The editors at Adventure Classic Gaming invited me to write an article about research in adventure games. This was my opportunity to explain adventure game fans what I do and, more importantly, why they should care too. What I explain in the article, although focused on adventure games, is my understanding of what games research may be (we games researchers are still figuring that out).
An excerpt from he article:
The academic study of videogames has become an interdisciplinary research field. Game studies scholars come from a variety of disciplines, such as education, sociology, game studies, and computer science. The objects of their studies are just as diverse: specific genres (e.g., casual games (1) or role-playing games (2,3)), players, formal aspects of game design, to name but a few. Adventure games are also part of this rich research landscape, and their status in the field of game studies remains to be defined. This article is an introduction to the study of adventure games and how research can inform not only scholars but also game developers and fans of the genre. [...]
There is much that can be learned from adventure games and their long history (by videogame standards). Developed between 1975 and 1976, Adventure (Figure 1), also known as Colossal Cave, is commonly cited as the first adventure game (6). Decades later, adventure games are still released both commercially by development studios and non-commercially by dedicated enthusiasts. Computer technologies have evolved, and adventure games along with them, going from text to mouse input to touch screens. The evolution of the genre has not been linear, but rather has branched into different subtypes of adventure games. This has led to new interactive fiction (also known as text adventure games) being released along new point-and-click adventure games, both by commercial developers and by aficionados of the genre.