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What is an Adventure Game?

An Adventure Game is about using your mind instead of your trigger finger, about testing your clever thinking and creative problem solving instead of your dexterity and reflexes.  It is like being in the world of a movie or book, fiction or non-fiction, but one in which you can move around and interact, make decisions and help determine the outcome.  You direct the journey and overcome challenges and obstacles... at your own pace.

It is based on a story (any kind, from fantasy to fact) in which the hero (that's you!) is on some kind of quest or adventure (the plot).  In other words, there is a problem of some sort, introduced at the beginning, which must be resolved in order to successfully complete the game.  The games vary in emphasis and people usually have definite preferences about what kind they like.

The story may be humorous or serious or somewhere in between, and may be detailed and engrossing, or scant and only serving as a device to present puzzles to solve.  It may be a story that is partially or completely based on fact and therefore educational, or totally fictitious and just for fun.  There may be lots of interaction and/or dialogue with characters, or almost none and you are alone in this imaginary world with only your wits to help you.  It may involve something as fantastic as discovering the secret to creating new worlds with only words, or something as prosaic as interviewing witnesses to solve a murder mystery.

The game may be either 1st Person (where it seems as though you're seeing things through your own eyes), or 3rd Person (where you are represented by a character in the game that you can control).  To succeed you usually must visit different locations (called worlds) and figure out where to go or what to do next.  Along the way you must solve puzzles or riddles (game situations or obstacles to overcome), and collect clues or objects that you may need to solve them (which you store in your 'inventory' until needed).  You may not be able to progress to the next problem until you've solved something (called a linear game), or you may be able to solve the problems or puzzles in any order that you choose (called a non-linear game).  And the puzzles usually vary in difficulty from easy to hard.

When adventure games first started, around 1980, they were composed of words only, and were called Interactive Fiction or Text Adventures.  They had no graphics, or minimal ones, and no sound... they depended completely on your imagination, much as a book does.  As technology advanced, games were produced in what is called 2D (means 2 Dimensional, like looking at and interacting with a painting), and both music and voice were added.  Today of course we have the beginnings of 3D (which gives the feeling that you can move behind or around the objects in the painting), with added video and movie sequences.  And tomorrow?  Tomorrow will probably bring virtual reality holograms that move around independently in your living room!

This site is dedicated to Adventure Games, and on it you will find reviews of games from 1980 to the present.  Enjoy.

Mr. Bill's   Adventureland
Copyright  January 2001
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