Why Adventure Games Have a Future

Dena O’Loughlin is Director of Entertainment Marketing at Encore, USA. She was previously Associate Marketing Manager of Hot Wheels at Mattel

One of the longest running genres in the video game industry is Adventure Games. These games are categorized by the inclusion of investigation, exploration, and puzzle-solving questions, along with game character interaction and a focus on narrative based challenges. Adventure Games dominated 1980’s game sales charts with popular games made by Sierra On-Line (Kings Quest, Leisure Suit Larry), Lucas Arts (Maniac Mansion) and Cyan Worlds (Myst).

The mid-1990’s action-based first person shooter games became popular resulting in a decline in the Adventure Game genre. As a result, many publishers started to moved away from the Adventure Games genre, making the category more of a niche genre, appealing to a very specific target market.

Adventure Games rely heavily on stories from literature, film, and historical events and people. An example of this formula is Encore’s Mystery Adventure Game, Nostradamus: The Last Prophecy, which was released in North America on September 23rd. The game is focused around the historical figure Nostradamus and his prophecy that the entire French Royal family would die. When his prophecy starts to become true, the mother of the King pays a visit to Nostradamus and asks for his help investigating the matter. Gameplay takes place from the vantage point of Nostradamus’ daughter Madeleine, and players achieve success by interacting with Nostradamus and following his teachings to solve the mystery.

Another example of this game methodology is Dracula 3: Path of the Dragon, another game in Encore’s Mystery Adventure game line released in time for the Halloween holiday. This game is based on Dracula, is faithful to the Bram Stoker universe. The game is set in 1920 and will appeal to many Dracula fans. Players assume the identity of Father Arno Moriani, who is sent by the Vatican to Transylvania to investigate a candidate for sainthood. Once there, he discovers Vlad the Impaler, otherwise known as Count Dracula, and a mystery unfolds. Players must complete the investigation based on clues given in the game reach a decisive conclusion and complete the game.

This type of story-based game play lends itself towards non-teen; women based audiences, who have an appreciation for the genre and the story. Women tend to appreciate the character development, and interaction along with gripping storylines.

Encore saw an opportunity to tap into this audience with the Mystery Adventure Games. The release of Nostradamus: The Last Prophecy marks the first video game ever made about the legendary figure, and while the game is a fictional account of Nostradamus, it does use the prophecies and teachings of the legendary visionary. In Dracula 3: The Path of the Dragon players will be able to experience true to life environments of Budapest, Turkey, Rome and Transylvania in addition to the ancient cave prisons from which Count Dracula escaped. These true to life environment locales set the tone for adventure and intrigue with in the game play and players and get to experience the look and feel of how the world of Dracula looked.

Well crafted Adventure Games will sell and what developers and publishers must keep in mind is that the key to making great Adventure Game is to deliver good graphics, game play and gripping story line. A good Adventure Game is as addicting as a good book but with the added bonus of story line interaction and eye catching graphics it is more than a book it is an Adventure Game.
via Edge

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