Ron Gilbert, one of the principles behind Maniac Mansion, lays out some rules for adventure games.
This is from 1989. Imagine how much better games would be if they followed these guidelines.
The only game in recent memory I can think of that’s a good example of these guidelines is Machinarium. You don’t die, you can’t really get stuck — although I admit that puzzles near the end had me giving up and going to Gamefaqs. It also wasn’t a huge investment of time. Machinarium took maybe 5-6 hours total. Now think of how long you can put into something like Riven.