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Professor Layton and the DS Adventure Game Revival
January 21, 2009 9:17 AM   Subscribe

Despite the oft-declared death of the Adventure Game, Nintendo's success has raised the genre's mainstream profile and quality to a level unseen since the 90s. The DS in particular has been an ideal platform for AGs, leading to the release of a number of popular Japanese titles in the American market. Professor Layton and the Curious Village is only the most recent to receive praise from western game rags - but it is the most consistently well-reviewed - making many short-lists of the best DS games of 2008. Featuring beautiful illustration, engrossing puzzles, and a charming story, Professor Layton topped Japanese software charts on its release (as did its sequel, Professor Layton and the Devil's Box, still unreleased in the US), though all indications are that its American sales have been underwhelming.

Is this a failure of marketing? Is the Japanese gamer's sensibility really so different? Can American game-makers use the AG as a tool for expanding the market to non-traditional gamers, something that by all accounts, they want? Or is the "dead and buried" attitude too entrenched to be overcome? After all, Capcom and Nintendo are relatively new at this. What's to prevent EA or Microsoft from trying their hand at it? Or could Lucasarts remember its history and revive the form? Maybe the game industry just can't get over how brain-dead the technology behind AGs is - but the same is true of Rock Band and Guitar Hero (and Brain Age and Nintendogs and Warioware: Smooth Moves).
posted by macross city flaneur (62 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite

 
I'm just sitting here, waiting patiently for new releases of Monkey Island, Leisure Suit Larry and Space Quest.
posted by micha at 9:24 AM on January 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


Professor Layton and the Curious Village does not really have the same feel as the old adventure games. It is really a collection of traditional puzzles with a story wrapped around them. The story and the puzzles are fairly disconnected from each other. Both the puzzles and the story is good, and this helps it to be a good game over all. However, I would never call it an adventure game. I would call it a puzzle collection.

There are other games on the DS that are closer to the old adventure games, such as the Phoenix Wright games and Hotel Dusk. I think you would be justified in calling them Interactive Novels as well, especially Hotel Dusk.
posted by demiurge at 9:40 AM on January 21, 2009 [2 favorites]


Same here, micha. I guess I always thought of Professor Layton as more of a puzzle game, tied together with little bits of narrative. It never felt as if you were interacting with characters and the story in the same way as the old Sierra and Lucasarts adventures. That said, we are enjoying a bit of an adventure renaissance with Telltale Games' Sam & Max and Strong Bad's Cool Game for Attractive People.
posted by BoatMeme at 9:42 AM on January 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


Heh. What demiurge said.
posted by BoatMeme at 9:42 AM on January 21, 2009


Yeah, it's not really an adventure game when you have figured out the ending by the time the intro sequence is over. Layton was a ton of fun, but an adventure game it was not.
posted by WinnipegDragon at 9:47 AM on January 21, 2009


Also worth mentioning is the upcoming release of the much more traditional Runaway: The Dream of the Turtle on Nintendo's money-printing machine.

Also, fans of Hotel Dusk owe it to themselves to check out Trace Memory which is by the same developing company (I believe) and will be getting its own full fledged sequel on the Wii.

ALSO ALSO (Also?) no love for Zack & Wiki? Easily more of a traditional adventure game then Professor Layton, and just as critically adored (and audience overlooked)
posted by bookwo3107 at 9:56 AM on January 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


Is this a failure of marketing?

I doubt it. I agree with demiurge that the Professor Layton game isn't exactly an adventure game in the classical sense, and I think the adventure game genre is inherently less accessible than other types of games.

Casual gamers like Brain Age because they can pick it up and play it for a few minutes at a time, whereas adventure games are usually lengthy and fairly linear affairs which often result in hitting a difficult puzzle that halts progress. Some MMORPG fans would probably be playing adventure games instead if those games didn't exist, but there are positive aspects of MMOs that aren't found in adventure games, such as consistent rewards, long-term playability, interaction with other people, etc. And of course FPS and other action-oriented games have elements and skills involved that are rarely if ever represented well in adventure games.

