Western games or Wild West games are those titles that take place in the historical western part of the United States and involves everything from dusty gold-rush towns, bandits, native peoples, and cowboys to robots and aliens – it’s truly one of the broadest genre designations out there.
In modern parlance, a Wild West-themed video game typically is less Red Dead Revolver and more about the setting of the video game than anything else. While never a large or popular genre, the Western video game genre borrows many of its conventions from the much more popular though somewhat less so now television and movie genres of the same name.
Classic games for the NES such as Gun Smoke or more modern titles like Red Dead Redemption or Call of Juarez hew closely to the traditional concept of a Western video game and, with the rise in popularity of shows like HBO’s West World, we expect that more Wild West games will be coming out in the near future.
One game that fits into this genre that you might not have thought of is the PC classic Oregon Trail, the survival game about making your way across the United States as a group of settlers heading out West. Though broadly situated in the video game world, Western games are nonetheless an evolving genre that encompasses everything from strategy simulations to first-person shooters, and we expect this will continue on into the future. While the movie genre has not enjoyed widespread commercial success for some time, the future of the video game genre looks bright indeed.