• Hey, guest user. Hope you're enjoying NeoGAF! Have you considered registering for an account? Come join us and add your take to the daily discourse.

Adventure Games Never Died, They Just Stopped Being Good (Extra Punctuation)

SlimeGooGoo

Party Gooper

This week on Extra Punctuation, Yahtzee dives into the adventure game genre following the announcement of Return to Monkey Island and how the genre has seen better days.
The adventure game thrived for many years before the genre mysteriously waned in popularity and died out.

Well, that’s bullshit. It never died out, it was relegated to a niche when the popularity of other kinds of games overshadowed them. And there’s no mystery behind it, either. See, early on the limits on memory meant a game could only focus on one thing. You could have in-depth storytelling OR engaging action but rarely both. Computer games and video games served opposite ends of the spectrum but as technology improved gradually moved towards each other.
PC games became more action-y, console games became more story-y, until the two finally merged and crystallized around the late 90s. This was a golden age for a different kind of narrative PC game, Half-Life, Thief, System Shock 2, Deus Ex. Suddenly you could have it all – solid writing and interesting gameplay. The sad truth is that adventure games, while known for their great writing, mostly weren’t good games.
All you usually did in them was wander around gathering up inventory items and clicking through dialogue trees, looking for the one combination of objects that would progress the plot. It was terribly inorganic and would frequently devolve into guessing games as players struggled to board the one single specific train of logic the designer had in mind.

I think what we’ve learned – well, what I’ve learned – from the evolution of interactive narrative over the years is that it’s better served by immersive experiences where character and themes are explored through gameplay mechanics – Dark Souls springs inexorably to mind – than by linear stories that keep stopping until we can figure out which of the many keys on our big jangling ring opens the next door.
So I think my one final additional conclusion is that adventure games aren’t big anymore partly because they were too hard to make well. Even if you can come up with an utterly inspired puzzle that combines intuitive design with worldbuilding and rewarding the player’s cleverness, that’s just one puzzle. A full adventure game needs a constant procession of the fuckers, all designed bespoke for each specific moment. What, you think one clever puzzle could be stretched out far enough to get a whole game out of it? A game called, say, Return of the Obra Dinn?

Full transcript:
 

StreetsofBeige

Gold Member
Were they ever good? I love Sam and Max despite it's format, not because of it.
Old adventure games had their charm back in the day. But looking back archaic. And they never came back.

Typically good production values, zero penalties for dying, and slow paced enough anyone can try it. That whole 10 year era of mid 80s to mid 90s when Sierra Games (and similar games) were popular. CD Rom videos made them pop out even more.

Then as soon as PCs were strong enough to do action games well (3D and RTS vs. 2D and turn based), the entire adventure and turn based RPG genres petered out as gamers realized it's more fun to have full control like a console game than point and clicking or using arrow keys.
 


Edit:

So I think my one final additional conclusion is that adventure games aren’t big anymore partly because they were too hard to make well. Even if you can come up with an utterly inspired puzzle that combines intuitive design with worldbuilding and rewarding the player’s cleverness, that’s just one puzzle. A full adventure game needs a constant procession of the fuckers, all designed bespoke for each specific moment. What, you think one clever puzzle could be stretched out far enough to get a whole game out of it? A game called, say, Return of the Obra Dinn?

I wonder if someone ran the numbers on the amount of people who used to complete old adventure games and this influenced their decisions. I remember playing Myst earlier in life and 99% of people I've asked about the game said they fondly remember it but never came close to finishing it.
 
Last edited:
S

SpongebobSquaredance

Unconfirmed Member
Typically good production values, zero penalties for dying, and slow paced enough anyone can try it. That whole 10 year era of mid 80s to mid 90s when Sierra Games (and similar games) were popular. CD Rom videos made them pop out even more.
what...? Sir, have you ever played a Sierra game? One of their prime features were so called "gamebreakers". If you did something wrong, you can't progress. And no, the games won't tell you about it. I think that's the ultimate punishment for a game: Doing something out of script because it seems logical to you and then as a punishment the game loops endlessly without the possibility to progress. It's totally possible to spend hours aimlessly wandering around without realizing what even happened. There is this one scene in King's Quest V with the yeti. People who played that game should know what I mean.


