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Action-adventure

Genre
Action-adventure is a term used for games that include elements of both, as its name suggests, the action and adventure genres and is thus considered by many to be possibly the broadest genre in video gaming. In traditional adventure games, the player is tasked with solving puzzles and difficult situations with little to no action. In contrast, action games focus on combat and reflex testing, so action-adventure ideally includes both of these aspects in one.

Action-adventure games generally include gameplay with significant combat and other physically challenging elements, but with the additional emphasis on story, character development, dialogue, exploration, item gathering, backtracking, and puzzle-solving. Many games feature large worlds in which the player is free to explore and discover things, although the extent of the freedom the player has is often based on their progress through the game's story and what items or equipment they may have on them. Even if a game doesn't have an extensive, free-roam world and is structured more linearly (i.e., being level or mission-based), the player will still have agency in their decisions. The player may accomplish puzzles and tasks in different ways and may even be able to return to various levels after completion to play through them differently or find secrets and extras that they may have missed before.

Due to its broad scope, the action-adventure genre has a tendency to cross-over with other genres, including platformer, hack and slash, first-person shooter, and stealth. Sometimes it can be difficult to determine what exactly makes a game action-adventure, since elements of the genre are used in others. Still, generally, action-adventure games focus on a balance of combat, reflexive gameplay, and puzzle-solving, sometimes used even within the context of the action. The pacing of action-adventure games tends to be much faster than that of traditional adventure games, due to the significant addition of action elements, but overall not as fast as traditional action games, due to the addition of the slower, explorative elements.

The game that is commonly regarded as the first action-adventure game is the aptly titled Adventure for the Atari 2600, which took the maze genre and added in free-roaming enemies, item collecting, and freely explorable locations (at least to the small extent that the Atari 2600's technology would allow). The genre was most common in computer games, like Castle Wolfenstein, due to the larger memory capacity available to them, that is until the 8-bit era, with the improved technology of systems such as the NES allowing for larger games like Legend of Zelda and Metroid to be produced on consoles. The genre didn't truly flourish outside the PC market until the fifth generation of game systems (PlayStation, Nintendo 64, Sega Saturn). The vastly improved console technology allowed for fully three-dimensional games and more extensive and free exploration.
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Games 1,611

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1980s-1996
23 mar 2015
8 apr - 12 may 2015
1998-05
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