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MadMage Apr 25, 2013 @ 8:34am
Defining the Tags.
After commenting on a developer's use of the 'casual' tag on a game I wasn't sure I'd define as casual it occured to me that there is a lot of what I feel is misuse of tags and I wanted to see if we could, as the users, give the developers a better idea of what we think each tag should mean by giving examples to work with. These are the existing tags:

Action
- Fast-paced real time combat; Secret of Mana, God of War, Fable
Adventure
- Anything story driven. Seriously, 'adventure' is pretty vague.
Strategy
- Planning or methodical combat. Turn-based or real-time strategy mainly; Final Fantasy Tactics, Starcraft, Civilization
RPG
- Any game with character growth and development that is player-choice driven (I admit the term itself has become a misnomer); Borderlands, Skyrim, World of Warcraft, Final Fantasy Series, Puzzle Quest
Massively Multiplayer
- Online-only game wherein every player on a server exists in the same 'game'; World of Warcraft
Casual
- Games with little or no persistance or progression, even within a single playthrough. Think board games; Bejewelled, Tetris, Angry Birds
Simulation
- Games which try to emulate realistic experiences; Flight X
Free To Play
- I'm not entirely sure why this is a tag, because it's a sales model which (in a perfect world) really shouldn't effect the gameplay at all; World of Tanks, Tera, Battle for Wesnoth
Racing
- This one's pretty simple.
Sports
- Self explanatory.
Shooter
- Argueably any game where the primary weapons used are firearms, usually limited to first or third-person shooters, however; Battlefield, Call of Duty, Fallout 3, Mass Effect
Platformer
- Generally refers to 2D side scrolling games which would otherwise fall into the 'action' category. For this reason I'm not sure this should be considered a descriptor in and of itself since it really only defines the game's perspective and would be like including 'First Person' or 'Isometric' as tags; Castlevania, Super Mario Brothers, Castle Crashers
Puzzle
- Anything where a primary part of the gameplay includes having to navigate (hopefully) mind-bending situations.
Arcade
- Not really sure how to define arcade, honestly. I'm inclined to say 'arcade' and 'casual' should be interchangeable.
Music
- Guitar hero.
Horror
- Any game meant to make the player regret becoming immersed; FEAR, Amnesia, Left 4 Dead (bit of a stretch).
Showing 1-15 of 32 comments
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wilco64256 Apr 25, 2013 @ 8:42am 
What's the point of this exactly? You're wanting developers to come in hear and read this list of definitions before posting their game? I think they're all pretty clear on what the different tags mean in general, some just abuse the tags so their game will show up in more queues. Can't really do anything to change that unless Valve makes it so you can only pick a specific number of tags at maximum.
MadMage Apr 25, 2013 @ 9:04am 
The point was to attract trolls, like yourself.

I saw a developer using a 'casual' tag and commented on how the tag itself makes me leery since I despise games without depth or progression; the comment spawned a debate of sorts on what 'casual' is (and the subsequent removal of the tag from that game) and I thought to expand the debate to all of the tags, since I felt that same game should be using the 'strategy' tag and not the 'action', since it was a squad based rogue-like.

Developers who abuse the tags should be voted down regardless of the quality of their game, in my opinion. In any event, the tags should be use properly to give voters better selections based on their filtering - as it is the seleciton of games is so bogged down by trash that any filtration really should be helpful.

Perhaps it would be nice if Greenlight had a system for users to check off up to three choices (for example) so the tags could become at least a bit more comprehensive.
Last edited by MadMage; Apr 25, 2013 @ 9:10am
wilco64256 Apr 25, 2013 @ 9:25am 
Call me what you like, but all I did was point out that you're wasting your time if you think any amount of discussion or definition in this forum is going to get developers to come here and read the thread and then use tags any differently. If they're going to abuse them, they will still abuse them, and if they're going to use them properly, then they already will.

I do absolutely agree that it'd be great if all developers would use the tags properly, but it's a given that if something can be abused, then some people will abuse it.
Skoardy Apr 25, 2013 @ 12:18pm 
So you're upset because other people have a different opinion as to what is appropriate to various genres? And you want everyone to follow your definitions?
Sgt.Psycho Apr 25, 2013 @ 12:58pm 
imho, The only way this can work properly (and democratically, instead of one person making it all up) is for the tag system to be made 'meta' - a flexible expanding 'cloud' of tags[en.wikipedia.org]. Devs then have the opportunity to add any tag they like, allowing them to add multiple categories at will.

Greenlight users can then access the cloud, searching by tag and visually by frequency. It would also be useful if they could counter-tag entries, which would basically do away with the collections system which we've talked about previously.

As some tags become more and more used, they gain prominence, and as tags go out of favour, they lose it, eventually dropping out of the cloud (but not being deleted).

With this, no more effort is made by Steam, us or devs, but it's self-managing, once it's set up, you can forget it, and get on with promoting and reviewing submissions, which is the point of Greenlight.
Thordred Apr 25, 2013 @ 2:07pm 
Originally posted by MadMage:
Adventure
- Anything story driven. Seriously, 'adventure' is pretty vague.

