Adventure Games: Playing the Outsider
DescriptionThe genre of adventure games is frequently overlooked. Lacking the constantly-evolving graphics and graphic violence of their counterparts in first-person and third-person shooters or role-playing games, they are often marketed to and beloved by players outside of mainstream game communities. While often forgotten by both the industry and academia, adventure games have had (and continue to have) a surprisingly wide influence on contemporary games, in categories including walking simulators, hidden object games, visual novels, and bestselling titles from companies like Telltale and Campo Santo.
In this examination of heirs to the genre's legacy, the authors examine the genre from multiple perspectives, connecting technical analysis with critical commentary and social context. This will be the first book to consider this important genre from a comprehensive and transdisciplinary perspective. Drawing upon methods from platform studies, software studies, media studies, and literary studies, they reveal the genre's ludic and narrative origins and patterns, where character (and the player's embodiment of a character) is essential to the experience of play and the choices within a game. A deep structural analysis of adventure games also uncovers an unsteady balance between sometimes contradictory elements of story, exploration, and puzzles: with different games and creators employing a multitude of different solutions to resolving this tension.
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About the Author
Aaron Reed is an award-winning game designer and interactive narrative researcher. His work has been featured by IndieCade, Kirkus, GDC, South by Southwest, The Book Lab, Slamdance, GaymerX, and PAX. He is the author of Creating Interactive Fiction With Inform 7 (2010) and of Blue Lacuna, voted one of the Top 10 Interactive Fiction games of all time. He holds a PhD in Computer Science and an MFA in Digital Arts, and is currently working on tools to create more dynamic game characters as a co-founder of Spirit AI.John T. Murray is an Assistant Professor of Digital Media at the University of Central Florida, USA. He is a co-author of Flash: Building the Interactive Web (2014). His research focuses on interactive narratives and reality media (augmented, virtual and mixed reality). Anastasia Salter is an Assistant Professor of Digital Media at the University of Central Florida, USA. She is the author of Jane Jensen: Gabriel Knight, Adventure Games, Hidden Objects (Bloomsbury 2017) and What is Your Quest? From Adventure Games to Interactive Books (2014), and co-author of Toxic Geek Masculinity in Media: Sexism, Trolling, and Identity Policing (2017) and Flash: Building the Interactive Web (2014). She was part of the editorial team for the Electronic Literature Collection Volume 3.
"Adventure Games: Playing the Outsider reveals how the Adventure Genre, along with its core principles, has weathered the storms of technological change, while at the same time its splintering fragments and genetic material have interwoven themselves inextricably into a host of other genres, enriching them as we move into the era of VR and AR gaming." --Dr. Mark J. P. Wolf, Professor, Communication Department, Concordia University Wisconsin, USA"In Adventure Games: Playing the Outsider, the authors take a deep dive into an understudied yet important video game genre. This colorful analysis articulates why adventure games have had a long-lasting effect on the medium that is both historically relevant and currently influential. Spanning games from the classic text adventure Zork through the current indie favorite Kentucky Route Zero, Reed, Murray, and Salter take us on a playful journey, reminding us why this genre remains a significant part of the video game ecosystem." --Shira Chess, Associate Professor of Entertainment and Media Studies, The University of Georgia, USA "Adventure Games: Playing the Outsider is a hugely useful account of the genre, written by knowledgeable and passionate authors. It is not, they tell us in the introduction, "a hagiography of adventure games" but it sort of is. In a good way." --Manchester Game Studies Network