Finding the Adventure in Journey

GameSpot AU's Jessica McDonell takes a look at the evolving classification of adventure games and whether contemporary games like Journey fit into it.

Discussion

94 comments
Casuallad
Casuallad

This is a really good video. Agree that la noire is not an adventure game more action adventure not sure about journey not played it yet. So I'll get on it.

Defo think a adventure game has to be point and click just that was when they peaked. Adventure games were around before point and click your video shows a text adventure game I'm sure.

Anyway good vid and good work cheers

tgwolf
tgwolf

This game is a great example of what continues to frustrate me about games in general and especially the ones I am keen to play...The environments and the mood are marvelous and the various elements that lend mysticism and emotional potency could well and should be used in other games, especially RPGs since those are perhaps my overall favorites, but also because they lend themselves, if done well, to exploration and discovery as well as immersion. The game Neverwinter Nights 2 stands out, since that game and it's style of play are quite well suited to this present mood and art of storytelling. ARPGs also would be suitable, such as an Elder Scrolls game. It seems plain to me how the two seeming opposites can find harmony and great success, the masterful blending of action and the ponderous and profound sense of wonder and mystery that this game seems to capture. In essence I am thinking of a slightly grittier Skyward Sword or something of that type. I don't see these two very desirable styles as anything but badly desperately needed for the making of a stunning game experience...What a shame there isn't one...

armodillo17
armodillo17

 @tempertress  A little late to the party--missed this vid when it first came out.

 

I think limiting the Adventure genre to certain game mechanics is a little strange. Platformers, for example, can't be defined by a game mechanic. Jumping exists in other genres, and there are some platformers where you can't jump at all (Bionic Commando, for one). What makes something a Platformer is exactly what the name implies: the focus of the game is that the character exists on and interacts with a series of platforms, or ledges. In other words, there have to be surfaces of varying heights for the character to stand on. Platforms aren't a mechanic, they're the focus of the setting. Shooters are defined by a mechanic, but that's because the name of the genre is a mechanic. An adventure isn't a mechanic, so why should the genre be defined by one?

 

To me, the qualifying aspect of an adventure game is that the focus of the game is your character going on some sort of adventure or quest, as long as the game isn't already an RPG because of other factors. Zelda games are a perfect example that others have already brought up. Metroid is another. To me, God of War isn't because the focus seems to be more on the combat than the adventure itself.

 

By the way, Jess, have you played Machinarium? It doesn't have any dialogue, but it has great puzzles, and absolutely gorgeous art and music.

 

kalyanau
kalyanau

In this day and age adventure games are not exactly point and click. Its about exploring and sort of puzzle solving. What you said is right as in classics it was the only way a game could be made. And the main rule, as might be a subconscious rule of the ming, they are third person, not first person. Now of action gets mixed with them, you can call them Action Adventure, like Prince of Persia, but it really depends on which elements of the game dominate, rather what you spend your most time on.

Humorguy_basic
Humorguy_basic

She waited until the last 3 seconds to point out Journey was on PS3. The fact is, you CANNOT have a point and click adventure game on a console, as the gamepad and resolution is not good enough. Also, point and click adventures need puzzles to be solve, usually devious puzzles, and stories can be quite sophisticated!

 

Consoles want to take over everything - can't have a point and click adventure game on console, call a game like Mass Effect or Uncharted or L.A. Noire an adventure game them. Because us console gamers aren't going to let PC gamers have a genre name to themselves!

 

It's the same with RPG's. Most console RPG's were Japanese turn-based. Games like Final Fantasy. Because of this, Western PC RPG's have not been called RPG's since 2005, they've been called "Action-RPG's" because they have real-time combat! For 20 years PC gamers called these games "RPG's", but console gamers aren't going to allow PC RPG's to be called RPG's and console RPG's to be called "turn-based RPG's", so we now have "RPG" meaning a console Japanese turn-based RPG, and an "Action-RPG" is the new name for all Western (PC style) RPG's!

 

We have the Sierra, Lucas Arts and The Longest Journey style interfaces, that's three different types. That is surely enough? There aren't three different types for shooters - just first person or third person!

