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The adventure game genre is one in which an interactive story is essential. Although the setting and scope may differ from game to game, the player's objective is usually to solve a mystery by paying attention to clues that are provided within the story.

Adventure games are categorized according to the style of the gameplay rather than the type of story or content of the game. In adventure games, players interact with the environment and other characters to solve puzzles or to progress through the game. Because of the game's emphasis on story and character, most adventure games are single-player games, and multiplayer adventure games most often overlap with other game genres.

Subgenres include text adventures, interactive fiction, graphic adventures, and hybrids. Although text adventure games are a subgenre of adventure games, because of the nature of text-based rather than graphic-based gameplay, we have opted to list text-based computer games separately.

In a video adventure game, players assume the role of a protagonist, but they are not able to choose their game character, or customize their character, as in a role-playing graphic game.

Video graphic adventure games were the most popular computer games from the late 1980s to the mid-1990s but, during the 2000s, they were overtaken by first-person shooter games, which are in the action game genre. Action-adventure games, a subgenre, could fall within the action or the adventure genre, depending on whether the focus is on the action or on the exploration of the game world.

Games that are typical of the adventure game genre include exploration, storytelling, and the solving of puzzles that are presented during the game. In an adventure game, combat situations and reflex actions on the part of the layer are limited or altogether absent, which is what differentiates the adventure genre from the action genre.

Adventure games generally require the player to solve a variety of puzzles, which might include finding and using various items, finding ways to open locked doors, and discovering new locations. They also often make use of inventory management features, in which players pick up objects that may be put to use later in the game.

Adventure games are usually dependent upon a story to complete the player experience. As in roleplaying games, adventure games might immerse the player in a fantasy world, varying the game setting from chapter to chapter in order to maintain the player's interest. However, since the player in an adventure game does not create or customize the player's character, as he would in a roleplaying game, dialogue or narration from voice actors are often employed in order to fill the player in on his role during the game.

Usually, the player is presented with a quest, or a series of quests, within the game. The primary goal is to complete the quest. Some adventure games employ a scoring system, which served as a secondary goal, but this is not as often used today as it once was.

Some adventure games use a point-and-click interface, where the player controls his character using a mouse, trackpad, or similar pointing device. The player clicks to move his character through the game.

The objective of some adventure games is to escape a room, using clues found through the solving of logic puzzles. Although more common in text adventure games, graphic adventure games employ this as well, although they tend to be short games.

Puzzle adventure games are more common. They focus on a variety of puzzle challenges, the solution of which opens more of the game world up to the player, often expanding on the storyline. These games usually don't include non-playable characters, although some do.

Narrative adventure games are focused on player exploration, and often don't include any type of gameplay other than player movement and interaction with the game environment. In such games, there are often no puzzles to solve, nor are there any win-lose conditions.

In recent years, some adventure games have been presented as interactive movies, using pre-rendered or full-motion video with live actors on a set. Usually, the game will present a scene, after which the player will have to input the correct moves with a joystick and button to continue on to a new scene. Such games are sometimes augmented with computer graphics.

To determine whether it is an adventure game or an action game, the focus of the game needs to be evaluated. When the point of concentration in the game is on exploration rather than rapid player action, it's probably an adventure game. When the game requires rapid hand-eye coordination or rapid decisions on the part of the player, it's an action game. When both are required, it's an action-adventure game, which would be a subgenre of either the action or the adventure genre.



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