Play Action Games, Shooter Games, and Sports Games

Action games place an emphasis on physical challenges, such as reaction-time and hand-eye coordination. The action game genre also includes several sub-genres, including shooter games, fighting games, racing games, sports games, platform games, and action car games that are widely recognised as the most important when it comes to action games.

In action games, a player will usually control an avatar or character. The game character will typically navigate through various levels to avoid obstacles, collect objects, and battle enemies by using a variety of attacks. At the end of each level, or perhaps after a series of completed levels, the player will often need to defeat a boss enemy which represents an antagonist in the story of the game. Obstacles and enemy attacks can also deplete the health of a character and the loss of lives that can end the game.

A player can win the game when a sequence of levels is completed. However, in most action games, especially arcade games, there is an infinite number of levels, leaving player's to primarily focus on collecting objects and maximizing score by defeating stronger enemies as the game advances.

History of Action Games

Action games had a major turning point in 1978 with the release of Space Invaders, an extremely popular shoot 'em up arcade game, which essentially pathed the way for the golden age of arcade games. Thanks to the mainstream success of Space Invaders, the gaming industry was dominated by action games and continues to be the dominant genre through free online games, game consoles, and video arcades to this day.

Along with Space Invaders, Pac-Man (1980) and Asteroids (1979) are also considered iconic examples of the action game genre. In 1982, Robotron: 2084 was released and quickly became a favourite in the shooter subgenre of action games. Just like Space Invaders set the tone for shooter games, Donkey Kong managed to do the same for platform games when it was released in 1981. Karate Champ, the martial arts themed game released in 1984, established the fighting genre, while Kung-Fu Master formed the beat 'em up subgenre.

Defining Features of Action Games

The action genre will include any game where you will need to overcome challenges by physical means, including quick response times and precise aim. Action games can also incorporate other unique challenges, including collecting objects, solving puzzles, and completing races. Players can also encounter exploration and tactical challenges, but games like these will require good hand-eye coordination and high reaction speed. Most action games will also feature a time limit, creating added pressure for players to complete each level in a certain time.

Action Game Subgenres

Action games can be divided in several subgenres. It's also worth mentioning that most action games are presented without a clear subgenre, like Frogger, and other types of genres such as Strategy and Adventure that feature several action elements. We included the most popular subgenres when it comes to action games below:

Fighting

These are action games that will involve fighting and will be presented through a side-scrolling view with several adversaries. You will need to use close-range fighting techniques such as martial arts or karate to beat waves of enemies.

Maze

In maze games, you will need to navigate through a maze to chase down adversaries or avoid them while they are chasing you. A great example includes Pac-Man.

Platform

Platform games will involve avoiding obstacles and fighting enemies while jumping onto platforms at different heights to eventually complete a level or stage. The physics of these games are usually unrealistic, and the levels of these games are normally vertically exaggerated. Examples include Donkey Kong, Sonic the Hedgehog, and Super Mario.

Rhythm

These games will usually challenge your sense of rhythm. You will be rewarded with points when pressing buttons accurately in sync with the beat of the music playing or decrease your health bar when you are out of sync. These games can also be classified as music games and are considered a new subgenre in the action game genre.

Shooter

These games will allow you to act with a ranged weapon at a distance and challenge your aim and accuracy. Even though shooting games are normally associated with violence, there's also a variety of non-violent shooting games like Splatoon. The shooting game subgenre also includes third-person shooters and first-person shooters, as well as various other shooting games taking place from a side-view and top-down perspective.

Survival

These games will start you off in a hostile environment with minimal resources. You will then need to collect resources to successfully craft weapons and tools to help you survive as long as possible. Most survival games can also overlap with horror games where you will need to survive in a supernatural setting. A great example is a zombie apocalypse.