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The Rise and Fall of Graphic Adventure Games 134

Posted by Soulskill
from the mind-the-alligators dept.
The Opposable Thumbs blog has a detailed retrospective on almost three decades of history in the graphic adventure genre. While this type of game has fallen from favor in recent times, many classic titles made indelible marks on the memories and preferences of an entire generation of gamers. If you played video games in the '80s and '90s, you'll probably see something you recognize. Quoting: "In its sometimes-turbulent thirty-year history, the graphic-adventure genre has driven technology adoption, ridden at both the crest and trough of the graphics and audio waves, touched the lives of millions of people, and shaped the rise (and, in some cases, fall) of several big-name people and companies in the gaming industry. It's a genre that has often been held back by its own insularity, suffering from an unwillingness to adapt to changing market conditions or to further push the boundaries of interactivity. Adventure games certainly did these things, but the efforts to truly innovate seemed to peak in the mid-'90s, before rapidly falling off—with only a few exceptions. The improving fortunes of adventure game developers in recent years may at least in part be attributable to their efforts to innovate—Telltale with the episodic structure, Quantic Dream with a new control system (for better or worse), and Japanese developers such as Cing with Nintendo DS titles that introduce elements from visual novels.
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The Rise and Fall of Graphic Adventure Games

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  • The Ace Attorney and the spinoff Perfect Prosecutor doesn't count?

    • by Shikaku (1129753)

      Oops I accidentally the whole series.

    • by dintech (998802)

      Also Day of the Tentacle only gets a passing mention. However, as stated, this article is more about the key developments of the genre rather than necessarily it's greatest games.

      • by rainmouse (1784278) on Thursday January 27, 2011 @06:44AM (#35017986)
        Just because the adventure games being currently produced are not the focus of the AAA developers does not mean a decline. My partner and her friends sit and play a seemingly endless stream of very creative looking new adventure games produced by indie developers and sold on steam. I'd recommend anyone to check them out and they are usually very cheap to buy.

        Also worth noting about the article is that on each of the 6 pages there are up to 4 separate web tracking networks sending my blocking software haywire.
        • Yup. My wife is a big fan of adventure games. There's still a steady stream of them coming out...

          Big Fish Games seems to have a nearly endless supply of them. I routinely see new stuff from various small developers popping up on Steam. And I think The Adventure Company is still turning stuff out.

          FPS titles may be the hot thing going... But that doesn't mean the graphical adventure game is dead.

          • The Adventure Company and Dreamcatcher Interactive are more publishers than developers.

            However, they do publish a number of titles we would not otherwise see here outside of their home (usually European) countries.

    • I scanned the article quickly but I didn't notice any mention of Tex Murphy either. Sad because I thought Under A Killing Moon mixed live acting with CG very well for the time.
    • The most glaring omission I see are Atari, Commodore, and Amiga graphic adventures. The topic discusses Apples and IBMs, but nary a word about the other machines.

      Some of the Best graphic adventures were on the Ataris/Commodores because they had 128 and 4000 colors respectively. If you wanted to play Activision's Mindshadow or the graphic-adventure Zork Zero, you didn't waste time with a black-and-white Mac or 4 color IBM. You played them on the Atari or Commodore or Amiga so you could

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I can't be bothered to login to complain, but please, change the link color in the story summary or at least underline it or something...

    Right now links are invisible and you have to go pixel hunting to find them, which is strangely appropriate for a comment in a story about graphic adventures...

  • A lot on GOG.com (Score:5, Informative)

    by owlman17 (871857) on Thursday January 27, 2011 @05:50AM (#35017800)

    I recently purchased Myst, since I missed it the first time around. My machine back in the 90's wasn't up to the task. A ton of classic graphic adventure games on GOG.com [gog.com]! Worth checking out for those who missed the classics the first time around. Cheap too!

    • I just recently picked up "Simon the Sorcerer" from GOG.com to play with my kids... one, because those old games were clever and funny with great artwork, and two, because one of my kids is a huge Red Dwarf fan and the title role in that game was voiced by none other than Chris Barrie.

