What are adventure games? page 2

What Are Adventure Games?
What Are Adventure Games?
Continued from the previous page...

Telling them apart

Most modern adventure games fit into one of two distinctive types. (We are going to indulge in a few generalizations here just to simplify things a bit.)

First-person exploration adventures such as Myst feature graphically immersive worlds full of brain-teasing puzzles, but often with very little plot development and few characters to talk to. Puzzles are often mechanical or slightly mathematical in nature, and you are more likely to run into non-contextual challenges in this type of game.

Third-person adventures such as Sam & Max and King’s Quest tend to focus more on character interaction and narrative. Puzzles are usually of the inventory or dialogue type. The third-person perspective is usually integral to the experience, allowing you to see and identify with the main protagonist on the screen.

Some games do defy these trends, like the character- and story-driven, first-person Tex Murphy games and the quiet exploration of Syberia’s third-person quest for living mammoths, but these are rare exceptions rather than the rule.

Graphic styles

Graphic styles are as diverse as the stories and gameplay they present.

2D illustrations

Like animated cartoons, each background and character is individually drawn.


Still frames are presented like an interactive pictorial.

Real-time 3D

The camera seamlessly follows your movement through the environments.

Full motion video

Feature actors are recorded on film, then merged with computer-created backgrounds.

No graphics

The adventure genre actually began as interactive text-only games!


Going from here...

Of course it’s best to try a few different adventure games and see what you prefer most. There are so many different adventure games that players usually have their own tastes and preferences. We recommended that you check out our Top Games section, which provides some helpful suggestions on current hits, and our Top 100 All-Time Adventure Games feature. Even if you aren’t entirely new to the genre, it might point you to some gems that you’ve missed before diving into our full review list . Another great place to start is our forums, where you can get personal recommendations from experienced adventure gamers. Finally, let us know about your experiences. We love to hear how new readers discovered something new! Just drop us a line through our contact form page.

Happy adventuring!

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tsa tsa
Nov 26, 2008

A must read for all people who want to know more about adventure games.

Abnaxus Abnaxus
Jun 6, 2009

Very good article

Nov 17, 2010

This summary of adventure games definitely piqued my interest in them again. The first game I got into was Myst, which totally absorbed me. Then, RPG and FPS games usurped more of my attention do to the character leveling and action. Now, I instruct kids in video game design through iD Tech Summer camps and so most of my focus (and the kids’) has been on FPS games. Some RPG since that is so popular. But I’m definitely going to use this website as a resource for encouraging more adventure, thinking, solving games. See you on the forums!

Jackal Jackal
Jun 26, 2012

It may seem opposed to the (current) traditional perception of adventures, but really it fits our definition beautifully.

EDIT: Guess the preceding comment was deleted.

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