Graphic adventure is the most popular genre of adventure games. In this type of adventure, the player can see the game world on the screen, thanks to graphics and animations. The main character is usually visible, and the game is played from a third-person view. The hero can interact with the environment, collect and use objects, and talk to other characters. All the actions performed and their effects are shown on screen. This does not happen in text adventures with graphics, where the pictures are still images.
The first graphic adventure was Mystery House, created by Ken and Roberta Williams in 1980. Their company, Sierra On-Line, would go on creating many other adventures, including the series of King's Quest, Space Quest, Police Quest, and the hybrid adventure-rpg Quest for Glory.
But the name that defines the genre of graphic adventures is LucasArts, with a long list of point-and-click masterpieces: after the success of Maniac Mansion, the game that introduced the SCUMM engine by Ron Gilbert, the studio continued with Zak McKracken and the Alien Mindbenders, and the fantastic Indiana Jones And The Last Crusade (later followed by Indiana Jones And The Fate Of Atlantis). Still, the game that reached the highest popularity is the story of the wannabe pirate Guybrush Threepwood, The Secret of Monkey Island. But LucasArts masterpieces include Day of the Tentacle, Full Throttle, and many others.
It's not only LucasArts; let's remember Simon the Sorcerer by Adventure Soft or Revolution Software's adventures like Beneath A Steel Sky and Broken Sword: The Shadow of the Templars. Special mention for Star Trek 25th Anniversary, a fantastic graphic adventure for Star Trek fans, or Call of Cthulhu: Shadow of the Comet if you like Lovecraft novels.
The genre of graphic adventures reached its peak in the '90s, and there are a lot of quality titles out there. For sure, you have yet to play them all, so browse the list and have fun!