Video Game Genres and Types: The Most Complete List

Table of Contents

It’s safe to say that video games are the first-choice entertainment option for over 2 billion people. In its 50 years of existence, the video gaming industry has grown from cheaper and easier to make pixelated games to high-quality multigenre games with exceptional graphics and storylines.

To this day, game developers from all over the globe continue mixing already existing genres, sub-genres, and types to give gamers more options. In this article, we dive deeper into this ever-evolving industry to help you learn more about the different advanced video game genres and types.

How to Find Your Favorite Video Game Genre 🐉

Because of the thousands of available options, we might find it hard or impossible to find a video game that entertains us, let alone makes us become game enthusiasts. So, what makes video games so captivating, and how can you find the ones that appeal to you the most?

Imagine you want to watch a movie, and you have numerous options to choose from. The first thing you do is understand what genre matches the mood that you are in, then decide whether you want to watch a romantic movie with a happy ending, a film about war that contains violent scenes, or a movie that simply involves physical feats. It’s the same thing with video games. 

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Video game genres are based on their gameplay. There are over 5 million games, and each of them belongs to a particular genre; taking a look at which may guide you to form an idea of your preferences. Now, let’s look closely at what these genres and types represent.

Action ⚔️

Action has been one of the most popular video game genres since the very beginning. It’s all about physical challenges that include lots of jumping and chasing and are overcome by fighting and shooting. Action games require fast reflexes, and you must do everything with great speed to survive. As a result of being one of the oldest genres in the history of video games, action has been divided into many sub-genres.

Platform Games

Popular video games like Super Mario, Limbo, Hollow Night, and Celeste fall under this sub-genre and mainly focus on running from monsters and enemies, climbing, and jumping from different heights between solid platforms.

Shooter Games

The name itself already suggests that shooter games involve guns or other long-range weapons and lots of shooting. Shooter games include first-person shooters, like Call of Duty, played from the perspective of the main character; third-person shooters, like Fortnite, played from the perspective of a player who can see the main character and top-down shooters, like Galaga, played in four-player co-op mode.

Fighting Games

Fighting games, like Mortal Kombat, focus the action on two fighters engaging in close one-on-one combat and usually feature life bars. Players fight in an arena, and the matches consist of a set number of rounds. Various attacks restrict the players’ actions, and the rounds continue until one of the player’s health reaches zero.

Beat 'em Up Games

Beat ‘em up video games, also known as Brawler, are related to fighting games and involve fighting as well, but instead of facing a single opponent, the player has to fight a large number of opponents to survive. Double Dragon and God of War are examples of this sub-genre.

Stealth Games

Stealth game is a sub-genre of action, the main idea of which is hiding from the antagonists and using stealth to avoid or overcome them. Players must be aware of the essential elements of stealth games which are shadows, lights, and sounds, since they can draw the enemy’s attention to them. They must move quietly, make no noise and stay in the shadows. Games like Dishonored and Hitman fall under this category.

Survival Games

Imagine you’re alone in an open-world environment, with minimal resources, in need of food and shelter, trying to survive as long as possible. That’s precisely the idea of survival games like Don’t Starve and Rust are based on. They challenge the player’s skills in collecting resources for survival.

Rhythm Games

If you have a passion for music, you might enjoy games like Beat Saber and Rock Band that challenge the players’ sense of rhythm and beat. Rhythm games have unique rhythm-based gameplay that usually focuses on the performance of musical instruments and requires lots of button presses and slashing action. There are also dance-based or motion-based rhythm games like Just Dance that can be played with either motion controllers or camera devices. Some games require players to physically dance on pressure-sensitive pads and compete for the highest score.

Battle Royale Games

Battle royal games are played between hundreds of players who must eliminate their opponents and be the last man standing to win the game. Players usually skydive from an aircraft and land on an ample map space with minimal equipment, where they must search for more items and start pacing each other while avoiding getting killed. Popular battle royale games include Apex Legends, PUBG, Warzone, and more.

Action-adventure 🏰

Battle royal games are played between hundreds of players who must eliminate their opponents and be the last man standing to win. As the name suggests, action-adventure games are a mix of incredibly unique action and adventure genres. While action games only challenge the player’s reflexes in mostly violent situations, action-adventure games offer them engaging storylines and dialogues. Therefore, this genre combines elements that are present in action games but lack in adventure games and features that are present in adventure games and not in action games. Indeed, you get the best of both worlds.

