Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Choose Your Own Adventure

In reading some of the "Best Of..." lists for this year, there seems to be quite a bit of discussion about what is an adventure game?  Given how old the adventure video  game genera dates back to; it did after all pre dated graphical games, it may seem odd this discussion is going on now.  This has been brought on mostly due to the popularity and direction of Telltale Games.  Although not the first company to morph the genera (Masq), games like Walking Dead, and The Wolf Among Us have brought the discussion to light.

The problem, these games, which some considered watered down adventures, lack gaming elements like inventory and puzzle solving.  Some consider these staples in adventure gaming, set in stone by the text adventures such as Zork and Kings Quest, and later in the graphical Lucas Arts Games.

But the fact remains, the "Adventure" genera is growing because of these newer takes on the genera.  Indeed as mentioned, gone are the mind twisting puzzles, and pixel searches for that missing inventory item.  Instead the emphasis is put on story telling and hard decission making, often pressed with very little time to decide.

While some have compared this subgernera as interactive tv, and purists ban these types as "not games, not adventure".   I view this more of a resurgence of the once popular choose your own adventures books.  Think about it.  With a choose your own adventure book, you read a few pages, come to a fork in the road, and decide what to do based on a few choices.  In fact, it wasn't long after that many publishers were mimicking the same idea, and later even adding RPG and programming elements to their books  (Lone Wold, Micro Adventures, etc).  In fact, this IS the very idea of adventure entertainment.  To say the newer Telltale games are not adventure, would be to deny the history and very roots of adventure gaming.

The stuff GenXers grew up with are making massive comebacks (Transformers, Star Wars, etc) why not our books.  So, in honor of the late Raymond Montgomery who died this year, I believe these popular adventure games should be considered a sub-genera of adventure, known as Electronic Choose Your own Adventure.

Its about time, we cave to the obvious.

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