Kieron Gillen's workblog




"Time for a Monday neologism: Post-genre.

The theory goes like this. If we're looking at computer games, when videogame manufacture was first democratised by the appearance of home computers, no one had any idea what they were doing so they were forced to invent by necessity. Ideas were thrown together just to see what operated well, or even operated at all. These times I'll describe vaguely as "pre-genre".

Eventually, however, they hardened into solidified idea-clusters which were the modern genres, each with specific characteristics. In fact, if a game failed to fulfil some of these criteria, it could often be dismissed as a bad game, when in reality it was just a bad example of a particular genre and really succeeded as something else. Games reached the "genre" state at different rates. A late appearing genre - like the first-person shooter - was still pre-genre up to the point where Doom appeared. Take the original System Shock, developed by Looking Glass. Since there had never been anything quite like it before, they created something that still stands slightly apart from the FPS. If it appeared a year later, its controls would have probably been more akin to Doom because the genre had properly defined itself.

Genres are a great aid for the gaming public as they get used to thinking about and playing games. We reached the point where there are people who don't just like the idea of "games" - they like specific genres or sub-genres. Or even singular mods of games: I'd imagine there are people out there who haven't played another game seriously since Counter-Strike appeared all those years ago [in which case, get help! -Ed].

Except we've started to move past that."

Mind download time with my review of Darwinia over at Eurogamer. For once, including an Ed comment that I didn't actually write myself.




Kieron Gillen's Workblog, foo'.