In my opinion, there's a lot less of a market for adventure games than there used to be, or at least much stronger competing genres that dominate the efforts and sales of the gaming industry. Adventure games are kind of like horseshoe crabs, they did great a long time ago when there wasn't much competition, but in modern times you only see them as primitive anachronisms or as ancestors to the new things that have inherited some of their traits.
posted by burnmp3s at 9:56 AM on January 21, 2009


A game that's similar to Professor Layton is Zack and Wiki (for the Wii), in the sense that it was a puzzle medley without much of a story. I thought this was quite a shame in both cases, since it's not as if there were are technical (or even financial) barriers to putting in a better story.

Now, Phoenix Wright, that's a wonderful game.
posted by adrianhon at 9:59 AM on January 21, 2009


While I dig the new Sam & Max, it somehow seems flat compared to the original computer game. Maybe I'm older and more cynical, maybe I was looking for a direct port of the original, I'm not sure. I enjoy it, but it seems lacking.

Thank goodness for Mo'Slo and my packrat tendencies to hold onto old games.
posted by filthy light thief at 10:00 AM on January 21, 2009


Professor Layton and the Curious Village does not really have the same feel as the old adventure games.

Nah, Professor Layton is basically The 7th Guest. Well, almost. It left out the shitty load times, the overblown prerendered graphics with marble textures applied to every damn object, and the requirement to buy a newfangled CD-ROM that was three times the price of a DS. So it's got that going for it, which is nice.

If you'll excuse me, I'm going to go put on my 'I GOT THE BABEL FISH' t-shirt and masturbate for an hour or two.
posted by suckerpunch at 10:03 AM on January 21, 2009


filthy light thief I would argue that most things in the universe are flat compared to the original Sam & Max.
posted by cthuljew at 10:04 AM on January 21, 2009 [2 favorites]


My true adventure game bliss was found in Gabriel Knight. The original, not the crappy sequels. I was in 4th grade and was so intrigued by the story that I checked out a book on the history of New Orleans voodoo, and read it during our designated silent reading time. My teacher, a kind old lady, was fucking freaked out by my choice of literature. Good times.
posted by naju at 10:10 AM on January 21, 2009


I never felt better in my life than I did when I got the fucking Babel fish. My inamorata and I are playing MYST right now, and I don't care what anyone says, it's fun. We got the 10th Anniversary DVD set, so we have RIVEN and the third one after that. I like adventure games. Hell, I like ZORK. I couldn't care less about blowing away aliens or driving cars or playing golf or any of that, and GUITAR HERO has less than nothing to do with being a musician. So all of that stuff leaves me totally cold.

But wait -- "There is a nasty little dwarf in the room with you!"

I'll kill that fucker!
posted by Guy_Inamonkeysuit at 10:13 AM on January 21, 2009


professor layton sold poorly here? I've got it. most people I know have it. I thought it was selling really well. is there a cite for this statistic?
posted by shmegegge at 10:20 AM on January 21, 2009


I'd be up for something along the lines of Deus Ex with a strong puzzle element.

And, you know, not shit like Deus Ex 3 is going to be.
posted by Artw at 10:21 AM on January 21, 2009


It's all derivative. (Hint: select game level 3)
posted by Pastabagel at 10:30 AM on January 21, 2009


The question of integration of gameplay and story is obviously rich and thorny, and it's interesting to consider what, in particular, is implied by the approach taken in Professor Layton. Maybe that the way forward is to make a bridge to the casual gamer - to tap that audience. (Not saying I necessarily agree with that approach, however.)

Categories are always flawed, of course, but it also occurs to me that the distinction between a "true adventure game" and a collection of puzzles with a story wrapped around it has always been shifty. And it seems as though the challenge of integrating puzzles into the game in a way that is motivated by and through the story-world has always been one of the toughest facing AG developers - with only the best of the best really doing it well.