Anyway, I don't agree with the premise of this video in the slightest. There are several good and great modern adventure games:
- Book of Unwritten Tales
- Broken Sword 5
- The Dark Eye: Memoria
- Deponia
- Black Mirror
- Thimbleweed Park
- Machinarium
- Runaway
- Simon 5
- The Blackwell Epiphany
- Botanicula
- Nelly Cootalot
- AR-K


... and the latest Syberia game wasn't exactly bad either.
The Phoenix Wright games are very similar to those classic point and click adventure games in a lot of ways. They are graphic-adventures with a lot of dialogue and puzzles after all. Papers Please deserves a mention as well.

Point and click adventure games never stopped being good. They just stopped being mainstream and became niche (for the most part at least).
 
Last edited by a moderator:

SlimeGooGoo

Party Gooper
One thing I don't get about japanese adventure games is why they're so focused on dialogue to the point of having almost no interaction at all.

Famicom Detective Club uses the traditional "exhaust all the dialogue options" approach before being able to move on.
JB Harold did that too.

Ace Attorney is more like the exception to the rule (not sure about the newer ones)

I generally prefer adventure games that at least give you freedom to find the solution to some problem, not just click to advance dialogue and then the characters go all "eeeeeeeeeeeeeeh, sugoooooooooooi senpai so smart desu" to something obvious that just happened.
 
Rant seems at least a decade out of date, much more than that in reality, and is fundamentally misguided about the nature of the puzzles its criticizing.
So that’s why I’m not particularly excited at the prospect of a new adventure game, because since their heyday, games have found much more interesting ways to explore interactive narrative than strings of inventory puzzles that are essentially just key hunts.
For one, it is 2022, and inventory puzzles as the overwhelming standard for adventure games hasn't been the case for quite some time. The Walking Dead was 10 years ago at this point, Quantic Dream's titles even older than that, Westwood's Blade Runner older still. Adventure games that focus on choice & consequence have become a big part of the genre and games like Detroit, and Life is Strange have done interesting things with the formula. Not to mention the entire host of indie titles with innovative ideas from the language deciphering in Heaven's Vault, to the social manipulation of Red String's Club, to the procedural story-telling aspects and survival meta of Road 96. And that list isn't beginning to scratch the surface.

For another, this is a very limp and lacking critique of "inventory puzzles." Breaking down the raw mechanics of this style of puzzle without including the narrative context that undergirds their design is completely missing the point. Yes, on a mechanical level you're using one thing on another to trigger a state change. But that's just because an "inventory puzzle" is a generic way to communicate an idea from the player to the game. An abridged version of typing sentences from parser games. The narrative context makes them what they are by shaping how you think about the interaction. An "inventory puzzle" can be using an item on witness testimony to spot a contradiction, and it can be switching grog between disintegrating mugs to free a prisoner, it can also be gathering genetic data from plants to decipher a coded message. Saying an inventory puzzle in abstract is not interesting, is the same as saying changing a state from 0 to 1 isn't interesting. Of course it's not, but that level of analysis is missing the crucial part of its design that actually makes the puzzle function: the narrative.

It's like saying "games have found much more interesting ways to explore narrative than making choice a vs choice b" "who would want to play a game about making choices?" Well, again, the choice is just a generic mechanic by which the player expresses an idea to the game. Criticizing the mechanic of "making choices" without the narrative context that sets the choice up, or follows as an impact, is pointless.

So I think my one final additional conclusion is that adventure games aren’t big anymore partly because they were too hard to make well. Even if you can come up with an utterly inspired puzzle that combines intuitive design with worldbuilding and rewarding the player’s cleverness, that’s just one puzzle. A full adventure game needs a constant procession of the fuckers, all designed bespoke for each specific moment.
The fact that the interactions in adventure games are bespoke to the narrative (in most cases) is actually the genre's greatest strength. It's why they will never be done away with in video game story telling. Because you can simply tell far more kinds of stories. Ones that don't conform to the necessarily repeatable and cyclic gameplay loops of other genres. The stories in other genres have to conform to shooting a bunch of guys, slaying a bunch of enemies, jumping over pits, grinding & leveling, etc.

