When it comes to gaming websites, the sky’s the limit to the amount of options and features that most of them contain. Gaming themes typically fall into one of two categories, those that are used for actual gaming (or casino) purposes and those that are used to rate and provide tips and techniques on games and other gaming sites.
While each of these has a totally different purpose, the basic options and features contained within the themes are quite similar.
Gaming sites include some or all of the following elements; buddypress or other social media and chat software, a rating or point system, high resolution graphics, incredible audio and video capabilities, extensive gaming plugins, large amounts of animations, and tons of advertising and promotional space.
Typically, these themes are able to handle huge loads of content that is mostly in the form of graphics, video and audio. As a result of this heavy load capacity, they have to be extremely powerful, created on a solid framework and be extremely well organized otherwise they will fail to load properly.
When it comes to the main design, game themes are “darker,” a little less “user friendly” and use extreme “techno” graphics to get the message across.
Here are what I consider to be some of the best WordPress themes for Gaming.
The further you get into technology, the further you go into gaming. That’s the general rule.~ Nick Johnson
Oblivion is the ultimate gaming theme for creating awesome review sites, a forum for gamers, as well as, to organize all of your gaming portfolios into three different views. It is an all in one multi purpose gaming theme from WordPress that includes a number of parallax blocks that bring images and videos to a whole new level. Oblivion is fully customizable with a simple drag and drop editor and has a built in rating system.
The overall design is not as dark as most themes in this category because it is the background that determines the main design and you can add a bright and cheerful one if you want. Whether you go bright, go bold, go dark or even animated, the content areas can be coded to match the background making this theme a bit more personal.
The perfect theme for a gaming magazine or review site, Oblivion was created by SkyWarrior and is sold on ThemeForest.
Gameleon WordPress theme is the best theme for creating your very own gaming site. Entertain your friends, family and other online players with over 70000 games by adding the My Arcade Plugin which is compatible with the Gameleon theme. MyArcade plugin costs between 30-60 Euro, depending on the features that you want, and is a rather small price to pay for such an amazing amount of games. Also compatible with Gameleon are the MyArcadeContest, WPSS Arcade Extension, MyScorePresenter and BuddyPress plugins, all of which are used for making fully functioning gaming websites.
There are so many other features and options included in this theme, it would take an entire page just to list them all. Suffice to say, this is one fully packed theme that is perfect for all types of gaming websites.
In fact, if you just need a gaming magazine, there is also a non gaming version included, confirming the fact that for all your gaming needs, Gameleon has you covered.
Coincidentally, The Orizon WordPress gaming template which is third on our list, was also created by SkyWarrior (the creators of Oblivion) indicating that perhaps they are setting the standard to which all gaming magazine themes should be created. The amazing graphics and transparent content areas work together to create a very sleek looking “techno” gaming design that is quite popular with gamers everywhere.
Orizon comes in a red and blue version with five different backgrounds, 2 main sliders, a review system and is buddypress compatible. The theme is considered an out of the box ready made theme that only needs a few customizations in order to get it up and running.
While it may lack in some of the multi purpose features that Oblivion has, its overall design is clearly ahead of the game and very game centric.
Salient brings videos to life with its full screen Nectar slider that creates a 3D and life like view of things. It was not created as a gaming theme, however, it is a multi purpose theme that can easily be transformed into a gaming theme or magazine with a tweak and plugin here and there.
The exclusive Nectar Slider creates an amazingly powerful video that can introduce games and videos in ways that you have never imagined. In fact, you might feel as if you are playing the game right from the homepage of the website, and that is just the beginning of what this theme can do for your gaming site.
Salient comes power packed with the following features; 8 Custom Page layouts, 4 blog layouts, a built in “love” system for rating, 361 icons, parallax slider options, social media options, call to action buttons and it is WooCommerce ready to sell all of your gaming products.
It is not hard to imagine why Salient has become hugely popular since its introduction in March of this year with close to 8000 purchases to date.
The Forca Wordpess theme created by Orange themes has it’s own unique features such as an awesome banner system that allows you to add images, text and videos, as well as, contains its own separate image gallery system that does not need pages to reload in order to have image changes.
Forca comes with 2 different category templates, but you can create multiple categories and templates by simply dragging and dropping blocks.
A huge amount of space is provided for advertising and the theme is BuddyPress and WooCommerce ready with an event and review management system.
Its dark style theme was designed specifically with gaming, sports, cars, movie, casino and gadgets sites in mind. It is the perfect news and review sites for “getting your game on, whatever your game is.”
