Come around let us hearken back to the age of point-and-click adventure games. Where gameplay was not necessarily the driving factor for the game, but the mystery of the story and the complexity of the puzzles.
My, how far adventure gaming has come since then.
One of my most favorite game series of all time is The Secret of Monkey Island series. I remember the humorous antics good ole Guybrush Threepwood would get himself into like the harrowing trip through the streets of Melee Island while frantically transferring the highly corrosive grog from one mug to another to help a captive pirate or comparing a pirate’s fighting prowess to that of a cow’s. This game was an absolute gem of a game.
We happen to have The Secret of Monkey Island: Special Edition at The GameAgent store so do yourself a favor and pick it up. You get voice acting and enhanced visuals in the special edition as opposed to just reading text and pixely characters in the old version of the game.
It was a game full of wit and humor that went above and beyond to ensnare you in its story. Its gameplay mechanic was literally as simple as pointing at a contextual menu and clicking at the item or person you wanted to interact with. But that’s definitely not what drove you to finish the games.
The puzzles in this game were of the unique variety and required a bit of creative thinking to come to. This was far beyond my 8-year-old elementary school mind when I played this game, so I solicited the help of my sister’s then-boyfriend to assist me. I think I might have talked to him more than my older sister did. Anyways, the solutions to these obstacles are what drove me on, because the reward of seeing a use for a rubber chicken with a pulley in the middle of it was strangely satisfying.
The Secret of Monkey Island was my portal into games like Myst and Beyond Time (if anyone remembers that one, no wikilink I’m afraid. Too old of a game), that offered more than just action and made me seriously value the concept of story in my games as strange as that sounds being that the story in Monkey Island is pretty lighthearted.
If you wanted to relive Myst, they have a 10th Anniversary Pack over at Amazon.com.
Nowadays, adventure gaming has changed quite a bit.
After a lull in adventure games in past years, they’re making a comeback, especially with studios like Telltale games putting out games like Escape from Monkey Island, Back to the Future, and Jurassic Park. In essence, they still are the old point-and-clicks I enjoy. Just with WAY better visuals.
Adventure gaming has even found its way onto handhelds. I, for the most part, play adventure games on my Nintendo DS like Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney or any of the Professor Layton series. Instead of point-and-clicking, it’s tap-and….errr tapping? It’s also way more portable so you can take your adventure with you anywhere. Plus, for our iPhone enthusiasts, you can get the aforementioned Secret of Monkey Island: Special Edition via the iOS App Store (plus the sequel!).
The most advancement I’ve seen for adventure games would be the console games, Heavy Rain and L.A. Noire.
Having done away with the point-and-click ages ago, these games go for a more immersive control scheme with a thrilling story to boot. Sure, Heavy Rain still has you interacting with objects similar to that of old adventure games, but they have you taking a more active role in action sequences. Stuff like having you tilt the control stick this way to dodge or move the controller this way to duck really gets you involved. The context sensitivity of the controls were a nice touch in getting you more immersed in the game.
With L.A Noire, it’s mainly the way they tell the story that impresses me the most. The new facial recognition tech really takes story telling in gaming to another level. Instead of the usual stiff plastic-faced character models of the past, you have faces that actually show the complexities of emotions. To me, it really added a level of immersion that gets me super engaged.
Thankfully, the story of the game is still important to most adventure game as it was back then and I’m honestly glad that this genere of gaming never died out.
What old school adventure games did you guys play back in the day? What adventure games have you played recently? Let us know in the comments!