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Determining Genre

From Sega Retro

Categorizing games under their correct category is an important part of keeping thousands of Sega-produced titles properly organized. As such, Sega Retro uses the Japanese listed genre category for Sega games whenever possible. In the event that a game is released only in America and/or Europe, the game should be filed under the single closest category that the generation of games it is in uses in Japan.

MS/MD/GG/MCD/32X Genre Determination

For several years, Sega used an icon system on all of their Japanese releases to denote the genre of game. The icon would also be accompanied by a textual description of the genre; some third parties skipped the icon and used the text description followed by "game" (ゲーム). They are as follows, with the bolded names being the category placement:

Icon English Name Japanese Name
Genre action.png Action アクション
Genre adventure.png Adventure アドベンチャー
Genre edu.png Educational
Genre puzzle.png Puzzle パズル
Genre racing.png Racing レース
レーシング
Driving ドライブ
Genre rpg.png RPG ロールプレイング
ロープレ
RPG
Genre shmup.png Shoot-'em-Up (Shooting) シューティング
Genre sports.png Sports スポーツ
Genre simulation.png Simulation シミュレーション
Strategy
Icons currently not collected — at least two are known Table テーブル
Home ホーム
Family ファミリー

European Game Gear games also adopted this system for a period.

Genre icons should be used when determining the genre of a game by locating its Japanese boxart and discerning the correct genre from the icon placed either on the front, back, or both front and back of the box.

Do note that in the later period of the Mega Drive/Game Gear/32X genre determination switched from being represented as an icon to being represented through text; consequently, later games that would fall under one genre would now be listed under another genre (as is the case with Game Gear fighting games).

Old style Game Gear box. Older-style Game Gear boxes, such as this cover of Fantasy Zone: The Maze, use genre icons, as seen in the bottom-right corner of the box. The icon on this box indicates that this is a Shoot-'em-Up Game.
New style Game Gear box. Newer-style Game Gear boxes, such as this cover of Ristar, use a text description to indicate their genre. This can be found by reading the text in the top left corner of the box with the red dot next to it. In this case, Ristar is indicated as being an Action Game.

If a cover is not available to you, and the game was released in Japan: Sega of Japan's archive has master lists for every Sega console up to and including Saturn. You can determine the genre of a game from this list too; each game has the appropriate three-letter genre code listed as well as release date and price. Warning: the genre "TBL" is used for both Educational and the unknown tenth genre.

Saturn Genre Determination

Saturn games, like later games of the Mega Drive Generation, use a yellow box with genre next to a red dot. This information can be found either on the front or back of the cover, though it is more commonly found on the back. Do note that the number of genres expand in the Saturn era to be more like those we would associate games being under today.

Note that some of these names are simplified--Virtua Fighter, for instance, is listed as 格闘アクション, which literally translates to "hand-to-hand fighting action," but rather than call the genre Category:Saturn Hand-to-Hand Fighting Action Games, the simpler Category:Saturn Fighting Games is used.

If a cover is not available to you, and the game was released in Japan: Sega of Japan's archive has master lists for every Sega console up to and including Saturn. You can determine the genre of a game from this list too; each game has the appropriate three-letter genre code listed as well as release date and price.

Dreamcast Genre Determination

Dreamcast game genres are denoted on the back of their covers on the right hand side. They are located immediately to the right of the number of players the game supports.

Note once again that some categories are more complex and detailed than will be listed as genres--"Street Action," in the case of Jet Set Radio, is simplified to Action.

If a cover is not available to you, and the game was released in Japan: Sega of Japan still maintains a searchable master list of Dreamcast games on their main site. You can determine the genre of a game from this list too; each game has the appropriate three-letter genre code listed as well as release date and price. Be wary: some, if not all, budget rereleases of games are listed separately!