May 10, 2010

Adventure Games: A Dying Breed?

Yesterday I had the joy to sit down and play The Longest Journey by funcom games.  While the game is dated and old by almost every standard I find myself unable to step away form the game.  I started the game early in the morning and before I knew it the sun was setting.  Why would a game that’s over 10 years old with dated graphics hold our attention so much?  Adventure, story and amazing voice acting all help contribute to the amazing world which is “The Longest Journey”.  This got me to thinking however, when was the last time the gaming world saw a good adventure game?  Are adventure games a thing of the past?

The last time the world saw an adventure game of any importance was Myst 5: End Of Ages.  Since then there hasn’t been a single well made adventure game released to date and that was almost 5 years ago.   While there have been other adventure games made, they are generally underfunded, poorly produced with little effort put into the puzzles, visuals and characters behind them.  Why have their been  no adventure games over the past 5 years?

It  could be said that peoples interests have changed quite a bit from the mid 90’s to the new millennium where most of the great adventure games were made.  With games such as Bad Company II and MW2 people want to get into quick action, kill kill kill, rinse and repeat.   People, today, as a vast majority probably would not have the patience to sit down, and play an adventure game.  Adventure games, unlike their FPS, RTS, and RPG counter parts are quite slow and require thinking, puzzle solving and in some cases like Myst require note taking.  Yes this means and Pen and Paper.  If you have played Riven, and played through, you would remember quite clearly having to learn part of the D’ni alphabet. 

One big thing that has changed over the last 10 years  is the change from PC to console gaming.  During the mid 90’s to even as close as 5 years ago the majority of gaming was predominantly on the PC.  Due to the requirements of adventure game that are mostly point and click.  It’s extremely hard to develop one that hasn’t been dumbed down for a console.  Developing a title, as such, would be extremely hard and near impossible.  Similar attempts have been made with titles such as Syberia but were fairly unsuccessful.  That all taken into account would it make sense to develop a title for a platform that has been harmed with poor sales, piracy and changing consumer interests?

Adventure games bring something to the table like no other game does… curiosity.  Whats behind that door?  What happens when I flip this lever?  What happens if I light this lamp?  All these things help drive the player to progress the game and move deeper into the story.  Another thing that adventure games have generally brought to the table is amazing graphics.  It could be argued, that pre rendered images are a thing of the past they are nothing to be scoffed at.  Pre Rendered games can be just as beautiful if not more so then true 3d games.  However, with the recent advancement in graphics technologies and Direct X 11 an adventure game in full 3d might be possible.  The last game to try using a full 3d environment was Myst 5: End Of Ages.  While the game did look pretty at the time it felt as if the game was lacking.  While it was nice to be able to “freely” explore the world in full 3d it lacked a lot of the detail and living beauty that the previous titles such as Myst III: Exile and Myst IV: Revelation did. 

While an adventure title will most likely never have the same impact that Myst did.  We believe that a good one could definitely be successful on the PC platform baring some fiasco involving DRM.  What would it take to make it successful?  First and foremost it has to have a good story.  One of the things that Myst games have done so well over the years is have a compelling story to drive the game.  Secondly the game has to have believable characters.  This is one thing that the good adventure games have typically had down.  Whether they you live actors or just compelling voice acting.  Finally but just as important is well engineered puzzles.  This is something that a lot of games fail at.  In some cases they want you to look for some so obscure that you would only find it on accident or it is so blatantly easy that it wasn’t worth the time to solve the puzzle.  With the recent “revival” of PC gaming we may see some new titles in the adventure genre.  Microbes Syberia III is expected to be released this year.  If this title is a success we could see a small revival in the adventure genre.

15 comments

  1. Pingback: Dead Space (PlayStation 3) | Complete Playstation Store Games

  2. Jerahevin Kerr - May 12, 2010 9:02 am

    http://www.adventuregamestudio.com

    Free program to create your own adventure games and some Really Awesome ones to play!! I go here all the time to find new and interesting games to play.

    Reply
  3. T8 - May 11, 2010 8:09 am

    not to be rude, but this conversation would be better placed on the forums. All the articles from here are also posted to the forums. If you want a faster paced, deeper discussion please hit up the forums.

    Reply
  4. thsoundman - May 10, 2010 10:04 pm

    VAT? Yes I have heard of the free version of myst that you can play. Isn’t that hosted by a third party and not my CYAN itself? Correct me if I am wrong. Also on a totally unrelated topic. How do you add a pic to your post if you are not a member. Welcome to the site btw! I hope you like it here.

    Reply
  5. Nalates Urriah - May 10, 2010 9:04 pm

    Corporate greed… it’s a free market, I suspect its more likely the VAT.

    Whatever, the Myst game Ages Beyond Myst, prequel to End of Ages, is back online and its free to play.

    http://mystonline.com/play/

    Reply
  6. thsoundman - May 10, 2010 8:44 pm

    So you really do get the JIP when it comes to games and hardware. I had a friend from Holland who was saying that he was spending 500 dollars more on his system having to buy from the U.K. I don’t understand why the prices are any different. Well I do it’s corporate greed but all the same there is no reasoning behind it.

    Reply
  7. Hippie - May 10, 2010 8:23 pm

    Yeah we dont have a R18 rating for games, which is ridiculous but I think its being talked about with the guys who can change it, so I hope we get one soon.

    Also the price of pc games here is around $70-100 but console games are a bit more, thats why I buy most games from steam when they are at US prices.

    Im not to sure on hardware, but I think with more expensive stuff like video cards its about $100 more.

    Reply
  8. thsoundman - May 10, 2010 10:06 am

    Games are more expensive in AUS aren’t they. I hear you actually have problems getting A. Unedited B. Fairly priced games and hardware in Australia.

    Reply
  9. Hippie - May 10, 2010 9:47 am

    Sweet ill check it out.

    Reply
  10. Hippie - May 10, 2010 9:35 am

    I dont have best buy where I live, but ill have a look around for it. The videos on youtube of it look quite interesting.

    I loved the look of the original monkey island, the pixel style made it only funnier for some reason.

    Reply
  11. thsoundman - May 10, 2010 9:32 am

    Oh Hippie we have forums now. You can access them by clicking the forums link at the top of the page!

    Reply
  12. thsoundman - May 10, 2010 8:44 am

    You know there are a couple other Lucasarts adventure games i never played. Grim Fandango and Monkey Island. I know I could get shot for not playing those but I just never did. I thought they looked weird.

    You NEED to play Myst. Myst is bar none the best set of adventure games ever. Riven – Revelations or Myst II – Myst IV are my favorites. Best prerendered scenes and they used live actors for the entire game so it really gave a great sense of immresion. Do try them out. You can get the entire myst series I think for 19 dollars a best buy.

    Reply
  13. Hippie - May 10, 2010 8:17 am

    Man Ive never even heard of Myst before, I really need to catch up on my adventure games. They are a nice change from FPS though the good old days of kings quest and monkey island.

    Reply
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  15. thsoundman - May 10, 2010 12:36 am

    I have great hopes for Syberia III. I’m really hoping that this game captures what the last two did. I am a huge fan of the Syberia series as it was the last series to really take the adventure genre seriously and make a full attempt at it.

    Reply

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