The Genres of Gaming: The Difference Between an FPS and an RPG

I tend to look at video games as form of literature.  Roger Ebert would disagree with me, as he is probably one of the few people that looks at a video game, let’s say Dragon Age: Origins, and refuses to call it a piece of art.  The industry has more or less come down to interactive pieces of literature.  Well, to an extent.  There’s always Duke Nukem. (See last post)

The fact of the matter is that games, much like books, come in genres.  Lets take a look at some of the basic ones

RPG: Role Playing Game.  Dungeons and Dragons type things.  Lots of swords, magic, potentially princesses and probably dragons.  A side note: the game that is widely considered the greatest game of all time, Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, is an RPG.  It’s also my favorite Genre.  If you’re looking for plot, and possibly spending upwards of 40 hours of your life playing a game, this is where you should go.

This is a commercial for Dragon Age 2, pretty good indicator of what an RPG represents.  Also, Dragon Age Origins was amazing, and I would recommend picking it up, 14 bucks used for xbox, 30 bucks for digital download on

FPS: First Person Shooter.  You’ve probably heard of Call of Duty or Halo by now, and if you haven’t, I’m sorry, but you should probably read the news once in a while.  Arguably the most popular genre of games out there, in recent years has almost become a sport all on its own.  You will see gamers dedicate their lives to getting that 50 kill 0 death ratio on call of duty.  If you are a competitive  gamer, this is most likely the genre you are playing.  Fun Fact: FPSes used to be mostly single player until the advent of Halo: Combat Evolved, which introduced the majesty of multiplayer FPSes to the world.  Another Fun Fact: If you ever play on Xbox live, wordplay is a game all it’s own.  The more jokes you can make about your opponent’s mothers, and/or their own sexuality the better.  Also, tea bagging.

A testament to how FREAKIN good you can be at Call of Duty.

Platformer: You’ll find these games to be more along the lines of the classics.  Super Mario Bros. and Sonic The Hedgehog, for example are classic platformers.  In recent years, the platformer has moved more into the 3D realm, instead of the old-school sidescrolling one.  Case in point: Super Mario.  Super Mario 64 and more recently Super Mario Galaxy are more recent platformers, involving moving through a 3D space in order to solve a specific puzzle or area.  Youll often times find the controls to platformers to be simple, like A to jump and arrows to move, occasionally some other attack is thrown in there, but more or less, its very simple as opposed to an FPSes controls.

MMORPG: Massively Multiplayer Role Playing Game.  Hands down, the most addictive of the genres that exist out there.  I have seen greater men than I completely ruined by MMORPGs, like the 12 million subscriber strong World of Warcraft.  Essentially, it all comes down to an RPG that is played with a server full of other players that you can interact with, Party up with, fight against and otherwise re-create a society with.  If you want to try to play one, there are literally thousands of F2P (Free to Play) MMOs out there ( is a good one that is completely free to play) but the piece de resistance of the MMO world Is World of Warcraft, possibly one of the most culturally relevant video games ever.  Be warned though, for 15 bucks a month, you may very well forget about your real life.  If you want to see what it’s like, find the episode Make Love Not Warcraft of the TV show South Park, it’s a pretty good representation.

The most famous video based on world of Warcraft, and pretty much the epitome of what it represents.

RTS: Real Time Strategy.  These have gotten pretty popular of late with the F2P game League of Legends coming out, as well as the sequel to the IMMENSELY popular Starcraft. (  What it comes down to is you, commanding a single character, or in most cases and entire army, and commanding their moves.  There are HUGE in Korea.  It is actually a national sport, I shit you not.  The day Starcraft 2 was released it was basically considered a national holiday in Korea.  Korea’s obsession aside, the RTS game is basically a more frantic strategy game, like chess, but with FAR more pieces, FAR faster reaction times, and more Zurg Rush. PROTIP: You must construct additional pylons.


There are many more genres out there, far more than I could ever show in one blog post, but the ones I’ve outlined here are pretty much the basics.  Gaming has become an artform all it’s own, complete with artists, critics and whiny little fanboys bitching about how Mozart (Call of Duty) is better than Chopin (Halo).  For newbies, I reccommend starting with something easy to play, (SEE: Legend of Zelda, Super Mario Bros, Call of duty 4 on single player) before attempting things like Call of Duty on multiplayer or, god forbid, the sickeningly difficult but amazing RPG Demons Souls.  But my greatest advice is to make your own informed decisions on what you like.  Much like picking a book you want to read, or seeing a movie you like, it’s all about personal preference.  So go online, find some games you find interesting, and scope out your local gamestop, and who knows, you could be the next CoD champeen.

Seriously, you must construct additional Pylons,

Brian Bishop


6 responses to “The Genres of Gaming: The Difference Between an FPS and an RPG

  1. Very nice article Brian! I’ll be reading everything you post from now on. Gotta love the humor just like IRL lol. One note though, there has been discussion (and i think conclusion) about games like Dota and LoL. I’m pretty sure they’re considered their own game type now (called defense of the area) instead of being grouped in with RTS games. Not completely sure on this, but just wanted to add my 2 cents.

    p.s. more pylons 🙂

  2. All I know is that I am easily the worst first person shooter video gamer ever. I have been kicked off several games online for weighing the team down. Would classify Madden an RPG? Yyou basically control everything about your team and can customize it anyway you want and can easily spend more than 40 hours of your life playing it.

    • You know, to an extent I actually would ocnsider MAdden an RPG, but only partially. The game itself isnt intrisically an RPG, but it does have RPG elements like leveling and stats, although the gameplay itself is that of a Sports Game. As for FPSes, Im very similar to you Jose, Im no champ at Halo, really, it takes a lot of practice to get good, much like anything else.

  3. Thanks for the info! I love that southpark episode about warcraft, it is too funny, and yes, has ruined many lives! I know some college friends who got sucked in (and whom I quickly lost as friends because I never saw them). LEEROYY JENKINSSS

  4. I just wanna say that the Leeroy Jenkins vid is 1000x funnier when you fully understand the game, and I haven’t laughed this hard in a long time. Most cuz I haven’t watched the leeroy video in forever. I agree with you when you say MMORPG’s are addictive your talking to a former addict. As for RTS games, I think that you can play that at your leisure

  5. “The most famous video based on world of Warcraft, and pretty much the epitome of what it represents.”

    A game made to be taken seriously but hardly ever is. Yup that about describes it.

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