Action games

The Action Game Genre

Action games have been around for almost as long as computers have been powerful enough to play them. One of the original types of video games, the modern action game has many sub-genres; fighting games, beat ‘em ups, shooters, sports games and many more. The types of game that fall into the ‘action’ genre can be very different from one another, but they all test a player’s reflexes and quick thinking by presenting physical challenges to the player character.

The classic action title makes use of just two dimensions – scrolling from top to bottom or from left to right. Upgradable weapons, limited health, constant motion – these are the ingredients that make a great action-based game! It’s a formula that has stood the test of time and can still be found in many of the games that millions play today.

Many action games will have classic features like boss battles, platform jumping and power-ups. Others may play with that formula in new and exciting ways. These days there are action games to suit every play style and mood.

The Popularity of Action Games

While there’s a place for turn-based strategy games like Civilisation and Total War, and puzzlers like Minesweeper and Candy Crush Saga, most of the popular games we play today are based around fast-paced action, quick reflexes and moment-to-moment thrills. The ESports scene, which has gained a lot of popularity since the late 2000s, is based almost exclusively on action games. Esport events for games like Counter Strike or League of Legends see fully professional teams drawing huge crowds to watch them compete live, blurring the line between video games and traditional games.

The History of Action Games

If you take a look at the history of gaming, you’ll find some of the most iconic titles were action-focussed games. Arcade shooters like Space Invaders marked the start of an era which saw the creativity and complexity in video games explode. Early ‘golden age’ arcade games like Street Fighter, Pacman and Mario Bros. helped to define the ingredients of action video games and sub-genres like fighting games, maze games and platformers.

Action games really took off as the video game industry grew in the eighties and nineties. Games like Gunstar Heroes and Bayonetta pushed the on-screen craziness to new heights, with a dizzying number of projectiles for players to avoid. It was an early echo of the ‘bullet Hell’ games that would follow in later years.

The number of types of action games only increased as time went on. Once the internet allowed players across the world to play against one another, action games were a natural fit for competitive online play. They still make up a large proportion of the games played online to this day — you could say that the history of action games is the history of video games.

Action Games Grow Up

Of course, the ‘action’ label is a broad one, and there’s something on offer for every type of gamer. Action games could be seen as the great-grandchildren of the golden-era arcades. They may take a million different forms, but they all offer excitement and adrenaline.

The modern first-person shooter is an offshoot of the action genre, and it includes everything from the cartoonish ultra-violence of Doom to the gritty quasi-realistic warfare of games like Call of Duty. Many shooters such as The Division incorporate online, cooperative elements which you can tackle with friends or strangers online, bringing them closer to the experience of classic “massively multiplayer” games. Throw in recently-popularised game modes like Battle Royale and you’ve got a recipe for hours of fun.

Action-adventure games such as God of War are as big a part of the online media culture today as any film. They push the boundaries of interactive storytelling and graphical excellence. Cut-scenes in top-tier action games often feature Hollywood actors and are delivered to the player in near-movie resolution.

The storytelling in action games can also be incredibly rich. Games like The Last Of Us have been adapted into films, TV shows and comics, showing how deeply fans have resonated with the characters they’ve played as.

New Ways to Play

The ways you can interact with action games have also come a long way since the early arcade machines. Now, motion controllers on consoles like the Wii, and mass-market virtual reality mean you can paddle, swing or even light-saber your way through many titles.

From large, public arcade cabinets, to home consoles to mobile phones, the devices that can run games have only gotten smaller, cheaper and more easily available as the years have passed. Today, more people than ever have access to video games. The number of players worldwide has skyrocketed and the range of games has increased dramatically to meet the needs of new players.

Today, action games can be played from just about anywhere, and you don’t need a powerful gaming PC or an expensive console to get the best from them. Any device with a web browser can play action-based games, and there’s a broad selection of them to be found here. As with all of the online games here at Gamepix, they are free to play, fully updated and ready to play whenever you are.

Action Games at Gamepix

Titles like Action Super Hero and Super Action Adventure are classic shoot ‘em ups, which put the player in charge of a flying character who’ll need to dodge and blast his way through swarms of airborne enemies that try to get you with every move. Tank Wars and Air Wars put a more realistic spin on things — placing you in charge of military forces – but they’re just as frenetic as any other game in the genre and will test your control skills.

Whatever action-based game you choose, you’re sure to have a lot of fun!


What is an action game?

An action game is any game that uses physical challenges to test the player character, for example shooting, jumping or fighting. Action games require quick reflexes and excellent hand-eye coordination.

What is the best free action game?

That depends on what you want to play! In fact, there are so many different games out there in the action genre alone that it’s impossible for anybody to play them all. Why not try some of the many action-focussed online games we have here on Gamepix for free? You can soon find out what type of action game best suits you and your play style.

What are the most popular action?

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