Top 10 Dead Video Game Genres That Deserve a Comeback in 2015
Video games are more diverse now than they ever have been, with the rise of indie gaming and a wider array of consoles meaning that there’s a game for everyone out there.
However, even though there are many different types of games, there are some classic genres that have been overlooked in recent years, and others that are more-or-less dead in the water.
Here are 10 of those dead video game genres that we hope receive a great comeback in 2015. They certainly deserve it.
Remember when flight simulators were everywhere? At one point it seemed as though everyone who owned a PC, regardless of whether or not they were remotely interested in pretending to fly a plane from London to San Francisco, owned a Flight Simulator title.
However, simulator games are now practically dead across the board, with only the odd (and frequently entirely, unforgivably garbage) “ironic” simulation game making its way to Steam, such as Farming Simulator, Skyscraper Simulator and Grass Simulator (yes that is a thing, and yes it is terrible).
Simulator games deserve a renaissance, and not just for the hardcore. At the moment almost every major game strives for realism, from the true-to-life visuals boasted by most sports series to the gritty drama in the stories of titles such as The Last of Us. So why shouldn’t we see a revival of games that take that realism a little bit further than their peers?
Simulation Game You Can Pick Up Right Now: Euro Truck Simulator 2. A surprisingly competent game that takes an incredibly dull premise (drive a truck from one destination to the other, obeying road traffic laws whilst trying not to damage your cargo) but turns it into something oddly relaxing.
Perhaps the least likely “dead” genre to receive an extra breath of life, rail shooters harken back to a rather primitive era of gaming when the industry had not long made the transition into 3D and the light gun peripheral was considered a hot commodity.
Now aside from the odd The House of the Dead cabinet gathering dust in the local arcade (which is also gathering dust), there are little to no rail shooters available to play other than Cabela’s Big Game Hunter titles or that awful Rambo game that recently dragged its way onto store shelves.
The truth is that, despite what we may have thought back in the good old days, rail shooters were never really that good. They were perfect for arcades because they allowed for 2-player action, but when removed from that environment and put on consoles, they suffered a drastic decline in quality, and as the arcade fell from greatness so did the genre.
But that needn’t be the case on current-gen consoles. TVs are now big enough that they could support light gun peripherals without the gameplay feeling cramped and, consider this, you could even have 4-player shooting. When the rail shooter revival takes place, remember who first suggested it.
Rail Shooter You Can Pick Up Right Now: Kid Icarus: Uprising. While it’s not a full-blown rail shooter (you can still move protagonist Pit around the screen to dodge enemy attacks), it’s slim-pickings in the genre right now meaning that this is definitely your best bet. It’s also a great game, which helps.
Space Combat Simulators
Unlike the vast majority of genres featured in this list, space combat simulators are making a decent attempt at crawling their way out of the grave they’ve been buried in.
Kickstarter has helped a number of space combat titles, most notably the hugely ambitious Star Citizen, target a large demographic of gamers who miss the days of Wing Commander, but the genre still has a long way to go if it ever wants to reach the heights it frequently achieved back in the ’80s/’90s with titles such as TIE Fighter and Elite.
There’s always been a vast well of potential in the space combat genre, which has largely gone untapped over the past decade. This is surprising given that the majority of us have been raised on Star Wars and remain compelled by the idea of hurtling through the black vastness of the universe, imagining ourselves donning a Han Solo vest jacket and recovering bounties from the galaxy’s most wanted men, women and aliens.
Hopefully the space combat genre is eventually taken off life support, aided by the handful of new space games that lie just around the corner, and will find itself propelled into relevancy once again.
Space Combat Simulator You Can Pick Up Right Now: Elite: Dangerous. Though only in its beta stages, Elite: Dangerous still provides a wealth of content and an unrivalled amount of depth when it comes to piloting spacecraft. Even menial tasks such as successfully landing your vehicle in a space station are hugely gratifying, and though it’s far more than just a space combat sim due to it also requiring the player to monitor trade routes, deliver cargo and perform a variety of other tasks aside from simply shooting bad guys, it’s certainly the direction the genre will look towards if it wants to turn its fortunes around.
Despite their tendency to focus on true-to-life military action, albeit in a much more exaggerated form, FPS games in 2014 are far sillier than they’d care to admit. However, rather than wearing that silliness as a badge of honor, they still aim to appease the blood-lustful masses by purporting to offer a taster of what real-life war is like, without the inevitable PTSD.
But with all these military shooters clogging up the genre, we’d love to see a game that hearkens back to the era of Quake and Unreal Tournament, where developers focused upon arming players to the teeth with ludicrous weaponry rather than the typical array of assault rifles/shotguns, and maps were filled with warp pads, teleporters and pitfalls.
It’s not so much the fault of developers and publishers that the arcade FPS hasn’t staged a comeback, as they have tried on multiple occasions to bring it back into the zeitgeist, but it seems that the majority of gamers are no longer interested in this particular genre. Games such as Bulletstorm attempted to revive it but it fell flat in the sales department, largely due to its lack of competitive multiplayer modes, something which is practically a requirement for the modern-day FPS if it wants to pique the interest of those already investing a huge amount of times in series such as Call of Duty and Battlefield.
We’d love to see some modernized arcade FPS titles outside of the frequent Serious Sam re-releases and awful rehashes of ’90s classics (here’s looking at you, Duke Nukem Forever), and news that Cliff Bleszinski is at the helm of an upcoming free-to-play sci-fi arena shooter is certainly encouraging, but if we could have arcade FPS’s sitting directly alongside military FPS’s then fans of shooters would certainly have the best of both worlds.
Arcade FPS You Can Pick Up Right Now: Team Fortress 2. The most popular arcade FPS available right now, this squad-based multiplayer game is still receiving plenty of support from developer Valve years after its initial release, and its servers are still heavily populated with people embracing its wacky charms and wonderful sense of humor.
Point and Click Adventures
There was a period of time when point and click adventure games were among the most popular genres on PC. From the humorous Monkey Island series through to the hugely influential Myst, mostly everyone who owned a PC back in the early ’90s also owned one of these games.
At the moment there is but one developer who is flying the point and click flag, and that is Telltale Games. Following the release of the phenomenal first season of their Walking Dead video game series, which displayed a knack for great characterization, pacing and tension that the AMC show itself often struggles to achieve, this opened the door to many more Telltale games, including The Wolf Among Us and the recent Tales from the Borderlands and Game of Thrones adaptation.
While all these games are all great in their own right, they still all only adapt that familiar Telltale style, and this is something that a true revival of the genre would change. If consumers began to long for more point and click games that weren’t developed by Telltale, we could potentially see a large-scale reboot of one of PC gaming’s most popular old-school genres. While we’re happy for Telltale to keep making great games, a little competition never harmed anyone, did it?
Point and Click Adventure You Can Pick Up Right Now: Tales from the Borderlands. While Game of Thrones may be the more obvious and popular choice, Tales from the Borderlands sees Telltale stepping out of their comfort zone a little bit, developing a game based in an existing video game franchise that isn’t exactly well-known for its plot. It’s got bags of humor, an original and memorable cast of characters, and even appeals to those who aren’t necessarily invested in the core Borderlands series itself.