Adventure Game - History - Modern Era - Decline

Decline

For much of the 1980s, adventure games were one of the most popular types of computer games produced. However, their US market share drastically declined in the mid-1990s; action games took a greater share of the US market, particularly first person shooters such as Doom and Half-Life which progressively began featuring strong, story-structured solo games. This slump in popularity led many publishers and developers to see adventure games as financially unfeasible in comparison. Text adventures met the same fate much earlier, but their simplicity has allowed them to thrive as non-commercially developed interactive fiction.

Few recent commercial adventure games have been hits in the US but they are still very popular in Europe (95% of all adventures released in US are in fact translated European products). It has been suggested that this is because the "average" gamer today was weaned on console video games and first person shooters rather than the "traditional" computer games cherished by the original crop of adventure gaming enthusiasts. Another explanation offered states that MMORPGs, which offer a persistent multiplayer world, have at least partially supplanted the genre.

Still another possible cause of the genre's downturn may lie with the nature of 3D graphics themselves, which for much of the 90's and early 2000s tended to be more oriented toward fast movement than graphical detail. Conversely, however, if a game were to implement more detailed but static imagery, this could be perceived as technologically regressive. Some question therefore exists of the adventure game making a comeback with recent advances in technology.

Adventure games have ceased to be the flagship titles they once were, and high profile publishers like Sierra Entertainment and LucasArts have either disappeared or shifted towards publishing titles developed by other companies. However, adventure games continue to be made in the 2000s, primarily outside North America where the genre is still popular. Games such as The Longest Journey by Funcom as well as Amerzone and Syberia, both conceived by Benoît Sokal and developed by Microïds, with rich classical elements of the genre still garnered high critical acclaims. The Myst series came to a close in September 2005 with the release of Myst V: End of Ages by its original developer, Cyan Worlds. (A possible exception to this is Cyan's Myst Online.) Adventure games based on the Nancy Drew books continue to be published by Her Interactive, comprising a series of twenty titles produced since 1998.

Similar to the fate of interactive fiction, conventional graphical adventure games have continued to thrive in the amateur scene. This has been most prolific with the tool Adventure Game Studio. Some notable AGS games include those by Ben Croshaw (namely the Chzo Mythos), Ben Jordan: Paranormal Investigator, Time Gentlemen, Please!, Soviet Unterzoegersdorf, Metal Dead, and AGD Interactive's Sierra adventure remakes. Adobe Flash is also a popular tool, known for adventures such as MOTAS and the escape the room genre entries.

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