It all started in 1976 when "Colossal Cave Adventure" was created. This game was developed by Will Crowther, a programmer at Bolt, Beranek & Newman, and a year later, was expanded upon by Don Woods, a student at Stanford University. Crowther based the creation of the game on his experiences exploring the Mammoth Cave in Kentucky where was required to navigate his way around by using the same techniques found in the game. Crowther was also heavily inspired by the tabletop role-playing game "Dungeons and Dragons", which led him to create something similar in a digital format as well as something that didn't require other players in order to run. It was the first text-based adventure and later inspired Roberta Williams in the development of the Sierra Adventure games.
In 1980, Roberta Williams alongside her husband Ken Williams founded On-Line Systems (later known as Sierra On-Line) where they produced the first graphical adventure entitled "Mystery House". After the success of their first game, the company continued to produce a number of adventure game series that are still fondly remembered to this day; King's Quest, Space Quest, Police Quest, and Leisure Suit Larry. These games were the momentum that led to the adventure genre being so popular in the late 80's till the mid 90's. These games series also led to the creation of other famous adventure game companies and eventual rival company, Lucasfilm Games.
Lucasfilm Games, which eventually became LucasArts, was founded in 1982 but didn't make their first adventure game till 1986 with the game "Labyrinth: The Computer Game". This game had a unique system of how to enter in the player's inputs. Instead of typing in verbs and nouns, the player selects from two lists. Yes, this does simplify the process but it also prevents the issue of players not knowing what phrase they need to input in order to have the game perform an action. Though this game wasn't a huge success, it did lead to the development of "Maniac Mansion" in 1987. This game was the first point and click game, and also introduced a new style of adventure games. This meant that for the first time players were able to directly interact with the graphical display with the use of the mouse, allowing the player to become much more immersed in the game. This system was able to exist due to the creation of the SCUMM (Script Creation Utility for Maniac Mansion) engine by Ron Gilbert. This engine was continued to be used in later projects up until 1998 where they switched to an engine that could support a 3D gameplay. Some of these well-known games that used the engine include; the Monkey Island series, the Indiana Jones series, the Day of the Tentacle, Full Throttle, and many more.