Author Topic: Will graphic adventures ever regain popularity?  (Read 2290 times)

Nico

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Now, I'm not saying that graphic adventure games are not popular within their niche, but they did have a golden age in the late 80s/early 90s before being dethroned by FPS.

One of the many crimes committed by Disney upon taking over the the Lucas Film group was to shut down development at Lucas Arts for good and laying everyone off, turning it into a licensing-only company. I understand that selling video games is not a profitable business anymore, but I still keep my hopes up that developers will find a way to adapt this genre to make it profitable (and popular) again.

Opinions?
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Re: Will graphic adventures ever regain popularity?
« Reply #1 on: 08 Oct 2016, 04:04 »
I don't think it's as grim as you make it look.
At least I see more point and click adventure games than I have seen at other times.
With digital distribution and crow funding Indie companies and old legends have been able to produce games without having publishers and producers slam doors at them.
Tim Schafer, Al Lowe, Ron Gilbert and the Guys from Andromeda all made or are making adventure games in these last years.
Heck, one of my favourite pixel artists (Mark Ferrari) is making gorgeous backgrounds for a game right now.
King's Quest is having an episodic reboot (Still have to play it, so I don't know how good it is).
Then you have Tell Tale Games that is pumping out adventure games that are based on really popular IPs (Walking Dead, Game of Thrones, Fables, Batman, and others).
I haven't played Life is Strange, but I have mostly heard good things about it, and I think it did pretty well financially.

As for Lucas Arts, the company was dead on arrival by the time Disney bought Lucas Films.
They had already got rid of most (if not all) the people that were working on adventure games, and were mostly focused on publishing Star Wars based games made by other studios.
I can honestly say that by the time Disney bought and closed Lucas Arts, it had been years since I had been excited by any announcement they made, that didn't get cancelled.

Re: Will graphic adventures ever regain popularity?
« Reply #2 on: 08 Oct 2016, 10:35 »
I love adventure games, but I think a problem with many of them is that they are preaching to the choir so to say,
they are made by and for those who are already fans of the genre, which tend to be rather forgiving on most of the flaws.

Part of the problem is that the genre is so closely associated with byzantine and nonsensical puzzles that either makes the player stuck,
or makes them lose patience and just look up a walkthrough instead. That's probably why Tell Tale have been praised for revitalizing the
genre, since they have focused on telling a good story and only use puzzles when it works with the story.

I also think graphics play a huge role, since the golden age of adventures ended about the same time lots of developers switched to 3D,
pretty much all the early 3D games have aged terribly and Grim Fandango is the only one that still looks good, but those characters were supposed to look like origami puppets.
Many adventure games today are in 3D, but in many cases they just look like cheap attempts to imitate the graphics of big-budget RPG's and FPS,
and many other games use in pixel-art. Now don't get me wrong, many of those pixel-art games look beautiful an you can really see all the work and effort behind them, but it
can lead to some players thinking that it's just another game trying to cash in on 90s nostalgia, which is a shame, since a lot of those games are pretty good.

I wish more adventure games would try to experiment with beautiful 2D art, since I think it's one of the genre's greatest strengths, and some games, such as Memoria and The whispered world have some of the most beautiful imagery that I've ever seen in a game, looking like a picure-book come to life. However, both of them did have problems with that byzantine-puzzles stuff I described earlier.


Mandle

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Re: Will graphic adventures ever regain popularity?
« Reply #3 on: 08 Oct 2016, 11:01 »
I understand that selling video games is not a profitable business anymore,

I'm confused as to what you mean when you say that...

Danvzare

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Re: Will graphic adventures ever regain popularity?
« Reply #4 on: 08 Oct 2016, 11:53 »
Now, I'm not saying that graphic adventure games are not popular within their niche, but they did have a golden age in the late 80s/early 90s before being dethroned by FPS.
FPS's dethroned adventures games long before the golden age of adventure games ended. Considering Wolfenstien 3D was released in 1992, and Grim Fandango was released in 1998.

And personally, no, I don't think we'll ever see adventure games rise to the same glory they once had.
The only reasons that I can see that adventure games were popular are as follows:
1: Consoles weren't popular in European countries, but computers were, and adventure games have only ever had any popularity on computers (maybe because they're more playable on computers).
2: European countries seem more interested in solving puzzles, unlike the USA which seems to prefer shooting things, and Japan which seems to prefer weird things (no offence to either country, it's just something I've noticed in all the media from those countries (I can give examples if you like)).

And since consoles are now popular all over the world, and Europe barely makes any games, and games have such a vast market nowadays that you'd be an idiot not to make games for the most common market (which is also the largest country), I think you can see where I'm going with this.

Nico

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Re: Will graphic adventures ever regain popularity?
« Reply #5 on: 08 Oct 2016, 17:32 »
I understand that selling video games is not a profitable business anymore,

I'm confused as to what you mean when you say that...
That didn't come out right.

