulation and strategy games. Strategy war games may also include role-playing elements.
1st-Person Perspective: Displayed from a 1st-person perspective or view; i.e. from the viewer's own eyes (not used in describing interactive fiction, as all interactive fiction is 1st-person by definition).
3rd-Person Perspective: Displayed from a 3rd-person perspective or view; i.e. player is able to see his/her own avatar.
Isometric: Playfield is technically two-dimensional, but drawn using an axonometric projection so as to look three-dimensional. Movement input is usually diagonally-biased to match the player's orientation (as opposed to straight up/down/left/right movement, which matches the game avatar's orientation).
While the perspective term has traditionally been labeled Isometric, in typical use it includes isometric (eg. Knight Lore, The Immortal), dimetric (eg. SimCity 2000, Diablo), and trimetric (eg. Fallout/Fallout 2, SimCity 3) projections.
Platform: Platform games (platformers) are action games in which the playfield is set up as a series of planes (floors, levels, or platforms) for the player to navigate.
Platform games often involve combat, but include additional challenges by making navigation hazardous. Often the challenges of overcoming environmental dangers surpass those posed by combat. The player character is usually required to jump over gaps and damaging areas, or to access a different platform. In many platform games the player character is very vulnerable and can die easily from falling damage, environmental traps, or enemy attacks.
Early platform games (e.g. Donkey Kong) were confined to one screen and required the player character to climb in order to reach higher platforms. Later platformers, popularized by Super Mario Bros., began to focus on traversing side-scrolling levels, often within an allotted time limit, fending off upcoming enemies and jumping. This style, commonly referred to as jump-and-run, has preserved itself in many later platformers as well.
Other platform games, such as Prince of Persia, emphasize exploration, combat, and problem-solving in addition to the usual platform challenges. Such games have become known as cinematic platformers. This style has had a considerable influence on many 3D platformers (e.g. later Prince of Persia games, ICO, etc.), which incorporate extensive puzzle-solving.
Side-Scrolling: Used to describe any game where the main setting of gameplay involves the player character moving from one side of the playfield to the other horizontally for a length of time. The screen may scroll to the opposite direction continuously, or just when the player character reaches the edge of the screen, enlarging the area or opening a new one. Side-scrolling perspective is often entirely two-dimensional; however, some side-scrolling games (particularly beat-'em-ups) may allow limited movement into the depth of the screen. Side-scrolling perspective is common for most 2D platformers, as well as many 2D shooters and action games in general.
Top-Down: Used to describe any game where the main setting of gameplay is represented by a top-down (also known as overhead) view of the playfield. Top-down perspective may be used for a wide variety of genres; among the most common ones are vertically scrolling shooters and most 2D role-playing games.
Baseball: Simulation of a baseball game, or variant.
Basketball: Simulation of a basketball game, or variant.
Bike/Bicycling: Description to come
Bowling: Simulates the common ten-pin alley experience of bowling.
Boxing: Simulation (or close variant) of boxing.
Cricket: Any game that simulates a cricket match.
Fishing: Simulation of the traditional hobby of catching fish for sport.
Football (American): Refers to a simulation of an American football game (for European football, see "Soccer")
Golf: Simulation of a traditional golf game. (To describe Miniature Golf, combine with the "Arcade" genre.)
Hockey: Simulation of a traditional hockey game.
Horse / Derby: Denotes any game that simulates horse racing or "fantasy" betting on horse races, like the Kentucky Derby.
Hunting: Describes gameplay that simulates hunting wildlife or game. Examples: Deer Hunter, Turkey Shoot, etc.
Motorcycle: Specifically denotes motorcycle or motocross (dirtbike) racing.
Off-Road / Monster Truck: Denotes any racing game based on off-road driving conditions or using "monster trucks". Examples: 4x4, Offroad, Monster Truck Madness, Test Drive: Off-Road, Extreme Mountain Bike, etc.
Olympiad: Represents multiple sporting events in a single game, similar to the Olympics. Examples: Summer Games, Winter Games, Boot Camp, Ski or Die, etc.
Paintball: Simulation of a non-violent sport where participants use markers to shoot paintballs (gelatin capsules filled with paint) at other players, or using the game mechanics.