6. Power Mag
PowerMag is one of the most versatile and well organized magazine themes available on ThemeForest. It has a unique color coded category system for easily identifying and sorting topics.
Packed with over fifty different features such as a built in reviewing system, 14 custom widgets, visual page builder, short-code generator, news ticker and so much more, PowerMag certainly lives up to its name. Its dark design is suited for use as a gaming magazine, however you can use it for just about any magazine or review site.
Since its initial release, PowerMag’s developer djwd has added eight new “hot” features to the theme, indicative of a great support system and that alone is worth its weight in gold.
Puzzles is a WordPress magazine and review theme that can be found on ThemeForest and is one of the few themes for gaming that comes WooCommerce ready. However, it isn’t that which makes the Puzzles theme so unique, but rather its totally awesome portfolio display. Aptly named, the theme’s layout resembles large pieces of an interactive puzzle that can be sorted in a variety of different ways. Each piece of the “puzzle” can be created in its own unique post with or without ratings and depending on this choice is how your puzzle pieces will be displayed on the home page.
A relatively flat design, Puzzles not only looks and feels like a game theme, it acts like one as well.
Hickory WordPress Magazine theme was not created specifically as a game theme, however it is a highly customizable magazine that has everything a gaming site could ever need including an awesome review and rating system, galleries, paginated posts and more. It was built with the idea that design trends come and go very quickly, if you do not stay ahead of the game and create flexible multi use designs, your designs will get lost in the shuffle.
Hickory’s clean and yet somewhat dark design will appeal to gamers everywhere.
Stocked with awesome features such as GooglePlus Headshot support, video posts and custom widgets, whatever your magazine, gaming or blog needs are, Hickory delivers with awesome speed, power and responsive behavior.
Valenti is a very modern and cutting-edge, feature-rich WordPress high definition review magazine theme that comes with a unique drag and drop builder that allows users to create their own homepages and make modifications to it any time they want.
It also comes with a unique mega menu system for adding drop down menus and other great features such as parallax, full width and full screen viewing options.
Valenti takes gaming to a whole new world of crafty design and there is nothing that comes close to this, yet!
10. Black Aperture
Black Aperture WordPress theme, created by MattBrett, is a news and reviews theme created specifically to cater to the video gaming industry. It was initially released in 2009 and with regular updates and fixes, it continues to be a very nice sleek and user friendly theme for gaming.
Somewhat minimalistic, the theme is much more effective as a gaming news or blogging site rather than a full fledged gaming review site.
Black Aperture is backward compatible with Matt’s newest theme Conduit and it would be interesting to see what designs and powerful features will come from that.
For a simple and sleek gaming blog, Black Aperture is definitely the way to go.
Also created by MattBrett, the Imperial WordPress theme is a magazine style review theme that is perfect for gamers everywhere. It comes in a black and silver version to liven things up and is also compatible with Conduit.
Imperial’s support for thirty seven social media platforms is a nice added touch seeing as most gamers are active in a number of online social communities. It’s custom built reviews module allows you to easily add any type of review to a post.
A major part of gaming is the amount of advertising that is needed to offset the costs of running these types of themes and a huge number of advertisements are supported with Imperial in the form of custom widgets that include 4 125×125 buttons, a 300×250 big box, 160×600 skyscraper, 728×90 leaderboard and 468×60 banner.
Imperial is a great solution for advertisement heavy sites like casino ones.
Google Rich snippets and schema.org markup helps to display ratings directly in Google’s search results and is only one of the few amazing features you will find in the Made responsive review theme from WordPress. Custom integrated user ratings in addition to the author’s rating criteria, automatically averages the user ratings and displays it into the review overview creating an amazingly accurate and unique points system.
Reviews and ratings is where this theme begins, amazing responsive design with unique background images, logos, icons, layouts, content sliders, color schemes, skins, and sidebars is where it really starts to get good.
This theme was made for review sites, but it works for all kinds of sites from non-review personal blogs to huge content heavy sites.
Mazaya WordPress theme is a multi purpose theme that comes with a variety of layouts including one designed specifically for games and sports.
While it is somewhat dark, it is a whole lot more organized and less “busy” than most game themes tend to be. The nicely framed boxed style layout with portfolio displays, transparent content areas and right side vertical menu gives it a very updated look and feel.
Mazaya is completely customizable, highly responsive, and is powered by the Warp Framework. This theme is perfect for the modern day gamer who wants a classic looking dark theme with all the bells and whistles of a gaming site, but is clean and robust to suit the needs of mobile users around the globe.
MegaMag WordPress themes is one of the few review magazine style themes that lets you create custom reviews based on your own rating criteria.