      I'm hoping GOG.com can get ahold of the original "Monkey Island" game... we don't need no steenking 3D when the original VGA artwork was so beautifully made.

      I've got the floppies somewhere, but that would be an adventure in it

      • I'm hoping GOG.com can get ahold of the original "Monkey Island" game... we don't need no steenking 3D when the original VGA artwork was so beautifully made.

        The Monkey Island remakes can be converted to the original graphical and musical style by pressing a key (F8? F9? F10?) in the game. Strangely, Monkey Island 2 keeps the spoken dialogue when you switch.

      • The new Monkey Island has an option to play with the original graphics, instantly switching back and forth with an F-key, if memory serves.
  • Creativity (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Kokuyo (549451) on Thursday January 27, 2011 @05:51AM (#35017802) Journal

    There are a lot of GAGs (graphical adventure games) I remember fondly. Of course there's Monkey Island, Maniac Mansion and Indiana Jones (sorry, I missed some of the other big names of that time) and a bit later, Ripley's Believe It Or Not: The Secret of Master Lu (or whatever it was called in the US).

    Then there's modern adventures and even modern instalments of some of those I have named. I did see a fall from grace. It's the same fall from grace a lot of other games had: While graphics, gimmicks, gadgets and gizmos skyrocketed, creativity withered and died. What games, in general, nowadays often lack is a good story, humour, interesting characters etc. A combination of those things, any combination, will do to keep one interested.

    This is, of course, a matter of opinion, but frankly, I think game makers should rethink their business strategies. Even though Indiana Jones was just a bunch of pixels in Fate of Atlantis, I still felt the somewhat oppressive and clammy atmosphere in the maze, trying to avoid encounters with similarly pixelated Nazis. That is called immersion, folks. It is what makes any kind of entertainment enjoyable. This proves that you don't need high class graphics to obtain a high level of immersion. It's not the photorealistic artwork, that will enrapture your audience. It's the story you are telling.

    If the story sucks, if you don't care about the characters when planning the game, how can you expect us to care when playing? Perhaps I just haven't found the right games for me, but lately it feels like these studios are 60% management, 40% development and one dude in a basement to whom the script has been outsourced. Then again, that one dude in the basement just might produce better work than what I've been seeing...

    • by sznupi (719324)

      While graphics, gimmicks, gadgets and gizmos skyrocketed, creativity withered and died

      That's the key. They were, IMHO, first person shooters of their time. The background story and gameplay were often simply atrocious.

      But their GFX looked shiny. Of course that didn't matter when PCs suddenly could render something nice in real time, and another "show off" type of game took over. Which, funnily enough, deep down has basically the same game mechanics - also revolving around pointing at things...

      BTW, while TFS hints a bit at Japan, it doesn't mention one important thing - "graphic adventure

    • by Keill (920526)

      I haven't played any CAG's since I had a Sinclair Spectrum 48k back in the early/mid '80's. I did have a look at a couple on the Amiga - (my brother played a couple while I watched), but decided I wasn't interested.

      After all the research I've done over the past two years, (I've been studying games as a matter of linguistics), however, I've come to understand why I've never really liked them much.

      My problem, is that I've always recognised, (though only recently fully understood, due to my research), the dif

      • by Anonymous Coward

        It depends on what you define as the "game". Ultimately, for a story-driven game, what you do in the game serves to drive the story forward. In adventure games, it's convincing someone to let you into the building by donning a pizza delivery outfit, or finding some clever combination of objects that'll let you sneak by. In action games, it might be killing all the guards and shutting down a doomsday device while being assaulted by aliens. Both can be incredibly fun.

        On the flip side, there will also be the t

        • by Keill (920526)

          Game, art, puzzle, competition, (and even work and play as nouns), all represent different applications, of often different behaviour. Puzzle and game represent different applications of completely different behaviour, and so cannot, technically, be compatible, let alone the same thing! (Things someone DOES for themselves, versus things that happen TO someone). Puzzles CAN be applied in a manner that enables and promotes something for a person to do, yes, but it has to be VERY specific, in order to ENABL

          • by DavidTC (10147)

            No one understands what you mean by that.

