A new article over at the Escapist got me a tad excitable today because it features one my favorite genres: the adventure game. More specifically, it deals with how, over the years since text-based adventures were the norm, the adventure game has become, in a word, cluttered.
The Escapist’s Atul Varma:
Adventure games, at their core, are about solving puzzles. The fun lies in figuring out how the pieces fit together, not going through mind-numbing tedium to figure out where the pieces are. As adventure games ascend to higher resolutions and more complex, realistic environments, players have to spend more time figuring out what their tools are rather than actually using them to play the game.
Of course, all this isn’t to say visuals are bad; it’s rather that today’s adventure game developers don’t usually understand the difference between making an adventure game that’s just pretty and one that’s fun to play.
This is a normal progression. Developers today, I think, are still casting out their wide nets to see what resonates best with gamers. Pretty but short? Cluttered with 3D or cel shaded? There’s no right answer to any of those questions, but there will be something that “just works” in the near future (my two cents anyway).
A good place to start? The DS has several lukewarm titles already out in 2006/2007 that are a solid effort. Zack and Wiki on the Wii is looking promising too: not too cluttered, not too loud, and above all, hands-on experiences seem to indicate it’s, dare I say it, fun to play.