Interactive fiction A computer terminal running Zork , one of the first commercially successful text adventure games. Text adventures convey the game's story through passages of text, revealed to the player in response to typed instructions. Notable examples of advanced text adventures include most games developed by Infocom , including Zork and The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. Interactive fiction may include puzzles, but these tend to be incorporated as part of the narrative in comparison to being specifically added as gameplay that must be solved to continue within adventure games.
Some games will utilize a first-person or third-person perspective where the camera follows the player's movements, whereas many adventure games use drawn or pre-rendered backgrounds, or a context-sensitive camera that is positioned to show off each location to the best effect.
Point-and-click adventure games are those where the player typically controls their character through a point-and-click interface using a computer mouse or similar pointing device, though additional control schemes may also be available.
Many point-and-click games would include a list of on-screen verbs to describe specific actions in the manner of a text adventure, but newer games have used more context-sensitive user interface elements to reduce or eliminate this approach.
Often, these games come down to collecting items for the character's inventory, and figuring where is the right time to use that item; the player would need to use clues from the visual elements of the game, descriptions of the various items, and dialogue from other characters to figure this out.
Later games developed by Sierra On-Line including the King's Quest games, and nearly all of the LucasArts adventure games , are point-and-click based games. Escape the room games[ edit ] Main article: Escape the room Escape the room games are a further specialization of point-and-click adventure games; these games are typically short and confined to a small space to explore, with almost no interaction with non-player characters.
Most games of this type require the player to figure out how to escape a room using the limited resources within it and through the solving of logic puzzles.
Other variants include games that require the player to manipulate a complex object to achieve a certain end in the fashion of a puzzle box. These games are often delivered in Adobe Flash format and are also popular on mobile devices.
They typically emphasize self-contained puzzle challenges with logic puzzle toys or games. Completing each puzzle opens more of the game's world to explore, additional puzzles to solve, and can expand on the game's story.
Puzzle adventure games were popularized by Myst and The 7th Guest. These both used mixed media consisting of pre-rendered images and movie clips,  but since then, puzzle adventure games have taken advantage of modern game engines to present the games in full 3D settings, such as The Talos Principle.
Myst itself has been recreated in such a fashion in the title realMyst. Other puzzle adventure games are casual adventure games made up series of puzzles used to explore and progress the story, exemplified by The Witness and the Professor Layton series of games. Narrative games[ edit ] Narrative games are those that generally favor narration over gameplay, with gameplay present to help immerse the player into the game's story.
Though narrative games are similar to interactive movies in that they present pre-scripted scenes, the advancement of computing power that can render pre-scripted scenes in real-time, thus providing for more depth of gameplay that is reactive to the player. Gameplay in narrative games may include working through conversation trees, solving puzzles, or more recently, the use of quick time events to aid in action sequences to keep the player involved in the story.
Frequently, these game allow for branching narratives; choices made by the player influence events throughout the game. While these choices do not alter the overall direction and major plot elements of the game's narration, they are known to help personalize the storm to some degree to the player's desire through the ability to choose these determinants.
Walking simulators are narrative games that generally eschew any type of gameplay outside of movement and environmental interaction that allow players to experience their story through exploration and discovery. The term "walking simulator" has sometimes been used pejoratively. They allow players to roam around the game environment and discover objects like books, audio logs, or other clues that develop the story, rather than through dialog and cutscenes.
They resemble mixed-media novels or tableau vivant stage plays. The format has its primary origins in Japanese and other Asian video game markets, typically for personal computers and more recently on handheld consoles or mobile devices. The format has not gained much traction in Western markets. Interactive movie Some adventure games have been presented as interactive movies; these are games where most of the graphics are either fully pre-rendered or use full motion video from live actors on a set, stored on a media that allows fast random access such as laserdisc or CD-ROM.
The arcade versions of Dragon's Lair and Space Ace are canonical examples of such works. The game's software would present a scene and then display options for the player to continue on, the choice leading to the game playing a new scene from the media.
The video may be augmented by additional computer graphics; Under a Killing Moon used a combination of full motion video and 3D graphics. Because these games are limited by what has been pre-rendered or recorded, there is a lack of player interactivity in these titles, with wrong choices or decisions leading quickly to an ending scene.
Hybrids[ edit ] There are a number of hybrid graphical adventure games, borrowing from two or more of the above classifications. For example, the Ace Attorney series of games, while presenting itself as a visual novel, includes elements of point-and-click adventure games. The Zero Escape series wraps several escape-the-room puzzles within the context of a visual novel. Action-adventure game While most adventure games typically do not include any time-based interactivity by the player, action-adventure games are a hybrid of action games with adventure games that often require to the player to react quickly to events as they occur on screen.
