283: Introducing The Escapist's Genre Wheel

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Very interesting indeed! I like the basic breakdown. If you think of it as a two-axis Cartesian coordinate system, the origin would be a perfect blend of all four elements. You could plot every game as a dot somewhere on the graph based on how much it tends towards each element. I like logical and mathematical breakdowns of complex art forms! :)

Steve Butts:

coolguy5678:
The issue with forcing games to occupy points on the edge of a circle is that in order to make the A/S distinction more extreme, you are forced to make the E/C distinction less so, and vice versa. For example, this makes the Action RPG impossible to classify. Allowing games to occupy any point on a "genre plane" would make the system more expressive (albeit more complicated). Perhaps a simpler alternative would be to keep the 8 categories, but also add "ASCE" which resides in the centre of the wheel.

(I'm also not sure why you put music games where you did. Take Guitar Hero - ignoring Star Power, it's entirely devoid of strategy. The game literally tells you what the optimum set of input is.)

That said, I definitely agree that classifying games based on external form is far too simplistic and not particularly useful.

Yes, the idea is not that games only exist on the outer edge of the wheel. That's just where the distinctions are most easily quantified. It's true that there are shades of difference in the various hybrids, but the AS axis isn't necessarily meant to be more meaningful, but it does address the "how" of games, while the CE axis merely addresses the "what." I considered the usefulness of an ASCE category, but ultimately, I felt it was a cop-out. If the point is to say games trend towards one of the four points of compass here (either A,S,C, or E), then saying that a game is a perfect blend of them all makes the whole point of classification moot.

To your point about action-RPGs, that was one of the trickier genres to incorporate. We eventually just decided that, while those games exist along the seam between conflict and exploration, you could clearly tell in nearly every case whether a game was action (reflex-based) or strategy (stat-based). For instance, Diablo and Fallout 3 seem more like RPGs to me, while Borderlands and BioShock are more like shooters. Again, this is not to say shooters and RPGs aren't mixing together in interesting ways, but I think it's usually clear whether a game is a shooter with RPG elements or an RPG with shooter elements.

As far as music games go, I think you must have just misread things. The wheel classes them as action/exploration. In this case, the exploration is not the dimension of space, but the dimension of time.

I think this kind of problem demands that we be very specific about what we mean by "RPG elements." If we simply mean playing the role of a character in a story, that's hardly a major change in how the character engages the gameplay. The story, sure, but not the gameplay itself.

If we mean things like branching dialogue trees, or even just the earning of selectable upgrades, then we're not talking about elements that define the game. An FPS that has a series of selectable upgrades that you unlock with experience points doesn't have "RPG elements" in any way that shifts it to a new genre. It has a strategy-oriented "subgame" within it. The core gameplay is still an FPS.

Of course, what this'll really come down to is the dreaded question--is "RPG" really a standalone genre? Or is it just a collection of ways in which games of different genres can be explored? Is there a game that is clearly an RPG, but clearly not a turn-based strategy game or clearly not an action game? The "RPG" label seems more to be a comment on presentation more than genre itself.

I think that your wheel, though it includes "RPG," actually acts to move us away from the use of RPG as a genre. And I don't think that's a bad thing at all.

dastardly:
I think this kind of problem demands that we be very specific about what we mean by "RPG elements." If we simply mean playing the role of a character in a story, that's hardly a major change in how the character engages the gameplay. The story, sure, but not the gameplay itself.

The scheme we've got here is neutral with regard to the presentation elements you mentioned. Story and setting provide important context but are not, by definition, types of gameplay, which is what this chart hopes to define.

There's a whole other discussion to be had about what an RPG is, but one of the points of the AS distinction with regard to that label is to define whether a game focuses on the player's ability (action) or the character's ability (strategy). So in the case of RPG, we mean that success is determined more by the character than the player. In other words, Fallout 3, Borderlands and BioShock all have shooter combat, but they don't all handle it the same way. Fallout 3 is very stat based, BioShock is very action based, and Borderlands is somewhere in between.

