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Adventure Games

The Adventure game genre has changed a lot over the years. The original format was text based where you were given a textual description of a location and the items in it. You then typed in what you wanted to do, for example to move you typed in the direction to go, such as North. Provided the author is good at writing, this can result in a very good game. Unfortunately it has two drawbacks, the player needs a good imagination and the game engine needs to understand what the player is telling it to do.

The Curse of Monkey Island

The attempt to overcome these two problems has changed Adventure Games out of all recognition. So much so in fact that the original adventure games are now not even called adventure games but Interactive Fiction or IF.

The first step in the development of Adventures was to add pictures. These were just cartoon type pictures which filled part of the screen, usually with the text description below it. The next step was to remove the text completely and have a small character which you moved around the screen. One of the earliest games of this type was Leisure Suit Larry in the Land of the Lounge Lizards, published Sierra. Sierra went on to produce a number of sequels to Larry as well as a number of other excellent series including Police Quest, Space Quest and the Gabriel Knight series. The other main company which started producing adventure games at about this time was Lucas Arts, who are probably most famous for the Monkey Island series of games. (See picture)

The early graphic adventures stilled required a lot of typing, for example moving the central character was done with the keyboard and not a mouse. This was mainly because very few, if any, PC's had Windows in those days. As time went on the graphics became better and more and more machines came equipped with a mouse, allowing the games to be more 'point and click' and eventually reaching the point where the keyboard was only used when saving the game.

Up to this time Adventure games were all about solving problems. This was usually done by making use of various objects found around the place. The trick with the puzzles is to integrate them into the game so that they are a logical extension of the game. Unfortunately a number of games just appeared to put puzzles in for the sake of having a problem for you to solve. This led to a number of players complaining about the puzzles. Unfortunately the produces of the games appeared to miss the point and started to produce games which were all about running around shooting things with the puzzles being to work out where to go next. Personally I have no objection to this sort of game but it is not, in my opinion, an adventure.