Breaking the mold: 10 games without genres

They’re a couple of misfits…

Shooter, action-adventure, RPG, fighting as long as Ive been playing games, theyve all fit into a categorical genre that allows me to know what Im getting into before I even press Start. I knew Final Fantasy was a role-playing epic before I even opened the box, just as I knew Street Fighter was one-on-one fighting before I started the first round.

But there are some games that dont fit in with any of the widely recognized, established genres. Theyre either so unique that theyre unable to be classified, or they borrow elements from so many genres that they become entities all their own. These games fit into the category of games that dont fit into any real category, and thats why we love them. Today, we honor them by attempting to assign them their very own genre.

Katamari Damacy

Few games simultaneously confuse and delight like Katamari Damacy. The joys of running over countless objects to create stars for the King of All Cosmos are limitless, even if were sending hordes of humans and animals to celestial deaths. Katamaris’ quirkiness and soundtrack make all of that murder seem right, giving it a charm that counteracts any thoughts of remorse. Rolling that ball is an experience that cant be found anywhere else, vaulting Katamari to the incredibly rare unique experience status.

If I had to assign it a genre… World Destroying Japanese Ball Rolling Sim (WDJBRS)

NIGHTS Into Dreams

Nights is one of those games that has to be experienced to be understood. The amount of things going on in this game is gigantic: the real world versus the dream world, Mares, Ideyas, human children and Nightmares working together the list goes on. That’s a lot to take in, especially for those who havent played the game before. You may have thought it was just a game about a jester flying around and collecting stuff, but the experience is far deeper than that. Dig out a Sega Saturn or download the HD remake and give Nights a spin. Youll see what I mean.

If I had to assign it a genre… Third-Person Ideya Building and Nightmare Killing (TPIBNK)

Animal Crossing

A persons first time through the world of Animal Crossing is an interesting experience. Youre on the train, being asked a flurry of questions by an ultra-curious cat–then before you know it, you own a house and you’re paying off your mortgage to a raccoon. That debt is exacted by collecting items to sell, completing menial tasks for your neighbors, catching fish, and snaring bugs in a net. Oh, and theres a ton of things to do that only happen on certain days. Have fun planning your social life around your Animal Crossing town, and don’t feel guilty about it; weve all been there.

If I had to assign it a genre… Animal-Themed Work and Hoarding Simulator (ATWHS)

Killer 7

Much like its main character, Killer 7 is never really sure what kind of game it is. Is it a shooter, because of the first-person aiming and shooting? Is it an on-rails game, due to the limited paths you can take? What about an adventure game, for the interesting story? Is that even possible? Theres a lot of different mechanics to learn and master, each one calling to a different part of my gaming expertise, but man if its not fun despite the chaos. It may not be focused, but it doesnt have to be when the premise is this fascinating.

If I had to assign it a genre… Third-Person On-Rails First-Person Shooter Adventure (TPORFPSA)


A group of tiny little dudes drop onto a map filled with danger, and I have to get as many as I can to safety by assigning each one a random job. Some will dig holes, others will parachute, and a few will act as crossing guards directing traffic. But all of them will play their part in the continued survival of their race, with me guiding them like a divine entity. I give them the inspiration to act, I tell them where to go and what to avoidI am their GOD! I think. Or at the very least, I’m their manager.

If I had to assign it a genre… Divine Strategy Management (DSM)

Mario Paint

As a child, Picasso I was not. I barely stayed in the lines of coloring books, instead wishing to fill an entire page with the same color–but Mario Paint changed my woeful artistic ways. I could color pre-existing scenes, I could create my own works, I could compose a beautiful symphony with sound effects. And when I needed a break from the canvas, I could pick up a fly swatter and smack some pests around until my aggression subsided. Mario Paint taught me the beauty of art, and in doing so changed me for the better.

If I had to assign it a genre… Bob Ross Imitation Software/Jukebox Creator/Fly-Swatter (BRISJCFS)

Heavy Rain/Beyond Two Souls

Both of these games come from the mind of David Cage, a man who values storytelling and raw emotion in his games above all things. This is plainly obvious, considering how both these games relegate all the action scenes to simple button presses or turns of the controller. Major actions scenes play out with minimal control, instead rewarding (or punishing) my efficiency with the next scene in the story. The two were certainly entertaining and emotional, just as Cage wants it, but theres not much game in these games.

If I had to assign it a genre… Interactive Cinema Feels (ICF)


Vincent Brooks, I want to sympathize with you, I truly do. However, you put yourself in this mess with your debauchery, and I have to come save your backside by pushing blocks and not falling victim to giant monster babies with chainsaw hands. If you could choose a woman for yourself and not lead two of them on, you might not be where you are now. Plus, there are sheep everywhere, and some of them have become incredibly smart and fashion savvy. I can understand the horror elements and the relationship part, but the anthropomorphic sheep still dont sit right with me.

If I had to assign it a genre… Puzzler-based Relationship Game (PBRG)

Mister Mosquito

Look, Mister Mosquito: No matter how hard you try and make me, I will never be able to understand the plight of the common mosquito. I dont care how badly they need my blood–I have no interest in trying to learn their techniques. I want nothing to do with mosquitos or anything else like them. Dont try to hide your pro-mosquito agenda in the collection of one of the largest gaming consoles ever. Fly outta here, and dont come back.

If I had to assign it a genre… Mosquito Sympathizer Propaganda (MSP)


A lot of you probably never played Seaman, and you know what? Thats perfectly fine. This unsettling fish/human thing was an interesting experiment for Sega, seeing how the Dreamcast’s microphone accessory allowed us to talk directly to our little Seaman whenever we wanted. Sure, he insulted us a good amount of the time–but still, we could make contact with a digital creature in the same manner as Hey You Pikachu! If only he were a cute little puppy and not that beautiful (or is it horrid?) face in the picture.

If I had to assign it a genre… Creepy, Ridiculous Animal Personality Simulator (CRA hey, wait)

It’s true, they don’t fit in

These games break the mold in that they dont fit into any particular pre-existing mold at all. If youre looking for something completely different, look no further than these ten titles.

For more GamesRadar goodies, check out 10 games that provide fantastic experiences in 5 minutes or less, or take a look at First!!!! moments every gamer remembers.

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