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I have to admit off the top that this blog does do some generalization here and there, however it's something that I've noticed for awhile, and if you bear with me it may actually make sense in its own strange way. Think about the word genre and what it entails. We define games into categories: FPS, RPG, 3RD person, Puzzle, Platformer, Sports, Party, Action Adventure, and Casual. Yet despite this are any of these truly necessary in today's gaming landscape.
Obviously we can cross out FPS and 3rd Person, as these rely heavily on merely the perspective from which a player experiences the events in game, but the other genres have taken on a slight blend to each of them. Even sports titles have begun to incorporate aspects from other genres. Create a Player modes now involve some sort of story or skill progression akin to RPGs, and in some cases unlockable games within play out like party games or arcade games.
Now while a game may hold one genre to its pedigree specifically, the blend amongst all genres has increased significantly over the past couple of years to the point where one could hardly call even Mass Effect 3 a pure RPG. The gunplay in that game feels closer to an improved cover system laid out by Gears Of War, and the RPG elements are handled primarily through conversation trees and upgrades to Shepherd that hardly feel incredibly deep in comparison to RPGs of the past. Even Call of Duty now incorporates a level of skill progression into its multiplayer portion to the extent that you can make a class to fit any need.
Platformers are slowly falling into this mode, however the pure platformer must contend with puzzles and in some cases skill progression to keep the audience aware of how different it is from previous platformers. Look at platformers such as Little Big Planet or even some recent Mario games and you'll see that puzzles play a long way into keeping the game feeling fresh. We're reaching an age with Mirror's Edge where the idea of a first person platformer isn't off the shelf when handled correctly.
This isn't a negative to the industry it's a boon, and as I said saying that genres are dead is a complete lie, but they're definitely no longer valid as a means to identify the type of game you will be playing. When I think of Hollywood, and admittedly I tend to draw many comparisons to movies for games, I don't see genre being defined by filter of lens but rather the actual content. Games should be done the same way, especially given how little genre now defines the actual play of a game when compared to the games of the past. While playing Darksiders 2 I can't determine a genre to put it in. I'm leveling like I would in an RPG, I'm platforming like I would in Prince of Persia, I'm fighting enemies like I would in God Of War, and I'm solving puzzles all at the same time.
How I define Darksiders 2 isn't by gameplay because gameplay is only part of the experience, how I define the game is based on content, to which I would define this one as a Fantasy game. Similiarly I'd define Dead Space 2 as a horror game, and Call of Duty an action game. I'd define Heavy Rain as a drama, and Mass Effect as science fiction. I guess in that respect I'd have to call Mario an animated game, but I'll stick with family for this one. Let's give up on defining genre by gameplay and start calling it what it is, the content included on disc. We've reached an age where our RPGs are mixed with our FPS, and our 3rd Person Action with our platformers, and it's time to admit that we have transcended the need to define our hobby based on descriptors of game type.