            All puzzles are games. A game is just an activity with rules that you do for fun. (I.e, watching TV is not a game, but watching TV with the rule that you take a drink every time X happens is a game...a 'drinking game'.)

            A puzzle is simply a type of game that mostly requires thinking. The rules are checking mostly how well you think, although some small amount of physical skill might also be required. Likewise, what you call a competition would probably be better off

    • I grabbed the Simon the Sorcerer games from GoG.com over Christmas. They were on sale for $2.99. It's the only game I've played where other people in the room have laughed just from hearing the audio, and for $2.99 they were astonishingly good value. I'm not sure how many hours I spent enjoying them, but it was definitely more than one hour of fun per dollar.

      Some of the games fell into the trap that killed text adventures - letting a decision that you made early on make it impossible to complete the g

    • You obviously never played games like
      Runaway, Gray Matter, Black Mirror or Whipsered World do you?

      Just an example of exceptionally well done new school adventure games.
      Btw. Gray Matter is the new game by Jane Jensen who did the Gabriel Knight series.

    • by Warma (1220342)

      What games, in general, nowadays often lack is a good story, humour, interesting characters etc. A combination of those things, any combination, will do to keep one interested.

      This is, of course, a matter of opinion, but frankly, I think game makers should rethink their business strategies. Even though Indiana Jones was just a bunch of pixels in Fate of Atlantis, I still felt the somewhat oppressive and clammy atmosphere in the maze, trying to avoid encounters with similarly pixelated Nazis. That is called immersion, folks. It is what makes any kind of entertainment enjoyable.

      I grow tired of having to read this same drivel each and every time there is a game article in Slashdot. Again, I also feel obligated to point out that you are simply plain wrong. Games haven't gone anywhere, it's just that you've taken the wrong train. I have carefully analyzed my own perception of the matter, accounting for my limited ability to experience games nowadays (time), and come to the conclusion that the release rate of culturally important games with a strong story has either remained constant

      • by DavidTC (10147)

        And you realize Machinarium and The Void both those games are from Europe, right? As was every single game in the other responder's post, Runaway, Gray Matter, Black Mirror or Whispered World.

        Almost every adventure game of note in the last decade and a half has been from Europe, with the sole exception of Telltale Games. Adventure games died in the US, which meant for a decade you couldn't find any of them on the shelves.

        Yes, the original poster has idiotic selection bias, and for some reason thinks the '

    • Your comments made me think on Star Wars 1/2/3...

    • by Jonner (189691)

      Immersion in a game is completely in the mind of the player. I think what's required to become immersed in a game varies a lot with the type of game and attitude of the player. I've gotten immersed in text adventure games because of the good writing and interesting locations, graphical adventure games because of the visuals and sound, first-person shooters because of the fluid feel of the control of my character and weapons, and Nethack because of the level of detail and ever-present risk of permanent death

  • "visual novel" (Score:1, Flamebait)

    by Elbereth (58257)

    The quickest way to cause me to roll my eyes and discount anything else you have to say is to use terms like "visual novel" or "genre film". It says to me that you're so insecure about the subject's ability to stand on its own two feet that you have to invent overwrought euphemisms (seriously, "visual novel"? Does anyone call a movie a "motion novel"?).

    God. It's a comic book.

    I was iffy on reading the article in the first place, as it seemed too self-congratulatory and nostalgic, but I lost all motivation

    • by Anonymous Coward

      'Visual novel' is a term used for a certain genre of (primarily Japanese) games.

      The quickest way to cause me to roll my eyes and discount anything else you say is to dismiss something because you don't understand what it actually means.

      'Visual novel' is an accurate, non-euphemistic description of games in that genre. It consists of a large amount of text (novel), seasoned with illustrations to provide the impression of presence and character (visual). Not exactly a picture-book, because of the interaction b

      • The best comparison I could think of would be to compare it to one of the old Gamebooks (like Choose Your Own Adventure, Wizards Warriors & You, or Lone Wolf), but with somewhat fewer branching points and many more illustrations.