 

So let PC gamers have one genre - the adventure genre, and let all the various point and click style adventures still being released, like the Sherlock Holmes mysteries, Still Life 1 and 2, Syberia 1 and 2, Road to India, Sam and Max, Resonanse,   The Whispered World, etc. be called Adventure Games!

 

 

 

RZC88
RZC88

i love to try this game flower was okay very tripy game but only play when ur high this one looks good so i cant wait to try this

Cybrggame
Cybrggame

What?? YOU love adventure games?! I LOVE ADVENTURE GAMES TOO!

okeanis
okeanis

Intrigued. Very much so. I am really liking the uniqueness in the atmosphere this game offers. I like this type of creativeness.

grey_fox1984
grey_fox1984

@Vojtass Funny, I don't remember signing any agreement when I started playing games.... Is this agreement notarized? were there witnesses? Was there an addendum stating that Mass Effect 3's ending had to be satisfying and conclusive? How come so many other gamers have signed these magical contracts that no one ever tells me about!?! Referencing the video, if point'n'click controls are a necessity for a game to qualify as "adventure", what does that make Heavy Rain?

Marscaleb
Marscaleb

I think we need to clearly establish and acknowledge definitions for the genres. Everyone and their dog calls their game an adventure game. Games like Uncharted get called adventure games.

Vojtass
Vojtass

@grey_fox1984 I don't care about young boys who think adventure game = Uncharted. No. Uncharted is action-adventure. What is wrong with the name of this genre? Is *action* part ruining prestige or something? If you don't like it, it's your problem, but definitions aren't a matter of personal taste. Classification is a social agreement which was signed by all gamers long time ago (action adventure was already there). If we want to be understood, we must use universal definitions. Adventure game is a synonym of graphic adventure point'n'click title. If someone doesn't know what is adventure game, it doesn't mean he can use this term as he wants. This is how misunderstandings are born. I'm not against action-adventure games, because I play these myself. I just don't agree for taking an exclusive name of the adventure genre, which is one of the few things left in the consciousness of mass audience. This is also matter of respect.

grey_fox1984
grey_fox1984

Another good question- is Zelda not an adventure series? You never point and/or click (don't say CDi to me). It sure as hell isn't an RPG by traditional definition. There is action in them, but none are exactly God of War. There are puzzles, but I sure wouldn't call any Zelda game a puzzle game. One thing that is universal to every Zelda game is that you explore dungeons, travel across the land and solve a conflict. If only there was one word that could sum up all of those attributes perfectly....

grey_fox1984
grey_fox1984

@Vojtass By that logic "Video Games" should only include games like Pong and Asteroids. Adventure is far too general a term to assign to a specific type of gameplay. I'm not saying that point'n'clicks aren't adventure games, they very much are- but to say that, for example, Uncharted is NOT an adventure game is doing it something of a disservice. It has nothing at all in common with point'n'clicks (aside from perhaps, snappy dialogue), but my mind would think to call the Uncharted series an Action Adventure game long before I would ever call it a Shooter, Platformer or Puzzle game (though it is, at times, all of those things as well). Adventure is a word that captures the spirit of the game better than almost anything else I can think of- can you call Indiana Jones anything other than an Adventure movie? (except KotCS which I think we can all agree to call absolute crap). I'm a fan of point'n'clicks- they're great (if they're written well), but in today's industry, especially when addressing younger gamers, describing a point'n'click as an "adventure game", is undoubtedly going to alienate them a bit because the term has become broader than that. In other news, they're making talkies at the pictures, TV is in colour and there's this newfangled gizmo called the internet that has proven that things evolve, no matter how much some of us want to stay cynical hipsters.

GamecenterHQ
GamecenterHQ

Wow. This one brought us back. Great game.

ujwalv
ujwalv

so childish of me,, Im in crush again with a Gamespot VJ,. >;-> :P

happy_84k
happy_84k

what's wrong with her mouth?

