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Software is also increasingly a constraint at the tools/middleware level. What you use to develop your game shapes the end result. Consider for example, the role and impact that, for example, the Unreal Engine has had.

Regarding taxonomies of game generes (or categorizations), they are ALL arbitrary and should never be an end, but rather a means to an end. Ultimately, what we should care about most is how (and in what ways) a particular schema can help based on whatever need we have. So, a taxonomy to help identify game design elements would look very different from one created to help understand the ways that narratives are used in games. Both might have the same games, but they'd be organized very differently!

Jose: The effect of engine sharing definitely plays into this issue of constraint histories.

And I agree that taxonomies of game genres are means not ends - I don't want to suggest that they are useless, but I have become sceptical of their value when thinking about the history of games, since the flow of ideas (and constraints) is in no way bound by genre. For examples, as I've written before, Dungeons and Dragons has a far greater influence on games than looking solely at RPGs would suggest.

All the best!

I prefer the "rollercoaster, experimentation, mastery" genre definitions. It reflects the natural flow of play, and each game chooses which phase of the process it will emphasize. Over time we've gotten better and better at targeting them.

Within each category there are sub-categories (various kinds of skill mastery, for example). But they provide the best real world framework I've seen.

Dankline: well you can certainly put down a whole host of useful genre categories when your interest is the design/audience for a game. But what this post attempts to address is how to deal with genre when your interest is *historical* - and in this sense, a practical genre categorisation like the one you mention doesn't really bring anything to the table. Then again, not many people seem that interested in games history - which I think is part of the problem with game studies in general. :)

Thanks for commenting!

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