Action-adventure games include immersive gameplay and conceptual and physical challenges that engage problem-solving and puzzle-solving reflexes in different situations. Usually, players encounter non-player characters and have dialogues with them, where they can select what they want to say and build the storyline. The Last of Us and Uncharted are perfect examples of this genre.

Survival Horror

Survival horror is a popular sub-genre of action-adventure and can be easily recognized in titles like Haunted House, Resident Evil, and Silent Hill. Characters in survival horror video games have to overcome obstacles, survive in a horror environment, and go through a disturbing and dangerous journey that evokes fear in them.


This sub-genre comes from Nintendo’s action-adventure video games Metroid and Castlevania. Metroidvania video games are based on two-dimensional platform gameplay and have elements from both video game series mentioned above. They feature a detailed world map for players to explore, some inaccessible parts they can pass only if they acquire new items, weapons, and abilities during the game.

Adventure 🔮

Having been released in 1976, adventure video games continue to give players opportunities to experience things that may never be possible to experience in real life. They involve exploration, investigation, dangerous situations, problems, quests, and various logic puzzles that must be solved through deductive reasoning skills.
Although puzzles are essential parts of this genre, it must be noted that single-player experiences and storytelling are its main elements. The strong and unraveling storylines and significant dialogues make it more compelling than any other video game genre.
Now, let’s examine the sub-genres of adventure.

Text Adventures

The interface in text adventure video games is text-based, meaning that they convey the story to the player through passages of text displayed on the screen. It’s an interactive fiction, during which players must give instructions and submit simple commands to choose what they want the characters to do next. A classic example is Zork, the character of which is wandering around the ruins of an ancient, dangerous empire, looking for wealth and adventure.

Graphic Adventures

When text adventure lost its popularity during the 1980s, graphic adventure became the dominant sub-genre of adventure. Graphic adventure has essential elements like engaging stories, puzzles, and endless exploration that are also present in a text adventure. So, what is the difference between these two sub-genres?

Although they share common characteristics, graphic adventure conveys the game’s story and environment to the player through the use of graphics. Players use an on-screen cursor to interact with the objects in the game and solve puzzles. Graphic adventure video games have a variety of input types, from text parsers to touch screen interfaces. Point-and-click adventures are a popular type of this sub-genre, examples of which include Grim Fandango, Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis, and more.

Visual Novels

A visual novel (VN) is a digital semi-interactive fiction game that doesn’t include many interactive elements and mainly consists of narration. This sub-genre of adventure is of Japanese origin, which explains the anime-styled static or animated illustrations and visuals featuring its games. Visual games have minimal gameplay and revolve around character dialogue choices. Throughout the game, players are given options to make narrative choices and choose the development of the plot. Doki Doki Literature Club! is an example of this sub-genre.

Interactive Movie

The interactive movie is another sub-genre of adventure, which refers to a movie game, meaning that it has characteristics of a film, and its gameplay centers around full-motion videos or live-action sequences. Players are challenged to develop skills and solve problems in a virtual setting by deciding the moves of the main character in different situations.

Real-time 3D Adventures

Real-time 3D is a relatively new sub-genre. During the game, players must complete missions, play mini-games, and interact in a real-time 3D game world. An excellent example of these games is Heavy Rain.

Puzzle 🧩

Puzzle games are a popular genre of video games; the gameplay primarily focuses on puzzle-solving activities and tests the players’ problem-solving skills.
Without further due, let’s examine the many sub-genres of puzzle games to achieve a complete understanding of this broad genre.

Logical Game

Logical puzzle video games challenge players to solve logic puzzles that often require logical deduction and enough information. They come in various forms and types, for kids and adults, with different difficulty levels.

Physics Game

A physics game is a logical puzzle video game with physics-based elements. It requires the completion of many tricky puzzles and uses real-life physics, which makes the game even more challenging for the players.
Cut the Rope is a well-known example of a physics-based puzzle video game that aims to cut ropes and feed large pieces of candy to a hungry creature named Om Nom while collecting all the stars for the highest rating.