Myst, for example, uses the conceit of the puzzles taking place in the "world left behind" by the people who are really the subject of the story. This can be traced back to the dungeon conceit - a ruin or tomb with traps and treasure left behind - but compared to actual dungeons, RPG and AG traps and puzzles are ridiculously elaborate and ornate - their moving parts curiously functional after thousands of years. They don't resemble "real" tombs any more than a wargame table resembles a "real" battlefield.

In other words, there has always been a certain level of abstraction implied in solving video game puzzles - even in those games where the dialogue and the puzzles themselves are all constructed with the same rendering mode (e.g. in 3D, not as a part of a separate interface, etc). Many games fall in between, however - where some elements of some puzzles are rendered differently than the "walking around mode", have a different interface, different mechanics, or what have you. What Professor Layton does slightly differently, I think, is reduce the amount of effort to hide that abstraction to a level where the story becomes little more than a framing device. But structurally, it's not all that different from 100s of titles that few people would have trouble labelling AGs.

Anyway, all that is to say that I am sympathetic to the reluctance to call Professor Layton an "Adventure Game", but I think it's a fine line.
posted by macross city flaneur at 10:32 AM on January 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


Want some whiskey? 'Course ya do!

Here's to us. Who's like us?
Damn few, and they're all dead.


Apparently this is a slight translation of a Scottish toast, (with a longer version, if you can remember it), but my wife's family picked it up from Return to Zork, and have used it as a toast since.
posted by filthy light thief at 10:41 AM on January 21, 2009


I never liked the puzzle games, but I always liked Infocom and Sierra games (I got a bit obsessed over Ultima IV) on my old Apple ][e. Myst is pretty to look at but tedious to play, IMO. These days, I prefer strategy over adventure, strictly speaking, like the Total War series, but the Elder Scrolls series keeps me interested in adventure.
posted by krinklyfig at 10:42 AM on January 21, 2009


macross city flaneur writes "In other words, there has always been a certain level of abstraction implied in solving video game puzzles"

Yeah, but in Myst it's always a set up for the puzzle. In a "proper" adventure game, the puzzles still may exist, but they're not really presented as puzzles, as such. Getting the Babel fish in Hitchhiker's Guide is a good example of a puzzle that feels like it belongs in the game. The result of solving it is very satisfying, too.
posted by krinklyfig at 10:44 AM on January 21, 2009


If someone could make just one more game of the caliber of Grim Fandango I'd be more than appreciative.
posted by minifigs at 10:56 AM on January 21, 2009 [5 favorites]


I agree that a lot of classic adventure games were collections of puzzles as well, but I think the directness of Professor Layton about the puzzles makes the feel of the game much different from say, Still Life, King's Quest or Star Trek: 25th Anniversary. You are right that it is much more like Myst in game structure. I think I am biased here, since I much prefer the former type of games, where the puzzles are weaved into the story, or at least take into account plausible features of the game setting. I did enjoy Professor Layton, but I didn't think of it as an adventure game while I was playing it.
posted by demiurge at 10:57 AM on January 21, 2009


professor layton sold poorly here? I've got it. most people I know have it. I thought it was selling really well. is there a cite for this statistic?

Well, the only hard data I'd seen was that it sold 91k copies in its first month, according to NPD estimates. This compared to more than 300k in Japan in its first week of release (and Japan is a much smaller market). Also that Nintendo had not announced the North American release of Devil's Box by year end, which would seem to imply they will not release it. There is, of course, the possibility that they are simply dragging their feet, that localization is taking a long time, etc, but as the months wear on, this seems increasingly unlikely.

Anyway, one of the reasons I posted was to help word-of-mouth on a series that Nintendo seemed to have given up on in North America.
posted by macross city flaneur at 11:00 AM on January 21, 2009


Can you be eaten by a grue? No? Then it's not a real adventure game.

Spoiler: Floyd dies.
posted by GuyZero at 11:08 AM on January 21, 2009


I got a bit obsessed over Ultima IV

You know what the real heir of the Ultma series is? Not WoW. Pokemon Diamond/Pearl/whatever. There's the real modern adventure game.
posted by GuyZero at 11:10 AM on January 21, 2009


Flash/web has been a boon to adventure games... back to the days of auteurs and one or two people doing everything... I've especially enjoyed the affectionate piss-takes from Homestarrunner.com -- they're funny & really well done.