Vojtass
Vojtass

@pooya_d Classic adventure games died only for mass audience. But these still live for their fans. @tempertress I have some expectation toward Cradle and quite soon we will find out, what it is (spring 2012). Please make another video about adventure games, but maybe more classic, point'n'click - you can find some recomendations here: http://www.adventuregamers.com/recommendations.php Long live classic adventure!

wes008
wes008

I'm getting an audio glitch at 1:50

jimbo6524
jimbo6524

@ HuSSaR83 two thumbs up from me buddy. My #1 of all time.

jimbo6524
jimbo6524

I think that the term "point and click" adventure games is perfectly adequate for games like Monkey Island and Broken Sword (which are amongst my favourite of all time, btw) By the looks of it you could pigeonhole Journey as a "platforming" adventure game. There are different types of adventure games, why should we restrict it? Although I love "point and click" games, theyre sadly a bit too slow paced for the majority of todays NOW/INSTANT GRATIFICATION generation. Add to that the financial climate of extreme uncertainty, its not suprising companies arent willing to take the risk on them as often anymore. However, there strength lies in their absence of gratifying gameplay mechanics. Its all about using the ol' grey matter, not your razor sharp reflexes. I for one love something that stripped down, and cant wait to see what double fine come up with. In todays overloaded, media drenched consumerist society "point and click" games offer a much needed change of pace. Thats why il always love them.

MrWhalo
MrWhalo

Ah, point and click adventure games. Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis. I must have played that game over 50 times in my life. Pertaining to Journey however, I had a good time with it, I prefer Flower.

pooya_d
pooya_d

Adventure games died with Siberia and the longest journey !!!!!! they were the best games I have ever played........maybe because they realized games which need brain won't sell good !!!!!!!!!!

hexacorde
hexacorde

love the monkey island theme

tool41685
tool41685

Can't tell if look into the meaning of adventure game, or elaborate advertisement for Journey...

edgewalker16
edgewalker16

"Having played these games for decades..." o_O I would be shocked if Jessica were older than 30.

arruu2000
arruu2000

Coming back to RPGs... As someone already said, RPGs have something to do with numbers. Assign different numbers to a series of stats... But in most games, although you cannot see it, those numbers do exist.. even in purely action games. Stats like power, armor, hit points, .. they are there. So that is not a categorizing issue. Neither it is the "role" as merely choosing a char... Many other games let you choose between different player... figthing games, for instance. So what's left? The gaming pace? Usually RPGs are kind of slow paced games.. with pauses, strategy... That would make Skyrim (and what is worse, Morrowind) not an RPG. So, what is an RPG?

arruu2000
arruu2000

@evilweav "3rd"... Now read my post again 2 or 3 times.. give it a deep thought and then let me know if you caught the message. It's ok if you don't, though... don't push yourself too much.

pilouuuu2004
pilouuuu2004

First of all I have to say that Jessica is lovely! I think that storytelling has been absorbed by most other genres which are including more narrative in games like Skyrim (RPG), Portal 2 (puzzle) and GTA IV (action). Traditional point and click are a niche market nowadays, but mostly because the industry doesn't trust the medium, more than it not being possible to have a good adventure game this generation. Also possibly due to the fact that developers are focusing more on consoles and you don't have mouse on consoles, so maybe Heavy Rain is the closer we have to real adventures because of that. I think Journey is like a variation of the genre, more focused on fantastic environments and almost no dialogue. It reminds me a bit of Another World in that sense. I think there are amazing possibilities for adventure games if only the industry tries other genres again as this kind of games are the most narrative driven and let's be honest, who doesn't like a good story and characters?

Granpire
Granpire

Look, there's not a doubt in my mind that Journey is an adventure. I don't need it to be classified as such when playing it. It's an incredible game, and to be honest, I didn't even think of genre-classifying it until I saw this video. I guess I'm sort of against genres in general. At least, when you confine the word "adventure" to mean only conventional point-and-click interactive stories, you're limiting that word. It's not as literal as say "Real Time Strategy" or "First Person Shooter". It's quantifying a grand and bold word to an old and limited set of game ideas. I'm not saying there isn't a place for classic point-and-click adventures, I just don't agree that they should be put into a genre called "adventure".

