An adventure game is a video game in which the player assumes the role of a protagonist in an interactive story driven by exploration and puzzle-solving. The genre’s focus on story allows it to draw heavily from other narrative-based media, literature and film, encompassing a wide variety of literary genres. Many adventure games (text and graphic) are designed for a single player, since this emphasis on story and character makes multi-player design difficult. Colossal Cave Adventure is identified as the first such adventure game, first released in 1976, while other notable adventure game series include Zork, King’s Quest, The Secret of Monkey Island, and Myst.
Initial adventure games developed in the 1970s and early 1980s were text-based, using text parsers to translate the player’s input into commands. As personal computers became more powerful with the ability to show graphics, the graphic adventure game format became popular, initially by augmenting player’s text commands with graphics, but soon moving towards point and click interfaces. Further computer advancements led to adventure games with more immersive graphics using real-time or pre-rendered three-dimensional scenes or full-motion video taken from the first- or third-person perspective.
For markets in the Western hemisphere, the genre’s popularity peaked during the late 1980s to mid-1990s when many considered it to be among the most technically advanced genres, but had become a niche genre in the early 2000s due to the popularity of first-person shooters and became difficult to find publishers to support such ventures. Since then, a resurgence in the genre has occurred spurred on by success of independent video game development, particularly from crowdfunding efforts, the wide availability of digital distribution enabling episodic approaches, and the proliferation of new gaming platforms including portable consoles and mobile devices; The Walking Dead is considered to be a key title that rejuvenated the genre.
Within the Asian markets, adventure games continue to be popular in the form of visual novels, which make up nearly 70% of PC games released in Japan. The Asian markets have also found markets for adventure games for portable and mobile gaming devices.