Peasant's Quest

Dangeresque 1 (roomisode
posted by jcruelty at 11:10 AM on January 21, 2009


Part of the problem with some of the classic adventures is that they didn't offer much in the way of play time or replay value. I played through Day of the Tentacle on the Wii (shh, don't tell) a few months ago, and it only took the better part of an afternoon, if I remember correctly. Of course, I knew how to solve most of the puzzles, but even a few stumpers wouldn't have lengthened the game much. People are going to balk at paying $60 for a 6-hour game.

At the same time, though, I'm not sure adventure games need to be lengthy to be good. Heck, I'd buy the classics on XBLA if I could, even the punishingly-random Sierra games like Gold Rush.
posted by uncleozzy at 11:23 AM on January 21, 2009


(That said, I might head to Gamestop sometime to pick up Sam & Max Season One for Wii; I remember looking for it when it was first released and couldn't find it anywhere.)
posted by uncleozzy at 11:27 AM on January 21, 2009


Previously.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 11:47 AM on January 21, 2009


I think "selling well" means a game has to move 2 million units and sell to all the shooter-heads and WoW morons. Professor Layton is NOT an adventure game.. Zack and Wiki is almost a sort of adventure game but still an interactive puzzler (and was one of my favorite games on the Wii).. but if you want to talk adventure games.. Super Mario Galaxy, Metroid Prime 3, the DS Castlevania games.. there are tons out there...
posted by ChickenringNYC at 11:58 AM on January 21, 2009


Super Mario Galaxy, Metroid Prime 3, the DS Castlevania games

Aren't those all action games, though? Action games with adventure elements, probably, but action games still. Not that there's anything wrong with that; I really enjoy the Zelda series, and I'd call all of those action-adventure games. But I think I agree with krinklyfig and demiurge, above, that "classic" adventure games are stories with a collection of puzzles woven throughout.
posted by uncleozzy at 12:17 PM on January 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


WTB Warcraft Adventures please. Thanks.
posted by Vindaloo at 12:29 PM on January 21, 2009


As someone who found Professor Layton to be quite engaging when I was stuck at home for a couple of days with a cold... it's not that good of an application of the DS platform/interface. It's made up of the same sort of paper-and-pencil puzzles that used to keep me entertained some thirty-five years ago, wrapped in a framing narrative whose Big Twist was telegraphed well in advance of the revelation.

As far as the putative death of the adventure game goes, Old Man Murray's takedown of the later examples of the genre still shines.
posted by Halloween Jack at 1:24 PM on January 21, 2009 [2 favorites]


but if you want to talk adventure games.. Super Mario Galaxy, Metroid Prime 3, the DS Castlevania games.. there are tons out there...

those are platformers, not adventure games.
posted by shmegegge at 1:28 PM on January 21, 2009 [3 favorites]


Man, Dangeresque was a good fifteen minutes there.
posted by cortex at 1:29 PM on January 21, 2009


Halloween Jack - That link is gold every time.
posted by Artw at 1:44 PM on January 21, 2009


professor layton sold poorly here? I've got it. most people I know have it. I thought it was selling really well. is there a cite for this statistic?

According to VG Chartz, Curious Village had 1M sales in Japan, and .35M sales in America. That's a pretty big difference considering the population disparity.

http://www.vgchartz.com/games/game.php?id=12995&region=All

By comparison, New Super Mario Bros. sold 5.57M in Japan and 6.83M in America, and Nintendogs sold 1.7M in Japan and 8.51M in America. (Just to pick a couple high sellers... and Nintendogs? Really? Lol).
posted by wildcrdj at 2:01 PM on January 21, 2009


Nintendogs is ultra-cute - it'd totally sell a DS all by itself.
posted by Artw at 2:03 PM on January 21, 2009


And Nintendo released multiple versions of Nintendogs, and required players to buy every version in order to have all the dogs in their personal kennels. Call it the Pokemon strategy.
posted by box at 2:11 PM on January 21, 2009


YAY adventure game thread!

