Finding the Perfect Game for Christmas – Part 2: Genres 1



Welcome back to our 4 Part Blog Series on Finding the Perfect Game for Christmas! If you missed Part 1, click here to read!

Today we will be discussing genres, and what genres might be perfect for your gift recipient. There are about 10 major genres, each different from the last. Keep in mind that sometimes defining a genre of a video game can be tough – it’s just like movies or books. Sometimes genres can mix – creating a brand new genre. It can also be difficult to pin down a specific genre to a game. It happens, and it can get confusing. Always know that if there are any questions you have that this blog does not answer, you can always call our stores and ask an in-store associate what might be best for you.

This is a chart generated by statista.com breaking down the most sold genres in 2015. These are the 10 most popular and will be the ones we will explore today.


Let’s get down to it!


The best-selling video game genre of 2015, and for good reason! Shooters have a wide variety of content in them and often end up blending many different genres into them. They can be first person – where you see your hands and guns, or the game be third person, where the camera zooms out to show your entire character.

In this video game image released by Activision, special forces try to repel a Russian invasion of Paris in "Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3." (AP Photo/Activision)

This is an example of a first-person shooter.


This is an example of a third-person shooter.

Shooters usually involve, well, shooting! So on that note, please consider that most shooting will involve shooting other virtual people, and as a result of that violence, will be considered an M rated game. Shooters often have a strong emphasis on a multiplayer experience with minimal single player options, so note that you may need to invest in Xbox Live or Playstation Plus subscriptions with these games to get the full experience! Some notable titles in this genre would be Call of Duty, Halo, Gears of War, and Battlefield.


Here is another broad genre. Games in this genre usually involve lots and lots of action and usually little story or slow moments in the game, though that isn’t always true. These games often include lots of challenges including but not limited to shooting, platforming, and puzzle solving. Games of this genre can include gun or swordplay, but can also be fun, silly games for a younger audience. Ratings on action games can be all over the board. Notable action titles are Batman, Grand Theft Auto, and Dark Souls.

Batman: Arkham Asylum is an example of an action game.

Batman: Arkham Asylum is an example of an action game.

Sports Games

These games are virtual recreations of popular sports. A vast majority of these games will be rated E for Everyone. The gameplay is usually simple, dynamic, and most importantly – fun! Easy to pick up for most people, and they come our annually! Notable sports games are FIFA, WWE, NBA, MLB, and Madden NFL. Note that these games will be followed by year titles for the sports year their rosters will represent.

Fifa 15 is an example of a sports game.

Fifa 15 is an example of a sports game.

NBA 2K16 is an example of a sports game.

NBA 2K16 is an example of a sports game.

WWE 2K16 is an examoke if a sports game.

WWE 2K16 is an example 0f a sports game.


Role Playing

Also known as RPGs (role playing games). Sometimes, nothing can be more fun than getting home from work or school after a long day and pretending to be something you aren’t – an epic, well-known hero who travels distant lands, or a nameless adventurer dodging arrows and taking down dragons. Role playing games are often long, time consuming games that can spread a little bit of money out a LONG way. I’m not kidding. You can spend $7 on a copy of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim and be playing until the cows come home. Spoiler: That’s a LONG time. Role playing games often have a strong single player emphasis and often little-to-no multiplayer aspects. These games are also often set in a fantasy or sci-fi universe. Ratings in this genre tend to be spread all across the board. Notable games of this genre are Pokemon, The Elder Scrolls, Fallout, Tales of Xilia and other Tales games, and Dragon Quest.

Final Fantasy is a great example of an RPG.

Final Fantasy is a great example of an RPG.



Adventure games often include a stronger emphasis on story than action games do, but often include a lot of the same conventions. Adventure games will often move slower than action games, but still include the same elements such as platforming, puzzle solving, and shooting. Adventure games will be more about an experience – like RPGs – but not inherently quite as long. Adventure games can have multiplayer aspects, but also focus mainly on a single player experience. Notable adventure games are The Legend of Zelda, Minecraft, Heavy Rain, and The Walking Dead Game.

The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword is a great example of an Adventure game.

The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword is a great example of an Adventure game.



Yes! We all need to let out some steam every once in a while, and, let’s be honest, who doesn’t remember playing some sort of fighting game as a kid? Fighting games often require a lot of technical skills and memory, being able to react quickly and pull of counters and combos. They aren’t for everyone, but if you are willing to put in a little bit of focus you can get REALLY good at them. Most popular fighting games also have a strong community following, so getting into some of the bigger fighting games can make you some very great friends. However, sometimes not knowing what you’re doing and just button mashing your way to victory is the best way to win. Fighting games often have a VERY strong multiplayer focus, and are some of the only game still around that have two-player local gameplay, as well as online. That being said, most games also have a decent story mode used to get the player invested in the world of the game. Ratings range all across the board on this one. Notable fighting games include Mortal Kombat, Street Fighter, Killer Instinct, and Injustice.