> If we simply mean playing the role of a character in a story, that's hardly a major change in how the character engages the gameplay.

Your role in the "story" can be that of a car. Removing "mental" attributes is no different from trying to reduce a living character to hp:18,ac:2,weapons:x,y,z, etc. The cultural space is /very/ easy lose focus on and yet we still think we're in a RPG more because the role (1:1 player-role) is that of a living character rather than a car. Anthropomorphism blurs even that difference entirely. Attach a forum and people will go on about the adventures of their car and create any cultural space required that may have been missing in the game itself.
The car lives in a city, humans live in a city. Both can be "role played". A driving game /can/ be a RPG depending on how/where the "production" approach sets the "units of progression" and suchlike.

> I think that your wheel, though it includes "RPG," actually acts to move us away from the use of RPG as a genre. And I don't think that's a bad thing at all.

I'd personally be happier if it wasn't there. People don't tend to think and just take stuff as gospel. Sad but true.

I think it's an excellent premise for genre-defining! Looking at the key motivations behind games and the basic techniques they use to engage players is much better than just grouping games together off of a few similar features.

Even if this wheel isn't perfect (and of course nothing is) then the approach is much better than anything I've seen before.

Incidentally it would be nice if the colours were chosen with more meaning, but it does look pretty as it is!

After reading Dastardly and Russ Pitts, it occurs to me I probably wasn't thinking deeply enough.

But, I spent an hour messing around in illustrator and photoshop, sooo, here's a quick example of the design tweak I was babbling about above: http://www.warrenblyth.com/remote/EscapistGameClassification-V2_sC.jpg
(wee! wasted some time designing for no reason! oh well.)

Will meditate on design choices more.

Very cool. It's also purty :3

Buuut there's obviously the times when a subgenre needs to be on both sides, like an FPS/RPG or something. You can never make it perfect.

Where would an action-RPG like diablo be on this chart?

That's pretty good. Definitely not perfect, but I can't come up with anything better that doesn't get needlessly confusing. So yeah, I'm gonna have to say you did a good job. I'm going to have to agree with some of the people here who've stated it's not really a wheel though. There's simply nothing preventing a game from being right on the border on both axes. Mass Effect 2 in particular I honestly can't think of which letter I'd take away if I had to take one. It just doesn't work.

As for my tastes, I'm all over the place there. My favorites are probably SCE and AE, but I can really get into a good SC or ACE game. AC and SE can be a fun little distraction for me, but I never personally find them to be great, and I really just flat out don't like any ASC or ASE games. I guess I don't like my action and strategy mixing, which actually sounds about right when I think about it that way. I prefer to not think or to take my time and analyze everything. Thinking fast is just not my thing.

Outstanding article!

As a self-professed video game collector, I just went through the process, recently, of trying to narrow down game genres and the types of games that go with them for my database. Not an easy task, as you know. Your 'wheel' really does what I had attempted to do, only, of course, much better and much more easily worked with. Thank you.

Now I will have the fun of applying your research and hard work to my own collection to streamline things, which some may think is more work than it's worth, but for collectors like me, that's part of the fun. =D

Again, great article and thanks.

Kinda new, almost revolutionary logic that is, but logic nevertheless. I'd like everyone to stick to this one, if it wasn't so innovating in the solid stereotype that is genre definition.

@ Russ Pitts & Steve Butts:
Would you show/discuss your other ideas of visualization?

I made a quick and ugly mashup of AS/EC as a diagramm to be able to place a handful of titles on the continuous spectrums.

image

bolastristes:

Russ Pitts:
Introducing The Escapist's Genre Wheel

The Escapist breaks games down to their basics and devises a genre classification system that covers all (ok, almost all) of the bases.

Read Full Article

Who the hell buys a game for Itīs genre!? : fanboys and casual gamers.