A lot of those stories are great and I love many of them, but adventure games can be anything. Which is why you can have a time travel story about a teenage girl overcoming regret, a group of friends at a bar proving humanity is worthwhile through humor, or a rookie lawyer who solves cases by picking out contradictions. These are great games that don't work or would work far worse in other genres. And there's plenty of them out there. More and more each year, which is why these same tired criticisms that feel decades out of date always fall flat with me. It just strikes me as stigma on auto pilot from people who don't really play adventure games and don't know what's happening with them.
 

SlimeGooGoo

Party Gooper
Heh, was eagerly waiting for Vampire On Titus Vampire On Titus response.

The great thing about adventure games is that the focus is not aimed at combat or other stuff, so there is no "grinding" of sorts (which may even steal the spotlight from the story).

On the other hand some adventure games take the lack of interactivity too far, to the point of having almost no interaction at all (e.g. walking simulators).

One thing that I agree with him is that it's really hard to design good adventure games, maybe even more hard than other genres.
 

Amiga

Member
Adventure genre used to have the only games based on story and exploration. that part got assimilated into almost every modern game.
Some pure but evolved adventure games today are done by Telltale and Supermassive and tryhard David Cage. Disco Elysium is another interesting fork in the evolution of Adventure games.

IMOO a game like Deus Ex Human Revolution is the last best evolution and accumulation of Adventure+Action
 

Wohc

Member
Although they have zero gameplay i really like classic p&c adventures, because you know exactly what you get: story, dialogues, strong characters, riddles and exploration. Today too many games try to mix those elements with action gameplay and it's often boring and no fun.
Thimbleweed Park shows that there still can be great adventures, but they became niche games while they were mainstream in the 90s. I hope the new Monkey Island seels big time so that we get more adventures.
 
Last edited:

TexMex

Member
They definitely just stopped being as good. There is nothing remotely on the level of Space Quest 1-5, Grim, Myst, Toonstruck - and a zillion others. Products of their time to be sure, and I don’t think modern audiences have the patience - but I miss all of this dearly.
 

yurqqa

Member
I have totally opposite experience.
I'm really into adventure games and been playing them for 30 years and I love the recent ones.

They are evolving like many other genres and now we have Kentucky route zero, we have Disco Elysium that is basiacally adventure game meet RPG.
Ww have The Darkside Detective and wonderful Wadjteye games. Unavowed is just awesome - gave me some Legend Entertaiment vibes.
There are some unorthodox experiences like The Forgotten city and Eastshade.
Now I'm playing Paradigm - it's a lot of fun.

And I have a lot of nostalgia for old Sierra games, Lucasarts games, but when I try to play something like Kyrandia now, I can see that with all that charm and wonderful music, the gameplay was really tedious. We played them, because it was the only way to get good story from your game (with some exceptions).
Of course some stood the test of time, but to play most of the others you really need to have a lot of nostalgia in you.

There a lots of great adventure games now - I visit https://adventuregamers.com/ and every month there are couple of new 4 or 5 star reviewed game worth noticing.
Dont' slip into nostalgia completely - just look around.
 
One thing I don't get about japanese adventure games is why they're so focused on dialogue to the point of having almost no interaction at all.

Famicom Detective Club uses the traditional "exhaust all the dialogue options" approach before being able to move on.
JB Harold did that too.

Ace Attorney is more like the exception to the rule (not sure about the newer ones)

I generally prefer adventure games that at least give you freedom to find the solution to some problem, not just click to advance dialogue and then the characters go all "eeeeeeeeeeeeeeh, sugoooooooooooi senpai so smart desu" to something obvious that just happened.

Design trends in Japanese Adventure Games have gone a lot of changes over the years and the level of interactivity varies significantly depending on the era and specific subgenre of JADV. Mystery/Detective ADV tend to be some of the most interactive of the bunch.