Mortal Kombat X is an example of a fighting game.


Racing games are all pretty simple in idea, and pretty broad in design. If you like high speed and always being #1, try one of these on for size. Racing games also typically have a fair balance of multiplayer and single player functionality, however some recent games are giving up on local multiplayer and only allow online play. Most racing games will range from E to T, with the kicker often being mild lyrics in the songs used or suggestive themes – no one wants to endorse reckless driving after all. Notable racing games include Forza Motorsports, Gran Turismo, Need for Speed, and Mario Kart.

NASCAR Heat Evolution is an example of a racing game.

Mario Kart 8 is a great example of a fun racing game.


These games require time, patience, and a capacity and love for learning. Strategy games can be huge times sinks, in fact there is someone out there who has been playing the same game of Civilization II for the last 10 years! (Note: NSFW material such as inappropriate language may be present in the comments of the thread) The catch is that strategy games are NOT for everyone. And that’s not bad, but if you can learn to love one and curl up with it, it can very quickly be the most played game in your library. Most strategy games are solely single player experience with limited multiplayer aspects. Most strategy games will range from E to M. Notable strategy games include Civilization, SimCity, and Red Alert.

Battallion Wars 2 is a classic example of a strategy game.

Family Entertainment

These games are built for families, and as such will mostly be rated E or E10+. These kinds of games will be meant for family games nights and will include virtual board games, card games, trivia, or unique challenges. There is almost solely a local multiplayer aspect to these games, often between 2-4 players. These games will include the Family Game Night series, You Don’t Know Jack, Monopoly, and Just Dance.

Family Game Night is a perfect example of a family game.

Just Dance is another example of a family game.


. These are games – mostly mobile games but many still do make appearances on console – that you boot up because you’ve got some time to kill or want to keep the kids busy. These games often have a minor story and are meant simply to relax. These include puzzle games, mobile games, or creative games. These are games that you will put some times into, but you probably won’t notice it because you’ll be playing them for half an hour or so at a time rather than for whole hours. Ratings on these games are usually on the lower end of the spectrum, ranging from cE to T for the most part. Popular casual games include Peggle, Plants vs Zombies, LittleBigPlanet, and Chocolatier.

Plants VS. Zombies is a fun, favorite casual game.

And there we have it! Using these descriptions, you should be able to decide what games will be best to make the perfect gift! Do you like long drawn out single player experiences? Or do you prefer shorter bursts of fun multiplayer battles with friends? You can find everything you need up there and remember – sometimes genres are hard to track down. If you need help, call or stop by one of our stores and ask for an associate. Until next time, when we talk about Console Exclusivity!

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Disc Repair

Do your games freeze, do you get disc read errors, or they simply won’t load? Sometimes it is the lens going out on your machine but more commonly it is smudges or scratches. Smudges can be wiped off with a soft cloth like a t-shirt. Don’t use a paper towel, it’s too rough!


At Matt’s Game Exchange we have hi-tech buffing machines that will repair discs by taking out scratches making them look and function like brand new. Our machines have several settings from light buff to deep buff.  We have a 95% success rate. (However, if there are deep gouges like it was scrapped across pavement or the silk screening on top is damaged we won’t attempt to fix these).

We only charge $3.00 per disc. If you have a lot we can certainly work out a quantity discount. Often we can run them through our machine quickly while you browse the store.

Currently we fix XBOX, XBOX 360, PS1, PS2, Dream cast, Sega CD, Sega Saturn, Wii, Music CD’s and Game Cube games.

We use these machines on all scratched discs traded into our stores. We want you to play games and this gives us confidence in giving you a 30-day guarantee on all games that we sell.

We encourage you to look at discs before purchasing whether it is from us or someone else so that you can play with confidence.

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And don’t forget – we just want you to play games and have fun!

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Turbo Review Tuesday! Journey to save the princess in Dragon Spirit!

Image result for dragon spirit turbografx 16

It’s a plot device as old as storytelling itself; The princess has been kidnapped by a dragon, you must venture to save her, vanquishing ghouls, monsters, and dragons along the way. In 1987 Namco decided to take that story and tweak it just a bit, the ending result, a vertical fantasy shooter known as Dragon Spirit! While this game was ported from arcade cabinet, to multiple home consoles, this review is going to focus heavily the TurboGrafx port of this incredible game.

