Exploration video game

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Gone Home invites you to explore a house that was recently abandoned.

Exploration is a genre of video game where roaming around the game world and exploring the various nooks and crannies is a major part of game play. Many adventure and role-playing video games were designed with such detailed game worlds that they fit into the exploration genre. For example, 1986 saw the release of The Legend of Zelda and Metroid, both are action adventure games where the player can complete the game's main story without visiting large sections of the game. However, those players who do explore the game will find a variety of optional items, rare monsters, and unique background art. However, true exploration games, where the primary focus is on exploration and a story is usually a secondary objective or entirely absent, didn't start to become popular until the 2000s. For these games, the developers invested the time in the environments and made them interesting, beautiful, or complicated. Early examples include LSD: Dream Emulator in 1998 and Dear Esther in 2008.

"Exploration" is both fairly new as a video game genre and difficult to define, so few video game databases group games in this manner.


The first time I remember playing a game where the developer made exploration a major part of the game's focus was Seiklus in the mid-2000s. Although it still had many traditional game mechanics, it was clear that simply admiring the scenery and ambiance of the various locales was a big part of the game. Experiencing this game helped broadened my idea for of a video game could be.


This is a list of exploration games that are important to me, for all exploration games, see the category.

Title Released Developer
Chrono Trigger 1995-03-11 Square
Final Fantasy VI 1994-04-02 Square
Firewatch 2016-02-09 Campo Santo Productions
Gone Home 2013-08-15 The Fullbright Company
The Goonies II 1987-03-18 Konami
The Legend of Zelda 1986-02-21 Nintendo
The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past 1991-11-21 Nintendo
Metroid 1986-08-06 Nintendo
Minecraft 2009-05-?? Markus "Notch" Persson
Seiklus 2003-08-15 Clysm
Small Radios Big Televisions 2016-11-08 Fire Face
The Stanley Parable 2013-10-17 Galactic Cafe
Trip World 1992-11-27 Sunsoft
Ultima VII: The Black Gate 1992-04-16 Origin Systems
Undertale 2015-09-15 Toby Fox