I agree with your post as it pertains to FDC but I wouldn't lump JB Harold in the same category. FDC is a later 80s game and came at a time when interaction was becoming streamlined (locking the player to one location often, removing irrelevant verbs, removing verb + noun combinations entirely, etc) this was a period when the novel game subgenre would soon emerge in the early 90s. In a game like JB Murder Club, there's so many locations, characters, and commands. Sure, you could just brute force your way through by selecting every option, but if I had actually played the game that way I might've killed myself before ever finishing it. The sheer amount of options heavily encourages you to follow leads logically, go to locations where you can surmise there will be evidence, bring the right suspects in for questioning, etc. I found it to be one of the better designed command select games I've played from its era.

But you are right that there's many command select (menu driven) Japanese Adventure games that boil down to choosing every option. Even though you often don't technically don't have to, it feels like you do because the progression isn't tied to anything logical. These are especially prevalent when you factor in the scores and scores of 18+ adventure games from the Japanese PC scene where interactivity was a flimsy pretense to pad out H scenes.

The thing is there's also a lot of games that aren't like that, the (super generalization heavy) timeline for this trend in JADV games is:

Early 80s (high interactivity, freedom, problem solving) -> Late 80's (less interactivity, linear, brute force style) -> Early 90s (emergence of Novel ADV, gains steam quickly) -> Mid 90s (lots of experiments, weird 3D games, mixed bag between more interactive games and choice based) -> Late 90s (NVLs become dominant) -> Early 00s (NVLs remain dominant, AA is released in '01) -> Mid 00s (AA reinvigorates mystery ADV games w/ more interactivity, "The Crimson Room" popularizes escape ADV w/ more interactivity, most of these games remain Japan only) -> Late 00s ~ Present (a mixed bag of ADV with more interactivity and NVL games)

So as far games with interactivity at similar levels to AA being the exception... it depends on the era and there's actually a lot of examples on a similar level. It's just that SO MANY of the examples I could cite never came out in the west and never will. I really need to make that thread breaking down Japanese adventure games. It's so sad that the west missed out on 90% of these games and it's impossible to get an accurate view of how the genre evolved over time based on the sporadic releases that made it overseas.

Here's two random af examples of what I mean. They're from the mid 00s post-AA resurgence of mystery adventures with deeper interaction.

Amagoushi No Yakata is a PS2 JADV where the protagonist finds himself stranded on a rainy night in a mansion full of actors. The game uses an "action gauge" mechanic where questioning subjects, searching for clues, presenting evidence, and moving between locations has an associated time cost. In this game you're actually trying to prevent murders from taking place and depending on how you solve the mystery, there are different survival outcomes. There were sequels on PSP with slightly varying mechanics.


(screenshots from the 1st & 3rd games)

The Kanshikikan is another game on PS2 (with two sequels on NDS) where you play as a forensic investigator. Naturally you use forensics to inspect crime scenes, there's reasoning sections that include deciding which specialists to examine evidence with, in addition to other puzzles you solve along the way.


Again, just two random examples that happened to be the first I thought of. There were a ton of games like this post-AA, especially on the DS, that people just don't know about. And that's just the detective/mystery style games. This is completely leaving out other popular styles like Escape ADV (Zero Escape being the most popular), and Exploration ADV games that often have top down movement similar to JRPGs.
 

NeoIkaruGAF

Gold Member
Interesting discussion.

One of the first complete games I ever played on a PC was Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. I loved that game to bits. Still, thinking back to it, it took a lot of trial and error, sharing tips with friends, and ultimately a guide to get to the end of it. Same for Monkey Island a while later. It was a type of game suited to another era and another kind of audience. Games like those weren’t about doing all the shit you could do in every single sitting. They were about figuring out one little bit at a time, slowly, over the course of weeks. They were about getting stuck, thinking about the game when you weren’t playing it, and the “eureka!” moment of figuring out something that had you stumped for days. I remember getting that epiphany multiple times with Lucasarts ganes.

But those were also games only a select few were expected to complete without any help. Reading about the classic Sierra games I’ve never played, I can’t begin to figure out how people could finish them. Yet they were incredibly popular, as were tons of PC games of the time that were just as obscure, and usually much less compact, than the average point-and-click adventure.

