Bridging the Gap with Adventure Games


Adventure games are arguably the least demanding of all video game genres. Requiring minimal manual dexterity, hand-eye coordination, twitch response, and reflexes, they are likely the nearest thing in the video game world to reading a book or watching a movie (save for MGS4, of course). I wonder then, if now, at the apex of the casual gaming boom, it is this [nearly] once-forgotten genre that will be the key to expanding the core video game community as much as the fringe.

I feel that the current state of the video game industry is perfect for a resurgence of the adventure genre, a type of game that hasn’t been overly popular since the early days of gaming, and has only recently been anything more than a distant, infrequent blip on the radar. This genre is an important step in the graduation of new gamers from introductory, casual, Wii- and DS-type games into the realm of more advanced, involved, “hardcore” gaming.

The hangups faced by individuals who have the potential to become immersed in gamer culture are many, ranging from steep learning curves, to prohibitive financial barriers, to informational deficiency, as well as issues that may be invisible to those looking out at the challenge from inside the realm of experienced gamers.

The adventure genre can be a learning tool for new players that acclimates them to the basic problem-solving mechanics common to nearly all games… without the demands of more action-based selections. In order to play, you needn’t have incredible manual dexterity, refined hand-eye-coordination, or lightning-fast reflexes, but you do need to be able to think. These games exercise and captivate the mind far more than those in the casual and party game departments.

Growing from a casual Wii and DS player into a seasoned video game veteran takes more than simply adjusting to sophisticated controls. Players who are given no incentive, no compelling reason to WANT to dive into deeper, comprehensive gaming experiences, will never do so. This transition requires the help of a video game genre that can act as a stepping stone between entry-level and advanced gaming not only in terms of gameplay, but also in terms of content, and adventure games can fill both of those roles.

The relative expense of developing and publishing a qualitatively acceptable adventure title also makes the genre more accessible to the consumer from a financial perspective. Most modern games cost exorbitant sums of money to create, and therefore cost gamers upwards of $50 per single unit. To a well-informed and experienced gamer, this is no sweat, but to someone just learning the ropes or figuring out if gaming is the hobby for him or her, this may be too big a gamble at the checkout counter. Fortunately, the savings in developing the less demanding adventure game can be passed on to the consumer, and that diminished risk is yet another incentive to take the plunge.

With the advent of Xbox LIVE Arcade and the PlayStation Network, snagging an adventure game couldn’t be more convenient for the on-the-brink gamer. Not only are these games right at everyone’s fingertips, but they also come with preview descriptions, and oftentimes demo versions, as well. Not coincidentally, these online services have become the primary breeding grounds for the adventure genre, and it is here that these games have enjoyed the greatest share of their recent success.

The video game industry has expanded greatly over the past few years, but this growth has primarily been in the casual, fringe marketplace. There needs to be a way to close the gap between the highly segregated sectors of the video game market. Adventure games may very well be that bridge.


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Author: Eddie Inzauto View all posts by
Eddie has been writing about games on the interwebz for over ten years. You can find him Editor-in-Chiefing around these parts, or talking nonsense on Twitter @eddieinzauto.

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