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Old 01-22-2007, 02:20 PM   #1
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Default Is the adventure game dying?

Yes i know. Its a question that most adventure gamers are tired of answering. But here goes:

I have an exam in computergame-history where there will be a focus on adventuregames. I´ve had several arguments with my teacher on the subject considering the situation of the adventure scene. Its clearly of course that the scene is not what it used to be. And if you look on the amount of games getting published the past years, you might find reasons to get worried. On the other hand its clearly that there is a lot of communities out there flourishing with adventure gamers. I know its not a black or white situation, but i like to hear your opinions on this situation so i can have some hardhitting arguments, when i confront my teacher.
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Old 01-22-2007, 02:33 PM   #2
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Adventure games are NOT dying! And neither is disco, for that matter.
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Old 01-22-2007, 02:42 PM   #3
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try counting adventures published in 2006 and adventures that are going to be published in 2007...
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Old 01-22-2007, 02:43 PM   #4
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AGs are not dying
imo they are even doing better than they used to a few year ago
however it is true, that developers are experimenting with altering (im their visions it means improving) the genre
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Old 01-22-2007, 02:43 PM   #5
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How do you define an adventure game?
Life Is A Riddle Waiting To Be Solved

Favorite Adventure Games:
Riven, The Longest Journey 1, Syberia 1 & 2, Grim Fandango, Still Life 1, Broken Sword Series, Lost Crown

Heavy Rain (Action/Adventure)
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Old 01-22-2007, 02:45 PM   #6
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The lucasarts/sierra style adventure genre died pre-2000.

Myst style avdneture games have gone on due to publishers embracing of 3d modeling software in lieu of animation.

Yea, there are still fans of it out there - just like there are still fans of disco (good anology Squinky) - but that doesnt mean it's not dead.

Maybe the better question is - Are adventure games commercially dead?
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Old 01-22-2007, 02:51 PM   #7
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Tough question, I guess if you ask a 100 people you would get a 100 different definitions.
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Old 01-22-2007, 02:56 PM   #8
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The best argument against the premise that adventure games are dying is the fact that the number of adventure games published have been fairly consistent and relatively stable over the last 4-5 years and likewise the market for them. Not to mention a fairly consistent activity on the 3 main adventure game forums over that time period. Comparisons with 10 years ago are irrelevant. Nothing in the computer industry is the same as 10 years ago.

As for 'what is an adventure game'. Pretty much everyone on this forum and the other two, know the answer to that question. How do I know that? Because in the main adventure game sections of all three, the same games and same types of games are the ones being discussed all the time. If someone tries to discuss a game that we 'know' is outside our collective definition, it almost invariably gets moved somewhere else.
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Old 01-22-2007, 03:14 PM   #9
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Videogames as we know it are dying, but adventure games are like books, with a much higher lifespan.

Racing games, shooters, etc are the same boring (or fun) games of 20 years ago but with more impressive graphics/audio. No one plays old action games, but a lot of people plays old (and new) adventure games.
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Old 01-22-2007, 03:45 PM   #10
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I guess that a genre can be dead in different ways. Commercial, artistic etc.. When i was younger i played adventure games cause they had the snazziest graphics. Today people play the fps for the same reasons. But not only that. In some action games they´ve managed to incorporate some of the elements of the adventuregames, creating these damn hybrids (action/adventure, action/rpg). At the same time, i dont think the adventuregames have managed to evolve at the same pace (primarily because developers see more money in action games).
Can you give be some examples of newer adventuregames, that have the genre to a new/higher level?
Is it of to the fans to keep the genre alive, cause nobody else will?
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Old 01-22-2007, 04:14 PM   #11
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It's not like the old adventures have lost their quality. And it's not like adventures are never made anymore- just rarely. If by "dying" you mean "decreasing in frequency", then yes. Certainly. But no idea ever dies completely, even the worst ones. There's always one or two people who still hold onto it, somewhere in the world. So if by "dying" you mean that someday it will be completely dead, well, of course not. It couldn't possibly.

I think what you're trying to get at, though, is that it's not progressing artistically. You're right there. Most we'll see is a gimmicky game every few years which tries to push the form in a questionable direction and fails.

Here is my opinion; feel free to disagree with it and tear it to shreds. There was never much artistic progress. Even by the end of the graphical adventure's heyday, it had barely progressed past what was being done by early text adventures. Still only the most purely practical verb-based interface, still letting puzzles get in the way of storytelling, still not bothering to use the gameplay for storytelling, still not allowing the player to control pacing. No one was trying to progress, because the more obvious way forward was by just improving the graphics every few years. This was the adventure's undoing: Eventually they couldn't keep up on the graphics front. And having achieved so little on the storytelling front, still not even figuring out how to tell good stories well, the public lost interest.

But as I said, an idea can't die. So I am reasonably confident that eventually (perhaps fifty years from now, perhaps more) someone will make an adventure worth making, and the adventure will very quickly have more life than ever.
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Old 01-22-2007, 04:24 PM   #12
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Here is a quick test:

GO to any site with adventure game reviews. List the games by worst reviews first.

Look at the release dates of these games.

On this site the majority of them were released between 2000 - 2004.

The irony? They are nearly all FMV games.

Hypothesis: FMV derailed the artistic progress of the genre for a good 5 years.

Then again - for fans of the fmv games, adventure gaming was just getting
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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 Façade (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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Old 01-22-2007, 04:31 PM   #14
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To answer the question - NO.