In my opinion, it isn’t that the games weren’t good. Lucasarts games were excellent. The no-fail condition of many adventure games of the time provided that you could ultimately win, even if it did turn the games into an “exhaust all dialogue and possibilities” affair to make them last a while longer. Games like Myst also seemed like the designers just tuned up the abstruseness of the puzzles to make their games more elitist and “clever” in an age when the blending of action and narrative was starting to hit its stride, threatening the success of adventure games. Probably a big problem was that the genre had effectively hit its peak and the overall formula had become stale. In modern games, a little twist to the action or level design can make a significant difference between two games. But point-and- click could hardly evolve beyond their best specimens, and the way we consume games today is an odd match to the way those games were always meant to be consumed. We don’t like getting stuck in a game where you can’t somehow brute force or cheese the obstacle - ain’t nobody got time for that. Once GameFaqs became a thing, my patience for dead ends in gaming became very thin very quickly. With my limited time for gaming, the last thing I want is to get stuck and have to turn off a game to think about what to do; if I have a couple of hours to play a game, I want to do all the shit that I can in those two hours. So, instead of blaming the genre and the quality of its outings, I’d blame the merging of the console and PC worlds that eventually led to the homogenization of the average gaming experience, and the expansion of the games market that made most games an ADHD affair with watered-down narrative, loose focus, tons of distractions and side content, and constant gratification. Such a far cry from the point-and-click formula of old.
 

Bartski

Gold Member
He's right about adventure games losing a lot of their appeal when action games evolved to tell meaningful stories. Modernizing them to that 3dfx voodoo level graphics didn't help either.

Edit: I almost forgot about the truly dreadful FMV period

GK1:



GK2:



GK3:

 
Last edited:
dammit, I forgot about this gem.

Fantastic adventure and btw. you can get it for 2 bucks on Steam right now. Don't miss out on this.

damn, you reminded me of the downfall of Daedalic. They were the only ones still outputting quality classic point and click games. If there's one thing that the genre lost is its income so from a business point of view it's understandable why bigger companies don't want to do it anymore.
 

RobertsK

Member
Grim Fandango is one of my favourite things of all time regardless of the artform but there is a problem in how totally unreplayable it is outside of just enjoying the story again. It isn't even fun to speed run.

I kind of agree. That was my favourite game at the time - it also showed me that games can be both hilarious and personal, absurd and yet totally relatable. I replayed it a year ago and while overall it was a pleasently nostalgic trip back in time, the game itself is not all that enjoyable.

P.S. I think Thumbleweed Park was pretty good.
 

Psychostar

Member
what...? Sir, have you ever played a Sierra game? One of their prime features were so called "gamebreakers". If you did something wrong, you can't progress. And no, the games won't tell you about it.


Anyway, I don't agree with the premise of this video in the slightest. There are several good and great modern adventure games:
- Book of Unwritten Tales
- Broken Sword 5
- The Dark Eye: Memoria
- Deponia
- Black Mirror
- Thimbleweed Park
- Machinarium
- Runaway
- Simon 5
- The Blackwell Epiphany
- Botanicula
- Nelly Cootalot
- AR-K


... and the latest Syberia game wasn't exactly bad either.
The Phoenix Wright games are very similar to those classic point and click adventure games in a lot of ways. They are graphic-adventures with a lot of dialogue and puzzles after all. Papers Please deserves a mention as well.

Point and clicks adventure games never stopped being good. They just stopped being mainstream and became niche (for the most part at least).
Paradigm isn't on that list. Did you not enjoy it?
 

tommib

Member
Isn't one of the best games of the last years Disco Elysium an adventure game at heart? I think they're doing fine. Kentucky Zero Route is also excellent. Adventure games have just mutated a bit. The walking simulators like Edith Finch are in a way adventure games as well.
 

Duchess

Member
I really wanted to like Thimbleweed Park, but it got too meta, with lots of in-jokes. I felt it squandered its ambition.

I've got loads of adventure games on GOG right I'll be getting into at some point in the future.
 

SlimeGooGoo

Party Gooper
Sure, you could just brute force your way through by selecting every option
Whoops, just did

Happy Joy GIF by HyperX


(I played the Android port, btw and got a little bored halfway through and brute forced everything)

Amagoushi No Yakata is a PS2 JADV where the protagonist finds himself stranded on a rainy night in a mansion full of actors. The game uses an "action gauge" mechanic where questioning subjects, searching for clues, presenting evidence, and moving between locations has an associated time cost. In this game you're actually trying to prevent murders from taking place and depending on how you solve the mystery, there are different survival outcomes. There were sequels on PSP with slightly varying mechanics.