Ping Pong/Table Tennis: Simulations of the sport of ping pong/table tennis.
Pool / Snooker: Denotes any game that simulates the popular bar game of pool (all variations), snooker, or similar.
Rugby: Gameplay mimicks the action or managerial aspects of professional rugby.
Sailing / Boating: Denotes any simulation of piloting or racing sailboats, windsails, powerboats, etc.
Skateboarding: Simulation of traditional skateboard racing and stunts.
Snowboarding / Skiing: Games that have a snowboarding or skiiing theme, such as the Cool Boarders series.
Soccer / Football (European): Simulation of a traditional soccer game.
Surfing: Simulation of traditional surfing.
Tennis: Simulation of a traditional tennis match.
Tricks / Stunts: Denotes gameplay where scoring and/or advancement is achieved via performing "tricks" or "stunts". Games in this genre are usually (but not always) sports-related. Common terms for this kind of game are "Action Sports" or "Extreme Sports". Examples: Dave Mirra Freestyle BMX, Tony Hawk Pro Skater, California Games, Trickstyle.
Volleyball: Denotes any game that simulates volleyball-style gameplay.
Wakeboarding: Simulation of traditional wakeboarding.
Wrestling: Simulation of "Pro" wrestling.
Adult: Denotes any game with explicit nudity or sexual situations.
Anime / Manga: Manga (Japanese: 漫画; the two Chinese characters literally mean "immoral" or "whimsical" pictures) is a widely popular form of comic books in Japan. Manga originated in late 19th century, but came to prominence in the second half of 20th century. The term anime (Japanese short version of the word "animation") is normally used to describe animated cartoon movies of Japanese origin.
When applied to video games, these two terms indicate a specifically Japanese visual style, characterized by sharp, bright coloring; exaggerated, often "super-deformed" facial and body proportions in drawing; "cute" stylistic elements, etc.
Originally only applied to 2D graphics, anime or manga characteristics can also be clearly visible in many 3D games made in Japan.
Arcade: Denotes an arcade or "arcade-like" game, whose gameplay mimics or was inspired by a traditional coin-op arcade game. Arcade games usually have very little puzzle-solving, complex thinking, or strategy skills needed; the focus is on reflexes and "twitch". The Arcade genre is usually used as an additional modifier to Action games.
Note: For exact conversions of coin-op arcade games to computer platforms, don't forget the "Coin-Op Conversion" genre as well.
BattleMech: Any game using ideas, machines, weapons, or 'mechs similar to the FASA BattleTech series. This includes all 'Mech and "Giant Robot" games, including titles that are not explicitly from the FASA universe (Earthsiege, etc.).
Board / Party Game: Simulation of a traditional board game or party game where gameplay involves two or more players.
The main thrust of board games and party games is that they are designed for multiple players. If it is only playable by a single player (e.g. Solitaire, Shanghai, etc.), it is not a board/party game and should not be listed here.
- Examples of board games include checkers, chess, Monopoly, backgammon, etc. This also includes computer-based "synthetic" board games like Jones in the Fast Lane, and also games that mimic traditional board games like Hexxagon.
- Examples of the new style of "party games" for consoles include Sonic Shuffle and Mario Party.
Casino: Simulation of a casino game; slots, poker, blackjack, roulette, etc.
Chess: Refers to the classic board game of the same name. Most computer chess games allow playing the computer at varying levels of difficulty.
Comics: Denotes any game that uses characters or settings based off comic books (or strips). Examples: The Punisher, X-Men, etc.
Cyberpunk / Dark Sci-Fi: Cyberpunk / dark sci-fi refers to science fiction with an explicitly dark and/or moody tone. This style is sometimes modeled around the concept of a "cyberpunk", or a human individual in the future who can interact directly with computers or a computer network, often working alone against an evil corporation or computer AI.
Detective / Mystery: Detective / Mystery games either simulate the work of a detective, or feature storylines that heavily rely on investigation, clue-gathering, and secrets that are revealed only near the end of the narrative. These games may belong to any genre, but are most commonly encountered among adventures.
