Action Game Mechanics

A game is simply a structured type of play, normally undertaken for fun or entertainment, and at times used as an educational instrument. Games are quite different from work, which usually are carried out only for recreation, and from literature, which are primarily an expression of intellectual or aesthetic themes. A game involves a number of players interacting to achieve a goal. Some games may be physical games (e.g. bowling, basketball), others may be mentally challenging (chess), etc.


The adventure games, video game franchise installments, and the role playing games belong to this genre. These are generally narrative in nature, and the main characters live in an open world. The narrative progresses through the player’s perspectives, showing the different stages of the game’s storyline, from beginning to end. The player is the protagonist, and he/she has the power to choose the paths and choices available to him. The players have to solve the various puzzles to complete their quests, interact with the other players, the environment, etc., to advance to new levels, with each level offering progressively more challenges.

Another game genre that belongs to the action-adventure category is the situational gaming. This is generally categorized as arcade, sports, fighting or puzzle game. In these types of games, the objective is not defined, but the player assumes the role of some main character and the storyline revolves around their experiences in the course of the game. This is unlike the narrative adventure games, where the plot of the game is consistently told, with the objective being always the same – to uncover secrets or to escape from the dungeon.

The role-playing games are similar to the visual novels (dating back to the 1980s) and computer role-playing games, wherein the player assumes the role of a character and the decisions made are the outcome of that character. Some of the more popular examples of this type of game are the Legend of Zelda and Ultima Online. Unlike the visual novel, in which the objective is predetermined, in an RPG the player has the freedom to make any action in the world regardless of what the protagonist is doing at that time. For example, if the player wants to go on a treasure quest, then the game will give him/her the necessary tools and information that will enable them to complete the quest and proceed to the next step.

A third action game genre is the simulation game. This game genre is perhaps the most expansive among the three. In these types of games, the player can either participate in real-life tactical battles or they can merely act in the role of an important character. An obvious example of a simulation game is Call of Duty or Halo. Modern video game examples of this type of game include the Farming and Fishing and Tower defense games.

The fourth and last action game mechanic is the gameplay. In these types of games the player must respond to various stimuli and interact with the environment to achieve the objectives set by the game’s storyline. Examples of these types of games are titles like Dead Space and Portal. Often, this is combined with an action-adventure type of storyline.