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An adventure game is a video game in which the player assumes the role of protagonist in an interactive story driven by exploration and puzzle-solving instead of physical (e.g. reflexes) challenge. The adventure video game genre's focus on story allows it to draw heavily from other narrative-based media such as literature and film, encompassing a wide variety of literary genres. Nearly all adventure video games (text and graphic) are designed for a single player, since this emphasis on story and character makes multi-player design difficult. In the Western world, this video game genre's popularity peaked during the late 1980s to mid-1990s when many considered it to be among the most technically advanced genres, but it is now sometimes considered to be a niche genre. In East Asia on the other hand, they continue to be popular in the form of visual novels, which make up nearly 70% of PC games released in Japan.
The term "Adventure game" originates from the 1970s classic computer game Adventure, which pioneered a style of game-play that was widely imitated and became a genre in its own right. The video game genre is therefore defined by its game-play, unlike the literary genre, which is defined by the subject it addresses, the activity of adventure. Essential elements of the genre include storytelling, exploration, and puzzle solving. Adventure games have been described as puzzles embedded in a narrative framework, where it involve "narrative content that a player unlocks piece by piece over time". While the puzzles that players encounter through the story can be arbitrary, those that do not pull the player out of the narrative are considered examples of good design.