A game is basically a structured form of entertainment, normally undertaken for fun or amusement, and occasionally used as a teaching tool. Games are quite different from work, which can be carried out purely for profit, and from literature, that is more usually an expression of artistic or philosophical themes. In many ways they represent the best of both disciplines: they involve the use of our minds in a stimulating way, but they also involve competition, application, strategy, risk, and so on. The history of games can be traced back to pre-history, when humans gathered around some fire to solve riddles, pass information, manipulate their environment, or strategize against each other.
Today, the history of video games has experienced a renaissance, which has seen new genres emerge, different types of hardware become available, new types of developers develop their games, new types of gamers develop their interests in this field, and new types of media become popular. Video game mechanics have also changed dramatically, becoming open, highly complex systems, able to support not only sophisticated graphical quality, but also complex artificial intelligence. Game mechanics are often linked with the style of game, with adventure games requiring a different set of skills and abilities than action or first person shooters. The importance given to game mechanics in a game has increased as the quality of the game engine has improved, and the complexity of the system has become higher.
However, it has also changed the landscape of this genre. Whereas adventure games can be thought of as “choose your own adventure” type titles, narrative-based titles are generally more linear and require some degree of direct interaction with the game’s mechanics. The major change comes in the form of multiplayer games, where players can connect to play with other players online, often representing a very solid online community. There is no longer any need to meet up in real life to play. Instead, all you need is an Internet connection and a few minutes each day to play with other players, creating a strong bond between players and their ability to create great stories together.
This has created another important trend within this genre: the growing presence of social interaction. In an era where the majority of people play video games for enjoyment, adventure games that give players the chance to interact are getting more play. From chat rooms and forums to online communities dedicated to a single genre, we are seeing a greater number of people taking advantage of this fun fact. And, as a result, we’re seeing this trend grow even further.
The other interesting trend that is shaping this game genre is the rise of “choose your own adventure” (or RPGs) games. Unlike action-adventures, RPGs take the narrative approach to gameplay. Rather than following a plot-lines and having the story develops around it, you decide what happens next. This allows players to shape their characters and the world around them. There is absolutely no defined limits on how this will evolve over time, but one thing is for certain: right now, the choices are limited.
This doesn’t mean, however, that a player can’t have a hand in shaping their experience. One of the most popular types of RPGs these days are the simulation games. These features turn-based gameplay with limited actions, strategic planning, skill evaluation, inventory, fighting, and many other options like interacting with the environment, solving puzzles, and more. While they give players a chance to experience the story, they are designed to feel very natural and require very little direct interaction. By playing these strategy games, players are given a chance to use their imagination and learn new skills without putting a damper on the story themselves.