The foremost title in this genre was Adventure , a graphic home console game developed based on the text-based Colossal Cave Adventure ,  while the first The Legend of Zelda brought the action-adventure concept to a broader audience. The origins of text adventure games is difficult to trace as records of computing around the s were not as well documented.
Text-based games had existed prior to that featured elements of exploring maps or solving puzzles, such as Hunt the Wumpus , but lacked a narrative element, a feature essential for adventure games. These variations were enabled by the increase in microcomputing that allowed programmers to work on home computers rather than mainframe systems. Scott Adams launched Adventure International to publish text adventures including an adaptation of Colossal Cave Adventure, while a number of MIT students formed Infocom to bring their game Zork from mainframe to home computers and was a commercial success.
When personal computers gained the ability to display graphics, the text adventure genre began to wane, and by there were few if any commercial releases. Non-commercial text adventure games are still developed today, as the genre of interactive fiction.
Graphical development — [ edit ] Mystery House for the Apple II was the first adventure game to use graphics in the early home computer era. Sierra would continue to produce similar games under the title Hi-Res Adventure. Here, Sierra's King's Quest , though not the first game of its type, is recognized as a commercially successful graphical adventure game, enabling Sierra to expand on more titles.
As computers gained the ability to use pointing devices and point-and-click interfaces, graphical adventure games moved away from including the text interface and simply provided appropriate commands the player could interact with on-screen. The first known game with such an interface was Enchanted Scepters from Silicon Beach Software , which used drop-down menus for the player to select actions from while using a text window to describe results of those actions.
With the adoption of CD-ROM in the early s, it became possible to include higher quality graphics, video, and audio in adventure games. A Gabriel Knight Mystery , and the gradual adoption of three-dimensional graphics in adventure games, the critically acclaimed Grim Fandango , Lucasarts' first 3D adventure. Myst , released in by Cyan Worlds , is considered one of the genre's more influential titles.
Myst included pre-rendered 3D graphics, video, and audio. Part of the game's success was because it did not appear to be aimed at an adolescent male audience, but instead a mainstream adult audience. Myst held the record for computer game sales for seven years—it sold over nine million copies on all platforms, a feat not surpassed until the release of The Sims in With many companies attempting to capitalize on the success of Myst, a glut of similar games followed its release, which contributed towards the start of the decline of the adventure game market in The forementioned saturation of Myst-like games on the market led to little innovation in the field and a drop in consumer confidence in the genre.
Notably, Sierra was sold to CUC International in , and while still a separate studio, attempted to recreate an adventure game using 3D graphics, King's Quest: Mask of Eternity , as well as Gabriel Knight 3, both of which fared poorly; the studio was subsequently closed in Freelance Police and had no further plans for adventure games. Some of the best of the Adventure Games were criticized they were just too short.
Action-adventure or Adventure Role-playing games can get away with re-using a lot of the art, and stretching the game play. Gilbert wrote in , "From first-hand experience, I can tell you that if you even utter the words 'adventure game' in a meeting with a publisher you can just pack up your spiffy concept art and leave. You'd get a better reaction by announcing that you have the plague. Paranormal Investigator, Time Gentlemen, Please!
New platforms and rebirth —onward [ edit ] Following the demise of the adventure genre in the early s, a number of events have occurred that have led to a revitalization of the adventure game genre as commercially viable: The s saw the growth of digital distribution and the arrival of smart phones and tablet computers , with touch-screen interfaces well-suited to point-and-click adventure games.
The introduction of larger and more powerful touch screen devices like the iPad allowed for more detailed graphics, more precise controls, and a better sense of immersion and interactivity compared to personal computer or console versions.
These new platforms helped decrease the cost of bringing an adventure game to market,  providing an avenue to re-release older, less graphically advanced games The Secret of Monkey Island,  King's Quest and Space Quest  and attracting a new audience to adventure games. Modeled off the idea of televisions episodes, episodic adventure games break the story into several parts, giving players a chance to digest and discuss the current story with others before the next episode is available, and further can enhance the narrative by creating cliffhangers or other dramatic elements to be resolved in later episodes.
Telltale found critical success in The Walking Dead series released in , which eschewed traditional adventure game elements and puzzles for a strong story and character-driven game, forcing the player to make on-the-spot decisions that would become determinants and affect not only elements in the current episode but future episodes and in sequels. The game also eschewed the typical dialog tree with a more natural language progression, which created a more believable experience.
Its success was considered a revitalization of the genre,   and would lead Telltale to produce more licensed games driven by story rather than puzzles.
He had tried to find funding support for an adventure game, but publishers refused to consider his proposals for fear of the genre being unpopular. In , Schafer turned to Kickstarter.