        Examples are things like the Ace Attorney games, 9 Hours 9 Persons 9 Doors, or Disgaea Infinite.

    • by Mcgreag (957526)
      So something with 1-3 pages of text for every image is a comic book? They are heavily illustrated novels, not comic books in any sense of the word. Why visual was selected over illustrated can be discussed but one has to remember that this is actually a game genre, and a large one to boot. I bet you that there have been more Visual Novels released than there have been Adventure Games, so why do the later deserve their own unique name but not the former? Why don't we call "The Secret of Monkey Island" an In
    • by shish (588640)
      If you were complaining that graphic novels should be called comic books, you might have a point (though IMHO they are sufficiently different -- most graphic novels aren't really comical enough to be called "comic"; and most comics aren't novel enough to be called "novels" -- arguing that they should be one is like suggesting we get rid of "novel" and "film script" and just call both "stories"); but then visual novels are actually something different entirely -- see Phoenix Wright for an example of one that
    • The quickest way to cause me to roll my eyes and discount anything else you have to say is to use terms like "visual novel" or "genre film". It says to me that you're so insecure about the subject's ability to stand on its own two feet that you have to invent overwrought euphemisms (seriously, "visual novel"? Does anyone call a movie a "motion novel"?).

      God. It's a comic book.

      Didn't read the article, so feel free to tell me I don't know what I'm talking about...

      And you may very well be referring to something you've personally experienced that I haven't... For example, I generally hear the term "graphic novel" rather than "visual novel".

      However, there does seem to be a use for that term. There does seem to be a distinction to be made.

      Your typical "comic book" is a periodical publication, and each issue is relatively short - on the order of tens or dozens of pages. Kind of like

  • by Hunter-Killer (144296) on Thursday January 27, 2011 @05:53AM (#35017818)

    Old Man Murray made a compelling argument explaining the decline of adventure games:

    http://www.oldmanmurray.com/features/77.html [oldmanmurray.com]

    • by Adambomb (118938) *

      classic and correct. Mod this man up

    • by orange47 (1519059)
      I think the problem is that FPS and action games also have excellent gfx these days. In the past, it was major advantage of point and click adventures.
    • by Pluvius (734915)

      This is a great article that I've always recommended to people who wondered what happened to Western-style adventure games in the late 90's. I always disagreed with their flippant dismissal of the "Myst destroyed adventure games" argument, though; I don't see why both can't be true at the same time. While it's obviously true that traditional adventure games got ridiculous with their "lateral thinking," it's also obviously true to me that Myst was a lifeless and uninteresting series of puzzles with almost

      • by DavidTC (10147)

        I actually think there's a rather large overlap between the problems described in the article and the problems with Myst clones.

        Namely, (American) adventure games turned into unconnected inexplicable unintuitive puzzles.

        It started with your character having to do 'logical' things for no apparent reason, like wear mustaches for no reason, and then Myst-clones showed up and now that the things that you were doing for no reason didn't even have logical outcomes, like you'd turn on water somewhere and a secre

  • Clicked through all 5 pages and decided I must be young... none of these bring back any memories. What about Alex the Kid?
    • by Elbereth (58257)

      Maybe the problem is that you're not a girl.

      The main consumers of graphic adventure games (Myst, Monkey Island, King's Quest, etc) were girls. The boys got violent, blood-soaked action games (DOOM was released the same year as Myst), and the girls got nice little story-based games, where you uncover a wacky adventure. That's not to say there weren't also violent graphical adventure games (Police Quest) or lewd ones (Leisure Suit Larry), but it was basically dominated by female-demographic titles.

      Eventuall

  • I loved adventure games when I was a child and have fond memories of Deja Vu, Leisure Suit Larry and Zak McKraken. My young age and the new technology made those virtual environments so fascinating. The primitive graphics added to the charm of those games, as you had to use your imagination to believe that the wobbly mass of pixels was actually Indiana Jones (The Last Crusade, Amiga).

