A serious game involves a stimulation of real-life events or other processes which are designed for learning and problem-solving purposes. Although some serious games can be entertaining, their main objective is to educate and train the player. Such games can also be used for marketing, advertising and other purposes.
A video game genre, on the other hand, is a terminology used to classify games based on their interaction during game play. When it comes to designing serious games, there are several video game genres that can be used; as such games have themes, graphics and interactions that can help categorize them into a variety of video game genres easily. Examples of video game genres that lend themselves to serious games include, but are not limited to:
This genre combines two of the most popular video game genres; action and adventure. Serious games with the action-adventure category typically involve long-term objectives that must be achieved using tools or items, and short-term targets that are achievable through puzzle-solving and combat. The genre is further subdivided into two categories; stealth games and survival horror. Action-adventure serious games are particularly important when training the armed forces through virtual simulation. Popular serious games in this genre include CyberCIEGE and Close Combat: Marines.
In terms of video game genres, adventure games are the oldest. In such games, the player plays the role of a protagonist in an interactive story mode that involves exploring the game world and puzzle solving. In contrast to action-adventure, most adventure games have single player options and require critical thinking and thorough observation. A serious game designed for staff training or edutainment can employ the adventure genre, such as Democracy.
Role-Playing Video Games
This popular genre brings the pen-and-paper or board game tactics into the digital world. If you remember the Dungeons & Dragons board game, then Role Playing Game (RPG) is the same thing, only on a computer. The player controls the protagonist of the game in a well-defined and detailed world. The advent of Japanese RPGs has further increased the demand for such games and increased its usage in serious games.
Massive Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Games (MMORPGs)
Emerging in the 1990s, MMORPGs take RPGs to a multiplayer level. This means that the objectives of completing all the game quests and objectives involve interaction with other players. World of Warcraft is one of the leading MMORPG, globally. MMORPG can be fused with any other game genre. An example of a sci-fi MMORPG is Phantasy Star Online.
Life Simulation Games
Simulation games have always been popular. The use of virtual resources to create parks, cities and even countries has always fascinated people. Even today, Farmville remains one of the most popular online simulation games. Life Simulation Game is a subgenre of simulation that involves creating and controlling one or multiple artificial lives. This can include designing individual characteristics, defining the character’s relationships with others or even simulating a virtual ecosystem. They are also known as “god games” and do not generally have any set goals to determine a winner. Serious games offering pet-raising training or social interaction can be considered as life simulation games.
Vehicle Simulation Games
A vehicle simulation game provides the player with a realistic representation of operating a particular vehicle. For example, X-Plane is a serious game for Linux/Mac/Windows operating system that provides a comprehensive civil aviation and control stimulator, and enables a cost-efficient flight training exercise for the user. Similarly, Ship Simulator teaches how to maneuver a ship through the perils of the sea.
Strategy Video Games
As the name suggests, a strategy video game involves the use of skillful and careful thinking and critical planning to emerge victorious in a world full of innovative tactics. The players can only advance to the next levels if they are familiar with resource planning. This category is further divided into several subgenres, such as the 4X, Real Time Strategy, MMORTS, Artillery Game, Tower Defense and
Turn-based Strategy (TBS) Games
A subgenre of strategy-based games, TBS allows the player a period of thinking and analysis before taking any action in the game. Some TBS also allow a number of actions that can take place in a sequence or a turn.
There are several other genres and subgenres that apply to serious games. Multiple genres can be used to create an interactive, 3D learning environment for all serious game players. You can easily use any game genre and design innovative serious games for all your staff training and learning needs.