Personally, donīt give a damn about genres, for me Itīs just good games and bad games.

I honestly donīt see a real point of this article.

Well aren't you posh? Nobody buys a game for it's genre... but you're naive if you think that genres don't suggest whether or not you'd enjoy a game. For example, I know I will not like any sports games ever. The subject matter bores me. Also, anything that is remotely RTS related will turn me away as I blow at them. This causes me to not have any fun, so I ignore the genre as a whole. That being said, I don't think it's implied that someone will buy a game just because of it's genre, it still has to be good. IE - "Ya, you should pick up Alundra. It's kinda like a Zelda type game".

Steve Butts:

dastardly:
I think this kind of problem demands that we be very specific about what we mean by "RPG elements." If we simply mean playing the role of a character in a story, that's hardly a major change in how the character engages the gameplay. The story, sure, but not the gameplay itself.

The scheme we've got here is neutral with regard to the presentation elements you mentioned. Story and setting provide important context but are not, by definition, types of gameplay, which is what this chart hopes to define.

There's a whole other discussion to be had about what an RPG is, but one of the points of the AS distinction with regard to that label is to define whether a game focuses on the player's ability (action) or the character's ability (strategy). So in the case of RPG, we mean that success is determined more by the character than the player. In other words, Fallout 3, Borderlands and BioShock all have shooter combat, but they don't all handle it the same way. Fallout 3 is very stat based, BioShock is very action based, and Borderlands is somewhere in between.

I definitely agree that your scheme is both "setting-neutral" and "presentation-neutral," and I think that's its greatest strength--it's tackling the issue of defining genre through categorizing the player's activity rather than the game's format.

I guess I'm just biased against the thought of "RPG" as a genre, simply because it's about as non-descriptive and unhelpful a term as "casual" (while being similarly loaded with biases on both sides). It's a presentation style that works its way into many genres. (ex. When I play Spiderman games, I'm playing the role of Spiderman.) Maybe we could someday work to find another name for this style of game. My personal vote goes for "Character-based Strategy games." The game is more oriented toward strategy than action (stats weigh more than "twitch" skill), but that strategy centers around how a character (or party of characters) are equipped and skilled.

And of course, those can be either "Realtime Character-based Strategy" like Fallout 3, or "Turn-Based Character-based Strategy" like the old Final Fantasy games. I think Borderlands is definitely a shooter, but with a strategy sub-game running parallel to the dominant shooter gameplay.

And, to be sure, I'm totally nitpicking with this, as are all of us. Take that as a good sign--it means the idea in its current form is strong enough that there's nothing left to do but some minor tuning and tweaking. I appreciate that this wheel represents months of (likely occasionally heated) discussion and compromise. It really does a very good job. The summary of my (very minor) complaints are:

1) Wah, wah, I don't like the term RPG. I'd prefer something more descriptive like "Character-based Strategy."

2) I think the Conflict/Exploration dichotomy is misleading in terms of the names you've given those dimensions. I recommend "Direct Conflict" (enemies working to prevent your success) versus "Indirect Conflict" (environmental hazards, or opponents working to beat you to a goal rather than prevent your advance)--to avoid the impression that "exploration" games are devoid of conflict.

Great article! I'm currently studying game theory and we just got assigned to write an analysis of a game based on genre! There are not a whole lot of texts discussing this topic so this article is amazingly good source material :D

Very interesting article. I always enjoy thinking about the essence of games and why I enjoy some and hate others.

I decided to mark the chart based on my preferences. It was a very interesting exercise, which I recommend you all try. See this picture:

http://i275.photobucket.com/albums/jj317/Brumbek/EscapistWheel-BrumbeksPicks.jpg

So interestingly, my favorite choices represent nearly the entirety of gaming genres. And interestingly, two of my absolute favorite genres are diametrically opposed on this chart (SE, AC). And two of my second favorites types are also opposed (AE, SC).

