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Blending Genres [roundtable]
 
Yesterday, my friend showed me a game available on Steam called 'Simplz Zoo' because he thought it might interest me since I have a love of management sims and animals.

The game is sort of like Zoo Tycoon mixed with Bejeweled. You build your zoo in between levels or 'months' of the game and play the levels to collect resources to expand your zoo even further. It's a pretty cool idea, and I haven't really seen many games like it before... but it reminded me that there are many games that have tried to blend genres, and have been a great success. Some... not so much...

I want to know what are the opinions of the Negative Worlders' on blending genres.

Is it good or bad? Please use examples of some games that may back up your opinion.

Also, let's think of some crazy genre-blending games of our own, with genres that have yet to be blended. o.o

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Posted: 04/14/10, 22:18:27  - Edited by 
 on: 04/15/10, 01:29:32
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First one that came to mind:


A blend of puzzle (tetris attack/puzzle league style) and action-platformer. It worked really well, IMO. Going to the puzzle to power up projectiles, fully eliminate baddies, and get special items was super fun.
Posted: 04/14/10, 22:23:24
First thing that came to my mind:



Such a great co-op experience. FPS/RPG hybrid for the uninformed.
Posted: 04/14/10, 22:25:18
@anon_mastermind
@stephen08

I was actually going to mention those two! :D

I haven't played Henry Hatsworth, but my friend who has it says it's great. And I LOVE Borderlands, it truly is a FPS/RPG. If anyone were to use an example of an FPS/RPG hybrid, they should use Borderlands... not Bioshock >.<; I've heard Bioshock been used as an example too many times before... it's just a shooter with RPG elements, not a full-on FPS/RPG... I'm not saying it's a bad game though, it was one of the finer gaming experiences I've had.
Posted: 04/14/10, 22:39:12
Henry Hatsworth is awesome and anyone who tells you it is broken is an idiot. AN IDIOT I SAY!

Genre blenders hmm... Well, Ratchet & Clank is an obvious one, platformer + shooter. Valkyria Chronicles combines real-time action with turn-based strategy (what?) though I still think of it as a strategy game first and foremost.

I think too many games have a few token "RPG elements" to actually call them gender blenders. I have actually heard people refer to the handheld Castlevania games AS RPGs before and I was like what... are you serious?

I don't think this is a question that can be answered "good or bad" though. Obviously there are some advantages of getting various elements into a single game, but there are also advantages that "pure" genre games have. For instance, Ratchet is fun as a combo game but kind of weak platformer, Valkyria Chronicles is NOT a game you would play to keep your twitch shooter finger happy, and Henry Hatsworth is a neat combo but the puzzle elements exist mostly just to boost you up for the platforming. I would not suggest Ratchet to someone who is looking for a kickass platformer, nor would I suggest Valkyria Chronicles to someone looking for a kickass shooter or Henry Hatsworth to someone looking for a kickass puzzle game. But if someone is in the mood for some interesting hybrids, sure.

On the other hand, I don't want (main) Super Mario to ever be anything but a super well-designed platformer. Add in all the twists you want, but make sure it is a platformer first and foremost.
Posted: 04/15/10, 06:30:49
Most everything today is a "blended genre" of sorts. I mean hell, look at something like the perk system in Modern Warfare. That's ripped straight out of role playing games, though 99% of people who play it probably don't know it. In fact elements of rpgs have become pervasive in many genres and for good reason, it increases longevity and keeps people hooked. I played Killing Floor far longer than L4D strictly because I could level my guy up by killing things. It gives a sense of accomplishment.
Posted: 04/15/10, 06:42:56
Modern Warfare is my favorite WRPG
Posted: 04/15/10, 06:50:57
I don't know if I'd call Ratchet & Clank blended genre since that kind of game had already existed way back on the NES with Mega Man.

But anytime RPG elements are added to shooters I get all warm and fuzzy. EXP and leveling made RS:Vegas more fun for me and Borderlands is a great example of that as well. I like shooters but today many are so similar that if there is nothing to work for they aren't fun for me.
Posted: 04/15/10, 08:06:56
Paleo_Orca said:
@anon_mastermind
@stephen08

I was actually going to mention those two! :D

I haven't played Henry Hatsworth, but my friend who has it says it's great. And I LOVE Borderlands, it truly is a FPS/RPG. If anyone were to use an example of an FPS/RPG hybrid, they should use Borderlands... not Bioshock >.<; I've heard Bioshock been used as an example too many times before... it's just a shooter with RPG elements, not a full-on FPS/RPG... I'm not saying it's a bad game though, it was one of the finer gaming experiences I've had.

If you want an FPS/RPG, you gotta use some of the originals! Like System Shock (More RPGish...), or Planetside (More like FPS/MMO, but same dealio.)

Borderlands is awesome, but was far too short, leveling up is fun when you can do it for a long period of time, that's the whole point of having a leveling system is to get some extra length out of games - I mean my team and I beat Borderlands and a second playthrough over the course of like 4 days (Saturday/Sunday on 2 separate weekends.) far too short!

Planetside, on the other hand, kept me hooked for so long! C'MON PLANETSIDE 2!

Although Global Agenda (F(Well, third person, but WHATEVS)PS/Online RPG) is a nice distraction til then.
Posted: 04/15/10, 09:02:53
Like Zero, I think that some games can blend genres all they want, they still tend to fall mainly under one defined genre, while the extra outside elements add a certain flavor, but don't fundamentally change the game.

I was gonna cite something like Brütal Legend as an exception, before I realized it really isn't. It's a RTS AND an open world game, but those elements are distinct and separate. It isn't being a RTS while it's being an open world game, if you know what I mean. It shifts between genres, doesn't blend them.
Posted: 04/15/10, 18:20:34
@CRISIS hearts That's an interesting point. The platformer/shooter has long running roots, back to Contra / Mega Man and beyond. Somewhere along the lines (Wolfenstein?) shooters became straight shooters though. I guess the transition to 3D? Actual focused platforming in a shooter is rare.
Posted: 04/15/10, 18:44:44
I would argue that Mega Man is more of a platformer than Ratchet ever was, however. There is a LOT of emphasis on navigating platforms.
Posted: 04/15/10, 19:20:23
The Metroid games are adventure/shooter/platformer, aren't they? Metroid Primes even retain most of the platforming aspect in 3D.
Posted: 04/15/10, 19:47:47
@Pandareus I know, I've always said Ratchet is more of a shooter first. It was weird to me when people would call it a better platformer than Sunshine. But still, it has a fair amount of platforming (even if it is mostly easy platforming).
Posted: 04/15/10, 19:55:17


One part puzzle, one part RPG. ALL AWESOME.
Posted: 04/15/10, 21:00:58
@Simbabbad

Agreed, except for the first game. In that one the platforming/shooting is the focal point of the game. Metroid II shifted it farther towards adventure/exploration and by Super Metroid it was all the way.
Posted: 04/15/10, 21:15:28
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