There is a higher availability of free games now, and profitable video games either have an over-the-top development budget or allow you to buy in-game features, which I think makes it more difficult to make a 2D adventure game profitable.
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KyriakosCH

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Re: Will graphic adventures ever regain popularity?
« Reply #6 on: 09 Oct 2016, 00:31 »
I don't think that adventure games were the best-selling type of game in the 80s/90s. Well definitely not in the 90s, with so many awesome strategy and real-time strategy titles! (nod)

Re: Will graphic adventures ever regain popularity?
« Reply #7 on: 09 Oct 2016, 03:39 »
I don't think that adventure games were the best-selling type of game in the 80s/90s. Well definitely not in the 90s, with so many awesome strategy and real-time strategy titles! (nod)

At least not any of the Lucas games. Ron Gilbert has commented several times that the Sierra games sold ten times more than their titles.
Which is not that good when the selling numbers for Space Quest I and Leisure Suit Larry I sold 100,000 and 250,000 copies. [Source]

Danvzare

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Re: Will graphic adventures ever regain popularity?
« Reply #8 on: 09 Oct 2016, 11:06 »
At least not any of the Lucas games. Ron Gilbert has commented several times that the Sierra games sold ten times more than their titles.
Which is not that good when the selling numbers for Space Quest I and Leisure Suit Larry I sold 100,000 and 250,000 copies. [Source]

Also, games rarely (if ever) sold millions of copies back then, so you've got to keep that in mind as well. Still, 250,000 copies isn't much.
But putting all that to the side, I still can't believe Sierra adventure games sold better than Lucas Arts adventure games. I know Sierra had been making games for longer, but Lucas Arts was making much better games in my opinion.
I guess the same thing still happens today though. Brand over quality I guess. :-\

Re: Will graphic adventures ever regain popularity?
« Reply #9 on: 09 Oct 2016, 11:18 »
But putting all that to the side, I still can't believe Sierra adventure games sold better than Lucas Arts adventure games. I know Sierra had been making games for longer, but Lucas Arts was making much better games in my opinion.

I'm pretty sure these are all numbers for sales in the USA.
In Europe and the rest of the world it probably was a different story, since Lucas Games could be translated easily, while the Sierra ones that had a text parser were probably more difficult to translate.
I remember playing games like LSL as a kid and just following a walkthrough like a magical recipe, because I understood very little English.

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Re: Will graphic adventures ever regain popularity?
« Reply #10 on: 09 Oct 2016, 11:53 »
If I recall... in the UK, Broken Sword was number 2 when one of the first GTA games was number 1. That's an achievement that won't be repeated because games like GTA have become MASSIVELY more popular in the last 20 years, while adventure games have stayed in kind of the same place. But if you look at the difference between the original GTA and the latest installments - other genres have come a lot further than graphical adventures have in that time. In spite of that, I still think more (and often better) adventure games are being made today than were in the 90s.
« Last Edit: 09 Oct 2016, 11:56 by Ali »

KyriakosCH

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Re: Will graphic adventures ever regain popularity?
« Reply #11 on: 09 Oct 2016, 12:15 »
If I recall... in the UK, Broken Sword was number 2 when one of the first GTA games was number 1. That's an achievement that won't be repeated because games like GTA have become MASSIVELY more popular in the last 20 years, while adventure games have stayed in kind of the same place. But if you look at the difference between the original GTA and the latest installments - other genres have come a lot further than graphical adventures have in that time. In spite of that, I still think more (and often better) adventure games are being made today than were in the 90s.

Adventure games are a type of game that benefits MASSIVELY from people being (now) able to pretty much make the whole game (or nearly) by themselves. Ultimately a single person can present a more coherent idea... And games are now darker, which i like as well :D

Back in the day you couldn't make a game by yourself -- well, unless you were Eric Chahi (laugh)

Re: Will graphic adventures ever regain popularity?
« Reply #12 on: 09 Oct 2016, 13:01 »
I'm currently in the process of writing up a business plan for Guard Duty, so this thread couldn't be more relevant :)

I often feel that some of the less popular point and click games fall short on player interaction, that is responsive reactions to their inputs. It's fun to have a 1-1 reaction for the player. Interaction in platforming games and FPS (two of the most 'reactive' genres) are prime examples for this, you shoot a barrel and it explodes into bright colours and often physics based animations, you hit jump and the player is launched into the air, able to reach new ares and overcome obstacles. This sort of interaction gives the player a very direct visual response to their input, something that is often missing in traditional adventure games. Adventure games tend to rely heavily on dialogue, which means long pauses with little to no player interaction for the duration of the conversation. In my opinion some of the best modern and retro adventures are packed full of animations/unique interactions and keep dialogue to short, relevant information. Unfortunately the market has changed drastically since the late 80's/early 90's and more and more players have grown up expecting this kind of instant reaction in a game, prohibiting their appreciation of these story driven experiences that we love.

This doesn't have to be a problem though, there is definitely a market out there for quality games that feature elements of the traditional adventure gameplay, the likes of Wadget Eye, Daedalic Entertainment and TellTale (as well as many others) have proven this. I believe the challenge lies mostly in making sure your game is able to compete with titles already available to those players who are a fan of the genre. Players need a reason to choose your game over any existing titles that they are interested in playing. This challenge promotes developer innovation and ultimately makes for more refined and higher quality titles being released, therefore raising the bar even further! :-D
« Last Edit: 09 Oct 2016, 21:32 by Chicky »