A stickman game refers to any game in which the primary character or characters are represented by simplistic stick figures. Popularized in the early days of Flash-based video games, stickman games are extremely varied with many different genres and notable products fitting under the label.
While there likely isn’t a single defining reason as to why stickman games became as prominent as they did, it likely has to do with a few consistent factors, namely their simplicity. Without the need for complex graphics, developers could allow their games to speak for themselves even if they didn’t have the skill in art design more mainstream titles featured. This had the added benefit of giving many stickman games a timeless quality in terms of visuals.
Another reason for the popularity of this type of game could be the visuals themselves. In addition to being easy to draw and animate, the cartoon-like graphics of a stickman game lent itself to a variety of genres, from the all-ages to the brutally violent, keeping things fairly tame in the process because of the lack of realism inherent in the art style.
There are many examples of popular stickman games made over the year. Some of the most prominent include the Bowman games, in which two players (or one player and a computer opponent) would take turns shooting arrows off one side of a screen, plotting their trajectory against environmental factors to try and hit the stickman at the opposite side.
Another popular series with slightly more involved art and gameplay assets would be the Henry Stickmin. Based around the titular character (a stickman named Henry), players would navigate a classic adventure game plotline about robbing banks, breaking into a museum, escaping prison, and more. These games take full advantage of their stickman stylings, using them for both comedic and brutal effect while being appropriate for players of any age.
For those who simply want to brutalize inhuman characters, games like the Creative Kill Chamber games offered numerous ways to murder stickmen. In their own way, these kinds of games are likely one of the purest representations of why stickman games became so well known, providing an easy way for teens to let out frustration against unfeeling game characters in as violent a way as they can imagine.
There are thousands of different types of stickman games to play online. These are only a fraction of what’s available entirely for free all across the web, so take a look and see what’s out there.