Adventure games are classified based on their gameplay type rather than their plot or substance. While technology has provided creators with new ways to explore storytelling in the genre, adventure games haven’t progressed much from their text-based roots on a fundamental level.
In adventure games, players interact with their surroundings and other characters to solve puzzles based on clues to advance the plot or gameplay. Except for the occasional mini-game, adventure games rarely contain standard video game action features. As a result, mass gamers aren’t particularly fond of the genre.
Myst is widely regarded as the most successful adventure game of all time. The game was published in 1993 at what many believe to be the pinnacle of the genre, and it went on to become the best-selling PC game of all time. Consumers were also introduced to the era of CD-ROM gaming due to this game.
Adventures in text
“Interactive fiction” was a term used to describe early text adventure games. Players utilize their keyboard to submit orders in reaction to the game’s pre-programmed plot arch or circumstance, such as “fetch shovel,” “grab a sword,” or “move North.” When it comes to text adventures, programmers spend a lot of effort figuring out different answers to the players’ inputs.
Adventures in graphics
Games progressed as computers grew increasingly capable of producing images to support text. Early graphic adventure games, for example, relied on rudimentary pictures to supplement the still-text-based narrative. Games began to replace written text commands when the mouse evolved into a gaming controller, and players began to “point-and-click” to interact with an on-screen item.
Novels in pictures
Most visual novels, which are extremely popular in Japan, require players to develop character qualities or statistics to progress through the game. Many games feature various endings, influenced by how the player reacts to certain story events. Many visual novels feature dating and legal simulations (for example, Ace Attorney for the Nintendo DS).
Visual novels account for over 70% of all PC games launched in Japan.
Film with interactivity
The interactive movie was first introduced thanks to laserdisc and CD-ROM technologies. Pre-filmed live-action or animation segments are used in interactive movies. The user controls the action during critical parts in the plot, such as pushing a joystick right or clicking a button to “leap” out of the way as a boulder rushes toward them, and the adventure is often played from a third-person perspective.
Fun fact: Dragon’s Lair is a classic example of an interactive film and video game. Don Bluth, a former Disney animator, animated it. (Blutch’s studio took seven months to finish the game.)
3D in real-time
Real-time 3D is the most recent advancement in adventure games, and players engage in a real-time 3D video game world rather than pre-rendered visuals. Shenmue and Heavy Rain are two games that fall within this category.