I just finished Professor Layton. I really enjoyed it, and I don't usually like puzzle games. I'm willing to qualify it as an adventure game in the same way Myst is called an adventure game. (Or as someone rightly pointed out, 7th Guest.) But, no it's not really a story game. The point is the puzzles. Zack and Wiki is in a similar category for me. I think it's a great game, but I play it in long chunks and then don't touch it for several months. So I haven't finished it yet.

The really great adventure games to come out for the DS have been the Phoenix Wright/Ace Attorney games, Hotel Dusk (one of the best adventure games I've ever played, ever), and Time Hollow.

I wasn't thrilled by Trace Memory, actually, even though everyone raves. It didn't captivate me and I got to the end only to find out I didn't get the full ending because I missed clicking on something at some unknown point in the game. I didn't replay with a walkthrough just to figure out what.

Don't bother with Jake Hunter: Detective Chronicles, CSI: Dark Motives, or Myst DS.

Of course, it's also fun to play Monkey Island on the DS. And other things. *shifty eyes*
posted by threeturtles at 2:11 PM on January 21, 2009


Nintendogs is ultra-cute - it'd totally sell a DS all by itself.

It actually did. They were selling Nintendogs-packaged DS's for a while, with specific dogs you could get on the box and all that.


The really great adventure games to come out for the DS have been the Phoenix Wright/Ace Attorney games, Hotel Dusk (one of the best adventure games I've ever played, ever), and Time Hollow.


Is Hotel Dusk actually good? I tried playing it briefly and was so turned off by these needlessly complicated and seemingly pointless conversations (with the hotel owner and some stoner delivery boy, specifically) that I put it down and didn't pick it up again.
posted by shmegegge at 2:16 PM on January 21, 2009


was so turned off by these needlessly complicated and seemingly pointless conversations...that I put it down and didn't pick it up again.

Have you ever played an adventure game before?

I thought it was great, but a lot of it is conversation. My husband loved it too, and he hasn't ever enjoyed/finished playing any other adventure game.

The gradual reveal of the characters is a large part of its appeal. It's a lot more story based than even most adventure games. In other words, the conversations are the point, and eventually lead to a really great story. But no, if fast-paced and action-filled is your thing, it's not the game for you.
posted by threeturtles at 2:34 PM on January 21, 2009


Eh? Since when did dialogue trees become the defining factor of adventure games?

Curse these point-and-click times.
posted by Artw at 2:41 PM on January 21, 2009


I wasn't too impressed with Hotel Dusk. The story was good, but I thought the gameplay was lacking. The majority of the puzzles were either trivial or very obscure. The characters were very good, I just wish that they had spent more time with the interrogation system and made it a little more branching. I also thought the redundancy I got from the characters was a little too high.

I did finish it because I wanted to see the plot resolution, but I enjoyed the Phoenix Wright games more.
posted by demiurge at 3:01 PM on January 21, 2009


Have you ever played an adventure game before?

of course, but adventure games have dialog that is either a) pointless and funny, b) funny and has a point or c) not funny and has a point. dialog that isn't funny or enlightening and doesn't seem to be contributing to any furtherance of plot or gameplay is just annoying. i'm cool with conversation in a game. but getting some stoner's entire life story with virtually no provocation and then realizing that, after all that, you still don't know what to do next since you still can't open your own briefase and that conversation didn't help at all... well, a body can only take so much dithering.
posted by shmegegge at 3:02 PM on January 21, 2009


Since when did dialogue trees become the defining factor of adventure games?