Coding Game

Coding games are another logic puzzle games that incorporates programming elements. Players must solve puzzles and challenges by writing actual code with programming languages, including JavaScript, C#, Python, Rust, Go, HTML and CSS, and more. This helps players to learn typed code and to improve their coding skills with fun exercises.


Exploration includes point-and-click games that require solving puzzles by making broad generalizations based on specific observations and investigations. Therefore, the gameplay of exploration games focuses on exploration, critical thinking, and decision making. They have similar characteristics to adventure games, like stories, about which players learn throughout the game by solving different kinds of puzzles.

For example, The Room, a three-dimension puzzle video game, has a minimal story conveyed to the player through notes found in a mysterious box. Players must solve the puzzles around the box to learn more about the story.

Hidden Object Game

Hidden object game is one of the most popular puzzle game sub-genres, the gameplay of which is to locate specific items from a given list that are hidden within a scene. Players are often presented with the textual description or the item’s silhouette that must be found.

Reveal the Picture Game

Reveal the picture puzzle games consist of four and more puzzle pieces that cover a complete picture. You must reveal the image by clicking on the puzzle pieces and answering related questions on the board. If the answer you’ve typed in the answer box is incorrect, the puzzle piece will not open, and you’ll have to guess the picture with the help of the other pieces.

Tile-matching Game

Tile-matching games have different styles, but their gameplay primarily focuses on matching tiles arranged vertically or on a horizontal surface to make them disappear according to a matching criterion.

There are many tile manipulation methods in tile-matching games. In Tetris, one of the most famous tile-matching games, players move the descending pieces with different shapes onto the playing field to create as many horizontal lines of matching pieces as possible. The lines disappear once they are completed. Games like Candy Crush Saga require pieces to be swapped. In games like Zuma, the players eliminate the balls rolling around the screen by shooting other balls onto the board.

Traditional Puzzle Game

Traditional puzzle video games are digital adaptations of physical puzzle games. They allow players to choose how many pieces they want to play with and what picture they want to complete by assembling differently shaped pieces.

Puzzle-platform Game

When a platform game meets a puzzle game, a new sub-genre of puzzle video games is born. Puzzle-platform games have a platform game structure, and players must solve puzzles, use creative thinking and overcome obstacles to win the game.

Role-playing 🥷

The idea of escaping from reality, being in an imaginary world, and becoming a character very different from their real-life personas fascinated people from the beginning. In a sense, it made them feel powerful. The creation of role-playing video games made it possible to explore these well-defined worlds and experience things that are not present in real life.

A role-playing video game, often referred to as RPG, is a video game genre that originates from tabletop role-playing games, such as Dungeons & Dragons, a popular game in the 1970s and 1980s. While playing D&D, players took some roles, for example, a warrior or a wizard, impersonated their characters and helped the party battle evil as directed by the assigned storyteller. So, yes, they were around long before the creation of video games.

Most role-playing video games are set in a fictional world and use much of the same game mechanics as D&D. Players control characters’ actions by giving commands; they explore a game world, advance through a story quest, and grow in power and abilities.

Role-playing video games are divided into many types and sub-genres.

Action RPG

Action role-playing video games combine elements from both action and role-playing games but mainly focus on real-time combat and action. Character interaction is kept to a minimum. Diablo is an example of a role-playing action game.


Massively multiplayer online role-playing games combine elements from a massively multiplayer online game and a role-playing video game. MMORPGs feature characteristics such as level progression and social interaction within the game. Many people participate in these games simultaneously and interact with one another. World of Warcraft is an example of an MMORPG game.


Roguelike video games involve permanent death and randomized game levels. They have a high fantasy narrative setting and turn-based gameplay, meaning players take turns when playing. Rogue Legacy is an example of a roguelike game.

Tactical RPG

Tactical RPG, also known as a Strategy role-playing game, is a sub-genre of RPG that combines elements from role-playing video games and strategy games. Tactical role-playing games descend from traditional strategy games and have standard tabletop role-playing formats in appearance, rule structure, and pacing.

Sandbox RPG

Sandbox RPG, an open-world role-playing game, is another sub-genre of RPGs that allows players the most significant amount of freedom and contains open free-roaming, which means that there are no limits to exploration and no fences or rocks can restrict the freedom of their movement. Dragon Slayer series are examples of sandbox RPGs.

