Shooters and sports games. RPGs and racers. Strategy and simulation, action and adventure. The lines may blur but for the most part you know where you are with these. If a game's got guns, cars, football or wizards, it's easy to see where it fits.
But what about the other stuff? What about the games you could argue aren't games at all, like Maths Training and Wii Fit? What about PlayStation Home? LittleBigPlanet? Obscure Independent Games Festival competition entries?
Well, here's our roundup of the 2008 offerings that don't necessarily fit into an established genre - the Lost Levels. It was either that or something to do with "lifestyle" and that would have been intolerable. So...
Buzz! PS3 & PSP
Having proved popular on PS2, the quiz series with the big buzzers and the stupid presenter is coming to Sony's other consoles this spring.
The PS3 version is titled Buzz! Quiz TV. The game disc comes with 5000 questions divided into categories such as Music, Movies and TV, Sports and, what a shame, Lifestyle.
It's "got online", is the main thing, so you'll be able to download tens of thousands of supplemental questions in the form of Quiz Packs. You can take part in online quizzes against up to three other teams.
You can even write your own quizzes (hopefully that will include obscene ones) and upload them via the new MyBuzz community site. Quizzes can be created, played and rated on PC as well as PS3. The good news is it's all presented in glorious HD. The bad news is it's still presented by that fatuous clown with the hateful jokes.
Buzz! PSP will also feature 5000 questions as standard. New round types are set to include Quickfire Challenge, Picture This and Virus Challenge. There are 15 different challenges for the single-player.
Quick quiz: Which of the following is NOT an acceptable configuration for Buzz! PSP multiplayer? A) One copy of the game, one PSP. B) One copy of the game, several PSPs. C) Several copies of the game, several PSPs. D) Half a copy of the game, a Nintendo DS and a soldering iron. You may not insert an amusing reference to "phoning a friend" as Who Wants to Be a Millionaire jokes officially stopped being allowed in 2002.
Dear Relentless: When you've finished with all this Buzz! nonsense, can you do a PS3 version of Quizzlestick please?
According to the press release, LittleBigPlanet fits into the genre of "creative gaming". You start off by exploring, solving puzzles and collecting resources, just as you would in a boring old 20th century videogame. But the resources can then be used to design your own levels and you can share the gameworlds you create online.
Maybe it's the concept, maybe it's the music, maybe it's the sombreros, but videos like this make us cry. Look world, we want to say, videogames can be happy and jolly and creative and good! They don't have to be about shooting space monsters or blowing up foreigners! They can be about sombreros!
While not many actual tears were shed at GDC last year, apart from at the EVE party where they were doing free tattoos, LBP certainly caused a stir. Presenting it to the public for the first time Sony bigman Phil Harrison said, "We loved this game. We thought it was a really great embodiment of the power of the independent gaming community building really great games with their own inspiration, their own money, and sharing it widely."
Almost 12 months on, there's still no definitive release date for LittleBigPlanet - but Sony recently said it would be out in September. So expect it in November.
See for yourself: The full breadth and charm of LBP is quite hard to convey, so you're probably better off just watching the many videos on the gamepage. Bring a hankie.
LittleBigPlanet wasn't the only thing Sony had to show at GDC last year. Phil Harrison also unveiled PlayStation Home. The videos of it also make us cry.
Home is billed as "a first-of-its-kind 3D online user community service". You create an avatar and get an apartment to fill with furniture of your choice. You can show videos, pictures and other hard drive content in your apartment, and display the trophies you've won instead of gamerpoints. There are also plenty of communal areas where you can interact with other players. Most excitingly, you can give your avatar Ratchet ears.
An autumn 2007 release date was originally given but Home has since been delayed. In November, Sony boss Kaz Hirai stated he was "personally not satisfied" with how it was shaping up.
Apparently things are looking better these days. At Imagina 08 SCEE's John Venables and Ron Festejo, one of whom once put his business card in our bra at a party, presented new screenshots of Home as evidence. See how it's been evolving for yourself over in the screenshot gallery.
Home is due out later this year.
"I'll chill here on the deck": It's this sort of thing. Since when did Jack and Kaz become Des and Mel?
Japanese consumers have already gone bananas for Wii Fit, snapping up a million units in the first month of sale. BUT IS IT A GAME? people say, the same people who say things like ARE GAMES AN ART FORM? and WHAT IS "CASUAL", ANYWAY? and DON'T LOOK AT ME I DON'T WANT YOU TO LOOK AT ME WHEN I'M FINISHING SORRY MUMMY SORRY SORRY.
