-AM- Video game genres: Adventure vs Action-Adventure vs Action

I’m gonna write an article on the adventure game genre and this article serves as an introduction and prologue for all you gentle folks.

This genre was pretty big in the 1980s but is now pretty minor, although making a slight comeback. This genre is really old and began in the late 70s. For the first 10 years, all adventure games were text-only, which gives you an idea of how non-action-oriented they are. These games focus on conversation, exploring and logic. After graphics were introduced to the genre beautiful but somewhat static images became a staple.

Notable examples:
King’s Quest by Sierra On-Line
Monkey Island by LucasArts
Myst by Cyan

This is a really generic genre and a huge one. You could argue that other major genres like platformers, scrolling shooters, first-person shooters, etc. are all part of this genre. Who can say, really? Most of them feature lots of ACTION and not a great deal of thinking.

Notable examples:
Contra by Konami
Super Mario by Nintendo
pre-1997 Castlevania by Konami

You may not be surprised to learn that this genre fuses action and adventure elements into ONE! The adventure genre is on life support but this one is doing very well. These games have reflex-testing action combined with puzzles, item management, exploration, etc.

Notable examples:
The Legend of Zelda by Nintendo
Metroid by Nintendo
Prince of Persia by Broderbund
Resident Evil by Capcom


3 responses to “-AM- Video game genres: Adventure vs Action-Adventure vs Action

  1. miloprometheus

    How did these genres become defined? It’s strange to me, though with the examples provided it’s easy for me to figure where a game would fall within the three.

    P.S. I remember being bored by Myst.

  2. Well, the action genre really isn’t that well defined because it’s so huge and generic that what might have once been subgenres like platformer, first-person shooter, etc. have all come to be considered genres in their own right.

    The adventure genre came to be defined by one game almost singlehandedly: Colossal Cave Adventure. It was developed in the early 1970s on one of those giant mainframe computers. It was text-only and used word commands for exploration and interaction. Over the next 10 years, various nerds got ahold of it and made their own ‘Adventure’ games. So the genre is basically named after that game.

  3. have you played any of the text only games?

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