    With no Internet and solutions being published only in some computer magazines, those games could last months, which you wo
    • I loved adventure games when I was a child and have fond memories of Deja Vu, Leisure Suit Larry and Zak McKraken. My young age and the new technology made those virtual environments so fascinating. The primitive graphics added to the charm of those games, as you had to use your imagination to believe that the wobbly mass of pixels was actually Indiana Jones (The Last Crusade, Amiga).

      With no Internet and solutions being published only in some computer magazines, those games could last months

    • Yes I know what you mean. I spent 30 minutes or so on a game trying to figure out what is there 1 yellow pixel in the brown pixels. It had to be something a piece of gold, perhaps a ring. When you are 50 pixels tall. It could be almost anything useful.

  • It is just not the multi million dollar market anymore. The good news is, the big publishers have left the market but small studios thanks to better development tools have entered it and crunch out game after game.
    The adventure game market is alive and kicking, and looks brighter nowadays than ten years before.

    The funny thing is publishers currently tarket Europe first and then the US because most of the dev studios are european and the market is bigger there.
    Also there is the success story of Telltale Game

  • You want to save graphic adventures? Simple, have whoever owns the Leisure Suit Larry trademark hire Al Lowe and have him get cracking on a new, *GOOD* Larry, that actually stars Larry and not his nephew or whatever shit was in the past few games.
  • Its getting harder and harder for me (and not just me apparently, youngsters too are complaining) to find really genuinely fun games.

    Last stuff I was looking into was Deus Ex 3 (not an adventure game tho) and they seemed to have turned the whole thing into yet another Prince of Persia meets Mass Effect sort of thing, it looks like its going pure action and "wow" effect. This is in itself getting old, and even people from a younger generation can see it is
    going to be a bad game and would rather play Deus Ex

    • Heck you should really check the adventure game centric sites there currently are coming out so many adventure games that I have a hard time to keep track of them. The genre has mostly gone independent, but some of those games are pure gems.

  • Adventure games were *the* genre in a time when the non-console gamer market was composed from people who bothered to do stuff and spend some time to solve a problem. Back in the day, software wasn't as friendly, hardware wasn't as friendly, and in general you needed to think about stuff. And internet wasn't as prevalent as it is. Adventure games needed that seclusion and focus, and without internet and the gazillion other distraction factors that we have today, it was possible.

    Now we have 2011. Adventur
    • And yet more adventure games are coming out as in the Sierra heydey. The trick is that all those game studios are not multi mega corporations who would sniff at sales numbers below 3 mio but are small companies which make a living on selling 30.000 copies of a game maybe 60.000 worldwide.
      And so far it seems to work for them. Sometimes it is a good thing if a genre is below the radar of EA, Activision and co.

  • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Thursday January 27, 2011 @06:50AM (#35018014) Journal
    I would suspect that one factor in the death of adventure games as a genre(or at least their relegation to "smells funny" status) is that bad adventure games are absolutely fucking awful; but comparatively easy to make, while things like shooters, RPGs, and RTSes, tend to have a vast stretch of mediocrity to fall into.

    Without tough-to-quantify-or-demonstrate-in-a-ten-minute-tech-demo-to-the-suits stuff like wit, good puzzle logic, and a dash of elegance, it is all to easy for an "adventure" title to fall into the morass of being a mixture of grindingly dull and unrealistic pixel hunts(You need a stick for reasons that make no sense. Go to the 'forest' area and move your cursor from right to left, line by line, until it changes to the 'action cursor' icon when you have found the one stick in the forest that is actually an inventory item, rather than painted background.) and dialog trees that read like the bastard spawn of a choose-your-own-adventure book and the worst tech support call ever endured by man. Extra credit for puzzles that make up for their childish simplicity by tacking on utterly arbitrary requirements that can only be fulfilled with fanatical inventory management and the prescience of the Kwisatz Haderach. The technical requirements of making such a game are minimal, so the barrier to entry is low; but the result is utterly unplayable dreck.

