Chart: Games in the Top 100 by Genre over Time

Each week throughout the Top 100 Games of All Time, According to GameFAQs series, I’ll be including an interesting chart that summarizes the results in some kind of unique way. These will, hopefully, give an extra layer of insight into the results. At the conclusion of the series, I’ll also be posting the raw results online for anyone to check out and analyze in their own way.

This week, we’ll look at changes to genre popularity over time. In the chart below, each genre is given a row, and each year is given a column. Green cells indicate years in which that genre had at least one game. Blue cells indicate years between the genre’s first and last game, but wherein it did not have a game. Orange indicates years either before the genre’s first year or after the genre’s last year. Thus, orange represents “idle” time while blue represents “active” time. Although it’s not terribly scientific, we can think of this as years of each genre’s prominence.

The results here give some interesting insight into the heights of various genre’s popularity. Puzzle games, for instance, have been around for ages, but are still somewhat popular with releases like Portal and Portal 2. Platformers, similarly, remain popular despite their long history, thanks in large part to the Mario franchise (although they’ve dropped off in recent years). Arguably the most consistent genres, however, are the Japanese RPG and the Action-Adventure genres, bolstered by Final Fantasy and The Legend of Zelda respectively. Japanese RPGs, however, have relied more on the Tales and Persona franchises in recent years.

Several genres had more short-lived heydays as well. Survival Horror games are still common, but their popularity was largely limited to last decade. Similarly, real-time strategy games enjoyed Blizzard’s popularity, but haven’t fared well since then. New genres have taken the mantle instead, with sandbox games and third-person shooters representing some of the most popular recent games, along with Japanese RPGs, Action-Adventure games, and the occasional turn-based strategy game.

08 - Genres vs Time Click the chart to bring up a full-screen view of it.

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