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Question: What genre is Kick the Can?

February 5, 2008

The last time I asked a question like this, I loved the answers everyone came up with. Here’s a sequel.

8 Comments leave one →
  1. February 6, 2008 12:47 am


    Genre is useful mainly as a shorthand way of describing what the game’s ancestry is and the context in which it was created. A more complex label isn’t needed for a game so simple and universal as ‘Kick the Can’.

  2. February 6, 2008 10:47 am

    Indeed, isaac might be right. The first thing I thought of when I saw this was “it’s a mechanic right?” – even if you think the game has an aim, it’s a self-made-up one, and that aim determines the genre more so then that to complete it you’ve got to kick a can.

  3. February 6, 2008 11:08 am

    A variation of Hide and Seek eh?

    This is more based on all players’ ability to perform actions in order to survive the longest (not it) or to win (it). The actions required of the hiding players are: stealth, strategy and skill (action). The actions required of the seeking player are: strategy and skill (action).

    I put Hide and Seek in the Strategy genre primarily based on the pervasive need for all players, either it or not it, to utilize strategy to play the game. Where as Kick the Can introduces a more dominant mechanic of action and skill to either ‘kick the can’ or to stop the other players from kicking the can while seeking them out. Although this too requires a fair bit of strategy in the sense that almost any game does, strategy takes a back seat to action. In this instance, the players’ ability to run and dodge requires more energy.

    I’d place Kick the Can primarily in the Action genre.

    I know there are those that will say that every game requires action, just as any game requires strategy, however, I am going by the pervasive and dominant mechanics that span across all sub-gametypes within all variations of the game. Saying something is traditional is not really putting it in a proper genre as that is not specific as to the mechanics of the game, rather a label of another color. Like calling it casual or multiplayer offline. These aren’t really defining the genre once broken down into the mechanics _required_ of all players in all gametypes of the given game.

  4. February 6, 2008 11:26 pm

    What’s the genre of American Football? “Sports”? Any game played in the physical realm that involves a good deal of physical activity as part of the play would probably be part of the same genre, whatever you wish to call it.

    (I can see it now. “Kick The Can 2008, from EA Sports. It’s in the game!”)

    As a sub-genre, according to Wikipedia it’s related to Tag, Hide & Seek and Capture The Flag.

  5. February 7, 2008 12:07 pm

    I had to take a look over Wikipedia, because even though I had heard of it before (on movies and suchlike) I have never played it and have never heard of anyone here in Brazil playing it.

    As the guys have already said, and as the Wikipedia has it registered, I would classify it the same way as H&S, only that here we have a new social mechanic, that defines a team play.

  6. February 7, 2008 7:19 pm

    It seems like Kick the Can is identical to Hide and Seek, only played in reverse. Instead of an “It” player seeking multiple hiding targets, the “It” player waits for hiding targets to come seeking the can. At least, when I played it, camping the can was the most viable “It” strategy.

    So, whatever Hide and Seek is, I’d say Kick the Can is as well.

  7. Brian Shurtleff permalink
    February 7, 2008 9:43 pm

    hmm, kick the can is an actual game with rules and everything?
    When I was a kid we’d literally just kick a can around and call that playing kick the can… never heard of this hide & seek style play version of it.

  8. Malinda permalink
    March 12, 2008 3:30 am

    Kick the Can is reverse Hide and Seek? Never played it (though I do recall Red Rover and such), but our reverse H&S involved one hider and X+1 seekers. When a seeker found the hider, that seeker would become a co-hider, squeezing into the same hidey-hole. Game ends when last seeker finally finds all hiders or hiders get bored / cramped and surrender. 🙂

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