    By contrast, with the exception of the "baby's first 3d engine" horrors that no sane human pulls out of the bargain bin(Extreme Paintbrawl anyone?), the world is full of utterly generic; but playable enough, Doom Clone N+1s, illegitimate children of either C&C or Warcraft, and Diablo clones of assorted stripes. Most are not good; but the more action-oriented genres seem to have a much wider band of playable adequacy. This both makes them lower risk to produce, and makes the average endurability of those genres higher. Ergo, more are churned out.

    It's like humor vs. generic summer splatterfests. Humor well done is excellent. Humor ill done isn't simply dull, it is downright painful(I find this odd; but it seems to be the case). Your basic run-and-gun action fest or hyped horror vehicle, on the other hand, has to work much harder to be downright painful, even if its odds of being excellent are basically nil. For whatever curious reason, there is just a broad band of "OK" in some genres; but much sharper division between "superb" and "painfully worthless" in others...
    • by grumbel (592662)

      it is all to easy for an "adventure" title to fall into the morass of being a mixture of grindingly dull and unrealistic pixel hunts

      That problem has been mostly solved for modern point&click adventures, as most of them allow you to simply highlight all interactive objects with the press of a button, quest logs also seem to have become far more common and some even come simply with a build in walk through.

  • by mykos (1627575) on Thursday January 27, 2011 @06:51AM (#35018016)
    Last year, I got Beneath a Steel sky for my iPhone. It was the first graphic adventure I ever played to completion.

    Without the aid of nostalgia, I can honestly say it's among the ten best games I've ever played. Anyone who loves a good story should take a look into adventure games. You can actually own it for free just by signing up at GOG [gog.com] Highly recommended for anyone wanting to give it a spin.
  • Full Throttle 2 and Warcraft Adventures: Lord of the Clans.... :(

    • by dskzero (960168)
      Oh dear. I watched some videos of the latter, and I certainly didn't want to play it back then. As for Full Throttle 2... that's painful.
      • by Machtyn (759119)
        To each his own, obviously. I enjoyed Full Throttle 2 - I can see how others would not like it. I enjoyed the Sam & Max series more. And I thoroughly enjoyed Grim Fandango. I do believe the Sam & Max series are getting steady updates through Steam.
  • by Mr_Silver (213637) on Thursday January 27, 2011 @07:00AM (#35018062)

    A good article although I was a little disappointed to see that they didn't mention Magnetic Scrolls [wikipedia.org] who developed several adventure games in mid 1980s and early 1990s.

    The amazing thing about them (at the time) was the language parser. Previous adventures games could only handle verb-noun commands (eg. "hit box") but it could cope with more complex things such as "go right, open the door and look out of the window".

    My personal favourite game was Corruption [wikipedia.org] which I first saw on an Amstrad PCW [wikipedia.org] although it was available for a lot more platforms. Although I never played them, The Guild Of Thieves, Pawn and Jinxter were considered some of their finer efforts.

    You can get a Magnetic Scroll emulator [if-legends.org] for a wide variety of platforms to run many of their games.

    • by tsa (15680)

      It's just a rewrite of the many many such articles you can easily find on the web if you look for them. Nothing new in the article. Why this is on /. I have no idea.

    • Actually while the article itself covered the early times really well, I had the gutsy feeling that the author did not investigate the last 10 years properly. The genre was at a hiatus from 1995 til lets say 2001 or so when The Longest Journey came out. Since then there has been a steady stream of adventure games coming out with a few dozends every year. Some of them really bad some of them already considered classics by the community.
      It seems to me that the article focused mostly on adventure games being r

    • A good article although I was a little disappointed to see that they didn't mention Magnetic Scrolls [wikipedia.org] who developed several adventure games in mid 1980s and early 1990s.

      The amazing thing about them (at the time) was the language parser. Previous adventures games could only handle verb-noun commands (eg. "hit box") but it could cope with more complex things such as "go right, open the door and look out of the window".

      My personal favourite game was Corruption [wikipedia.org] which I first saw on an Amstrad PCW [wikipedia.org] although it was available for a lot more platforms. Although I never played them, The Guild Of Thieves, Pawn and Jinxter were considered some of their finer efforts.