Fantasy: Medieval / Fantasy is a setting that attempts to exclude technical and scientific achievements which came into prominence around 15th century and later, drawing inspiration from the Middle Ages in Europe (end of 5th - 15th centuries) and usually extending the time period in case of other cultures (China, Indian, Islamic Age, etc.). Supernatural elements (e.g. wizards, monsters, demons, etc.) are very frequently represented in games with this setting. Many such games treat their European medieval roots very loosely, and may include steampunk, modern-day, or even light sci-fi elements, mostly focusing on the "fantasy" part of the setting.
Fighting: This genre includes action games that focus on close-combat fighting, unarmed or using melee weapons; the emphasis is on executing precise moves (punches, kicks, etc.) when facing opponents who usually use similar tactics against the playable character. Characteristic for these games is reliance on martial art techniques. Fighting games are traditionally divided into two broad categories: Versus fighters and Beat 'em 'ups / Brawlers.
Flight: Simulation of aircraft flight, usually represented in three-dimensional (3D) graphics.
Game Show: Simulation of a TV "game show". Examples: The Price Is Right, Family Feud, Wheel of Fortune, etc.
Helicopter: Simulation of helicopter flight or battle.
Historical Battle (specific/exact): Any strategy game that recreates, closely mimics, or attempts to show different outcomes of a historical battle or battles. Examples: Gettysburg, Patton vs. Rommel, European Air War, Close Combat 3, etc.
Horror: Denotes any game with classic "horror" elements. Usually refers to traditional gothic horror, but can include other horror styles. Examples: Alone in the Dark, The Lurking Horror, etc.
Interactive Fiction: Gameplay is language-based in nature. All interaction with the player, both input and feedback, is done through the input and output of pure text. Input mimics natural language using verb-noun (action-item) commands (Abbreviations also qualify, because they abbreviate a verb-noun construct, like "w" for "go west" or "i" for "list inventory"). Output is rendered in full, natural-language, grammatically-correct sentences.
Sometimes referred to as "text-adventure" or "Infocom" games (after the company that made them famous).
Interactive Fiction with Graphics: Same mechanics as Interactive Fiction, with modifications for graphics made to the input and output interface. Output can include graphics, which can either be turned off (Transylvania, Tau Ceti, etc.) or are mandatory (Sierra "Quest" and Lucasarts "SCUMM" games). Input is still text-based requiring verb-noun input, but the method of selection does not have to rely on the keyboard (meaning, you can pick from a visual list of verbs and nouns, like Lucasarts adventures).
To remain in the Interaction Fiction with Graphics subgenre, verb-noun input using text labels must be maintained. If the verbs (actions) and nouns (items) are replaced by icons or pictures, or accepts verb-only or noun-only input, it no longer qualfies as Interactive Fiction.
Interactive Movie: Gameplay consists of a running "movie" with several different storylines that the user can follow by making choices during the viewing, although occasionally an action/arcade sequence may be included. Interactive Movies are best suited for novice gamers looking for entertainment without too much effort.
Examples: Dragon's Lair, Star Trek: Borg, Psychic Detective
In the nineties, the term "interactive movie" was often used to describe any game with real-life action cutscenes, e.g. Under a Killing Moon. Those games do not necessarily belong to this genre.
Managerial: Gameplay centers mainly around the management of resources instead of controlling the resources or gameplay itself. Both sports-management (fantasy football, etc.) and real-life simulations (Railroad Tycoon, Simcity, etc.) are applicable to this genre.
Martial Arts: Simulation specifically geared towards traditional martial arts situations or combat. Examples: Budokan, Sword of the Samuri, etc.
Meditative / Zen: Gameplay elements are specifically oriented around relaxing, meditative, and contemplative thought processes. Careful manipulation of objects and thoughts are stressed over knee-jerk reactions.
Mental training: Games based around intellectual activities to exercise your mental capacity.
Naval: Denotes any game with a naval theme, such as battleship wargaming/strategy, submarine simulations, or other type of combat/gameplay based on seafaring vessels.
Paddle / Pong: Denotes any game patterned after the original Pong arcade game, where a paddle is moved back and forth (or up and down) to deflect a ball thrown at it. The ball can be "aimed" by deflecting off of different parts of the paddle to hit targets for points; missing the ball results in loss of life. Examples: Popcorn, Arkanoid, etc.
