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30 Genres of Christmas
Action Games
By Cyril Lachel     |   Posted on December 18, 2009   |   Episode 23 (Show Archive)  

   

It's that time of year again, a time when Defunct Games celebrates the holidays by posting a daily theme article that should inform and delight gamers all over the world. This year we're counting down the days until Christmas by looking at 30 different video game genres. From the most popular games to the tiniest niche titles, everything fits into a genre and we're going to be there to shed absolutely no new information about that genre in this month-long feature. Join us as we celebrate this joyous season with the 30 Genres of Christmas!



Is there a reason we can't send more than two guys to defeat an alien invasion?
How Do You Know You Are Playing an Action Game? That game you're playing is pretty loud, don't you think? I mean, it's nothing but explosions and soldiers yelling four letter words while reloading their guns. The whole thing is geared around the idea that you're are to be constantly hyped with adrenaline and looking for the fastest way to take out your enemies (hint: use the red barrel). You even shake when you're not playing the game, always twitching and looking over your shoulder in case somebody sneaks up behind you. You're a mess, and your family is starting to fear for their lives. All you need is one more fix. Just one more fix. Yeah, it sounds like you are playing an action game ... and have a serious drug problem.

Patron Saint: The caveman that first realized that it's kind of fun doing daring activities that almost get you killed.

Typical Story: The year is 19XX and aliens have invaded. It's up to you and your squad to grab as many guns as you can and rush into the heart of battle so that you can save all of humanity. Some of your fellow soldiers will die, but not before we push these monsters back to their breaking point. But don't get too excited, because for all the hard work we have done to defeat the evil aliens, they'll just be back with

Forget Contra, these days the big Action franchise seems to be Gears of War and God of War!
a bigger force in the sequel. Enjoy the peace when you can, soldier, because from here on out it's going to be shock and awe!

What the Mythbusters Say: "Like Gears of War? Well, so do we, but the more you dig the more you'll realize that there's nothing realistic about it. Take those barrels over there, there's no way that they would blow up if you shot at them. Heck, even with that large chainsaw gun you have, you're going to need more than that to make it explode. Same goes for that car over there. Simply shooting at it isn't going to do anything but make it look like it came from Compton. I would pay attention to that quick sand you're in, though. Despite not being as deadly as people make them out to be, you should always have a strategy when dealing with quicksand."


There's something about Nathan's look in this Japanese box cover that makes me think he's hinting at another kind of "Action"!
Not an Action Game: Even though it sounds exciting the Action 52 isn't actually an action game. This Genesis and 8-bit Nintendo cartridge was actually a compilation of 52 different games, some of which happened to be action titles. Regardless of whether or not this overpriced cart was all action or only a little, it still wouldn't be an Action Game. Instead it would be a Compilation. Unfortunately we don't have enough time to cover the Compilation genre in this Christmas article, but rest assured that the Action 52 is not an Action Game.

Then vs. Now? Action games come in all shapes and sizes, so it's hard to say whether one era is better than another. I would certainly argue that the Contra games of old are infinitely better than those found on current game systems. Yet, maybe it's not about the franchise. After all, Gears of War and Uncharted are two of the best action franchises around, better than most of the me-too action games that hit the Genesis and Super NES. Still, for every Uncharted 2 there are at least five terrible action games that should never have found funding. I'm torn, as long as there are people wanting to white-knuckle their way through a game, Action Games will always be good.
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