      You can get a Magnetic Scroll emulator [if-legends.org] for a wide variety of platforms to run many of their games.

      So, Wikipedia was wrong about Corruption being a text adventure game? Or did you miss that the article was about graphic adventure games?

      • by Mr_Silver (213637)

        So, Wikipedia was wrong about Corruption being a text adventure game? Or did you miss that the article was about graphic adventure games?

        Some of the early games given in the article had text entry with pictures - which is also what the Magnetic Scrolls game had. However the parser made it the next stepping stone before you got to point and click based interfaces and, you could argue, it actually was almost a step back because you had to drop the flexibility of language parsing and go back to a simple verb-n

    • by biovoid (785377)
      Legend Entertainment [wikipedia.org] also made several graphical text adventures in similar style to Magnetic Scrolls, and went on to make graphical adventure games. They did a great interpretation of Frederik Pohl's Gateway (along with a sequel) and the Spellcasting x0x series, which was a bit like Leisure Suit Harry Potter.
  • Depending on your definition, the "adventure genre" is more alive than ever. There are 23 Nancy Drew games for the PC. BigFish games has almost or as many. Go look at the PC selection at target, about a quarter of it is Nancy Drew/BigFish/other adventure games. These might not be as polished as Myst or King's Quest but there certainly is a lot of them.

  • by tsa (15680) on Thursday January 27, 2011 @07:12AM (#35018120) Homepage

    Yet another story about how adventure games are 'dead,' in a time when more adventure games are coming out each year than in the ten years or so after Sierra and Lucasarts stopped making them. Small, dedicated companies are doing a great job of keeping the genre alive, and there is so much on the market now that it's impossible to play all the games that appear.

    • Yeah, there's a lot of these games still coming out. The Dark Fall series, Lost Crown, Barrow Hill, Darkness Within, Rhiannon... all these have come out in the past few years and were thoroughly enjoyed by me.
  • by bhunachchicken (834243) on Thursday January 27, 2011 @07:18AM (#35018152) Homepage

    You know, I'd have thought that graphical adventure games would've found a new lease of life on touch-screen mobile phones.

    The interface is ideal, almost on-par with a mouse: tap to click... er... and that's about it (no right click, though).

    Games like Monkey Island, Beneath a Steel Sky, etc., would be very easy to play on them, far easier than most arcade-style games. The ability to save at virtually any time would also make them perfect for the nature of the phones. How many people do you see tinkering with them on their daily commute? Play for 20 or 30 minutes. Save, continue tomorrow or after work.

    I know that ScummVM is available for Android, but it's rather strange that there aren't more commercial point-and-click adventure games available.

    (note: I neither own an iPhone or an Android phone)

    • by no1nose (993082)

      Long Presses can largely replace right-click, right? These new mobile phones are going to become huge gaming platforms over the next year or so.

      I am anxious to get the Verizon Wireless iPhone 4 when it is released. I like some of the mobile games Epic is putting out. Does anybody know how the dual on-screen joypads work in FPS views when it comes to strafing? They are using one for movement and one for "looking". Maybe the "movement" joy pad doesn't turn you if you don't use the "look" joypad?

    • by torako (532270)
      Some of those, like Monkey Island and Benath a Steel Sky, are available for iOS and work quite well, although IMHO the iPhone is a bit too small for the kind of pixel hunting they sometimes require. The iPad is ideal for adventure games, though.
  • Magicka is a new adventure game that is quite original. If you don't know what it is, check the video "WTF is Magicka?" by Totalbiscuit/Halibut(?) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g_XP9OBWGKo [youtube.com] The only negative thing right now is that there are quite a few bugs in the game, but the devs are on it.
    • by jgtg32a (1173373)
      That game is awesome but that's the wrong type of adventure the article is talking more about the point and click variety
  • Perhaps the adventure games can arise again thanks to new devices and formats. I was pretty excited when I saw that a number of Sierra Online games were made available on the iPad. http://www.joystiq.com/2011/01/15/sierra-on-line-games-playable-on-ipad-via-web-app-for-now/ [joystiq.com]
  • I remember when I was playing Monkey Island 2 in hard mode, all my high school class was playing the same and it took a LONG time to solve in a group effort. Today people are lazy and want instant satisfaction, they go to the internet and download the solution right away and the game is spoiled.

