…is the title of an article by Ernest Adams over on Gamasutra. His piece covers much ground in only three pages, and it isn’t a diatribe against action games per se.

First, he comes out against action or action sequences in games where we wouldn’t expect or desire them. For instance, an adventure game where suddenly, after much cerebral activity, we’re faced with some sort of real-time situation.

I’ve come across that (the infamous finale of Gabriel Knight 3 comes to mind), and agree 100% that action has no place there. Which is why I’m usually not interested in any game that bills itself as “action/adventure”.

Then he takes on action games themselves, pointing out that many are difficult, even on “easy” settings. I suspect one reason for that is the target market of 18-34.

By now, most in that group have grown up with consoles. They’re used to games that require fast action and quick manipulation of controls in complicated sequences.

Ernest believes that cuts out a lot of players who might otherwise enjoy such games, if only they were a bit less strenuous, a bit more forgiving of leaping a chasm and failing because you weren’t at exactly the right spot.

On this one, I’m not so sure. These games are tailored for a specific audience, and I think the majority who play such products are comfortable with them. As for those outside that demographic, are they interested in action games, and if so, do they have a hard time with them? We need some more information here.

Of course, there’s the matter of the veritable flood of “action/RPGs” on the horizon, which depresses me a great deal. Here, I feel it’s not so much a matter of “easy” as it is “less action”, as far as I’m concerned.

Finally, he talks about making games more accessible to people with handicaps of various kinds, and mentions some products that were designed with this in mind.

That’s all to the good. However, as we’ve discussed previously (It’s All In The Mind and More Mind Games) technology is advancing rapidly in the area of “mind/muscle control” of games. Various companies are taking different approaches, but all are aimed at playing games (among more important activities) by thought alone.

So in this case, by the time designers get something done that could be played by almost anyone, regardless of physical problems, devices will likely be available to ease the burden on developers.

Anyway, check out the article and see what you think.

Why Action Games Suck on Gamasutra