If someone wishes to tell me what this all means, please do. I think it means I'm a very well adjusted gamer who enjoys massive action and conflict FPS games and also loves strategically exploring vast worlds. Or maybe this means I'm schizophrenic???

dastardly:
I guess I'm just biased against the thought of "RPG" as a genre, simply because it's about as non-descriptive and unhelpful a term as "casual" (while being similarly loaded with biases on both sides). It's a presentation style that works its way into many genres. (ex. When I play Spiderman games, I'm playing the role of Spiderman.) Maybe we could someday work to find another name for this style of game. My personal vote goes for "Character-based Strategy games." The game is more oriented toward strategy than action (stats weigh more than "twitch" skill), but that strategy centers around how a character (or party of characters) are equipped and skilled.

...

And, to be sure, I'm totally nitpicking with this, as are all of us. Take that as a good sign--it means the idea in its current form is strong enough that there's nothing left to do but some minor tuning and tweaking. I appreciate that this wheel represents months of (likely occasionally heated) discussion and compromise. It really does a very good job.

We thought it would be needlessly pedantic to jettison the current genre labels and would actually be working against the purpose of the chart.

For me, RPGs are primarily about: 1) stat-based character advancement, 2) rules-oriented combat, and 3) story consequences driven by player choice. Those are all fairly mechanical considerations and not at all concerned with the philosophical definition of "roleplaying" as "playing a role" -- except to the extent that the values a player projects into the game affect the way the game is played. I admit, the lack of a common definition is problematic but within the context of this wheel, RPG represents a very specific gameplay style.

Also, I love nitpicking.

Steve Butts:

dastardly:
I guess I'm just biased against the thought of "RPG" as a genre, simply because it's about as non-descriptive and unhelpful a term as "casual" (while being similarly loaded with biases on both sides). It's a presentation style that works its way into many genres. (ex. When I play Spiderman games, I'm playing the role of Spiderman.) Maybe we could someday work to find another name for this style of game. My personal vote goes for "Character-based Strategy games." The game is more oriented toward strategy than action (stats weigh more than "twitch" skill), but that strategy centers around how a character (or party of characters) are equipped and skilled.

...

And, to be sure, I'm totally nitpicking with this, as are all of us. Take that as a good sign--it means the idea in its current form is strong enough that there's nothing left to do but some minor tuning and tweaking. I appreciate that this wheel represents months of (likely occasionally heated) discussion and compromise. It really does a very good job.

We thought it would be needlessly pedantic to jettison the current genre labels and would actually be working against the purpose of the chart.

For me, RPGs are primarily about: 1) stat-based character advancement, 2) rules-oriented combat, and 3) story consequences driven by player choice. Those are all fairly mechanical considerations and not at all concerned with the philosophical definition of "roleplaying" as "playing a role" -- except to the extent that the values a player projects into the game affect the way the game is played. I admit, the lack of a common definition is problematic but within the context of this wheel, RPG represents a very specific gameplay style.

Also, I love nitpicking.

dont kill me here but... just quickly reading what you're both saying does the title of a genre actually need to be its description? surely its just a name?

I agree on the renaming of Exploration|Conflict to Direct|Indirect Conflict.

(I think everyone can imagine an economical simulation, a platformer or a P&C Adventure as indirect conflict.)

@Meaning of what parts of the spectrum you like|dislike.
Sorry to be a buzzkill but I think it doesn't inherently mean anything.
I've played and liked games all over the spectrum at different moments in time.

Steve Butts:
We thought it would be needlessly pedantic to jettison the current genre labels and would actually be working against the purpose of the chart.

And I'd have completely (and yet grudgingly) agreed. When it comes to pinning down a more accurate term, it seems as though that ship has sailed. There's too much baggage and tradition wrapped around that term to address its inherent inaccuracy at this point. Damn.

(Of course, that won't stop me recommending the change when I get the chance!)

