Great news! I have finally found the perfect action game for netbooks: the 1996 hit game Death Rally! It is actually made by Remedy Entertainment, the same company that created Alan Wake — the game that the Time magazine selected as the best game of 2010.
In case you haven't heard of Death Rally it's a racing game where machine guns are an integral part of your car. You drive through races and try to climb up the ladder of competitors. You can also buy new cars and certain new parts and power ups. Every now and then a shady sponsor will offer you an extra task, such as destroying another player's car in the next race...
Death Rally has been ported to work on modern computer hardware and software. When playing on an Asus EeePC 1101HA (or any other netbook with a lousy graphics chip) you only need to give the game the -nogl parameter to make it play smoothly:
Usually the problem with playing old games on a modern computer is that the game refuses to run because it does not recognize the software that is being used. Probably the support for some old features has even been intentionally dropped from the DirectX drivers, for example. The problem with playing new games on a netbook is that netbooks often just don't have the oomph to play games. Even Droplitz, for example, a nice and simple puzzle game in the spirit of Pipe Dream et al. with a Bejeweled-kind of a twist is just unplayable on an EeePC 1101HA.
The great thing about Death Rally is that it's still exactly the same game as 15 years ago, the only difference with the previous release seems to be the fact that it runs on current computers. :) I must warn you though: by today's standards the game is not that pretty. However, the playability and enjoyability make that up more than well. There will even be an iPad/iPhone version soon so start practicing on the Windows version already!