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Old 01-22-2007, 04:26 PM   #13
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Well, what does it mean to be dead commercially?

The sales figures can no longer support big budget adventure games (Fahrenheit may be a relatively recent exception), so if that means "dead" to you, then the genre is dead commercially. However, there are developers and publishers that keep churning out titles (HER Interactive with the Nancy Drew series is one example), so it's clearly possible to make money on it still.

And what does it mean to be dead artistically?

I'm sure we could argue for a long time about whether there's significant innovation in FPS's, racing games, sports franchises, etc. Have adventure games achieved some huge creative breakthrough recently, some paradigm-shifting invention? No.

But there is certainly innovation and ambition for greater things in the adventure game genre, in gameplay (Kheops Studios have a reputation for coming up with new mechanics, and Fahrenheit again), stories (Dreamfall, The Shivah), UIs (many experiments with 3D point-and-click, Fahrenheit yet again), format (Telltale's Bone and Sam & Max series), graphics (Runaway 2 appears to set a new standard for cartoon visuals), and what have you.

If you look beyond the commercial releases, you start to find really weird stuff like Fa├žade (kitchen sink drama where you have to interact through natural language with two characters controlled by the computer), META (an adventure game made for adventure game designers, about making an adventure game), What Linus Bruckman Sees When His Eyes Are Closed (play two games simultaneously), or CAVERNS (you are a naked guy in a cave, and Sigmund Freud offers a running commentary on the sexual symbolism of everything you do).

So no, I don't think adventure games are dead artistically.

Does dead mean that nobody cares any more?

Well, there is certainly a community of players and fans, and it's not dwindling as far as I can tell. The homebrew scene is picking up momentum, with games that are becoming increasingly elaborate and polished, and several of the most prominent creators recently going commercial or semi-pro.

Adventure games are no longer a serious presence in the industry (which is all about business), or in the consciousness of many gamers. But it does live on, in a more modest way.

Adventure games are not dead, they're just forgotten.
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