First-person Party-based RPG

Games that fall under the category of first-person party-based RPGs are also known as “blobbers.” Players lead a party of adventurers around the playing field as a single unit, or “blob,” from a first-person perspective. Legend of Grimrock is an example of a first-person party-based RPG.


Japanese computer role-playing games (abbreviated JRPGs) are RPGs developed in Japan. The emphasis of these games is on narrative and storytelling. They involve turn-based combat, a pre-determined story, and linear gameplay, meaning that the game’s story progresses without any agency by the player. Tales of Berseria and Earthbound are examples of JRPGs.

Monster Tamer

This genre includes text-based monster-taming role-playing games, that allow players to explore, tame, and hunt many monsters with others.

💡Choose you next “monstrous” game 👇 

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Simulation 👩🏠

Games in the simulation genre were designed with a mixture of skill and strategy to simulate activities from real life, for educational and training purposes, analysis, and entertainment.

Sub-genres of simulation video games include ⬇️

Construction and Management Simulation

Players build cities and manage fictional communities in construction and management simulation video games. Examples include the Animal Crossing series and Stardew Valley.

Vehicle Simulation

In vehicle simulation video games players are provided with different kinds of vehicles like automobiles, planes, watercraft, and more. Some games often feature challenges and missions that the player must complete from the perspective of the driver or pilot. Examples include iRacing, Driver: San Francisco, and Forza Motorsport 7.

Life Simulation

In life simulation video games, players control one or more characters and build their relationships and lifestyles. Examples include The Sims series.

Strategy ​⚔️​🐉​👸​

Strategy is another broad genre of video games, the gameplay of which is based on traditional strategy board games. Strategy video games focus on high-level strategy and resource management, instead of instant action. Therefore, players must plan their actions carefully to achieve victory. Now, let’s look into the sub-genres of strategy.

4X Game

The gameplay of 4X games is defined by the term, which is an abbreviation of Explore, Expand, Exploit, Exterminate, meaning that players must explore surrounding territories on the map, expand their settlements by creating new ones, exploit resources in areas that are under their control, and exterminate rival players. Examples of this genre include Endless Legend and Warhammer 40,000.

Auto Battler

Auto battler or auto chess video games feature chess-like elements and multiple players who place characters on a chess board and watch them fight.

Artillery Game

Artillery games are two- or three-player turn-based strategy games that involve soldiers and tanks fighting in combat. Examples include ShellShock Live and Pocket Tanks.

Multiplayer Online Battle Arena (MOBA)

MOBA games are a combination of real-time strategy, role-playing, and action games that feature multiple players controlling single characters and working as a team to win the game by destroying the opposing team’s main structure

Real-time Strategy (RTS)

Real-time strategy games allow players to play simultaneously in real-time and attempt to build units and resources to defeat opponents. Stellaris is a good example of an RTS game.

Real-time Tactics (RTT)

Games like Command & Conquer fall under the category of real-time tactics video games, which are tactical wargames that lack unit building and resource micromanagement and focus on tactics players must use on the battlefield to achieve victory.

Tower Defense

In tower defense games, players must build towers to kill monsters that move along a set path. For each killed monster players get money, that can be used to buy more towers.

Turn-based Strategy (TBS)

A turn-based strategy game like Into The Breach is usually some type of wargame in which actions are not taken in real-time, and players take turns instead of playing simultaneously.

Turn-based Tactics (TBT)

The gameplay of a turn-based tactical game is characterized by players completing their tasks and desired actions in a finite amount of time by using the combat forces that are provided to them.


Wargames involve players fighting battles on a map, who usually plan and use tactical moves to win the game. However, the time is mainly spent on fighting rather than planning.

Grand Strategy Wargame

This is another type of wargame that focuses on grand strategy and allows players to use a nation’s or an empire’s resources.

Sports 🏋

The sports genre is an inseparable part of the video game industry. Being one of the oldest genres in gaming history, it enjoys popularity among sports lovers to this day. There are video games based on almost every real-world sport and are just as competitive. 

Due to the realism, and the accuracy of athletic characteristics required for sports, the real-looking stadiums and arenas, and other important elements, these video games can be considered simulation games. 


The first games that fall under the sports category are racing games, which allow players to participate in a racing competition sometimes based on real-world racing leagues. Collin McRae Rally is a popular example.