The Kanshikikan is another game on PS2 (with two sequels on NDS) where you play as a forensic investigator. Naturally you use forensics to inspect crime scenes, there's reasoning sections that include deciding which specialists to examine evidence with, in addition to other puzzles you solve along the way.
I swear I never heard of those games before, they look really different from all the others.
(off topic: is it just me or japanese games have the best user interface design? They all seem to put a lot of effort in their UIs)


I really need to make that thread breaking down Japanese adventure games
If you have the time, please do! In the west we mostly hear about the most popular games, God knows how many gems we've missed.
 
S

SpongebobSquaredance

Unconfirmed Member
Paradigm isn't on that list. Did you not enjoy it?
Never played that one to be honest.

damn, you reminded me of the downfall of Daedalic. They were the only ones still outputting quality classic point and click games. If there's one thing that the genre lost is its income so from a business point of view it's understandable why bigger companies don't want to do it anymore.
Ah, there are still some studios putting out quality point and click adventures, but as you said they aren't exactly sales juggernauts anymore so in that sense I understand that why big companies aren't doing them. They are a niche genre these days. I kinda wish Telltale's Walking Dead never became as successful as it did. While I liked that game, I much prefer adventure games with actual gameplay, you know, some puzzles and some exploration, some interactivity aside from clicking on dialogue boxes. And strangely, Telltale knew how to make these games with "String Bad's Cool Game for Attractive People" and their takes on "Sam & Max" and "Monkey Island".

 
Last edited by a moderator:

RAIDEN1

Member
Grim Fandango is one of my favourite things of all time regardless of the artform but there is a problem in how totally unreplayable it is outside of just enjoying the story again. It isn't even fun to speed run.
Grim Fandango is no Full Throttle that's for sure
 
I swear I never heard of those games before, they look really different from all the others.
(off topic: is it just me or japanese games have the best user interface design? They all seem to put a lot of effort in their UIs)

On the DS alone there's so many games like this that we never got, It's honestly ridiculous. There's a very solid mystery ADV based on Detective Conan/Kindaichi Case Files for the DS that got fan translated. It's more linear than I'd prefer (you do get to explore more freely on occasion) but there's a bunch of deduction based puzzles and other riddles to solve. I haven't finished it because I backburner'd it for NORCO (and then 13 Sentinels) but from what I played the story was really interesting.


 
Interesting discussion.

One of the first complete games I ever played on a PC was Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. I loved that game to bits. Still, thinking back to it, it took a lot of trial and error, sharing tips with friends, and ultimately a guide to get to the end of it. Same for Monkey Island a while later. It was a type of game suited to another era and another kind of audience. Games like those weren’t about doing all the shit you could do in every single sitting. They were about figuring out one little bit at a time, slowly, over the course of weeks. They were about getting stuck, thinking about the game when you weren’t playing it, and the “eureka!” moment of figuring out something that had you stumped for days. I remember getting that epiphany multiple times with Lucasarts ganes.

But those were also games only a select few were expected to complete without any help. Reading about the classic Sierra games I’ve never played, I can’t begin to figure out how people could finish them. Yet they were incredibly popular, as were tons of PC games of the time that were just as obscure, and usually much less compact, than the average point-and-click adventure.

In my opinion, it isn’t that the games weren’t good. Lucasarts games were excellent. The no-fail condition of many adventure games of the time provided that you could ultimately win, even if it did turn the games into an “exhaust all dialogue and possibilities” affair to make them last a while longer. Games like Myst also seemed like the designers just tuned up the abstruseness of the puzzles to make their games more elitist and “clever” in an age when the blending of action and narrative was starting to hit its stride, threatening the success of adventure games. Probably a big problem was that the genre had effectively hit its peak and the overall formula had become stale. In modern games, a little twist to the action or level design can make a significant difference between two games. But point-and- click could hardly evolve beyond their best specimens, and the way we consume games today is an odd match to the way those games were always meant to be consumed. We don’t like getting stuck in a game where you can’t somehow brute force or cheese the obstacle - ain’t nobody got time for that. Once GameFaqs became a thing, my patience for dead ends in gaming became very thin very quickly. With my limited time for gaming, the last thing I want is to get stuck and have to turn off a game to think about what to do; if I have a couple of hours to play a game, I want to do all the shit that I can in those two hours. So, instead of blaming the genre and the quality of its outings, I’d blame the merging of the console and PC worlds that eventually led to the homogenization of the average gaming experience, and the expansion of the games market that made most games an ADHD affair with watered-down narrative, loose focus, tons of distractions and side content, and constant gratification. Such a far cry from the point-and-click formula of old.