Of course it is a game. You can tell by the way it involves interacting with a user interface to generate visual feedback and complete a series of tasks and being judged on your success or failure at completing said tasks and receiving rewards accordingly, and by the way is a game played on a games console. These factors give it away.
Yes, there is some gibberish about Body Mass Index and your Wii Fitness Age, and Nintendo has bought into the nonsense peddled by Yoga fans that having a stretch will make you live forever.
But basically Wii Fit is a collection of mini-games you play using a special peripheral that looks like a pair of bathroom scales. The games are based around things like soccer, skiing and hula-hooping, as Oli found out when he had a go back in August.
"Even if Wii Fit were rubbish it would be a work of uncommon genius, and it's clearly not rubbish," he informed us. "Who knows whether it will make us all fitter in the long run. but one thing's for sure: it will make Nintendo a lot richer."
Advice for lady games journalists: When invited to try Wii Fit out at E3, do not agree to play the hula-hoop game. It involves a lot of pelvic thrusting. A small crowd will gather and Will from PC Zone will laugh and take photos of you.
Having sorted out your body Nintendo wants to fix your face. So here's Face Training - it's "based on the internationally recognised concept of Facening", which involves pulling different facial expressions to exercise and tone your features.
Face Training comes complete with a camera peripheral and a stand to rest your DS on. The top screen shows a gurning woman. On the touch screen you will see your own face. You have to copy the gurning woman's moves and the game will rate you on how closely you mirror her.
"It looks slick, it comes with neat accessories and it's an innovative idea," says some bint. "Whether it's an interesting one, at least as far as most gamers are concerned, remains to be seen." We all know what that means.
Cushty: In the nineties, people didn't need games consoles and cameras to make them gurn! They used good old-fashioned drugs. Big shout out to the man at 2m 23.
It's not just how you look, it's what's inside that counts, is the lie people tell little girls so they won't be disappointed when they grow up to find they're not fit enough to be on Hollyoaks. But if you believe brains still count for anything why not have a go at Maths Training?
It's brought to us not by Carol Vorderman sadly but a man called Professor Kageyama. The main exercise is a grid of 100 maths problem. As with Brain Training you hold the DS sideways and write your answers with the stylus.
And as with Brain Training, the game keeps track of your progress. Every five days you get three new exercises to try out. You'll be awarded with bronze, silver or gold medals depending on how you do.
Maths Training is out on 8th February so expect a review soon. You'll never guess who's doing it.
Sums it up: There are plenty of Vorderman fansites on the net. Many are frightening: "Carol is to be on Strictly Come Dancing this Saturday. If she lasts to week two she's going to be wearing a dress that is basically a flesh-coloured net with diamonds on." That's quite tame but for legal reasons we cannot give you the link to the erotic fan fiction starring Carol, Anthea and Ulrika.
My Life Coach
Why should Nintendo have all the money, sorry fun, says Ubisoft. Last year we got the first of their "lifestyle" titles, My Word Coach for DS and Wii, and now My Life Coach is on the way.
It's designed to improve the way you live your life and encourage healthier habits. You start out by answering questions about what exercise you do, how much sleep you get and what you eat.
Then, assuming your answers are things like "Going to Threshers", "Four or five hours depending on what time Larry Sanders is on" and "Dairylea triangles and Lucozade", My Life Coach sets you tailored challenges.
These could be anything from getting eight hours' sleep to eating three pieces of fruit in one day to smoking 13 fags during a single episode of Doctors. Except the last one. You're rewarded for meeting these challenges - for example, you might get to choose what type of task you're given the next day.
If that sounds like your cup of camomile tea, check out My Life Coach when it arrives this "quarter".
Get real: Eurogamer's preferred life coach is Dr. Phil McGraw. He doesn't just help out nutty stars like Britney, you know. Meet Thomas, a flasher who's shown his Johnson to 50,000 women! It's okay though - Thomas claims 70 per cent of the women gave him a "positive reaction" and 10 per cent of them slept with him. Wheeeeeee!
New from the people who brought you Guitar Hero comes Guitar Hero except with SingStar and a drum kit. Rock Band launched in the US on 20th November and it's been a huge hit there - more than 1.5 million copies have been sold, and Americans have downloaded music tracks worth USD 2.5 million.
But Fergie (which ever one you're thinking of, it still holds) is also a huge hit in the States, so is Rock Band really any good? Yes, it is some good, says Tom. He describes it as offering "a brilliant multiplayer experience that delivers on its ambitious premise," but added he's "not without a few reservations both in software and hardware".
