Why Video Game Genres Fail: A Classificatory Analysis

Rachel Ivy Clarke, Jin Ha Lee, Neils Clark

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

55 Scopus citations


This article explores the current affordances and limitations of video game genre from a library and information science perspective with an emphasis on classification theory. We identify and discuss various purposes of genre relating to video games, including identity, collocation and retrieval, commercial marketing, and educational instruction. Through the use of examples, we discuss the ways in which these purposes are supported by genre classification and conceptualization and the implications for video games. Suggestions for improved conceptualizations such as family resemblances, prototype theory, faceted classification, and appeal factors for video game genres are considered, with discussions of strengths and weaknesses. This analysis helps inform potential future practical applications for describing video games at cultural heritage institutions such as libraries, museums, and archives, as well as furthering the understanding of video game genre and genre classification for game studies at large.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number10.1177/1555412015591900
Pages (from-to)445-465
Number of pages21
JournalGames and Culture
Issue number5
Early online date2015
StatePublished - Jul 1 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • classification
  • genre history
  • genre theory
  • information systems
  • video games

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Communication
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Library and Information Sciences


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