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Old 01-23-2007, 03:13 AM   #28
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Join Date: Oct 2005
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The way I see it, the adventure game industry is dead... for now.

One thing I'm surprised no one mentioned is the game that possibly killed the AG community at such a short time. It has two Words: 'Tomb' and 'Raider' - the biggest game franchise of the 90's.

Even though so little story and interaction, this game is where the industry was heading next - action, atmosphere and the sense of being in the movies. And lets not forget sexuality either people. That plays a major part in any industry. Many adventure game companies either didn't bother to move with the new times, or failed to make the transition.

Another boom was the RPG boom. Final Fantasy 7 in particular. I was at school around this time, and my best friend was a major fan of Broken Sword and Grim Fandango before I was. But after Final Fantasy 7 came along, no more. THEN there was Zelda.

I think a good thing to draw upon in your essay would be the feeling of the 'Zeightgeist'. Even though it's slighly before my time, I believe the zeitgeist of the games of the early 90's were games that the clever, logical and have great graphics. After all, the only competition were usually lame platformers and side scroll shooters. AGs were the only genre that could on any basis be considered an artform or be taken seriously by the mature audience.

The Zeitgeist now is different. Ten years ago action movies were aimed at the 15-18 year-old generations, but now are aimed at PG-12.
The same has happened to the game industry to the end of the 90's. Games were less about feeding brains with clever plots, in-depth characters, brain-bending puzzles and the sort, it's was about pyrotechnics, blood and gore, the freedom to waltz around gigantic cities, clever AI and the most detailed graphics. And most of all, they were aimed at KIDS (no offense to younger members of the site, but it's true). Even with the age certificates on, we all know 80% of those who played Resident Evil were under 15.

Adventure games didn't change their approach to reflect this. As great as they are, kids don't want to have to buy a £30 game on Myst, a game where most of them are likely to get stuck within 30 minutes of play and not play again. They don't want areas with static characters standing still in the middle of the road repeating the same animations when Japanese RPGs provide constantly moving characters with their own evolving stories and agendas.

But even in the past year or two things have changed from that. Computer games are being accepted by society (kicking and screaming of course) where now even our parents are picking up Wiimotes and Kate Moss wannabe modals are playing Nintendo Gameboys.

As one person has already observed, there is money to make from niche markets. Maybe not as much, but tell that to magazine publishers who make quite a pretty penny from selling all those collectors magazines. People still buy 2D platformers (I certainly do), retro games and arcade puzzle games.

I think the AG genre is dead, or maybe on its knees. But give it 5-10yrs, when maybe Japanese RPGs and FPS games are suddenly boring and they might come back. Or maybe, when mobile phones are sophisticated enough to play games with better graphics and voices, we could see people playing dating sims and then giving an adventure a shot in the dark to find they quite like it. I’ve already read articles and letters in multi format magazines shouting about the Sam & Max games. Maybe this is the next step?

It's quite exciting of what could happen in the future for adventure games. But the only way for it to happen is for programmers, as well as publishers, to know what direction the wind is currently blowing and to fly with it. Keep up with good stories
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