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The action genre of video games refers to those where the player faces physical challenges during gameplay, requiring a precise aim or quick response times.

Action games are the most popular of the genres. It also includes several sub-genres, such as beat em ups, fighting games, platform games, rhythm action games, shooter games, and survival games. Maze games, such as Pac-Man, could be considered action games, as well.

As with many other genres, overlapping genres are not uncommon. Action-adventure games mix elements of the action and adventure genres, so a decision as to which genre such a game should be listed in would depend on where the emphasis of the game is. Is the focus on the action or on the exploration? The same may be true of role-playing games, in which the gameplay often includes action.

In an action game, the player is generally assigned the role of an avatar or protagonist, and the gameplay involves navigating a game level while avoiding obstacles, battling enemies, and collecting objects. Often, the culmination of a level, the player faces off against an enemy boss who is more challenging than other antagonists encountered during that level. Typically, the player's health and lives are depleted by enemy attacks and obstacles, and a "game over" loss is encountered when the player runs out of lives.

Some action games have a final goal, or the last level that must be completed in order to win the game, while others are unbeatable, have an indefinite number of levels, and the goal of gameplay is to get as far as possible, maximizing scores.

While action games might incorporate other challenges, such as collecting objects, solving puzzles, or running races, these are not central to the game. Players in an action game might assume a role, explore a game world, and encounter challenges that require strategy, but the main point of an action game involves hand-eye coordination and high reaction speeds. As the player is under pressure, there isn't time for complex strategies.

Early video games were generally either adventure or action games. Classic action games included Asteroids, Pac-Man, and Space Invaders. Donkey Kong was an early platform game, Karate Champ was a one-on-one fighting game, and Kung-Fu Master was one of the first beat 'em up games.

Given that many video games include overlapping genres, the placement of a game within the genres section is determined by the overall focus of the game and other matters. Action games that can be played online but are not available for download should be listed in the appropriate Online Games category. Subcategories will be created for sub-genres when the number of listed sites suggests a need for it.



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