Difference between revisions of "Multi-genre video games"

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'''Multi-genre video games''', also referred to as '''cross-genre''', are those [[video games]] which use multiple vastly-different play mechanics throughout the game. For example, in ''[[The Adventures of Bayou Billy]]'', the game changes between a [[beat 'em up]], a [[driving video game|driving game]], and a [[rail shooter]] as you progress through the stages. Multi-genre video games began pretty early in the history of video games with titles like ''[[Jungle Hunt]]'' and ''[[TRON (video game)|TRON]]''.
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[[Image:Multi-Genre Video Game - Jungle Hunt.png|thumb|256x256px|''[[Jungle Hunt]]'' (1982) was an early multi-genre video game.]]
  
I generally find games to be inferior when they use a multi-genre model, although I admit that there have certainly been some good ones. I think it seems like most games of this sort don't put enough polish on each individual genre, and they result in several unfinished portions.  
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'''Multi-genre video games''', also referred to as '''cross-genre''', are those [[video games]] which use multiple vastly-different play mechanics throughout the game. Multi-genre video games began pretty early in the history of video games with titles from 1982 like ''[[Jungle Hunt]]'' and ''[[TRON (video game)|TRON]]''.
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I generally find games which use a multi-genre model to be inferior to those that stick to a single genre, although, I admit that there have certainly been some good multi-genre titles over the years. I think the primary reason multi-genre games seem inferior is because the developers are unable to spend enough time to really polish the game. Typically, game designers have only a limited time in which to complete their game, and, when they stick to a single mechanic, all their efforts are concentrated on honing that single mechanic in the allotted time. However, when the developers create multi-genre games, they have to divide their resources between each mechanic, resulting in several mechanics that have a rather unfinished feel.
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A good example of a multi-genre game which felt inferior is ''[[The Adventures of Bayou Billy]]'' released in 1988. The game changes between three different genres as you progress through the stages, each of which was quite similar to three other games released on the NES around the same time which focused on only a single Genre. The [[beat 'em up]] section is similar to ''[[Double Dragon]]'', the [[driving video game|driving]] section is similar to ''[[Rad Racer]]'', and the first-person [[rail shooter]] section is similar to ''[[Operation Wolf]]''. However, though they're similar, each section of ''The Adventures of Bayou Billy'' feels like a primitive version of the other games, missing features and experiences that players had come to expect from those genres.
  
 
==Definition==
 
==Definition==
It's often difficult to decide which games should be considered "multi-genre" since most video games employ elements of various mechanics. Also, a lot of games have minigames or optional content which doesn't follow the mechanics of the primary game. I try to base the definition on what percentage of the game focuses on mechanics different than the primary. For example, the game ''[[Chrono Trigger]]'' has a racing minigame, but the amount of time playing it as a racing game is only a fraction of the time when you're playing it as an action RPG.
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Most video games employ a wide array of elements, so it's often difficult to decide which games should be considered multi-genre. My general rule for determining if a game should be considered multi-genre is to consider what percentage of the game play is spent on each genre. The closer the percentage nears equilibrium, the more likely the game should be considered multi-genre. For example, ''The Adventures of Bayou Billy'' has three genres, beat 'em' up, driving, and rail-shooter. When you calculate how much of the game is spent on each genre in an average play through, you get percentages like 40%, 30%, and 30%. These are pretty close to equilibrium, so the game is multi-genre. On contrast, the game ''[[Chrono Trigger]]'' contains a couple minigames, but they only account for about 5% of the game, while the game's main RPG mechanic is used for the other 95%. Since this is nowhere near equilibrium, it should not be considered multi-genre.
  
There is an additional concern for games built around the concept of minigames. A game which includes a dozen card games certainly uses a lot of minigames, however, they all function with very similar mechanics so I wouldn't consider it multi-genre. However, the minigames in ''[[Mario Party]]'' all feature different mechanics, so I would consider it multi-genre.
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Some games are designed around a theme of minigames. These are usually considered multi-genre, but only if the games actually have different play mechanics. For example, the mini games in ''[[Mario Party]]'' all feature different mechanics, so I consider it multi-genre, but I would not consider a card game title which featured a dozen different card games to be multi-genre since they're so similar.
  
Also, there needs to be a distinction between multi-genre games and [[compilation games]]. ''[[The 7th Guest]]'' is a multi-genre game because all the different puzzles work as part of an overall theme, but ''[[Videocart-1]]'' for the [[Channel F]] is not because nothing ties the three games together.
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Also, there needs to be a distinction between multi-genre games and [[compilation games]]. ''[[The 7th Guest]]'' is a multi-genre game because all the different puzzles work as part of an overall theme, but the [[Super Mario Bros. multicarts|''Super Mario Bros.'' / ''Duck Hunt'' multicart]] released on the NES should not be considered multi-genre because the games are unrelated.
  
