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Why the Adventure Game Went the Way of the Dodo

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Once upon a time (in the early 90’s) adventure games were a popular genre, sparking numerous hits from Sierra, LucasArts and a myriad of other gaming companies. For many, myself included, these games shaped a large part of my childhood teaching me about the mysteries of Tikal, the practice of insult sword-fighting and how to take on a truly epic quest armed with more brains that brawn. With a wide fan base, compelling stories and even great tie-ins in the case of LucasArts with established franchises like Indiana Jones and Star Wars, it seems odd that adventure games are almost nonexistent these days. Have our tastes in games changed so much in the past 10-15 years that we can no longer appreciate the subtleties that adventure games have to offer?
None of this is to say that there haven’t been attempts to revive this dying genre. The Longest Journey and its sequel Dreamfall released in 2006 were some of the strongest additions to this genre in years. Yet even with the popularity of the first game, the Dreamfall sequel added fighting and stealth elements, putting off those who preferred adventures games precisely because they didn’t involve action or quick trigger fingers. Nonetheless, the success of these games proves that there is still a market for these kinds of endeavors, so why are so few companies willing to pick up on them?
The answer to this, in my opinion, largely lies in the growth and near omnipresence of the internet and wireless communications. Adventure games by their very nature are single player and don’t encourage interaction between people in the same room let alone the different parts of the world. The most popular games for both the PC and video game systems are played interactively with others online, requiring not only the action of the individual but of numerous individuals. Adventure games simply don’t offer this element of action, of the unknown and the unpredictable human element.
Nor are they particularly challenging for gamers now that the internet is on hand at all times. Part of the fun of an adventure game is not being able to figure out a puzzle, getting stuck for days at a time, and finally figuring it out on your own. Now, walkthroughs are available almost immediately and there seems to be a greater impatience to beat a game rather to enjoy the ride, perhaps a product of a society so used to instantaneous gratification. To add insult to injury, there is little replay value of these games and if gamers rush through them quickly there is little value for the dollar.
The novelty of the high-quality graphics, intricate storyline and in-depth puzzles has been replaced by that of the online experience and games that mix puzzles with other more active ways of engaging with characters. While adventure games can still entice an audience, they will never have the same charm and draw that they once did when gaming was new and novel and the world wasn’t as plugged in as it is today.
This post was contributed by Sarah Russel, who writes about the best online college degree. She welcomes your feedback at SarahRussel1234[at]gmail[dot]com

maintitleToday, a friend of mine, Sarah Russel, offered an article for the site about the adventure game genre, something that a lot of the younger gamers have probably never heard of. It’s an excellent author, and on behalf of Default Prime would like to thank her for her contribution.

Once upon a time (in the early 90’s) adventure games were a popular genre, sparking numerous hits from Sierra, LucasArts and a myriad of other gaming companies. For many, myself included, these games shaped a large part of my childhood teaching me about the mysteries of Tikal, the practice of insult sword-fighting and how to take on a truly epic quest armed with more brains that brawn. With a wide fan base, compelling stories and even great tie-ins in the case of LucasArts with established franchises like Indiana Jones and Star Wars, it seems odd that adventure games are almost nonexistent these days. Have our tastes in games changed so much in the past 10-15 years that we can no longer appreciate the subtleties that adventure games have to offer?

None of this is to say that there haven’t been attempts to revive this dying genre. The Longest Journey and its sequel Dreamfall released in 2006 were some of the strongest additions to this genre in years. Yet even with the popularity of the first game, the Dreamfall sequel added fighting and stealth elements, putting off those who preferred adventures games precisely because they didn’t involve action or quick trigger fingers. Nonetheless, the success of these games proves that there is still a market for these kinds of endeavors, so why are so few companies willing to pick up on them?

dreamfall2

The answer to this, in my opinion, largely lies in the growth and near omnipresence of the internet and wireless communications. Adventure games by their very nature are single player and don’t encourage interaction between people in the same room let alone the different parts of the world. The most popular games for both the PC and video game systems are played interactively with others online, requiring not only the action of the individual but of numerous individuals. Adventure games simply don’t offer this element of action, of the unknown and the unpredictable human element.

Nor are they particularly challenging for gamers now that the internet is on hand at all times. Part of the fun of an adventure game is not being able to figure out a puzzle, getting stuck for days at a time, and finally figuring it out on your own. Now, walkthroughs are available almost immediately and there seems to be a greater impatience to beat a game rather to enjoy the ride, perhaps a product of a society so used to instantaneous gratification. To add insult to injury, there is little replay value of these games and if gamers rush through them quickly there is little value for the dollar.

The novelty of the high-quality graphics, intricate storyline and in-depth puzzles has been replaced by that of the online experience and games that mix puzzles with other more active ways of engaging with characters. While adventure games can still entice an audience, they will never have the same charm and draw that they once did when gaming was new and novel and the world wasn’t as plugged in as it is today.

This post was contributed by Sarah Russel, who writes about the best online college degree. She welcomes your feedback at SarahRussel1234[at]gmail[dot]com

Default Prime is an independent video game website that is dedicated to bringing you the latest news, reviews, editorials, features, and video content on a daily basis. We like to keep things relaxed enjoy chatting and hanging out with our readers.

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