Also, I love nitpicking.

Exquisite! Here comes some, just for kicks--

For me, RPGs are primarily about: 1) stat-based character advancement, 2) rules-oriented combat, and 3) story consequences driven by player choice.

1) Yep, that's the "character-based strategy" element I'm thinking about. You're planning out and executing something according to a sequentially-oriented set of options, most often along a branching chain. It's just that the "something" is a character/party instead of a city or base full of dudes.

2) Isn't this one really just the logical extension of #1--I mean, you've got all these fancy stats, so it only makes sense that combat would be based around the manipulation of those stats. (You could also argue it works in the opposite direction, and that the stats are based on the type of combat rules you plan to have. Either way, I think these two can be collapsed into a single concept.)

3) Now, this one is clearly in the realm of presentation. Plenty of games that are clearly widely-accepted as RPGs have a linear story... and there are some action games in which the flow of the story can change based on player choice (Hell, the arcade House of the Dead games have multiple paths to choose!). I'll agree that it goes best with story-focused games, and RPGs tend to do better in that regard because there's a slower pace (allowing the story to breathe a bit).

I really think that the most widely-accepted concept of RPG really just boils down to that combination of your first and second points. The combat is (whether real time or turn based) centered on rules and stats, while a core gameplay mechanic revolves around how you improve and manipulate your character's ability to capitalize on those rules via stats. Or character-based strategy. This will become "a thing" someday, mark my words.

I admit, the lack of a common definition is problematic but within the context of this wheel, RPG represents a very specific gameplay style.

And I think most people know exactly what you mean when you say RPG, too. I just hate the term personally, and I'm desperately outvoted on the matter. The only true problem I've seen recently is the idea that some folks have that simply adding a skill tree to your game qualifies it as having "RPG elements." I just don't think that single act adds enough depth to qualify the game for a sub-genre.

At any rate, thanks for taking the time to respond to my previous post--especially as I imagine it to probably be a rehashing of conversations you've likely participated in a thousand times!

aww yea:
dont kill me here but... just quickly reading what you're both saying does the title of a genre actually need to be its description? surely its just a name?

A name should convey something about the thing bearing the name, don't you think, though? Not necessarily "a description." But it does need to provide a clear meaning according to general consensus. Of course, there's pretty much a consensus on what exactly an RPG is... but only among those with extensive experience in the genre already, I'd argue.

To be ultimately effective, terminology has to have meaning without the need to provide extensive context. If you have to explain the term every time, in an extensive way, it's not an effective term.

Given how this wheel defines the terms "strategy" and "action," and the overall belief that RPGs focus on improving character stats, I think calling it "Character-based strategy" would be an accurate and appropriately descriptive name. I also think it's totally not worth the effort to try to change it. I'm under no illusion that it'll catch on.

I am going to stand by my claim that the Conflict/Exploration dichotomy is being misrepresented by those particular terms, and that Direct Conflict and Indirect/Environmental Conflict would be a better way to convey the differences described in the article. Or perhaps "versus Opposition" and "versus Environment/Competition" as descriptors for the challenges a character will face in game.

warrenEBB:
Cool.
Design wise, I'd suggest moving the "Exploration|Conflict" ring outside of the genre titles. (so that the titles are trapped between "Action|Strategy" and "Exploration|Conflict")

When I saw "AE" and "ASE" at the start of the article, I didn't get it. I assumed these were some kind of third level of classification.

p.s. I love data porn TO DEATH. and admit that my suggestion here may be lame.

I agree with your idea on the design choice. While looking at the wheel I occationally had minor issues seeing where the axis ended up (nothing major, just taking a second to recollect what I was looking at). I think toying with the Exploration|conflict on the outside somehow might end up making the design a bit more readable. I still think it is a good design as is, but I think it can still be improved.

