It’s Day Eight and it’s time to talk about something truly magical: adventure games.
Essentially the basic archetype for almost every game, the adventure is a classic storytelling motif that has endured for generations. In gaming, the adventure is a broad term often used in tandem with other genres (action adventure, point and click adventure, etc.). The adventure genre’s relationship to stories from antiquity isn’t characterized only by the precedent of quests in medieval tales and ancient myths, but the genre in gaming is often used to adapt these fables and literary narratives as well. Adventure games focus on story, exploration, puzzle-solving, item acquisition, and the singular journeys of their protagonists, told in some very creative ways. In their purest forms, their popularity has waned but thanks to the silent protagonist quirk of many games, adventures become even more immersive than in other media. If literature is about putting yourself into the shoes of people you’ve never met and you’re nothing like, then adventure games provide that same sense of projection and are therefore significant in the history of storytelling in gaming.
Below are some of our favorite adventures…
The Green Screen Mage
The opening song in Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker still brings a smile to my face instantly. Exploring the world, defeating enemies, solving puzzles, random side quests. The making of a great Zelda game, and, while Breath of the Wild is good, I would argue the best Zelda game. If not for little Link’s sassy face alone.
The Black Humor Mage
The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time is the dictionary definition of action-adventure. I got to play this game on my Wii with the GameCube Legend of Zelda Collector’s Edition (thanks, Nintendo), and I loved this game so much. I was glad to play a classic, and I can see why it is held in so high regard.
The Midnight Mystic Mage (Sublime Reviews)
Sherlock Holmes Crimes & Punishment. It is the best example of a new age mystery/adventure game that I am aware of and is a true delight to the fans of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s works. The cases are genius, the puzzles and riddles are achievable but not too easy, and the storyline is very Sherlockian and enjoyable. it did a great job of not being so dense that you just want to give up and play something else, while still being challenging enough to keep your interest. (Honorable Mentions – The Last Door, The Wolf Among Us, Terraria)
The Spoony Bard Mage (Nerd Speaker)
I have to choose Zelda, but which one? I’ll go with the NES classic, as my uncle helped me through it so it was a bonding experience, and helped me develop into the kickass gamer I am today.
The Five More Minutes Mage (Gamegato)
In the personal verdict on my Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker review, I said that it was my first and only Zelda game. But so far, it’s been great and gotten me hooked on the Zelda series.
The Final Fourteenth Mage (Cilla vs. Games)
The Last Guardian. I spent so many years waiting for this game and despite its many flaws I still really enjoyed it. When the game worked right the interactions between yourself and Trico were amazing. The way Trico responded to the environment around it was fantastic. Playing with chains, pushing catapults and being scared of water just to name a few. The ending of The Last Guardian was the only game to ever make me cry. In my defence I was heavily pregnant at the time!
The Hopeful Handheld Mage (Retro Redress)
I struggled with thinking of a selection for this genre, but the answer that kept coming back to me was the Tomb Raider reboot. I’ll admit the story is terrible, but the action and drama is immense, you really feel you’ve been on a journey by the end.
The Rage Mage
What about the game that started this genre: Adventure? I mean, it’s in the title. All you need are undefined blocks to tell a story. Everything else is fluff and fan fiction.
The Well-Red Mage
So clearly the Legend of Zelda series has a sizable presence on today’s challenge, and not without reason. For many of us, it’s the franchise we think of when we think of the adventure genre. I waffled between naming The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening (my favorite title in the series) or The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (a very close second and a much broader and innovative game). On the one hand, nostalgia is a powerful pull. On the other, we’re talking Game of the Year material. How am I supposed to decide! Well, in the end, a future category in this challenge will decide for me. I’m shelving the sprawling and adventurous Breath of the Wild for now… but I’m also going to have to shelve the haunting, monochromatic dreamscape that is Link’s Awakening, as well, unfortunately.
That’s because my answer changed at the last minute. I’m going to name Shadow of the Colossus as my favorite adventure title. By now, everybody should at least know about this work of art. The announcement of its remake was one of my favorite moments at E3 2017 because this was really an unforgettable experience. As an adventure, it’s lack of dialogue allows the player to get sucked into its world and the decaying mind of its protagonist. It just dawned on me that (SPOILERS for Shadow of the Colossus and The Last of Us) Wander’s corruption was very much akin to Joel’s from the ending of his game since they both gave up their humanity, their souls, for the ones they “loved” but one sacrifice resonated with me and the other repulsed me, the one was tragic and the other was petty, in my opinion. Why? I’ll have to give this more thought. That’s what these games are all about. A few honorable mentions go to Grim Fandango, Okami, Abzû, Terraria, Ico, Another World, Crystalis, and Maniac Mansion.
The adventure may be over for today but a new challenge begins tomorrow! Whatever could the next genre be? As always, share your favs in the comments below and let’s learn about more new games together!