The etymology of adventure takes us to the Latin language: its word adventūra can be translated as that which will come or happen. The notion is often used in allusion to the event, the fact or the event that, for some reason, is out of the ordinary.
For example: “Yesterday we had an adventure as we missed the train and had to walk several kilometers to get back to the hotel”, “This mountain is perfect for adventure lovers”, “Becoming a father was an adventure for me”.
The idea of adventure is linked to an experience that carries certain risks and whose protagonist may be at the mercy of unpredictable events. Adventures can start spontaneously and involuntarily, without the person looking for them. In other cases, the subject will promote an action to try to live the adventure in question.
Take the case of a family heading to their vacation destination but, in the middle of the night, their car breaks down on a little traveled road. While waiting for help to arrive, they decide to camp next to the vehicle. In this way they are forced to live an adventure that was not in their plans.
Instead, a young man who decides to travel through Patagonia as a backpacker, climbing mountains and swimming in lakes, goes on his journey in search of adventure.
The informal, casual or clandestine romantic relationships are also known as adventures: “Do not tell anyone anything, but I’m having an affair with my neighbor”, “The actor was discovered by his wife in an affair”.
Adventure is also the genre of films and literary works that bets on entertainment through the risky experiences of the protagonists. “Around the World in Eighty Days”, by the Frenchman Jules Verne, is an example of an adventure novel.
As in the rest of the arts, video games can be divided into a large number of genres and styles, among which is adventure. The main elements of adventure games are the exploration of peculiar scenarios, the investigation to solve all kinds of mysteries, the need to talk and interact with many characters to advance in the story (which is imposed over the action) and the solution of enigmas.
It is important to clarify that this genre of video games is not related to that of adventure novels and films, since it does not refer to the theme or the type of main character. In other words, it does not indicate the presence of great scenarios in which risky exploits will take place on the part of an agile and reckless hero; on the contrary, adventure games usually have “normal” people as protagonists and their settings are usually rather gloomy.
Since the story is the main point of adventure games, it is normal that its narrative level is higher than what we can find in other genres, such as action or even RPG. Their main platform is the computer and nowadays they no longer enjoy much popularity, unlike what happened until the early 90’s.
Among the best-known titles in the adventure genre are King’s Quest, The Secret of Monkey Island, Myst, and Maniac Mansion. As in literature and cinema, the complexity of certain works makes it very difficult to place them in a strict genre, and for this reason there is no definitive classification. On the other hand, the existence of fusions between the different genres adds a few layers of complexity to this task; one of the most common is the action-adventure genre of The Legend of Zelda series, developed by Nintendo.