If you told me that a Japanese adventure game had tons of boring dialog, I would assume it had more to do with it being from Japan than it being an adventure game. Zero Punctuation covered the dialog-heavy aspect of JRPGs in one episode.
posted by burnmp3s at 3:09 PM on January 21, 2009


Adventure games and The Internet: Video killed the radio star.
posted by anthill at 3:28 PM on January 21, 2009


I just want to see Yahtzee's CHZO Mythos games on some kind of distribution platform. That's some amazing work, and the special editions (which come with copies of the midi soundtrack and fascinating creator commentary) are well worth it.
posted by Pope Guilty at 4:07 PM on January 21, 2009


I'm selling these fine leather jackets.
posted by turgid dahlia at 4:35 PM on January 21, 2009


Hotel Dusk: For those who like novels, but wish they could spend a few minutes pointlessly tapping on the screen and watching repetitive animation between each paragraph.
posted by Casuistry at 4:47 PM on January 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


Pastabagel: That game, too, is derivative. Warren Robinett has said that he was directly inspired by the text Adventure. (Not that it isn't great, or that it doesn't bring so many of its own ideas to the table.)
posted by JHarris at 5:15 PM on January 21, 2009


There are tons of pretty decent cheapo adventure games at the bargain bin at Best Buys. Lighthosue Interactive and some other indie publishers make some good ones. Just check metacritic to see which ones are the best.

Of course, the best one ever was Police Quest. You had to RTFM!!! Literally!!!
posted by bardic at 6:33 PM on January 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


naju - crappy sequels? Man, fuck you AND the werewolf you rode in on. The Beast Within (while being troubled with shitty acting from the guy who played Gabe) is fucking brilliant, and Holy Blood managed to make a decent game out of my then favourite non-popular religious mystery...before that shitty book and its stupid cottage industry pissed it all to hell.

But, back to the point at hand - I just finished Professor Layton over the weekend and man do I ever want the sequels to be translated. STEP TO IT, NOA!
posted by cerulgalactus at 6:59 PM on January 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


Huh, I always thought of adventure games as, say, the Legend of Zelda. Games where there's a quest and puzzles, but you also get to run around stabbing things.

If you're looking for point-and-click, there are tons of flash games that can satisfy your urge (though widely diverging in quality).
posted by Eideteker at 6:21 AM on January 22, 2009


Hotel Dusk Phoenix Wright: For those who like Matlock novels, but wish they could spend a few minutes pointlessly tapping on the screen and watching repetitive animation between each paragraph.

I kid cause I love. And because it's true.
posted by graventy at 6:31 AM on January 22, 2009


Eh? Since when did dialogue trees become the defining factor of adventure games?

I don't think they are the defining factor, but they certainly tend to be a characteristic of a great many adventure games over the past ten years or so. I would never be surprised to find long, seemingly irrelevant dialogue in any adventure game. I think it may be more noticable and/or annoying to some on the DS because you have to read the text rather than listen to a vocal performance. So it strikes some people as a novel that you have to click on. As opposed to a movie that you have to click on, which could describe a fair number of other games. This is why many of these games are called "Interactive Novels" in Japan, if I remember correctly.

Personally, I've always enjoyed adventure games as novels/stories/films in slightly different form. I tend to get so into the story that I get annoyed at random slider puzzles or aggravating inventory puzzles that get in the way of what happens next. I thought Hotel Dusk did a good job of not having the puzzles interfere with the story. Whereas in Professor Layton, the story didn't interfere with the puzzles. Either way works, and which you prefer is a matter of preference.
posted by threeturtles at 9:13 AM on January 22, 2009


I don't think they are the defining factor, but they certainly tend to be a characteristic of a great many adventure games over the past ten years or so. I would never be surprised to find long, seemingly irrelevant dialogue in any adventure game. I think it may be more noticable and/or annoying to some on the DS because you have to read the text rather than listen to a vocal performance. So it strikes some people as a novel that you have to click on.

this is certainly true. and I should be clear that I actually AM open to the idea that Hotel Dusk is good. I just want to know what I should be keeping an eye out for since the hours of seemingly-pointless dialogue turned me off so drastically at first.

but I'm not sure how seemingly pointless adventure game dialogue actually is. Whent the dialogue seems pointless, it's usually entertaining in some fashion so you can see why it's there. The rest of the time, it's used as a clear cue to what you need to do to progress.

