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Monkeys, Robots, Shadows and Shadowgate

Posted by pseudoRequiem On 2010-08-04 3 comments

There are a few games from way back that still hold a special place for me. Usually they end up being the first game of any particular genre that I liked. Red Alert for RTS, Jedi Knight for FPS or FF7 for RPG. Strangely though, I find that I can remember every point and click adventure game I've ever played. When I was playing games as a youngster, our family had dial up internet and because of that, I hadn't explored the possibilities of the internet. So, when I played a game and I got stuck, either my friend knew how to do it or I stayed stuck. That made it all the sweeter when the light bulb finally came on. And for me, that moment has always been way more rewarding in point and clicks.

My first P&C experience wasn't even technically a point and click adventure game. At least not 100% because you don't click with an NES controller. The game was Shadowgate and it took me and my entire family many a session to take it down. I think these games appeal to my personality because I enjoy a riddle and I don't mind thinking about it for a few hours before getting a hint. The accomplishment comes from persevering until success and even more so from bending your mind into patterns that transcend your normal ways of processing.



Anyways, that's my beginnings and the reasoning but I guess I'm kind of just randomly throwing down here. The point of all this is that, very recently, I've been amazed by the number of games coming out that either are true P&C adventures or that emulate the key concepts. Those being simplicity of technology and, to offset that, extreme depth of thought and difficulty requirements. Monkey Island comes to mind for an older version of this particular aspect of games that I enjoy. Whether you played the original or not, I recommend the remake even if you're only remotely interested. If you've never played it, you'll only miss out on a few inside jokes that don't matter much anyways, and now that I think about it, the remake has a setting where you can revert the game back to it's original version and play through that way too. If you're not into that, however, and you're looking for a completely new mind bender, I recommend Machinarium. I'm not going to take anything away from this one by describing it. Hit the site and play the demo.

Machinarium

The world is flooded with shooters and sandbox games where you have to be a complete idiot (or make a fairly serious misstep) to even come close to dying. One of the best parts of video games are that you can die without consequence. Sometimes, it's just great fun to do so in very imaginative ways. So why not promote that. Limbo for XBLA is a recent game that captures that aspect pretty solidly and though I've yet to play it, I know I will be shortly. Viscous. Go watch a trailer or if you've got Xbox Live go get the demo. (Escapist Magazine's review of Limbo)

Limbo

Oh, and did I mention how dark the gameplay is in Limbo. I love games that creep me out. And as a side note, the music in Machinarium is excellent.

Braid, of course, gets honorable mention for being difficult and mind altering but it didn't have enough of the aspects of the old school games that I really relish. Also, it had time reverse and bullet time which is starting to get on my nerves as a game gimmick. Great concepts and usage in Max Payne and Sands of Time but everything after that has been meh to me. We'll see if Singularity's new take on it can work...

In closing, if there are any games that fit this concept that you've seen or played recently, let me know. I'm always looking out for the next challenge.

100 Percenting as you read this.

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