Every action is seen to fall into one of three main categories, guarding, hitting, or moving. Here, then, are the elements of combat, whether in war or pugilism.

B.H. Liddell Hart

British military theorist Sir Basil Liddell Hart may have died before video games became popular, but his quote neatly covers the basics of video game combat. Combat is a popular and major component of a video game player's moves and activities. A good combat system requires much thought and work from the development team in order to get it right. But before we dive into combat, we need to open and look into the messy can of violence.

The simple truth is this: many video games are violent.

Let me amend that.

Video games are about action. Some of those actions, like hitting, shooting, stabbing and killing, are violent.


However, anyone who assumes that all video games are violent obviously knows nothing about video games. A large number of video games don't rely on violence, from the first video game, Tennis for Two, all the way to the latest iPhone puzzle game. I could fill this entire book with a catalog of non-violent games. But somehow, it's always the Dooms, Mortal Kombats, and Grand Theft Autos that get all of the attention. Why? Because:

  1. Violence in video games is graphic, dramatic and visceral.

  2. As a result of the above, it offers a player the quickest positive response feedback ...

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