tempertress
tempertress moderator staff

@leikeylosh I've never written an article on Mass Effect or on GameSpot before. @Vojtass I love Syberia and Full Throttle, among many of the others you mentioned. Also, I absolutely second your love for GOG.com and I played through Beneath A Steel Sky a couple of years ago, Aged graphics don't really bother me when the story and other gameplay elements make up for it. I haven't heard of Cradle, I'll definitely check it out. @Lhomity No worries! @pixelstuff RPG is another very interesting one. Reminds me of a post that went up on Reddit a little while ago: http://i.imgur.com/NJ00b.jpg @Ladiesman17 Funnily enough GameSpot choosing to classify Journey as "Adventure" is what made me want to write this video in the first place =] I think classifying is still very subjective, and as many people have pointed out, hybrids only complicate the issue. @bennyboy023 21, actually! You were close, just got the numbers the wrong way around. @evilweav Fair point, I think people like to keep things in boxes because it makes it easier to define them and also categorize them on a website ;) But you're right, there is something of an obsession with classification. Same can be said for a whole lot of things in the world.

diegocvc
diegocvc

To make a graphic adventure game you need a great story, strong characters and, above all, well-crafted puzzles that demand careful thinking to be solved. Journey, as much as Limbo, are mainly platform games with easy puzzles (let's face it, classic adventure games are about 100 times harder to finish). I believe the last truly adventure game was Grim Fandango, and we won’t see anything new until the upcoming game from Double Fine arrives.

Phazevariance
Phazevariance

Point and click adds to the style of puzzles those classic games are made from, and doesn't translate as well over to 3d style sandbox games. Journey is an adventure/exploration game, but the puzzle element isn't the same.

paulspo_basic
paulspo_basic

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

ZachMasta
ZachMasta

I find the last posing question a bit erroneous. "are we retaining the format just because it's classic, or because it's actually better?" Maybe we have just retained the point n click because it's already a bonafide style of producing a videogame that has proven that it can be effective. It's a medium of videogames that has unique traits, just as any other medium of crafting a videogame. That being said, it has probably been retained for these unique traits.

leikeylosh
leikeylosh

Sorry, Jessica. After your Mass Effect 3 "ART"icle, I have no respect for you.

nate1222
nate1222

I think people are clinging to the point & click mechanics SIMPLY out of purist bs. I've played Journey and it is very much an adventure game. It has obviously platformer gameplay, but also tells a very moving story. Ironically, and perhaps ideally, Journey attempts to tell its story in a way that those of multiple languages and cultures can grasp. This of course negates the use of texts and spoken dialogue, because those features would lock Journey into a single language and a very small group of cultures. So purists really need to stop dissing Journey and see it for the experimental contribution to the genre that it is.

Tsuchikage
Tsuchikage

A really cute girl who's smart and likes adventure games? My heart! :X I haven't had a chance to play Journey yet, though I plan to. For me, adventure games are just games with unconventional (i.e. not action games or racing games, etc.) mechanics that tell a story. L.A. Noire has plenty of adventure game elements, but isn't a true adventure game because it has some action in it. Heavy Rain is an adventure game because its mechanics are unique and it doesn't involve any direct control of the action.

HuSSaR83
HuSSaR83

Still nothing beats Curse of Monkey Island for me..ahh that atmosphere, cute-hand drawn graphics, voice-acting and music.When I played this game back in days I felt like i was stuck on carribean island without escape.

Vojtass
Vojtass

@grey_fox1984 Fortunately your opinion about classification is unimportant. Adventure games = point'n'click games. Find new names for newest titles. Nuff said, end of story.

HuSSaR83
HuSSaR83

Whats the trend lately in putting these videos in game profiles? some marketing scam?

bennyboy023
bennyboy023

How old is she? 12? Can we please have some adults debating this issue who no what games have come before 2006? Come on gamespot. I dont want to be lectured at by a child about gaming history.

kkxtrouble
kkxtrouble

Tim and Ron will make the best adventure game ever! Let's hope so.

wwlettsome
wwlettsome

Journey isn't just worthy of the classification it helps to move the genre forward.

wamsy102938
wamsy102938

For me all games are an adventure. When you buy the game not knowing what will happen in the story finding out for yourself has a feel of entitlement. Only gamers can experience the true feel of adventure you cant find anywhere else.

da_chub
da_chub

i was not impressed how much it cost when it has 0 replay and almost no real gameplay or story. it was just a guided cinamatic. i mean, is this what passes as a 9.0? Give LoZ SS a 7.5 and journey a 9. i enjoyed the maybe 2 hours it took. waste of $15 though.