Sports Game

Sports games simulate the playing of traditional physical sports such as football, basketball, hockey, golf, tennis, skateboarding, wrestling, bowling, and more. They often emphasize playing the sport, with complete teams, while others emphasize the strategy behind the sports.

Sports-based Fighting

Games under this category include elements from both sports and fighting game genres. They are also referred to as combat sports or sports fighter games. Combat sports include boxing, wrestling, karate, judo, and almost every sport that involves one-on-one combat.

Board Games and Card Games

Strategy is another broad genre of video games, the gameplay of which is based on traditional strategy board games. Strategy video games focus on high-level strategy and resource management, instead of instant action. Therefore, players must plan their actions carefully to achieve victory. Now, let’s look into the sub-genres of strategy.

Digital Collectible Card Games ​

CCGs or digital collectible card games are relatively new in the gaming industry. These games are defined by a mixture of strategic deck-building elements and trading card features. Players challenge each other in matches with their customized decks of cards. Examples of CCGs include the Pokémon Card Game.

Gacha Games

Gacha games are widely popular in Japan. They virtualize the gacha (toy vending machine) mechanic, meaning that players spend virtual currency for random items such as cards or characters through a vending machine mechanism.

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Idle Games

Idle games or incremental games allow players to perform minimum simple actions like clicking on the screen repeatedly and leaving the game running by itself. After completing these actions, players get in-game currency which can be used to purchase abilities and earn money faster.

Party Games

Party games are made up of short minigames, are intuitive, and designed for multiple players to compete against each other. Mario Party series is one of the most popular party games, in which players play through a board and try to collect as many stars as possible to finish the game first.

Casual Games

If you want to pass your time by playing games that don’t require any skills and have simple rules, then casual games are there to entertain you. Casual games are found in many different video game genres with short sessions, simple gameplay, and a simple user interface.

Photography Games

In photography video games players aim the in-game camera to capture moments and take photographs of the game world.

Social Deduction Games

Social deduction video games are fun to test your deductive reasoning or lying skills. These games usually consist of two teams, one of them being the “good” one and the other being the “bad” team. They all have hidden roles, and each player of the “good” team must use deductive reasoning to reveal the “bad” ones and execute them, while the others can lie and manipulate them into suspecting each other. The perfect example of these games is Among Us.

Trivia Games

Trivia or quiz games challenge players to answer questions and test their knowledge regarding various subjects before a timer runs out.

Typing Games

Typing games simply involve just  typing. They usually consist of challenges that help players boost their typing speed by making them quickly type in words, individual letters, or other keys under pressure.


Advergames or advertisement games are video games that are created with advertising techniques to promote or sell a product or a service. Therefore, companies develop a video game, then advertise their brand by integrating it into an in-game interactive experience.

Art Games

Art games are interactive, they emphasize art and are designed to provoke some kind of reaction in their audience.

Christian Games

Christian video games have Christian values and Christian themes. Overall, they are based on the teachings of Christianity. Guitar Praise is a popular Christian-based rhythm video game that uses Christian music with gameplay akin to Rock Band and Guitar Hero games.

Educational Games

These video games are mainly developed for kids to teach different school subjects, help them learn skills needed for their academic or professional careers, and encourage creative thinking and problem-solving skills.


Exergame is a term used for fitness or exercise video games that require physical movements to play. Players simulate an exercise by the use of equipment that tracks body movement and reaction times.

Personalized Games

Personalized video games are created for a specific person who can be a single player or a group of players. For example, famous Jennifer Lopez and actor Ben Affleck have a custom-made video game, in which Lopez has to rescue Affleck, who has been kidnapped.

Serious Game

Serious video games are designed for teaching and training purposes rather than entertainment, and are frequently used in educational settings. These interactive games help learners understand certain topics and practice their skills. PeaceMaker is a good example of a serious game, that focuses on the Israeli-Palestine conflict and promotes peace.

Open-World Games

Open-world games feature virtual worlds for players to explore, roam around freely, and approach objectives in open areas in many different ways. In other words, they are nonlinear games that lack barriers between different areas.


In contrast to an open-world game, a sandbox video game like Minecraft has minimal goals, contains elements of sandbox design, allows players to select tasks, and provides them with tools for creative freedom to approach objectives.