Edit: I saw your brief mock up of your idea. Although I like certain aspects (providing clearer lines on where genres lie, putting the exploration|conflict axis on the outside), I feel the colors chosen is a little awkward, somewhat visually offending at times. I would also put clearer boundaries on the action|strategy/exploration|conflict axis (I hope you take this criticism as constructive, not negative).

I do understand that it was probably put together really fast and you did say you were still meditating improvements, I like the overall design.

econael:
I agree on the renaming of Exploration|Conflict to Direct|Indirect Conflict.

(I think everyone can imagine an economical simulation, a platformer or a P&C Adventure as indirect conflict.)

@Meaning of what parts of the spectrum you like|dislike.
Sorry to be a buzzkill but I think it doesn't inherently mean anything.
I've played and liked games all over the spectrum at different moments in time.

I'm also totally open to more elegant descriptions--mine does sound a bit clinical.

I was thinking of direct conflict being represented by "Opposition," with indirect conflict being represented by "Obstacles." Players are either facing a force that actively opposes them, or simply something that is between them and the goal. In this case, things like competition would fall under "Obstacles"--the other cars in the race are not directly opposing you, but are basically dynamic obstacles standing between you and first place.

Really, I don't so much mind the use of the word Conflict... it's "Exploration" that gives me trouble, because it seems to indicate those games have no conflict in them--basically no goal. That's especially problematic because of the inclusion of party games and racing games, where you are clearly in conflict with something.

We're of course splitting hairs with all of this, and it's fine as-is... but having something 99% perfect just really makes that 1% particularly bothersome, doesn't it?

vivaldiscool:
I notice that under this classification most modern "rpgs" would be considered ACEs. Was it deliberate to exclude games like Mass Effect, The Elder Scrolls, KotOR, or (the new) Fallouts from the RPG genre and put them into action adventure?

Your question touches on one of the aspects of this project that gave me, personally, the most headaches. And it probably made the rest of the team headachey as well, since I kept them all late at every genre wheel meeting arguing with them about it.

The situation here is that I fully expect the next new genres (whatever they end up being) to come out of what we're currently calling "Action Adventure." There is no sane world in which Tomb Raider, Batman: Arkham Asylum and Red Dead Redemption are classified as being the same genre, but yet, in our world, they are. And that's a good thing.

Right now, developers are creating games that are a mash-up of exiting genres. New genres will come out of this experimentation. Plan for it. For now, however, we will simply have to all accept that "Action Adventure" is a catch-all for games that don't fit anywhere else.

As far as the games you specifically list, I still would put them in the SCE category, since RPGs, through their heavy reliance on inventory management and planning, are very strategy-oriented. Watching current RPG trends, though, I can imagine a future in which they round they circle and occupy a position more directly in the center of this wheel.

econael:
@ Russ Pitts & Steve Butts:
Would you show/discuss your other ideas of visualization?

I made a quick and ugly mashup of AS/EC as a diagramm to be able to place a handful of titles on the continuous spectrums.

That's a really nice visual there. Well done.

Believe it or not, one of our our internal discussions on this took the form of an Excel spreadsheet that looked very similar to what you just made. And then we called in one of our extremely talented artists and he made it all purty :)

What about something like Spore?

That would be all over the place!

Jabberwock xeno:
What about something like Spore?

That would be all over the place!

Although I admit I haven't given too much thought to your statement quite yet, I would personally consider the different phases your creature/civilization ends up going through as different genres in and of themselves.

I don't see the issue with Action RPGs. Action RPGs are hybrids of Action-Adventure Games and RPGs and would logically sit in between the two, in the middle of the circle. Yes, that means they include Action, Strategy, Conflict, and Exploration. But is that not true? They are among the deepest types of games made.

It's no different than how Neutral sits in the middle of the Alignment wheel because it has elements of all other alignments. >:)

It's an interesting read, but too long. If it takes 3 pages to explain a chart, then I question the validity of the chart for actual use.

