From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Action games could be considered the video game or computer game equivalent of action movies. Action games typically feature violent physical force, especially shooting, as their main interactive feature. Beat 'em up, Shoot 'em up and platform game are all subcategories of the action game genre. Some use the term to also refer to First person shooters.
Key and defining elements of an action game
The term "action game" is used most often by the mainstream media, although in gaming literature the term has been appearing in a steadily increasing rate. The term is very broad and encompasses many individual sub-genres, however, action games typically share elements such as:
- Combat or physical violence; this may be hand-to-hand combat, weapons- or vehicle- based
- A difficulty curve directly related to the player's physical reaction speed, hand-eye coordination, and mental dexterity
- Includes many challenges performed under a time limit, in which the player must complete a task quickly or otherwise lose a life or fail the level
- The player controls a single character for the majority of the game, or a small 'squad' of characters through which the player can lead one at a time
- A focus on visual features such as the game's graphical style and visual effects
- Sophisticated enemy AI
Other elements are considered less important for an action game, such as:
- In-depth narrative, plot, or backstory
- Interaction with other characters within the plot in ways that affect the player's character
- Turn-based and/or strategic elements, such as controlling a party of several characters simultaneously
Common "action game" objectives and gameplay
While the individual objective of an action game varies drastically from game to game, it generally involves advancing through stages referred to as "levels"; along the way, eliminating hordes of enemies with minor puzzle solving involved. Many times the games include a "Boss" or "Bosses", often precluded by "Sub-Bosses" (more commonly known as Mini-Bosses). A mini-boss is usually the climax of a series of levels or each individual level, with a "Boss" being either at the end of the game or they can be tiered with many mini-bosses, a few bosses that are harder in difficulty and then finally leading up to an "End-game Boss" which would be the objective of the game.
Bosses are typically defeated by your "pattern recognition" skills and physical reaction speed. In most older action games and even many modern ones, the bosses were programmed with a simple pattern of attacks or moves that would make them very difficult to defeat. Though usually after a few minutes or hours of trying anyone can defeat them as you simply learn the pattern from trial and error. These simple patterns would often include combo moves that require your character to jump, dodge or block an attack, then strike at certain points to deal damage to the boss, perhaps even waiting out or timing the patterns to get your attacks in.
Many sub-genres such as platform games and action-adventure games add gymnastic-style puzzles, such as timing jumps to and from moving platforms (hence the name Platform games). Platform games, whether 3D or 2D are usually similar in concept to the original Mario Bros. series of games originally in the arcade then on the Nintendo video game console. Some action games feature 3rd-person-shooter-game-play elements, enabling the player to pick up and upgrade various weapons, each sporting its own special abilities.
Another common sub-genre is the Shoot 'em up; which usually involves the player controlling a character or vehicle brandishing many weapons and shooting literally almost everything moving on the screen. The Shoot 'em up genre is well known for its side and vertical scrolling shooter games.
Action game sub-genres
Following is a list of the most common sub-genres listed in game indexes whether on the Internet or in book-form.
- 2D Action
- 3D Action
- 3D Platformer
- Breakout Variant
- Beat 'em up
- Freeform Shooter (also known as Shoot 'em up)
- Horizontal Shooter
- Multi-Type Action
- Survival Horror Game
- Space Combat
- Vertical Shooter