Persistent Universe: Denotes any game that takes place in a constantly-running environment, even when the player is not actively playing the game. Attributes of such an environment include other players actively playing the game, game-created characters interacting with the environment or other players, etc. such that, when gameplay resumes for a particular user, the environment has changed from when the user last interacted with the environment.
Since most persistent universe games are played on remote servers, an internet connection is usually required to play them to perform updates to the game world.
Pinball: Simulation of an arcade pinball machine.
Post-Apocalyptic: Describes any game where the setting is soon after a world-wide nuclear war, where radiation has created mutants, entire cities are leveled, and necessities like gas, food, and water are hard to come by. Think shortly after a nuclear holocaust. Think "Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome". Examples: Wasteland, Fallout, etc.
Puzzle-Solving: Puzzle-solving may refer to actual puzzles (logical, mathematical, physical, etc.), as well as a type of problem-solving distinguished by clue-gathering and manipulation of objects. This type is particularly characteristic for puzzle-solving adventures. Puzzles may also occur in action games, e.g. platformers or (more rarely) 3D shooters.
Puzzle games (i.e. games that are entirely composed out of puzzles) are categorized within the strategy genre.
Real-Time: Real-time refers to gameplay that happens without waiting for player input, i.e. in real time. Action games are real-time by default and therefore do not require this tag.
The real-time tag is used for RTS (real-time strategy) games, many managerial simulations which are not turn-based (e.g. Transport Tycoon), as well as puzzle games that require quick thinking, such as Tetris variants.
This tag is also used to describe combat in certain role-playing games (the ATB system of many Final Fantasy games or the Infinity Engine combat in Baldur's Gate and some other Western RPGs). This type of combat requires the player to manage the activities of the combatants in real time, and should not be confused with that of Action RPGs, where combat is action-oriented.
Rare examples of real-time games outside of the aforementioned genres (e.g. The Last Express) also exist.
Rhythm / Music: Denotes a type of action game whose mechanics are based on the player's command of timing and reflexes, and the gameplay environment uses musical rhythm as timing. Examples include Parappa the Rapper, Space Channel 5, Frequency, Samba De Amigo, etc.
Sci-Fi / Futuristic: Used as a modifier when the gameplay setting takes place in the future, outer space, or other Sci-Fi setting. Examples: Wing Commander would be a Sci-Fi Action game; Master of Orion and Alpha Centauri are Sci-Fi Simulation games; etc.
Shooter: Shooters are action games in which the player character shoots enemies.
The shooting is usually performed with firearms in these games; however, any weapon that dispatches projectiles qualifies, which makes many games (e.g. Heretic) that rely on medieval ranged weaponry or even magical projectiles shooters as well.
There are many shooter sub-genres, including fixed-screen shooters, scrolling shooters, rail shooters, and others.
Since the emergence of 3D graphics, 3D shooters, popularized by Wolfenstein 3D and Doom, have become the leading representatives of the genre. This sub-genre is sometimes referred to as first-person shooter, though this definition is not very precise, since the genre's distinguishing feature are 3D environments, not the perspective; some 3D shooters allow players to switch between perspectives, while others enforce a third-person view.
3D shooters may incorporate elements of other genres, most commonly role-playing (e.g. System Shock games and Deus Ex).
Spy / Espionage: Denotes any game where gameplay centers around performing covert operations, searching for government documents, and otherwise generally being a spy. The protagonist is usually a spy or government operative, performing espionage or otherwise working covert operations. Examples: Covert Action, James Bond games, etc.
Stealth: Denotes any game where gameplay strongly centers around not being detected, searching for hidden/secret items, and otherwise avoiding conflict. The protagonist is usually a spy or government operative, however any game that has stealth as its core gameplay mechanic qualifies. Examples: Splinter Cell, Hitman, etc.
Survival Horror: Survival horror is typically a 3rd person perspective game in which the player has to survive an onslaught of undead, human, animal or monster like opponents, usually in claustrophobic environments. Horror film elements are used liberally. The player is typically armed, but not nearly as well-armed or armoured as a player in a first person shooter game. The player's goal is generally to escape from an isolated house or town that is inhabited mostly by zombies and monsters through shooting and puzzle solving.