as a for instance: I started playing day of the tentacle again because of this thread. (I found this incredible torrent that has old dos games in a universal binary format for macs, thanks to dosbox) every conversation I've had in this game ends with someone specifically telling me how to get what I want from them.
hoagie: did you really chop down a cherry tree?
george washington: of course! i've chopped down many cherry trees in my day! I've lost count of how many cherry trees I've chopped!
(at this point you can choose to ask for a demonstration, which he won't give you or to tell him he doesn't have the chops to cut down a tree anymore.)
hoagie: I don't believe you. You don't have the chops to cut down a tree anymore. I bet you can't do it.
george washington: why you! I have half a mind to chop down a cherry tree right now... but as you see there are no cherry trees nearby.
(there is, by the way, a kumquat tree clearly visible in the window.)
lo and behold, you find a can of red paint. instant cherry tree. now you go back and re-engage in the dialog and you've got yourself one chopped down kumquat tree. this is what i mean. now, this is a painfully obvious puzzle with dialog that screams "PUZZLE SOLUTION HERE," but the point is that you accomplish something by talking to him, and you can tell you've accomplished something by talking to him. it doesn't even SEEM pointless, which makes it bearable and even fun.

so if there's some point in Hotel Dusk where you can see the benefit of all the really boring dialogue, great. I'll pop it back in and give it another go. But that first couple of hours really felt painful, and I'm not sure I see a precendent for that much background dialog with no real progress present in the adventure games of old.
posted by shmegegge at 10:52 AM on January 22, 2009


This is why many of these games are called "Interactive Novels" in Japan, if I remember correctly.

I think it's worth mentioning how many Interactive Novels in Japan are pornographic, and the reputation they have, even when not pornographic, for being overlong and slow. they're indicative of an obsessive sub-culture more than anything else.
posted by shmegegge at 10:56 AM on January 22, 2009


I got a bit obsessed over Ultima IV

You know what the real heir of the Ultma series is? Not WoW. Pokemon Diamond/Pearl/whatever. There's the real modern adventure game.


One has to wonder how many recent RPGs would support a class called Tinker, require you to prove your humility or introduce elements of moral* behaviour. Not many and certainly not Pokemon.

As for adventure-like games, I too enjoyed Phoenix Wright though I can't stand courtroom dramas. And of course if you still have a copy of the oldies...

*Often rpglogic rewards you with 100 coins if you ask for payment and 300 if you don't. Subtle, but I'm not talking about that.
posted by ersatz at 11:12 AM on January 22, 2009


One has to wonder how many recent RPGs would support a class called Tinker, require you to prove your humility or introduce elements of moral* behaviour.

I had forgotten about that part of Ultima IV. Yeah. I was thinking more from a straight gameplay angle rather than plot. Certainly Pokemon is pretty thin on plot and storytelling compared to Ultima IV+.
posted by GuyZero at 11:26 AM on January 22, 2009


Surely the best modern, 'classic' adventures are the Sam & Max episodes. I am not sure of sale statistics for those, but it seems to me they found a nice way to publish adventures in this era: relatively short downloadable episodes. That negates the problem of non-replayability by offering new stuff on a regular basis.

Plus, it also has the charm and the silliness of all those classic names by LucasArts, Sierra etc.

As to why adventures died, I think many of the 'unique selling points' were incorporated by other genres. Quirky, immersive worlds have become the domain of RPGs and MMOs, and action games, shooters and platformers inherited a lot of the puzzle-ness (that's a word) from the old point-and-clicks.

A bit older (2002), but I quite liked the [i]Syberia[/i] series.
posted by Harry at 12:43 PM on January 22, 2009


Ok, shmegegge, to give you an accurate answer I'm afraid I'm going to have to replay the game. I've only played it once, so I'm really going on what I remember my impressions being at the time. But I'm inspired to go home and start a replay tonight, so if I come to any startling conclusion about a purpose to the dialogue, I'll let you know.
posted by threeturtles at 1:54 PM on January 22, 2009


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