Image result for dragon spirit turbografx 16 start screen

In Dragon Spirit you play a warrior named Amul as he journeys to save princess Alicia after she has been kidnapped by Zawell, a serpent demon that has escaped after a thousand years. He points his sword to the sky and vows to save the princess, in doing so his sword is struck by lightening and he is transformed into a blue dragon. After defeating eight of Zawell’s strongest beasts you are given the opportunity to fight Zawell himself and rescue Alicia for the kingdom.

Image result for dragon spirit turbografx open

Dragon Spirit approaches the vertical shooter genre in a way that not many had thought of at the time, and many still forget to take advantage of. With the “shoot-em-up” genre being over saturated with lone pilots battling in the dark void of space against an alien horde, you are piloting your dragon through rich forests, caverns, and dungeons. You are able to move Amul in 8 different directions, breath fire at oncoming enemies, drop bombs as predators below, upgrade your firepower with over 13 different power ups, and have your dragon grow multiple heads! All of these features combine to make for a breath of fresh air to the genre.

Image result for dragon spirit turbografx 16 opening

While this game was ported to other home consoles around the same era, the TurboGrafx port is arguably the best. The 16-bit GPU of the TurboGrafx made it possible for the game to remain relatively unchanged from the arcade version. While the arcade version as one more level and boss to fight before getting to the end, the home console version held its integrity with the stunning graphics, speedy gameplay, and a unique aesthetic that made it stand out among the competition. All in all this game is enjoyable for first time players or gamers wanting to try something new!

Image result for dragon spirit turbografx boss fight



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Turbo Review Tuesday! Take a journey down Tiger Road!

Welcome to Turbo Tuesday! We’ll be reviewing different TurboGrafx games, the first being Tiger Road.

tiger-road-title-pictureOriginally released for the arcade in 1987 by Capcom and later ported to the PC Engine and TurboGrafx-16, this action platformer focuses on the story of Oh-Lin after being attacked by the “warriors of the Dragon God.” With his own warriors defeated, pupils kidnaped, and secret scrolls stolen, Oh-Lin journeys to piece his life back together. At the time the game was hailed for its improvements over the arcade version and fast paced gameplay for the time. The original game was so well received that it was ported to the Playstation 2 as part of the Capcom Classics Collection Vol. 2 in 2006, along side other Capcom household names like Street Fighter II, Strider, and more.


Tiger Road consists of five stages that the player must not only navigate but fight their way through. With enemies ranging from enemy ninjas, monsters, and more, the character sprites are lively and rather refreshing for the era. Each level differs from the environment, enemies, and even gameplay, with some sections of levels turning into a 2d scrolling shooter of sorts. As you traverse through the stages and defeat the onslaught of enemies you begin to acquire power ups, new equipment, and clues leading you closer to the Dragon God. After defeating the Boss in each stage the player retrieves one of his lost belongings and continues his journey, much like Mega Man or other notorious action platformers of the 16-bit decade.


One feature that sets Tiger Road apart from its TurboGrafx competition is the ability to save your progress throughout the game. With the hardware restrictions of the TurboGrafx-16 most games were unable to save natively, rather you need the assistance of a TurboBooster, or TurboGrafx-CD attachment. Tiger Road has a back up save state feature built into the game placing it among the minority of games that natively support save states. Other features that separate Tiger Road from its original arcade release are the updated graphics, faster gameplay, and all in all smoother gameplay.


All in all Tiger Road is a memorable and affordable title for anyone looking to expand their TurboGrafx experience. The gameplay is responsive and reminiscent of all the other great action platformers of its generation. The graphics of the TurboGrafx-16 make it stand out against its arcade predecessor, and the save state feature is a life saver when it comes to taking a break. If you are looking for a challenging yet enjoyable title, I would recommend this game to gamers new and old alike!

Rating: 8/10

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Finally, we just want you to play games and have fun!

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Super Nintendo Saturday – Zombies Ate My Neighbors

Today is Super Nintendo Saturday and each week we will be featuring a different SNES game. Feel free to email us with any requests and we will put them in our queue.

Zombies Ate My Neighbors, 1993

Zombies Ate My Neighbors (ZAMN) is a “run and gun” game released for SNES (and Genesis). The game centers around Zeke and Julia, who must explore 99 levels and rescue their neighbors from zombies and other horror-esque characters. Every level has a different setting, the neighborhood, the mall, etc. You are armed with a few not-quite-weapon weapons: soda cans, squirt guns, weed-whackers, silverware, and other random items.