Tank: Denotes any game that explicitly centers around tanks, for the purposes of action, arcade, or simulation (or all three). Examples: M1 Tank Platoon, Battlezone, Soldier Boyz, Panzer General, etc.
Train: Games involving train management, simulation, and general use for more than 50% of a game.
Turn-based: In turn-based games the flow of play is well-defined (entirely or partially) into "turns". A player has time to decide what his/her next move will be. The computer AI opponent (or the next human player) then gets time to make their move(s).
Most turn-based games belong to the strategy genre. Turn-based is also a very common form of combat in role-playing games. RPGs may be considered turn-based even though their combat is sporadic, and the actual exploration is not divided into turns.
Video Backdrop: Denotes any action game based on interacting with a motion-video backdrop, either as scenery or as an enemy. Examples: Rebel Assault, Novastorm, etc.
Visual Novel: Also called NVL games, "digital novels", and "choose-your-own-adventure games": games in which the story is told through text overlaid on a background representing the scene being described. The player's input is confined to periodically making choices which might affect the direction and outcome of the story. Mostly regarded as a branch of Japanese adventure, but Western examples exist as well.
Ecology / Nature: Denotes any game that studies the ecosystem, the environment, etc.
Foreign Language: Denotes any educational game where an emphasis is put on learning a language foreign to native English speakers, such as French, German, Spanish, etc.
Geography: Denotes any educational game where the focus is on learning geography, locations, landmarks, etc. Example: the "Where is Carmen Sandiego" series.
Graphics / Art: Denotes any educational game that develops or explores visual creativity.
Health / Nutrition: Attempts to teach healthy habits such as nutrition, exercise, "clean living", etc.
History: Denotes any educational game that teaches history.
Math / Logic: Educational game centering on building mathematical and/or logic skills, such as addition, subtraction, geometry, etc.
Music: Educational game centering on building tonal and music theory skills.
Pre-school / Toddler: Educational game centering on entertaining and teaching pre-school children or toddlers. Typing skills are usually not required.
Reading / Writing: Educational game centering on building English reading, writing, spelling, or grammar skills.
Religion: Denotes any educational game that teaches or emphasizes religious teachings.
Science: Denotes any educational game with an emphasis on learning biology, chemistry, physics, etc.
Sociology: Denotes any educational game that attempts to teach sociology.
Typing: Educational game centering on building typing and keyboard skills. Examples: "Mavid Beacon Teaches Typing", "Dvorak on Typing", etc.
Add-on: Denotes any product which requires another game to run.
An add-on or expansion pack typically features no significant changes to the gameplay mechanics and enhances the existing game, e.g. by adding more levels, campaigns or race tracks. Products which only use the engine and construct a new game around it are called total conversions.
Coin-Op Conversion: Denotes a game that originally appeared in stand-up, coin-operated, arcade game form (or pinball form) and later converted to a personal computer version. Examples: Pac-man, Space Invaders, Pinball Jam, etc.
Compilation / Shovelware: Denotes any retail package that contains a combination of game titles. "Compilations" are two or more games in a series (prequels/sequels) or a similar genre. "Shovelware" is the term given to dissimilar games packaged together, usually at a low price, to try to make up for lost or sagging profits.
Editor / Construction Set: Denotes the addition of an editor bundled with the game so as to facilitate tweaking game variables, drawing new playfields/maps, drawing new graphics, etc. Built-in editors greatly extend the life of games because they extend playability infinitely. Games that are exclusively built around this concept are called Construction Set games; e.g. Pinball Construction Set or Stuart Smith's Adventure Construction Set.
Emulator: Denotes any game or game collection running on an included emulator.
Emulators facilitate the execution of foreign game code on a platform it was not designed for; this allows the coin-op arcade game Defender, for example, to run on a PC.
Licensed Title: Denotes any game where the gameplay, storyline, or setting was taken from or inspired by a specific movie, television show, book, board game or other work that predated the game. Examples: Die Hard Trilogy, Rendezvous with Rama, Below the Root, Mechwarrior, Blade Runner, etc.