"Karaoke and guitar specialists certainly won't want to throw out their SingStars and Guitar Heroes," Tom reckons. Carry on: "But with the peripheral set-up now established and regular infusions of downloadable content, the future's bright for Rock Band - and the present's pretty rocking too."
Rock Band is coming to Europe some time after 1st April. It will be available for PS2, PS3, Xbox 360 and, it's just been announced, Wii.
"That's the colonic chair": It is a truth universally acknowledged that all articles mentioning Rock Band must include a Spinal Tap reference. Why not just watch their Live Earth documentary instead.
Samba de Amigo Wii
In the kingdom of SEGA, it's okay to teach monkeys to wear hats and play percussion instruments. Thank goodness or we'd never have enjoyed Samba de Amigo on the Dreamcast all those years ago, or gotten bored of it and made enough on eBay to buy a spare flat.
Now the game is being remade for Wii. It's played by shaking the remote and nunchuk like maracas in time with the beat of the music. We're promised "popular new songs" as well as "fan favourites from the original game".
The game is being developed by Gearbox Software, best known for the Brothers in Arms series. Not many sombrero-wearing monkeys in those games but some of the Nazis do play the maracas if we recall.
SEGA has yet to release a track listing or details of the "new special features" promised for Samba de Amigo Wii. Expect more news soon, though, as the game is due out this spring.
Do the "math": Monkeys + hats + musical instruments = gold.
World of Goo
This physics-based puzzle game is a competition finalist at this year's Independent Games Festival. The concept was developed by Kyle Gabler according to the rules of the Experimental Gameplay Project, which state games must be made in one week by one person, and be based on one concept.
The result was Tower of Goo. Players were tasked with building a structure out of, you know, goo, balancing it to make the tower as tall as possible. Now that concept has evolved into an entire game - World of Goo. It's due out on 14th February, and Kieron likes what he's seen so far.
"It's as instantly charismatic a character-lead puzzle game I've played since the first Lemmings way back in the days of the Amiga," he says.
"Older readers will remember that first time: the absolute sense of wonder in mass of suicidal rodents, the wit of the animation, the sheer chaos that resulted from failing (or even, often, succeeding), the instant impression of being presented with something absolutely coherent and joyous. World of Goo's like that."
See for yourself over at the World of Goo website.
How it all began: Completists can try out the original Tower of Goo over on the Experimental Gameplay website.
Crayon Physics Deluxe
Like World of Goo and Audiosurf (see below), Crayon Physics Deluxe is an IGF finalist. This one involves drawing crayon shapes which behave according to the laws of physics.
You use these shapes to navigate a ball from point A to point B. So you can get the ball to move by drawing a block which drops on it, for example, or a pivot and giant golf club that will hit the ball into the air.
The game is "remarkably charming", says John, who describes it as a cross between The Incredible Machine and Pac-Pix.
"There's something sublimely magical about drawing something and having it come to life. It's like being Penny Crayon without the squawking horror of Su Pollard providing your voice," he observes.
"Combined with the childhood pleasure of the thick, comforting lines of a crayon, you've got a puzzle game that hurts your brain while making you feel warm and safe at the same time."
Crayon Physics Deluxe is out "when it's done". You can see it in action on the Kloonigames website in the meantime.
Jim described this as "one of the more esoteric entries to the IGF". But don't be frightened.
Developer Dyan Fitterer has confirmed he was greatly inspired by Tetsuya Mizuguchi's Rez, and that's evident in Audiosurf's visuals and gameplay. You pilot a ship along a track using the mouse and keyboard. The track moves in time to music - specifically, a piece of music you've chosen from your very own MP3 collection. As you zoom along you collect coloured blocks, obtaining groups of three similar colours for high scores.
"Despite the rail-shooter appearance it's actually something rather more like a high-speed puzzler," Jim reckons.
"Racking up sets of the right kind of colour can become compelling, even borderline frustrating, as you surge relentlessly along the musical puzzle-hybrid of your choosing."
Audiosurf is out this month. Find out more via the official website.
Curiouser and curiouserer: Why doesn't the Internet have any erotic Vib Ribbon fan fiction?
That's it. Not just for the Lost Levels roundup, either; this is the last of our Coming Attractions previews for 2008 (which is good, because it's practically 2009 now). From Halo Wars to Haze, Fable 2 to Football Manager Live, Going for Gold to videos of a man racing a giraffe, it's been a rollercoaster. The next 12 months are likely to be full of similar ups and downs, so why not stick with Eurogamer for the ride? We'll try not to be sick on you.