Throughout the levels, your neighbors have spawned in sometimes hard-to-reach places. You must use keys you find to unlock doors, jump on trampolines over hedges, rely on chainsaw-wielding maniacs, or use the weed-whackers to get through blocked off areas before the zombies/monsters do. Unfortunately, it only takes one touch from a zombie/monster to kill one of your neighbors, so plan your rescues accordingly.

This definitely isn’t a shoot-em-up, gory zombie game. It’s really just a lot of fun and has quite the cult following. A sequel was released for SNES called Ghoul Patrol. If you can’t find this game in the wild, you can download the digital release in the Wii Virtual Console.

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And don’t forget – we just want you to play games and have fun!

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Introducing Turbo Review Tuesday!

Welcome to Turbo Tuesday! We’ll be reviewing different TurboGrafx games, but first we decided to give you a breakdown of the little-known console.

Back in 1987 an up and coming software company known as Hudson Soft partnered with NEC Home Electronics to create a video game console known as the PC-Engine. Almost 2 years later the United States saw a redesigned, renamed, and all in all revamped release of the same hardware named TurboGrafx-16. In a little over a decade NEC went on to create other consoles, hardware attachment upgrades, as well as pioneered many aspects of the video game industry we all know and love today. The Turbografx-16 saw a lively but brief lifespan in the early console wars, and much like Sega, Atari, and other video game companies of yesteryear, NEC eventually discontinued all hardware and software production for the brand. In this new review series will be taking a look back on the software and hardware that led to this incredible machine’s massive cult following. As our Introduction to the series we will be breaking down the different hardware variations, and compatibility between different game formats on them. If you are developing interest in the NEC family of video game consoles, need a refresher course after finding your childhood console, or just generally curious about this key piece of video game history, we hope this article offers something for everyone!


Core Consoles and Upgrades:

-TurboGrafx-16/PC Engine
Initially released on October 30th 1987, and August 29th 1989 in the United States, the PC Engine and TurboGrafx-16 are the most well known of all hardware and have the largest library of games in the family of consoles. Both variations of hardware had a 16-bit GPU and an 8-bit CPU making it the first console of the 16-bit generation. The improved 16-bit graphic capabilities of these systems, paired with a CPU that rivaled Nintendo’s, put NEC ahead of the competition in the visual department. Both hardware variations only support RF connection but were later able to connect via AV cables using system attachments. While the PC Engine thrived in its respective market, even outselling the Super Famicom briefly, its stateside counterpart failed to catch on and ultimately contributed to the companies discontinuation of the product line.
Game Compatablilty:
-Region locked; HU Card

-TurboGrafx CD/PC Engine CD-ROM2/PC Engine Super CD-ROM2
In 1990 following the initial release of their base consoles NEC were the first to utilize CD-ROM hardware and CD-ROM discs as a medium for game storage. The attachment launched with a price tag of $399 and did not include any pack in games, making it a hard sale for western audiences. Both CD-ROM attachments require a core console as well as a CD System HU card in order to work properly. Later CD-ROM based games required more RAM than was available within the system and as such NEC released a series of Arcade and CD system cards that provide the necessary upgrade for the games to run. Games that require a Super System or Arcade Card were released as CD-ROM2, Super CD-ROM2, and Arcade CD-ROM2 format and will not play using a standard CD System HU card.
Game Compatibility:
-Region locked; HU Card, Super CD-ROM, TurboGrafx CD.

-TurboExpress/PC Engine GT/PC Engine LT
Continuing on the topic of video game “firsts” brings us to the TurboExpress and PC Engine GT/LT. These systems are portable, self contained adaptations of TurboGrafx-16 and PC Engine consoles containing identical hardware as their at home counterparts. Boasting to be the most advanced handheld of its time, these consoles were compatible with all HU Card games released for their respective region, something that even Sega couldn’t say until 2 years later with their Nomad portable. The most obscure of these portables is the PC Engine LT, which featured a briefcase design, and the ability to connect to the PC Engine CD attachment, as well as the ability to hook other media devices to the on board screen.
Game Compatibility:
-Region locked; HU Card, CD-ROM (with attachment)

Only released in Japan, this variation on the PC Engine featured four times the ammount of RAM within the CPU, and a second video chip providing its own RAM. Only seven games were released to take advantage of the hardware revisions making it less known than many of its console family members. The console however will play all previously released HU Card format games for the PC Engine.
-TurboDuo/PC Engine Duo/Duo R/Duo RX


-Super System 3.0 Card/Arcade Card Pro

Game formats:
–HU Card/TurboGrafx CD/Super CD-ROM
-PC Engine
–HU Card/SuperGrafx HU Card/CD-ROM2/Super CD-ROM2/Arcade CD-ROM2
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Sega Genesis Sunday – Dr. Robotnik’s Mean Bean Machine

Today is Sega Genesis Sunday and each week we will be featuring a different Sega Genesis game. Feel free to email us with any requests and we will put them in our queue.

