Action games are a good source of distinct design elements, mainly because their relative simplicity makes analysis of their game mechanics fairly easy compared to the more complex genres.
What we are attempting to do when we are extracting design elements from games on a genre-by-genre basis is to form the basis of a genre-describing “meta-game.” What we mean by meta-game is a description of an archetypal action game. Of course, such a construct is purely hypothetical. It would be pretty much impossible to actually produce a fully comprehensive document. So with this in mind, let's start with an analysis of the design elements that govern the rules of the game. These design elements are only a small subset of the whole, but the ...
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