This might be the best opinion on the topic I've read. Nothing more to really add; the genre never got exposed for being "bad" all along, gaming playstyles and tastes just changed over time.

Same thing can be said about other genres that used to be huge back in the day but are very niche now, like shmups or arcade racers. These games still have their audiences and the good games are still good if not impactful. Mainstream gaming tastes and habits just moved on, that's all.

I kind of really hate these "(x) was never good!" hot take thesis' and statements that became trendy, because they omit and downplay the quality of the things they try making those arguments about. In some cases it almost comes off as revisionist history.
 
Last edited:

SlimeGooGoo

Party Gooper
On the DS alone there's so many games like this that we never got, It's honestly ridiculous. There's a very solid mystery ADV based on Detective Conan/Kindaichi Case Files for the DS that got fan translated. It's more linear than I'd prefer (you do get to explore more freely on occasion) but there's a bunch of deduction based puzzles and other riddles to solve. I haven't finished it because I backburner'd it for NORCO (and then 13 Sentinels) but from what I played the story was really interesting.
Huh, I really enjoyed the Kindaichi manga, had no idea there was a game.

And from the pictures it looks like a game that goes beyond the item collecting puzzles.
 

StreetsofBeige

Gold Member
Interesting discussion.

One of the first complete games I ever played on a PC was Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. I loved that game to bits. Still, thinking back to it, it took a lot of trial and error, sharing tips with friends, and ultimately a guide to get to the end of it. Same for Monkey Island a while later. It was a type of game suited to another era and another kind of audience. Games like those weren’t about doing all the shit you could do in every single sitting. They were about figuring out one little bit at a time, slowly, over the course of weeks. They were about getting stuck, thinking about the game when you weren’t playing it, and the “eureka!” moment of figuring out something that had you stumped for days. I remember getting that epiphany multiple times with Lucasarts ganes.

But those were also games only a select few were expected to complete without any help. Reading about the classic Sierra games I’ve never played, I can’t begin to figure out how people could finish them. Yet they were incredibly popular, as were tons of PC games of the time that were just as obscure, and usually much less compact, than the average point-and-click adventure.

In my opinion, it isn’t that the games weren’t good. Lucasarts games were excellent. The no-fail condition of many adventure games of the time provided that you could ultimately win, even if it did turn the games into an “exhaust all dialogue and possibilities” affair to make them last a while longer. Games like Myst also seemed like the designers just tuned up the abstruseness of the puzzles to make their games more elitist and “clever” in an age when the blending of action and narrative was starting to hit its stride, threatening the success of adventure games. Probably a big problem was that the genre had effectively hit its peak and the overall formula had become stale. In modern games, a little twist to the action or level design can make a significant difference between two games. But point-and- click could hardly evolve beyond their best specimens, and the way we consume games today is an odd match to the way those games were always meant to be consumed. We don’t like getting stuck in a game where you can’t somehow brute force or cheese the obstacle - ain’t nobody got time for that. Once GameFaqs became a thing, my patience for dead ends in gaming became very thin very quickly. With my limited time for gaming, the last thing I want is to get stuck and have to turn off a game to think about what to do; if I have a couple of hours to play a game, I want to do all the shit that I can in those two hours. So, instead of blaming the genre and the quality of its outings, I’d blame the merging of the console and PC worlds that eventually led to the homogenization of the average gaming experience, and the expansion of the games market that made most games an ADHD affair with watered-down narrative, loose focus, tons of distractions and side content, and constant gratification. Such a far cry from the point-and-click formula of old.
The key reason why those old point and click games were popular were for many reasons:

