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CUNY Games Network

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We connect educators from every campus and discipline at CUNY who are interested in games, simulations, and other forms of interactive teaching. We seek to facilitate the pedagogical uses of both digital and non-digital games, improve student success, and encourage research and scholarship in the developing field of games-based learning.

Categorizing video games

  • Hi, Gaming Gurus:

    Michelle Fraboni and I are working on a survey querying Queens College students about the technologies they use in and out of school. One of our sets of questions is about video games. We have assembled the list below, for the types of games people might play; we thought we’d run the list by you all: are the categories right? enough? too many? and are the example games illustrative enough, or are there better examples we could use?

    Many thanks in advance!

    Which of the following video games do you play? Check all that apply.

    1. Puzzle games (like crosswords or sudoku)
    2. Action games (maze games like PacMan, fighting games like Mortal Kombat)
    3. Shooter games (like Doom or Space Invaders)
    4. Adventure games (like Tomb Raider)
    5. Sports games (like NBA Live)
    6. Wii games
    7. Construction and management simulation games (like SimCity or
    RollerCoaster Tycoon)
    8. Life Simulation games (like The Sims)
    9. Role-playing games [that aren’t
    massively multiplayer or online: could it be combined with 10?]
    10. Massively multiplayer online role-playing games (like World of
    11. Strategy games (like Civilization or Age of Empires)
    12. Vehicle simulation games (flight simulators, driving simulators, etc.)
    13. Other (please specify)

Viewing 11 replies - 1 through 11 (of 11 total)
  • Casual games like diner dash. Though often puzzle games fall into this category (like mine sweeper).

    Casual games like Bedazzled and even card games like Solitaire, etc.?

    Sounds like an interesting survey and the categories look good. Just a couple of suggestions… I think Action games and Fighting games should be separate. I would also keep 9 & 10 separate.

    It would be interesting to know if students prefer co-operative gameplay/competative multiplayer gameplay/or solo gameplay. Regarding co-op gameplay I would love to know if student typically play with known friends or random gamers. Lastly, I think it would be interesting to find out if students are playing these games on social networking sites (Farmville)/phones/gaming consoles/computers/etc…

    -Sarah M

    This is a great project, Eva! Good luck with it.

    A few comments:

    — many of your examples come from 80s/90s games; I’d guess that students today would be more familiar with more recent games (ex. Mass Effect 2 instead of Doom).

    — “Wii games” is interesting because unlike everything else on your list, it references a platform. And games have been made for it that include almost all of your other genres. it might be worth thinking about what types of games, if any, are designed only for the Wii platform. Maybe “Exercise Games (Wii Fit)?” Or maybe you want to include a category of games that includes advanced real-time motion sensing.

    A few other suggested genres:
    — Location-based Games (4square, Gowalla)
    — Music Games (Guitar Hero)
    — Arcade Games – (Pacman, Space Invaders, Missile Command)
    — Card Games (Online Poker, Solitaire, FreeCell)

    Good luck with the project and please keep us updated on it.



    “Casual games like Bedazzled and even card games like Solitaire, etc.?”

    I would consider Bedazzled a puzzle game and Solitaire a card game.

    -Sarah M

    Oh, and here is one more:

    Social Network/Facebook Games (Mafia Wars, Vampire Wars, Farmville)

    I agree with Matt’s category suggestions.

    Here are some recent game examples from my friend who is an avid gamer:

    — Shooters (1st/3rd person): Halo 3, Gears of War 2, Mass Effect 2, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2
    — Action/Adventure: Uncharted 2, Bioshock 2
    — Adventure: Monkey’s Island series, Myst series
    — Fighting: Street Fighter series, Soul Calibar series, Super Smash Bros. series
    — Role Playing: Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic series, Elder Scrolls 2, Zelda, Pokemon series
    — M.M.O.R.P.G.- Second Life
    — Platform: Super Mario Bros. series, Ratchet & Clank series, Prince of Persia series
    — Strategy: Starcraft
    — Vehicle Simulations: Gan Tourismo series, Project Gotham Racing series, Hawx

    This is a great project! I’d love to see your results (if it’s okay to share them).

    I agree with Matt’s and Sarah’s comments about platforms and the social aspects of gaming. If you have the space for it in your survey, I would suggest pulling these out into 2 questions in addition to your question on game genres:

    1. Which platforms/interfaces/devices do you use for gaming?
    – Console (e.g., Wii, Playstation, Xbox)
    – Portable console (e.g., Playstation portable, Nintendo DS)
    – Phone or other device (e.g., iPhone/iPod Touch, Blackberry, other phone)
    – Computer (e.g., PC, Mac)
    – Web browsers (e.g., Facebook games, other online games played in a web browser)

    2. What kinds of gaming situations do you prefer?
    – Solo (alone)
    – Competitive multiplayer
    – Cooperative multiplayer
    – Multiplayer with people I know
    – Multiplayer with people I don’t know

    This is supernerdy and probably excessively nitpicky, but I don’t know that I would call the Zelda and Star Wars series role playing — I’d put those in Adventure. Pokemon is an odd beast because most of those games basically replicate the offline card game with some adventuring thrown in, so I’d probably move that to Adventure too.

    I would definitely add in “exercise games” as Matt suggests — there’s a huge number of these for the Wii.

    You’re right about Zelda Maura… that’s my bad. I still think KOTOR would be considered role playing though. Yeah, I’ve fully embraced my inner nerd too. ; )

    You may (or may not) want to some what match the categories used by the Pew Internet and American Life Project, which studied the gaming habits of 1102 teens:
    I thought their categories were a little too broad, but they did some nice analysis of things like, do girls play different kinds of games than boys?

    Thank you all for your suggestions. I think we can shape up our gaming questions and add more current games. We’ll keep you posted!


Viewing 11 replies - 1 through 11 (of 11 total)

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