I'm too tired right now to write anything that sounds intelligent but I stand by my answer in the meantime.
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Old 01-22-2007, 04:41 PM   #15
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And let's not forget about the innovative "adventure" titles on the DS platform - both Phoenix Wright's, Touch Detective and, the best of all: Hotel Dusk: Room 215. I'm also encouraged by the Agatha Christie series, with David Suchet signed up for a couple of additional titles. Hopefully, the developer's laudatory efforts with ATTWN and MOTOE will be encouraged by sales and they also may take into account friendly criticisms in improving gameplay.

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Old 01-22-2007, 04:48 PM   #16
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There are probably more adventure games being made in 2006-2007 than there were being made per year in the "golden age" of adventure games... BUT the budget* of each of those more numerous new modern adventure game is WAY smaller than the ones made back in the day (relative to the budget of other games).

*And, one might argue, the average level of quality, inventiveness, and amount of diversity
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Old 01-22-2007, 06:02 PM   #17
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First of all excuse me of my bad english and my long post.So... I keep reading about budgets and i have to point two major things. First of all a big budget does guarantee a quality product.Maybe in other industries but not in the Entertaintment indusrty( and i'm also counting here movies ,music ). It's like the awful hollywood movies compared to small budget independant underground movies.
Then, a budget can be smaller in number even from a game produced in 98 because of two reasons: economy of scale (kheops studio )which the developers /producers have achieved and of course greater leaps in technology which made it more accessible and cheap. If you asked me for the biggest mistake in the adventure history i would tell you that the high budgets was the fault for the temporarely collapse of the scene . They producted vastly expensive products (FMV) without targeting the appropriate market size. it was a matter of time that most companies declared bankruptcy. So i hope i covered you about the budget.

Secondly, and to answer your question there are indications that the adventure scene is steadily recovering. Unfortunately we dont have sales for products (i keep searching them for years found only some sporadicaly like myst, runaway ) and if we had them we could tell for sure. The fact we know is that the number of published adventures is getting bigger year by year. The only problem is that even if some numbers seem big , compared to 90s sales, the computer games market size has expanded so much that adventure games are now just a niche. However i wish we knew some numbers from the distrubutors.That would be a nice question for you at AG next time you interview someone. Even though piracy is blooming, adventures have their marketing channels through internet which enable many companies to survive and make a profit.The scene has caught the attention of many people and mre and more games are being developed.
in conclusion,adventures are not dead ,period!

Last edited by cygma; 01-22-2007 at 06:09 PM.
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Old 01-22-2007, 06:30 PM   #18
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Adventure games will never die because if they did there would be instantly be a niche for such games. Hybrids will try to take over some of the genre characteristics perhaps - however there will always be a market for those who simply want to play relaxing point and click adventure game.
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Old 01-22-2007, 07:46 PM   #19
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The only thing that's dying is the PHRASE "adventure game." Designers and developers have learned to stop using it because publishers and investors shy away.

There are huge numbers of games that have adventure game-style gameplay. They're just never categorized as such.

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Old 01-22-2007, 08:22 PM   #20
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I keep seeing people repeat the same stuff.

Adventure games aren't dead because:
A: people still care about them
B: Game X/y/or z was released recently, and therefor it is an example of adventure games living on.
C: adventure games/ideas/etc can't die

So far the only thing I agree with is what 'After a brisk nap" said - adventure games are forgotten.

But just because someone can list a couple games that have been released (hotel dusk, ace attorney, runaway, whatever) doesn't mean there is some thriving adventure game market out there.

In the 90's there were hundreds of these games released. Is someone here actually trying to convicne me that a genre which once consisted of 20-30 titles per year is still viable due to a measly 3 or 4 games?

Well, what does it mean to be dead commercially?
It means that studios no longer find it viable to release adventure titles for profit.

Most games released these days are by fans - for fans. Just because some company cranks out nancy drew games doesnt mean the entire industry isn't dead - it just means that one company is taking advantage of the obvious void and making a couple bucks off of it. Yet a company who releases a crappy cell phone game based on star wars can make double that.

Vivendi Universals recent handling of the sierra game compilations is a perfect example of just how significat adventure games are to the commerical video game market - ie: null. We got crappy boxes with pdf manuals, missing titles (ll7, original non-vga versions), buggy versions (kq7), and even stripped down versions (ll6 voices missing).

If the adventure game wasn't 'commercially dead' then we (the adventure game community) wouldnt have been treated to such a half-assed release.

Again - to repeat - just becasue a small developer puts a game together and sells it for $20 does NOT mean that adventure games are not commercially dead.

To say otherwise is ignoring:
A: release figures
B: reviews of a majority of recent games (see last post on this for further details)
C: complete disregard of old titles by BOTH Lucasarts AND Sierra.

A crapload of myst clones, fmv games, with a few fan gems thrown in for good measure do not add up to a thriving industry.

People around here can debate on what a 'dead genre' means until the cows come home. I believe there is still a great level of artistry in the genre - but commercially (ie: economically) there is hardly any money to be made. New businesses are not entering, and all the old established companies have left. Now, if thats not economically dead, then what is? And seriously - selling any game for $5-15 bucks is a bloody joke, thats just covering the cost of pretzels and twinkies consumed during the proggraming, it's definately not paying anyone's rent.
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