    Even I would think that maybe this could happen to me, some of this games where damn hard, but what a great satisfaction when you solved it on your own.

  • Someone needs to tell the guys that wrote Dragon Age.

    In fact, Gamespy's "Top 25 games of the 2000s"
    http://pc.gamespy.com/articles/114/1145626p1.html [gamespy.com]
    (they only have #25-#11 so far)
    includes the following games that I would consider graphic adventure games:
    23. Thief II: The Metal Age
    16. Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic
    14. The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind ...and later columns will most certainly include the Mass Effect games and Dragon Age as AAA titles, but most certainly will miss a whole host of excell

    • by DavidTC (10147)

      None of those are even slightly adventure games. Those are RPGs. Action/RPGs, specifically. (Except for Thief II, which I believe is just stealth.)

      So yes, perhaps the "click all over the still screen looking for the "thing" you can manipulate cryptically" style 'adventure/puzzle' game is gone, replaced by graphically gorgeous, artistic, complex, deep, and engaging interplayable stories.

      Really? I thought typing stats into a computer RPGs and moving a @ around on the screen were replaced by adventure game

  • of my gaming childhood was playing some of the second-rate graphic adventure games that usually came in the giant 10-15-20 CD packs of software, or the CDs that were usually included with new PCs. You'd have your standard Grolier's Multimedia Encyclopedia, productivity software and whatnot. Then you'd have some FMV gems like MegaRace. However, the ones I really remember are the Tsunami graphic adventure games, notably Police Quest clone Blue Force.

    I was very disappointed to see just a small name drop for
  • by multimediavt (965608) on Thursday January 27, 2011 @09:26AM (#35018934)
    Is it me or did the author of that blog, and most commentors so far here, miss the mark entirely? So, games like Grand Theft Auto, Uncharted, Infamous, etc., etc. don't count? Bunk! The graphic adventure game is quite alive and well, it has just evolved. I remember playing Myst and a bunch of others over the years and if the technology and expertise had been affordable/existed then, those games would have looked like GTA or Uncharted.
    • by Pluvius (734915)

      If a game is a graphical adventure because it has graphics and adventure in it, then Super Mario Bros. is an RPG because in it you play the role of a plumber who jumps on turtles. Genres are used to refer to games with specific attributes (in the case of graphical adventures, attributes like a relative lack of reflex-intensive gameplay, an indirect control of the player character if applicable, and a reliance on solving complex puzzles which usually involve inventory manipulation or some sort of thought be

    • by NuShrike (561140)

      Agreed! I just finished Uncharted 2 and it's still like playing "King's Quest" at its core just MUCH more interactive now with modern graphics. This means all the previous Tomb Raider games should be included too.

      Just because it has more than one style of play in-game does not disqualify it as a graphic adventure.

      Prince of Persia too? Seriously, wtf is with the author!

  • So Dragon Age, Fallout, and Mass Effect are complete failures and sold no copies?

    Those two are "Graphic Adventure" in every sense of the word with added goodies like combat. It seems that the author refuses to look at what the graphic adventure has turned into.

    • by nedlohs (1335013)

      In every sense except of the word except for the one in which it defines a game genre anyway.

    • by DavidTC (10147)

      Those are RPGs, not adventure games. Action RPGs, specifically.

      What the fuck is going on here? Does no one even know what adventure games are anymore?

  • Let's examine the secondary revenue stream the came from publishing Strategy Guides as one of the causes of death.

    Whether published in-house or by another company these guides cost around the same price as the game itself. At least one puzzle in a game was solved with such convoluted logic that completing the game required the purchase of the Strategy Guide or knowing someone who did.

    I could be wrong, but I sure felt like it was part of a larger consipiracy to force me to shell out another wad of paper rou

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