The ADV in Adventure: Introdcution


Adventure games! They were a thing! Whether they be Sierra, LucasArts, or one of those weird mid-90s Myst knock-offs, if you did any computer gaming in `80s or `90s you’ve probably played at least one of them.

What you may not have played is a Japanese adventure game, or ADV. How are they different, you ask? Rather than employing point-and-click interactivity, many ADV feature menu-driven systems to navigate their worlds. This choice stems from the genre’s beginnings on 1980s Japanese PCs such as the Microsoft MSX that did not utilize a mouse, as well as consoles such as the Famicom, but eventually this became a stylistic choice.


While adventure games are often puzzle-based, ADV are instead narrative-based. The items and text are not present to give hints on how to solve the game, but to instead provide insight and immersion into the world of the story. In this way, the ADV could be considered more akin to an interactive comic than a traditional game.


Though the occasional ADV has found its way to America, most notably Hideo Kojima’s Snatcher, many of these unique titles have been left in Japan and doomed to obscurity. Over the next few months, I will be using this serial feature to showcase a number of different ADV and talking about their merits, flaws and what makes them so interesting. Let’s put the ADV back in Adventure together!