Not really:
- Story has to be essential
- Generally no action elements
- Progression by puzzle solving (mainly inventory-, environmental- and dialogue-based puzzles)
- Sparing use of non-contextual logic puzzles - if at all (otherwise it's a puzzle game)
Sgt.Psycho Apr 25, 2013 @ 2:50pm 
Originally posted by Thordred:
Originally posted by MadMage:
Adventure
- Anything story driven. Seriously, 'adventure' is pretty vague.

Not really:
- Story has to be essential
- Generally no action elements
- Progression by puzzle solving (mainly inventory-, environmental- and dialogue-based puzzles)
- Sparing use of non-contextual logic puzzles - if at all (otherwise it's a puzzle game)

That's your (imho) accurate description[en.wiktionary.org], but how do you know that every person using that tag has the same definition as you? You don't. Naturally everyone will interpret it in their own way.

In many cases Adventure has been co-opted into some catch-all bag for just about anything you care to name. Almost anything can be an adventure, because that's generally what a game is, an adventure. Take a look at your video rental store as an example of how this works IRL and how messed up it can get.

Taking a look at the Adventure tag in Greenlight, the first nine entries come up with:
  • A top-down survival Adventure/RPG
  • A scifi RTS (whut...)
  • A 2D art/physics-based game
  • A platformer
  • A biplane/dogfight sim
  • An MMORPG (server licence, not even a client!)
  • A FPS horror adventure
  • A retro platformer/horizontal shooter
  • A TPS adventure/RPG
... to say nothing of the other 421 games tagged as 'Adventure'.

So I'd agree with MadMage that it's a very vague and general term. Yes, it should be fixed, but how do we go back to those hundreds of people who are tagging things like this and say "we think you're wrong," given that from their POV, arguably they're doing it right?
AIMonster Apr 25, 2013 @ 3:19pm 
I'm not sure I agree 100% with your breakdowns, but I do agree categories need to be more clearly defined and I also think Steam could do with a few more specific categories:

Adventure - Anything story driven is a bit too vague. That would qualify most games as adventure games. I'd say games that focus on heavy exploration of the world and environment (it could be as simple as point and click or even through dialogue) qualify as adventure games. There are point and click adventure games (Greenlight examples: Cognition, Dreamfall), sandbox adventure games (Minecraft), and there are action adventure games (Zelda series).

Massively Multiplayer - This one I feel tends to vary person by person and a lot of games class themselves as such when they truely aren't. I'd say that Massively Multiplayer games need to have a persistent world (as in the game doesn't end when you and even if all players log off or disconnect) and a large number of players per server (~100+). League of Legends by your definition would be massively multiplayer, but it's considered a MOBA not a MMO.

Casuals - Games that can be played through in short 5-15 minute sessions without requiring you to save progress. Board and Puzzle games do in fact qualify as casual, as do most mobile games. I do think that a game like say Farmville (for lack of a better example) qualifies as casual along with other games of it's ilk, even though it does have progression and persistance.

Free to Play - I actually like this tag and I wish there would be more tags for general price ranges of games wanting to be Greenlit so I can make more informed decisions on whether I want to vote yes or not, but that's just a personal opinion.

Shooter - Anything where you are firing projectiles at enemies as your primary method. Perspective isn't important here. You have your schumps, FPS, TPS, dogfighting, and Crimsonland style 2D and isometric style shooters (all of these would make great subcategories). You can make a shooter where you shoot fireballs instead of firearms for example.

Platformer - Platformers are pretty much any game where jumping from platform to platform is the primary gameplay element and your environment is just as deadly (or more so) than enemies (if any). Perspective certainly won't limit a game from being called a platformer and it's definitely not limited to 2D side-scrollers.

Arcade - I also believe this mixes a lot with casual too. Arcade elements would be things like playing well with a joystick (in particular Arcade or Fight sticks), simplistic controls, short gameplay sessions, and games where you accumlate score after each gameplay session and try to beat your (and other's) high scores.
AIMonster Apr 25, 2013 @ 3:40pm 
Also as a side note I really like how Raptr (game-tracking program) breaks down genres and categorizes them by sub-genres too. For example Role-Playing has Real-Time Battle RPG, Action RPG, Dungeon Crawl, Turn-Based Battle RPG, Tactical Battle RPG, and possibly more subcategories. It broke down 249 of my games down into about 40 very specific categories. Here is an example of my profile: http://raptr.com/AIMonster/games
apsyse Apr 25, 2013 @ 3:46pm 
Originally posted by AIMonster:
Also as a side note I really like how Raptr (game-tracking program) breaks down genres and categorizes them by sub-genres too. For example Role-Playing has Real-Time Battle RPG, Action RPG, Dungeon Crawl, Turn-Based Battle RPG, Tactical Battle RPG, and possibly more subcategories. It broke down 249 of my games down into about 40 very specific categories. Here is an example of my profile: http://raptr.com/AIMonster/games
I would very much like more categories and subcategories. It would benefit everyone involved and intrinsically help separate out ambiguous definitions.
Thordred Apr 25, 2013 @ 4:54pm 
Originally posted by Sgt.Psycho:
In many cases Adventure has been co-opted into some catch-all bag for just about anything you care to name. Almost anything can be an adventure, because that's generally what a game is, an adventure.

