There’s not a single catch-all category which can cover all the games we talk about here, but if we had to group them together as much as possible, we’d end up with two major categories. Games which can be played without any user input (idle & incremental games) and games that you’d play during your idle time.
Think about what you want to do every time you load up an idle game, think about what you want from the idle game itself. Do you want to eventually reach a stage where the game can play itself up to a certain point, or is it the type of game where you have to constantly be helping it to move forward, perhaps you simply want to play a game during your idle time.
The word ‘idle’ can mean different things depending on your perspective, a game may play itself and hence be an idle game or a it may be played during your idle time, keeping this in mind, looking forward, we’ll be expanding our genre of games which we cover. We’ll still stick to incremental and exponential games but keep an open mind about games which you can play during a bathroom break.
If we’re looking at idle games in the traditional sense then we get games such as AdVenture Capitalist and Tap Titans 2, games which eventually end up playing themselves to one degree or another, on the same spectrum we get games such as Soda Dungeon which require the player to actively take part in selecting a team and equipping them with gear.
Both of these categories however fall under the same umbrella, they play themselves for the most part and need minimal input from the player.
Other games such as the Candy Crush Saga, similar Bejeweled clones as well as management games like the well known Zynga Browser games fall under another major category for idle games, these are all games that are played when the player has idle time he’s looking forward to spend but can’t find any other entertainment.