- Sep 24, 2022
15. Myst - 1993
Back in the nineties Myst was a major cultural touchstone and landmark release, advancing the adventure element of games into a new world of mystery and puzzle solving.
Its low level of interactions required from the player initially proved controversial leading some to question if it could even be considered a traditional game, yet years later this lackadaisical style of design would become hugely popular expressed through browser games and dominating the mobile market.
Total Sales: At least 6 million copies.
14. The Legend of Zelda - 1986
Surely one of the most vital games ever released, The Legend of Zelda was the first game of note that truly sought to tap into what it really feels like to go on an adventure - the essence of journey permeates every layer of its design as well as significant danger.
By taking early adventure design staples and applying them with maximum player freedom, the game showed that exploration in video games need not be prescriptive, introducing non-linearity and discovery as ideas games are still remixing today.
Total Sales: At least 6.51 million copies.
13. L.A. Noire - 2011
One of the more striking adventure driven titles of the modern era, LA Noire channels classic point and click staples under a familiar Hollywood Noire trapping that was yet unexplored in gaming.
Famous for its groundbreaking facial animation technology that lended authenticity to its many mysteries (and enlisting actual actors to be rendered in game) showed that the hallmarks of classic adventure games - uncovering a narrative and item scavenging still draw a modern audience.
Total Sales: At Least 7.5 million copies.
12. The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time - 1998
Released during a significant transitional period for games, Ocarina of Time was a major moment where adventure could be synergised with real time action in a 3D space while still focusing on those core Zelda ideals of adventure and discovery.
With its expansive world rich with puzzles and hidden goodies, suddenly the formula for the modern template of action-adventure would be born. Its timeless and iconic soundtrack will never leave the cerebellum of any hero embarking on this journey.
Total Sales: At Least 7.6 million copies.
11. The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess - 2008
Following the bold and controversial stylistic departure of Wind Waker, the series would return to recontextualise the classic Ocarina of Time for a new generation of consoles and offer a significantly darker approach to the world and tone.
Focusing on the core adventure elements that defined the series with an “it’s not broken” mentality allowed the game to have some of the strongest puzzles and areas to explore in the 3D era it had entered into with such impact.
The game also adds motion controls as a first for the series agame was a major success across both generations it spanned.
Total Sales: At Least 8.7 million copies.
10. Ghost of Tsushima - 2020
This brand new IP from Sucker Punch showed that the open world adventure formula currently practiced today still has new stories to tell and settings to be explored.
By applying a minimalist approach and focusing on keeping the player's focus in the game world as opposed to endlessly rifling through icons on a map screen, the game brought its adventure elements to the forefront with its many environmental secrets and puzzles.
Among the many open world adventure games released today Ghost of Tsushima somehow feels perhaps the most adventure driven, though its brutal action combat and sweeping narrative are equal parts factors in its success.
Total Sales: At Least 9.73 million copies.