Dr. Robotnik’s Mean Bean Machine, 1993

Sega Genesis Jurassic Park

Dr. Robotnik’s Mean Bean Machine (MBM) is a puzzle game for Sega Genesis that was developed by Compile with three gamplay modes: scenario, two-player versus, and exercise mode. The game features Dr. Robotnik, whom younger fans of Sonic the Hedgehog may know as Eggman. The TLDR of the Robotnik/Eggman name change is that in Japan he has always been Eggman and the Sonic Team decided to unify and only refer to him as Eggman worldwide. Surprisingly enough, even though Dr. Robotnik is a part of the Sonic storyline, Sonic is not featured in this game at all.

While MBM is a puzzle game, it does have a storyline.  Dr. Robotnik wants to ensure there is no fun or music on Mobius and built a machine that turns the beans into robots. The screen shows two Tetris-like boards where beans fall from the top of the board. There is also a display of the next beans coming up. The object is not to clear your board (left), but to fill your opponent’s board (right) by clearing your beans. In order to clear beans, you must rotate and stack to make groups of at least four like-colored beans. This is the basic gameplay that spans across 13 levels. Two-player versus mode pits you against a friend, in the same gameplay as versus mode but without the robotic story. Exercise mode is just practice. This puzzle game is not especially hard, but it is fun.

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And don’t forget – we just want you to play games and have fun!

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Super Nintendo Saturday – LoZ: A Link to the Past

Today is Super Nintendo Saturday and each week we will be featuring a different SNES game. Feel free to email us with any requests and we will put them in our queue.

The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, 1992

The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past (LoZ/ALTTP) is the third installment of the Legend of Zelda saga and the only in this series available on the Super Nintendo. You play as Link (or whatever you decide to name him) on his journey to save Princess Zelda, who called to him telepathically. The story thickens, however. Once you save Princess Zelda, you must seek out the Master Sword by retrieving the Pendants of Virtue. Once wielding the Master Sword,  Link must attempt to defeat the evil wizard Agahnim, who has kidnapped the princess once again. After the attempt to defeat him, Agahnim pulls Link into a the new Dark World. This is the first LoZ game to feature a light/dark world, which is then a staple in subsequent releases. Link must rescue Princess Zelda and six other maidens from various dungeons and defeat various bosses before facing Agahnim once again, and finally defeating him and Ganondorf, the leader of thieves who stole the Tri-Force and transformed the land.

One of the most fun aspects of this game is the ability to explore the land of Hyrule. There are many hidden items, heart pieces, and characters to find. While some of these do lend to the progression of the story, exploring a little will not hinder gameplay. It is very easy to get lost just having fun. Asides from this, the game is neither easy nor difficult. The dungeons which you must quest through are often times like a puzzle you must solve. That said, the puzzles are not impossible to solve and defeating each dungeon boss is relatively easy using the special items Link attains throughout his journey.

ALTTP also pushed the Super Nintendo to all the limits. The 16-bit graphics allows more depth to be given to the overall world, as well as giving it a more realistic look. This game in the series also has a masterful soundtrack – much of which is carried throughout the other games in the saga.

ALTTP has incredible replay value that absolutely stands the test of time. While beating it once in adolescence, adulthood has warranted I play again for the sake of nostalgia. There was simply nothing better than the little girl in me staring at the TV after defeating Ganondorf and obtaining the Tri-Force. Perhaps adult me just wanted to make a wish. This game is definitely a must play game for everyone.

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And don’t forget – we just want you to play games and have fun!

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Giveaway – Super NES Super Set

Matt’s Game Exchange is hosting a giveaway for a Super NES Super Set! This set includes a SNES console, two controllers, and the Super Mario World game cartridge. Use the widget below to sign up. Each action offers you more entries into the giveaway. Please note that the winner of this giveaway must pick up their prize at our Florence, SC location. The giveaway will run from September 1st until September 30th. A winner will be announced October 1.
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Giveaway – Nintendo Action Set

Matt’s Game Exchange is hosting a giveaway for an NES Action Set! This set includes an NES console, two controllers, one Zapper, and the Super Mario/Duck Hunt game cartridge. Use the widget below to sign up. Each action offers you more entries into the giveaway. Please note that the winner of this giveaway must pick up their prize at our Greensboro, NC location. The giveaway will run from August 31st until September 30th. A winner will be announced October 1, just in time for our Customer Appreciation Day on October 2.

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