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The Fate of Adventure Games

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Zoyə Street wrote a summary of an interesting PhD thesis by Jonathan Lessard. Lessard examines the history of adventure games, to see whence they’ve come and where they’ve gone. Like Street, I think this approach to thinking about video game design and genre provides useful perspective.

Lessard concludes that the adventure game genre didn’t vanish, it sublimated into, and was subsumed by, other modern multi-genre games.

For example, consider 3d RPGs incorporating first-person shooter perspective and playstyle. I could be describing Skyrim or Titanfall, two dramatically different games.

Lessard and Street argue, convincingly, that these sorts of games have all the hallmarks of adventure games, while evolving new forms and structures of play.