The simulation of wave phenomena in unbounded domains generally requires an artificial boundary to truncate the unbounded exterior and limit the computation to a finite region. At the artificial boundary a boundary condition is then needed, which allows the propagating waves to exit the computational domain without spurious reflection. In 1977, Engquist and Majda proposed the first hierarchy of absorbing boundary conditions, which allows a systematic reduction of spurious reflection without moving the artificial boundary farther away from the scatterer. Their pioneering work, which initiated an entire research area, is reviewed here from a modern perspective. Recent developments such as high-order local conditions and their extension to multiple scattering are also presented. Finally, the accuracy of high-order local conditions is demonstrated through numerical experiments.