Video Game Types 📹

From single-player puzzle games to multiple-player online shooting games, there is a type of video game for everyone to enjoy. You can also consider this list of popular video game types when choosing which games to play.

Solo Player Games

Solo or single-player is a type of video game, that is designed for only one player and involves playing against/with computer-controlled characters.

💡 Choose your next game 👇 

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Multiple Player Games

Multiple-player video games, as opposed to single-player, allow more than one player to play in the same game environment together and have an element of social communication, that lets players interact with one another during the game. They are often played via the internet and a multiplayer server with many options for online games.

MMO Games

World of Warcraft is a dominant MMO or massively multiplayer online game, a video game type that has a large number of players, usually more than hundreds or thousands, exclusively on the same server and can be found on almost all network-capable platforms.

Online Games

Online games have changed the video game culture beyond belief and have steadily risen in popularity over the past few years. According to Statista, online gaming audiences will surpass 1.3 billion in 2025. The main reason for their popularity is the wide selection of games available on the internet. It doesn’t matter what types of video games you like, you will find something that can entertain you. And the most important part is that you don’t have to spend any money to play them.

💡 Choose your next online game 👇 

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Family Games

A family game is a type of video game that is suitable both for children and adults and is engaging enough to keep them busy throughout the game.
Examples of family games are Snipperclips, a puzzle game; Super Mario Odyssey, an action-adventure platform video game that won the Best Family Game award at The 2017 Game Awards; and Animal Crossing, a social simulation video game that won the same award at The 2020 Game Awards.

LGBT Video Games

LGBTQ+ representation has been almost nonexistent in gaming history for the longest time. Today, thousands of video games with LGBT main characters’ engaging storylines help many queer people feel seen, included and understood.
Tell Me Why is one of the most significant LGBT video games. It’s an episodic adventure that discusses transgender topics regarding Tyler Ronan’s identity, who is the game’s main character.

Superhero Video Games

Superhero games have been around since the beginning of gaming history and feature widely known superheroes from Marvel and DC movies, like Spider-Man, X-Men, Deadpool, Superman, Batman, and more.

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Movie-Based Video Games

Video game adaptations of movies were disliked by many and heavily criticized by fans for not living up to their expectations for a very long time. After many years of trying, game developers are finally creating good movie-based video games.

Underrated Games

Developing a video game is a lot of work, and some games take years to be ready for release. But no matter how long they take to be completed, several things can go wrong. Due to the excessive amount of video games being released yearly, some games stay in the shadows, get low critic scores, and don’t sell as much as anticipated.

People have different preferences. Therefore we can’t say which games have gotten more recognition and credit than they deserve. However, Mirror’s Edge, an action-adventure platform game, Outlast, a survival horror game, and Rage 2, a shooter game, are well-known examples of truly underappreciated games with low critics and deserve better reviews from both critics and fans.

Popular Games

Each year, new games get launched in the market, and every video game enjoys popularity within its audience. Still, some video games don’t leave the market and remain popular for years. PUBG, Fortnite, Grand Theft Auto V, Minecraft, Super Mario Bros, and League of Legends have been popular for the past few years, and are still considered the most played games in the world. Minecraft is the best-selling video game ever, with 234 million copies sold.

The most popular video game of 2022 is Elden Ring, an action-adventure game which was released at the beginning of the year.

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Games That Failed 🪦

Having an engaging gameplay mechanic and ending up being underrated is one thing; promising something, spending tons of money on the development, and not meeting fans’ expectations is quite another. That’s a failure, and for some reason, it has happened a lot in gaming history.

On average, the video game development process doesn’t take longer than five years. However, Duke Nukem Forever, a first-person shooter game, spent 15 years developing. Gamers all around the globe were expecting some kind of a never-seen-before video game that would blow their minds. Finally, the game arrived in 2011 and was named “the most disappointing video game” by several sites, as it didn’t live up to expectations.
E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, a 1982 adventure video game, was expected to sell well because it was based on the film of the same name. Still, it got so many negative reviews and became one of the biggest commercial failures in video gaming history.

Although there’s no guarantee that a video game will not become a commercial disappointment, many studios continue making the same mistakes that lead to significant financial losses. Risking everything and forgetting small details is never a good idea in this massive industry.

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