1. Any PC can basically play them. They were slow paced. So even if you had a shitty PC or a C64, it worked. You might had had shittier visual settings but it still worked

2. Any person can play them. Slow paced. Needed zero reflexes

3. Good production values. Those kinds of games at that time were probably the best looking games because they were static images with good art. Sierra was big at the time. And mot of their most popular franchises were adventure games. When CD-roms came out, Sierra was right there with photo realism videos

4. At the time, PC gaming didn't have fast paced great looking games. So it skewed to these kinds of games. It wasnt till PCs got powerful enough to be playing Wolf 3D and Doom (early/mid 90s) and RTS games where PC gamers got a taste of twitchy games. Before that, most PC games were turn based or slow because PCs couldnt handle it well. They could always handle heavy stats and some early polygons stuff. But get them to make Super Mario World or Thunderforce 3 with slick fast visuals, transparencies and 4 layers of parallax and it'd probably be impossible even if that 386 had 8 meg ram. If you wanted twitchy games with slick scrolling, you played console or sunk in quarters at the arcade. The second PC gamers got a taste of twitchiness, shooters, RTS, real time RPGs, Papyrus 3D racing games etc... all came out of nowhere. And the Sierra kinds of games and SSI mega detailed sims faded away.

At the time, console gamers wanted fast gameplay and PC gamers wanted more strategy/sim stuff. I remember old PC mags ragging on console games as mindless arcadey games. And they were right. Console games had roots in arcade ports and arcade gaming companies. But the second PCs got powerful enough to churn out endless RTS and shooter games, the arcadey twitch factor skewed to PC. So it shows the PC crowd actually liked fast paced games the whole time. They just need PCs powerful enough to do and the content to go with it. PC gamers weren't upgrading their PC with cpu and 3D video cards to play Panzer General or text based baseball sim. It was to play the newest 3D shooter.
 
Last edited:

Danjin44

The nicest person on this forum
One thing I like about 13 Sentinels compare to other Japanese adventure/VN is how detail the background is.

Usually in VN game you have very static background with not much going on.


By comparison 13 Sentinels background is very detailed and much more animated and the lighting makes whole thing come alive.
 
Last edited:

SlimeGooGoo

Party Gooper
One thing I like about 13 Sentinels compare to Japanese adventure/VN is how detail the background is.

Usually in VN game you have very static background with not much going on.


By comparison 13 Sentinels background is very detailed and much more animated and the lighting makes whole thing come alive.
Yeah, Vanillaware are awesome in that regard. Their games look like digital paintings that move.

Though most visual novels are made on a budget with the dev team surviving on ramen.
 
what...? Sir, have you ever played a Sierra game? One of their prime features were so called "gamebreakers". If you did something wrong, you can't progress. And no, the games won't tell you about it. I think that's the ultimate punishment for a game: Doing something out of script because it seems logical to you and then as a punishment the game loops endlessly without the possibility to progress. It's totally possible to spend hours aimlessly wandering around without realizing what even happened. There is this one scene in King's Quest V with the yeti. People who played that game should know what I mean.
That's just terrible game design.
 
S

SpongebobSquaredance

Unconfirmed Member
That's just terrible game design.
It totally is. Thing is, while Lucasarts and most other devs went away with those gamebreakers, Sierra doubled down on them and made it a primary feature to their games... and given how cryptic a lot of these puzzles were... yeah. Very annoying feature. Makes a lot of those Sierra games hard to get into, while Lucasarts games generally aged much better.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Kuranghi

Member

Sweet cheers, that looks amazing!

Now not sure if I should do old or new graphics first. Probably better old first I think. I'm guessing you get all or nothing, as in can't get remastered audio with old graphics? Not complaining obviously that would be a bit above and beyond to allow you to mix and match like that, just wondering.

I think I'll spend today playing that instead of Kirby actually, tally ho! The MC having my name is nice too, not enough badass Bens in gaming lol.
 
Last edited:
I once read that those classic point and click adventure games were more lean than games with running in them because point and click is more direct to get the avatar to go where the player wants them to go, while running is like a filler to pad out the length of the game
 
Top Bottom