The Growth of Adventure Games

Adventure games were highly popular in the early days of personal computers. The earliest ones were text-only, which made them inexpensive to develop and allowed great scope for both the designer's and the player's imaginations. A group of stu­dents at MIT, inspired by the original Adventure, wrote a much larger adventure game named Zork on the mainframe there. Soon afterward, they converted it to run on personal computers and founded a company, Infocom, devoted to develop­ing text adventures. Infocom published games about all kinds of things: fantasy magic, film noir detective stories, exploration of an ancient Egyptian pyramid, and so on.

The original Adventure didn't have any plot; it just offered a space to explore and puzzles to solve. With minor exceptions, its world did not change as time passed. But it wasn't long before games began to explore the notion of interactive storytelling, which Chapter 7, "Storytelling and Narrative," discusses in detail.

As soon as personal computers began to develop graphics capability (the very earli­est were text-only), developers started to add graphics to adventure games, and the games really took off. LucasArts and Sierra On-Line dominated the genre and for a while produced the best-looking, richest games on the market: funny, scary, myste­rious, and fascinating. Adventure games provided challenges and explored areas that other genres didn't touch. Myst, a point-and-click graphic adventure, was for many years the best-selling personal computer game of all time. (It was later sup­planted by The Sims.)

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