Almost anything can be everything. Action: Every game where the player has to perform actions is an action game. What's a strategy? A plan of action intended to accomplish a specific goal. All games are strategy games. All games where the player takes on a role are RPGs. And of course all games simulate something because the presented environments are not real, they're simulated. And so on...

If each of us makes up his/her own personal genre definitions they become useless.

Originally posted by AIMonster:
sandbox adventure games (Minecraft), and there are action adventure games (Zelda series).

Minecraft: Story driven? No = not an adventure
Zelda: Story driven? Check. Does not focus on reflex-based challenges / action elements? Uh, it does = not an adventure

Why not stick to established genre definitions?
Gorlom[Swe] Apr 25, 2013 @ 5:04pm 
Originally posted by Thordred:
Why not stick to established genre definitions?
Where can I find these established definitions and who established them? (and which Zelda game are you talking about?)

Source please and thank you.

(TBH the only one that can post a definition list for Steam Greenlight would be Valve.)
Last edited by Gorlom[Swe]; Apr 25, 2013 @ 5:05pm
Sgt.Psycho Apr 25, 2013 @ 5:13pm 
Originally posted by Thordred:
Originally posted by Sgt.Psycho:
In many cases Adventure has been co-opted into some catch-all bag for just about anything you care to name. Almost anything can be an adventure, because that's generally what a game is, an adventure.

Almost anything can be everything. Action: Every game where the player has to perform actions is an action game. What's a strategy? A plan of action intended to accomplish a specific goal. All games are strategy games. All games where the player takes on a role are RPGs. And of course all games simulate something because the presented environments are not real, they're simulated. And so on...

If each of us makes up his/her own personal genre definitions they become useless. ....

I wasn't advocating that categories be diluted, I was simply describing what is happening. Whether we like it or not. Personally I shudder and then mentally delete any reference to Action or Adventure, because they have become so diluted (as I showed by example) that they are now useless.

As I posted earlier, if you're not going to have some kind of rigor on classification, it eventually gets all muddled up and the system becomes broken (hence discussions like this). I believe unless this is enforced administratively, it should be made a function of group dynamics and overall decision. Hence, if 836 people add the 'Adventure' tag to a game (including the developer) and 1032 remove that tag, then it is taken away.

That way, even if the tag definition is not 'right' in the literal term, at least it represents the majority assessment, which is what the community as a whole thinks of it.

It's also the only way you'd be able to change tags effectively. Right now, if you do not like a game's categories, your only recourse is to hassle the developer in their forum to do it (a lengthy and tiresome process once, multiplied how many times?) or else take it to Steam directly and complain.

Good luck with that.
Thordred Apr 25, 2013 @ 6:10pm 
Originally posted by GorlomSwe:
Originally posted by Thordred:
Why not stick to established genre definitions?
Where can I find these established definitions and who established them? (and which Zelda game are you talking about?)

Source please and thank you.

(TBH the only one that can post a definition list for Steam Greenlight would be Valve.)

Who established them? Human beings, over time. At least I always assumed they're established = general knowledge (in my perception they were in the 90s, all gaming magazines back then used the exact same genre descriptions and everyone understood what was meant when someone said "adventure" or "role-playing game"). Turns out they're not that established anymore.^^
Source: General knowledge (before gamers got confused and began to disagree on the meaning of gaming related terms) :D

And I'm talking about whatever he's talking about:
Originally posted by AIMonster:
and there are action adventure games (Zelda series).
Last edited by Thordred; Apr 25, 2013 @ 6:12pm
Gorlom[Swe] Apr 25, 2013 @ 6:24pm 
Originally posted by Thordred:
Originally posted by GorlomSwe:
Where can I find these established definitions and who established them? (and which Zelda game are you talking about?)

Source please and thank you.

(TBH the only one that can post a definition list for Steam Greenlight would be Valve.)

Who established them? Human beings, over time. At least I always assumed they're established = general knowledge (in my perception they were in the 90s, all gaming magazines back then used the exact same genre descriptions and everyone understood what was meant when someone said "adventure" or "role-playing game"). Turns out they're not that established anymore.^^
Source: General knowledge (before gamers got confused and began to disagree on the meaning of gaming related terms) :D

And I'm talking about whatever he's talking about:
Originally posted by AIMonster:
and there are action adventure games (Zelda series).
Yeah, as you yourself has disagreed with someone else opinion on a definition they seem to have dilluted over time and are not as established as they once were... if they ever were that established. :S

Personally I think devs should have to pick one genre from a dropdown list and not be allowed to have more than one "tag". That way they have to pick the most dominant or important aspect of the game.

They can allways mention the other aspects in their description.

I'm not sure you can so generally dismiss ALL Zelda games as not being adventure by your reflex/action definition.
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Date Posted: Apr 25, 2013 @ 8:34am
Posts: 32