Hmm. That does seem like an effective form of classification - dual axis classifications, like the classic good/evil lawful/chaotic axes, are always very flexible, and almost anything can be divided relatively easily into the two sets of opposing characteristics like that.

The biggest problem, as has been discussed above, is the "Action RPG". You can easily see the issue just by looking at the wheel - action is on the opposite side from RPG. I see your point in that most of the time you can tell whether it's more action or more strategy by whether it is stat or skill based, but there's one problem with that - it only takes into account the conflict portion. What about the exploration portion? In all of these games, exploration, of the story and the world itself, is strategy based, not action based like a platformer.

In short, in the RPG you have the conflict, easily divided through mechanics into action or strategy, but you also have the exploration, which is almost always strategy.
Thus, the typical action RPG, like Bethesda's open worlds or Mass Effect, ends up evenly balanced again.

This seems big, like, " Honey, do you know what a 'Toaster' is? Well they just invented it and I bought one. Now you don't have to put the bread in a frying pan to make TOAST!!!"
If you've ever spent 3 months making toast out of your frying pan than my analogy might hit you harder.

Anyway, I think this wheel is genius! Russ, Butts, you guys better get a copywrite on this pretty quick. This might end up on the cover of every game in the future just so pll purchasing games can make an informed decision, it might be the next PMRC....except this is a much more positive thing and wouldnt apply to music.

To tactics and strategy I would add logistics (management of resources), but overall it's a very thought-provoking list.

I wonder if someone could explain how racing/driving games fit into this chart. A racing game is certainly tactical, not very strategic, not very logistical. Does it have anything to do with exploration or conflict? Make a racing game abstract, and it's about optimizing performance to reach a goal before your opponent. Direct conflict is optional, exploration is optional. Do we need another category for racing games?

aldowyn:
Hmm. That does seem like an effective form of classification - dual axis classifications, like the classic good/evil lawful/chaotic axes, are always very flexible, and almost anything can be divided relatively easily into the two sets of opposing characteristics like that.

The biggest problem, as has been discussed above, is the "Action RPG". You can easily see the issue just by looking at the wheel - action is on the opposite side from RPG. I see your point in that most of the time you can tell whether it's more action or more strategy by whether it is stat or skill based, but there's one problem with that - it only takes into account the conflict portion. What about the exploration portion? In all of these games, exploration, of the story and the world itself, is strategy based, not action based like a platformer.

In short, in the RPG you have the conflict, easily divided through mechanics into action or strategy, but you also have the exploration, which is almost always strategy.
Thus, the typical action RPG, like Bethesda's open worlds or Mass Effect, ends up evenly balanced again.

Well I think the biggest problem remains the same, that people perceive games differently so we're still going to get people who will claim that one game fits into one category and someone else another. I mean a game like the Sims... does it really belong in a category with a bunch of other games tharen't anything like it. Is Spore or Sims similar... because I don't think they are but what else is close to Sims... maybe something like Kudos yet Kudos doesn't play like Sims even if the subject matter is similar.

Oh wow. The Escpapist doesn't half-ass anything, does it? I mean... holy shit. That's a college thesis right there.

I don't know how this will help review games at all, but it surely is damn interesting.

Looking at the chart it looks I like exploration a lot, only disliking it when it strays too far. I like all genres except for the ones in the rightmost edge.

Except music games. Weird huh?

> Oh wow. The Escpapist doesn't half-ass anything, does it? I mean... holy shit. That's a college thesis right there.

*yay* for encouraging more mind-forged manacles. :/

IMHO, the model is well-intended but informed by a particular observational stance (the overarching production domain of computer games, it would appear) and thus is skewed from the bigger picture.
In /that/ context the fundamental elements should not be action/strategy (continuum not binary) but physical/cultural. i.e. totally "crunch-neutral" until a production domain is applied, whether that be a particular computer game, pen-and-paper D&D, a particular LARP, or whatever.

02c, anyhow, but informed by RCT.

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