Archive for June 15th, 2008


Graphic Adventure Games

Today, almost everyone plays video games. They have become a part of our everyday life. They are a large part of our culture. So much to the point to where people take pride in calling themselves”gamers.” However, I have been wondering lately, why you never see adventure games anymore. It does not make sense. How could an entire genre of games vanish? It is like if Hollywood suddenly stopped making comedies. It just does not make sense. Well, here are a few of my thoughts on the subject.

It all started in 1980 when the first graphic adventure game: mystery house was made by Roberta and Ken Williams. It played just as the old text based adventures did, only there were simple black and white illustrations.

As time progressed, adventure games grew into bigger adventures and became popular. Games like kings quest (a game about being on a quest to retrieve 3 magical treasures for the king) and space quest (a hilarious game about space janitor turned hero, Roger Wilco) came out. (In the end, there ended up being 8 kings quest games and 6 space quest games.)

Then Lucasarts came out with a new mouse based interface and the point click was born. Armed with great designers like Ron Gilbert and Tim Shafner Lucasarts set out to create great games. Maniac Mansion was one of the 1st point and click games. Not only was it an awesome game, it introduced many new ideas to the games such as multiple playable characters and multiple endings. As time went on more and more games came out like the Monkey Island series (my personal favorite) that also included innovative ideas. (like insult sword-fighting)

One game that has to be mentioned is Myst. Designed by two brothers,Robyn and Rand Miller, Myst tells the story of how the player finds a book that describes in great detail an island unlike anything on earth called Myst. On the last page of the book, there is a picture of the island that moves like a video. Upon touching it, the player is teleported to the island with nothing to do but explore. Myst is by many considered to be the greatest game ever made. It was unique in many ways. It had a large and intrecrent backstory, had a silent protagonist, no violence, the game is paced on logic and observation. Myst stayed the best selling computer game until 2002 when the Sims beat it out. Not only that, Myst had awesome graphics and sound. (think PS2 worthy graphics in ’93)

Also, in 1993, id Software released Doom and the first person shooter was born. This was the birth of a new genre of games and as they continued to rise in popularity, more people started playing. Pretty soon, the market for FPS games was booming and adventure games were dying out.

Now the industry seems to think that an adventure game can’t possibly sale and the problem is that they are right. Not because people don’t like adventures anymore, but because they don’t know if they like them. Many gamers have never heard of graphic adventures and most of the ones who have, don’t want to try them because they don’t think the concept sounds any fun. (I mean, its not like you see tons of covrege about adventure games on g4 and gamespot)

Now that adventures are absent from the shelves no one plays them and many gamers know nothing about them. And that is where the real tragedy is. There are millions of gamers (and potential gamers) out there that won’t ever get the chance to play the great adventure games like Monkey Island, Myst, and Loom. (Heck, if it was not for Babcom5 I never would have played them)

There is still some hope, however. Former Lucasarts employees who did not agree with the way the company was moving away from adventure games grouped together to form Telltale games. They make episodic adventure games that are distributed online. Also, the Wii is the prefect interface for point and click adventures so hopefully, we may start seeing a rise in adventures again.

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  • Call of Duty 4: Moden Warfare (PS3)
  • Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time (N64 VC)
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