 
==Examples==
 
==Examples==
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! Title !! Released !! Developer || Notes
 
! Title !! Released !! Developer || Notes
 
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|-
| ''[[The 7th Guest]]'' || 1993-04-01 || [[Trilobyte]] || Includes a bunch of puzzle games, many with very different themes.
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| ''[[The 7th Guest]]'' || 1993-04-01 || [[Trilobyte]] || Includes a bunch of puzzle games, most which have very different mechanics.
 
|-
 
|-
| ''[[Actraiser]]'' || 1990-12-16 || [[Quintet]] || Alternates between a beat 'em up and real-time strategy.
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| ''[[Actraiser]]'' || 1990-12-16 || [[Quintet]] || Alternates between a beat 'em up and a real-time strategy.
 
|-
 
|-
 
| ''[[The Adventures of Bayou Billy]]'' || 1988-08-12 || [[Konami]] || Changes between a beat 'em up, driving game, and first person shooter.
 
| ''[[The Adventures of Bayou Billy]]'' || 1988-08-12 || [[Konami]] || Changes between a beat 'em up, driving game, and first person shooter.
 
|-
 
|-
| ''[[Glittermitten Grove]]'' || 2016-12-26 || [[Twinbeard]] || Two primary mechanics include a real-time strategy and action-adventure, but has a lot of minigames too.
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| ''[[Glittermitten Grove]]'' || 2016-12-26 || [[Twinbeard]] || The two primary mechanics include management simulation and action-adventure, but it has a lot of minigames too.
 
|-
 
|-
| ''[[Pony Island]]'' || 2016-01-04 || [[Daniel Mullins Games]] || Two primary are runner and logic puzzle, but has a couple other minigames.
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| ''[[Pony Island]]'' || 2016-01-04 || [[Daniel Mullins Games]] || Two primary genres are runner and logic puzzle, but has a couple other minigames.
 
|}
 
|}
  

Revision as of 12:40, 16 September 2019

File:Multi-Genre Video Game - Jungle Hunt.png
Jungle Hunt (1982) was an early multi-genre video game.

Multi-genre video games, also referred to as cross-genre, are those video games which use multiple vastly-different play mechanics throughout the game. Multi-genre video games began pretty early in the history of video games with titles from 1982 like Jungle Hunt and TRON.

I generally find games which use a multi-genre model to be inferior to those that stick to a single genre, although, I admit that there have certainly been some good multi-genre titles over the years. I think the primary reason multi-genre games seem inferior is because the developers are unable to spend enough time to really polish the game. Typically, game designers have only a limited time in which to complete their game, and, when they stick to a single mechanic, all their efforts are concentrated on honing that single mechanic in the allotted time. However, when the developers create multi-genre games, they have to divide their resources between each mechanic, resulting in several mechanics that have a rather unfinished feel.

A good example of a multi-genre game which felt inferior is The Adventures of Bayou Billy released in 1988. The game changes between three different genres as you progress through the stages, each of which was quite similar to three other games released on the NES around the same time which focused on only a single Genre. The beat 'em up section is similar to Double Dragon, the driving section is similar to Rad Racer, and the first-person rail shooter section is similar to Operation Wolf. However, though they're similar, each section of The Adventures of Bayou Billy feels like a primitive version of the other games, missing features and experiences that players had come to expect from those genres.

Definition

Most video games employ a wide array of elements, so it's often difficult to decide which games should be considered multi-genre. My general rule for determining if a game should be considered multi-genre is to consider what percentage of the game play is spent on each genre. The closer the percentage nears equilibrium, the more likely the game should be considered multi-genre. For example, The Adventures of Bayou Billy has three genres, beat 'em' up, driving, and rail-shooter. When you calculate how much of the game is spent on each genre in an average play through, you get percentages like 40%, 30%, and 30%. These are pretty close to equilibrium, so the game is multi-genre. On contrast, the game Chrono Trigger contains a couple minigames, but they only account for about 5% of the game, while the game's main RPG mechanic is used for the other 95%. Since this is nowhere near equilibrium, it should not be considered multi-genre.

Some games are designed around a theme of minigames. These are usually considered multi-genre, but only if the games actually have different play mechanics. For example, the mini games in Mario Party all feature different mechanics, so I consider it multi-genre, but I would not consider a card game title which featured a dozen different card games to be multi-genre since they're so similar.

Also, there needs to be a distinction between multi-genre games and compilation games. The 7th Guest is a multi-genre game because all the different puzzles work as part of an overall theme, but the Super Mario Bros. / Duck Hunt multicart released on the NES should not be considered multi-genre because the games are unrelated.

Examples

These are multi-genre video games which are important to me, for a complete list, see the category.

Title Released Developer Notes
The 7th Guest 1993-04-01 Trilobyte Includes a bunch of puzzle games, most which have very different mechanics.
Actraiser 1990-12-16 Quintet Alternates between a beat 'em up and a real-time strategy.
The Adventures of Bayou Billy 1988-08-12 Konami Changes between a beat 'em up, driving game, and first person shooter.
Glittermitten Grove 2016-12-26 Twinbeard The two primary mechanics include management simulation and action-adventure, but it has a lot of minigames too.
Pony Island 2016-01-04 Daniel Mullins Games Two primary genres are runner and logic puzzle, but has a couple other minigames.

Links