The reason for this is simple, the theme comes with 6 predefined layouts including a gaming skin, fashion skin, food skin and three others. Reviews for each of these industries are slightly different, therefore it makes sense for the designer to be able to choose which rating criteria best suits the niche the theme will be used for.
Smart and sexy, MegaMag shows us what thinking outside the box can help you to achieve.
Color coded widgets and easy to create skins, setting up your homepage is a breeze.
For its flexibility, smart approach to design and award winning review system, MegaMag gets a four star rating from this reviewer.
21 custom page templates with 6 different post types and a built in post rating system is the starting lineup for the Movie Scope WordPress theme.
Created by elite author mad_velikorodnov, the theme is very clean and nicely laid out with ample room for advertising.
Do not let its name fool you, MovieScope is a versatile theme that can be used for just about every aspect of the entertainment industry. It has a number of really cool customizable features including 32 easy to use shortcodes that are easily accessed via the users dashboard, a full width layout option and a really clean and classic style blog for writing great reviews.
Its design is reminiscent of a movie or theatre ticket and this is what gives the theme its own unique touch and part of its charm.
16. One Up
As its creators boast, “OneUp is a fully responsive HTML5 Retina enabled One Page WordPress Theme suitable for any kind of creative or business use that is built upon the responsive Twitter Bootstrap framework.”
You might be asking yourself, why is OneUp included in a collection of gaming themes? This is a very good question and one that I will be more than happy to answer.
This theme has one of the most unique sliders of all of the themes I have seen thus far on ThemeForest and as soon as you see it, you will agree that a slider of this type and quality must be used to promote and preview games, movies and videos.
Gamers not only need review and gaming sites, they also need themes that will promote and preview upcoming games and OneUp is the perfect theme for doing just that. For a great promotional type website, OneUp is the best choice for gamers everywhere.
GamesTheme WordPress Theme is one of the most powerful game portals that provides custom posts type such as “Releases,” which allows you to present new games products, “Reviews,” which is used for reviewing games and “Previews,” to inform users about upcoming products and “Games” which describes games, present players, and strategies. Users can register on the site and create his or her own cabinet with ability to add personal contact information, post their own reviews and stay ahead of the game.
The theme is compatible with BBPress and Mail Subscriber for keeping your users updated with the latest gaming news.
Its one and only downside is the fact that is has not been updated to the latest version of WordPress and really should be. If you are still using WordPress 3.5 and want to take a stab at it, this is one of the best gaming portals and worth tinkering with.
Like most gaming themes, ReviewIt WordPress theme has powerful review features such as the GD Star Rating plugin which allows both the author and visitor to rate and vote on posts and comments and the JW Player worth over eighty dollars by itself.
Unlike most gaming themes that work in conjunction with BuddyPress, ReviewIt was built as a BuddyPress theme, meaning that ReviewIt styles all the Buddypress pages to match the theme’s design and creates the community around the theme instead of the other way around.
The theme comes in two separate skins one that is is dark and one that is light, each is clean and sleek at the very same time.
Easy to install, the theme literally sets up in minutes making this one of the best themes for novice users.
Very similar to the ReviewIt theme above, Score WordPress Review theme comes with the powerful JW Player and GD Star Rating Plugin making it a very good deal for the price.
Contrary to most game themes, Score is very bright, light and is perhaps best suited for children’s gaming sites, an area that is often overlooked by the gaming industry.
The design is minimalistic in comparison to most gaming themes, but it does provide support for a variety of different post types including YouTube, Flash, Vimeo and when it comes to writing descriptive reviews, Score is hard to beat.
If you are looking for a review or community theme for a less “techno” savvy group of gamers, than this is the theme for you.
Similar to the Black Aperture theme, Zine is one of the most popular and longest lasting gaming WordPress themes having been released in May of 2012. Modern and responsive, you can customize your entire website with the theme options panel as well as, manage your content very easily with the 5 different custom post types. Complete with over twenty five different features such as a review and rating system, advertisment manager, filterable portfolio and tons of shortcodes, Zine is still one of the top gaming themes.
If you are looking for a more classic looking gaming and review theme, then Zine should be on top of your list because a theme like this never goes out of style.
As you will no doubt have noticed by now, all of the gaming themes in this list have two very important things in common, they all include a rating system and some form of community forum, BuddyPress or network building feature.
If you want to play games on a website, you may need to create and link to a game database or add the functionality of gaming via a plugin similar to MyArcade. Most, if not all of these themes can be converted into a gaming theme by adding a plugin, link or portal to a gaming database or gaming room.
A review site is just the start button for a great gaming site, what you add to it, is what truly matters.