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I'm trying to figure out what the genre of games is called in which the only (or primary) control is to hold a single down a button to move the vehicle/character up and when letting go of the button, you float or move down. You generally try to avoid obstacles by moving above or below them.

Examples of this genre would be The Helicopter Game, or Jetpack Joyride. There are no doubt many others that you may have run across over time as well. I just didn't know if there was a genre name for them. I've seen things like 'cave flyer' or 'dodging', didn't know if there was anything better or official to classify them.

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I'm not sure there is one, but this is a super question. –  Merus Dec 2 '11 at 13:08
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5 Answers

up vote 10 down vote accepted

They are usually called "endless survival games" and are in the same vein as Canabalt or Robot Unicorn Attack.

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According to the developer Jetpack Joyride is in the genre Joyride 'Em Up.

I guess if it's their game they get to decide.

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Appreciate the answer, but I'm looking for something that encompasses the entire group of games, not just Jetpack Joyride. Only using it as an example because that's the one I played most recently. –  Doozer Blake Sep 2 '11 at 15:43
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They get to decide on the marketing for their game, but I don't think they get to decide the name of an existing genre. –  Kip Feb 4 '12 at 15:53
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Fruit Ninja is "Slash 'em up", and Monster Dash is "Run and Jump 'em up" -- I'm not sure I'd take them too seriously. –  NickC Aug 12 '12 at 7:50
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I've heard "auto-runner" on some gaming podcasts, because your character constantly/automatically runs. It doesn't seem to be very widespread though--Googling it mainly turns up task scheduling programs.

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+1, at my game dev studio this is what we call them. –  NickC Jul 23 '12 at 2:01
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Another term for games like these are "infinite runners".

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Sometimes they are just called "One Button Games". Kongregate has an entire section devoted to them here. I guess it depends how specific you want to limit the genre to.

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