A game is generally a structured, pre-designed form of activity, normally undertaken for fun or entertainment, and at times used as an instructional tool. Games are very different from work, that is generally carried out for profit, and from literature, that is more often an expressive expression of philosophical or aesthetic elements. The most important feature of a game is the need for a ‘game plan’. It includes what materials will be used, how the game will be conducted, rules governing its play, and its outcome.
Gameplay comprises a number of different types of activities. The most popular types are those based on driving, racing, puzzle, card, arcade, computer and board. These provide the foundation for different genres, each with its own set of design principles. Action games, role-playing and simulation games are other examples. The major categories under which video games are grouped include arcade, card, computer, action, arcade-style, card-based, cognitive, classic, racing, puzzle, casual, strategy, time management and first-person shooter (a category in its own right).
The most popular sub-genre of the action-adventure game genre is the adventure game. In this type, the player assumes the role of a protagonist in a story told on a series of vignettes, with some puzzles and action thrown in. Mainly, these are narrative games, but many include some audio and video content, as well. Often, these are role-playing games, with the player taking on the role of a character within the game, attempting to solve puzzles and solve crime. Adventure games frequently incorporate elements of magic, mythology, or fantasy.
The next sub-genre is the puzzle game. These are more action-oriented than action-adventures and more often offer gameplay that relies on logic and reasoning rather than pure adventure. Examples of this sub-genre include Abalone and Solitaire. Many puzzle games require players to solve a number of puzzles in order to advance to the next level and often use pattern recognition or logic as a means to do so.
One of the biggest influences on modern day adventure gaming is the world of computer-based RPGs. These RPGs, or role playing games, put players in the shoes of a fictional character. They typically follow a plot, but often have characters that exist only in the game. These characters may be asked to do quests, fight monsters, find items or solve puzzles in order to progress to the next level of the game. A lot of the earliest RPGs were text-based, meaning that they featured text commands that the player had to input into the game’s computer.
Advancements in technology and the industry itself have changed greatly over the years. Most RPG’s and visual novels now utilize more advanced graphics and complex programming code. This has allowed for the evolution of many adventure games, particularly the ones that are considered ‘choose your own adventure’ or ‘moderately challenging’. Today, players have a wide variety of options when deciding how to approach gaming.