The Near-Impenetrable Genre That Is Point & Click Adventure Games

The other night I finally watched Alfred Hitchock's classic North by Northwest. I say finally, because for about a year it sat in my DVD collection, unopened, collecting dust. This is just one of the many films, albums and games I own that--despite knowing I''ll enjoy them when I finally get around to it--find it hard to be motivated to do so.

Well, a few days ago I dusted off a game I've been putting off for some time now: The Longest Journey.

I'm not particularly fond of storytelling in video games, and there's much better gameplay to be had in just about every other genre, but there's a certain charm to point & click adventure games such as The Longest Journey that has always intrigued me. Problem is, there's so damn many of them that I don't even know where to begin. As such, it's a genre that I've mostly appreciated from a distance, playing the occasional one before retreating to other games, despite knowing there's a library of games out there I'd likely enjoy.

Other than The Longest Journey, I've only completed Amanita Design's games (Samorost 1 & 2, Machinarium, Botanicula), and gotten about half way though Broken Sword, Beyond a Steel Sky and Sam & Max Hit the Road before losing interest. Now, with only a few chapters remaining in The Longest Journey I'm wondering what to play next. I'll mostly likely play The Walking Dead before the GOTY Bombcast, but after that I'd like to cross another adventure game off the list.

So, any suggestions?

  • I think I have a copy of Grim Fandango lying around (sound issues made it unplayable on my previous computer).
  • I also have an unopened copy of Full Throttle.
  • And an unopened copy of Ghost Trick, if that counts.
  • Deponia looks awesome and could provide a welcome change of pace after The Walking Dead.
  • Wadjet Eye's games (Gemini Rue, Resonance and Primordia) have received a lot of praise but I'm need some convincing to play those.
  • I really enjoyed the demo I played of Escape from Monkey Island on PS2 years ago and would eventually like to play through that series.
  • I played the shit out King's Quest V growing up but never made it past the desert.
  • Day of the Tentacle seems to be considered one of the best adventure games ever.
32 Comments
33 Comments
Posted by EVO

The other night I finally watched Alfred Hitchock's classic North by Northwest. I say finally, because for about a year it sat in my DVD collection, unopened, collecting dust. This is just one of the many films, albums and games I own that--despite knowing I''ll enjoy them when I finally get around to it--find it hard to be motivated to do so.

Well, a few days ago I dusted off a game I've been putting off for some time now: The Longest Journey.

I'm not particularly fond of storytelling in video games, and there's much better gameplay to be had in just about every other genre, but there's a certain charm to point & click adventure games such as The Longest Journey that has always intrigued me. Problem is, there's so damn many of them that I don't even know where to begin. As such, it's a genre that I've mostly appreciated from a distance, playing the occasional one before retreating to other games, despite knowing there's a library of games out there I'd likely enjoy.

Other than The Longest Journey, I've only completed Amanita Design's games (Samorost 1 & 2, Machinarium, Botanicula), and gotten about half way though Broken Sword, Beyond a Steel Sky and Sam & Max Hit the Road before losing interest. Now, with only a few chapters remaining in The Longest Journey I'm wondering what to play next. I'll mostly likely play The Walking Dead before the GOTY Bombcast, but after that I'd like to cross another adventure game off the list.

So, any suggestions?

  • I think I have a copy of Grim Fandango lying around (sound issues made it unplayable on my previous computer).
  • I also have an unopened copy of Full Throttle.
  • And an unopened copy of Ghost Trick, if that counts.
  • Deponia looks awesome and could provide a welcome change of pace after The Walking Dead.
  • Wadjet Eye's games (Gemini Rue, Resonance and Primordia) have received a lot of praise but I'm need some convincing to play those.
  • I really enjoyed the demo I played of Escape from Monkey Island on PS2 years ago and would eventually like to play through that series.
  • I played the shit out King's Quest V growing up but never made it past the desert.
  • Day of the Tentacle seems to be considered one of the best adventure games ever.
Posted by crusader8463

Wish I could help, but I have never finished one outside of Walking Dead and that's really more of a choose your own adventure game then a Point and Click Adventure IMHO. It's not that I find the systems too hard to grasp or anything, it's just that I get bored with the puzzles or find the story moves too slowly for me to care about it. The quick looks they did for Edna and Harvey and The Book of Unwritten Tales looked neat. I bought Book but never got into it past what they did on the QL.

Posted by DelroyLindo

Broken sword 1+2 are both great games, definitely worth playing. I used to play loads of point and click but I can't really remember much of them anymore

Posted by RoujinX

Gemini Rue is an incredible game. I cannot recommend it enough.

Posted by TekZero

I've been playing the Blackwell Bundle from WadjetEye (get it on gog.com on the cheap). Each episode is only a couple hours long and entertaining to play. I just finished Episode 2 last night. It's a light on the "adventure game puzzle" too. Each solution is able to be solved logically, so you get a nice sense of accomplishment when you get past a certain point.

If you want somewhere else to go, I highly suggest that. I plan on getting into Gemini Rue after I'm done with the bundle tho.

Posted by fox01313

Good article from Adventuregamers, I'd say stick with Grim Fandango, Day of the Tentacle & Monkey Island to start. After looking at the list, it makes me want to drag out the copy of Ripley's Believe it or Not (started but never got hooked in it) & Sanitarium. For me these games now fall in that same stack as the point & click photo search games (Midnight Mysteries series), there will be rare times when I'm in the mood to play them & I will want a faq nearby to be able to jet through the game & see all there is to it without getting stuck trying to figure out how the game wants me to navigate versus common sense.

Posted by Ducksworth

Tales of Monkey Island is a pretty fun, nonthreatening, lighthearted adventure.

Posted by killacam

Not on your list, but for future reference play To The Moon. It's more pixel hunt than adventure game, but its emphasis on story and its well-written characters and dialogue more than make up for what it may lack in gameplay.

Edited by beard_of_zeus

@EVO: Anytime anyone asks if they should play Ghost Trick, I will always respond with an excited "YEEEESSSSSS!!!!" That is one of my favorite games ever with such a great story. And I think we are on the same page with this genre; I haven't gotten all the way through many adventure games before getting bored (my shortlist includes Machinarium, Tales of Monkey Island, The Walking Dead, The Longest Journey, Gemini Rue, Puzzle Bots, and To The Moon). And even with that, I loved the shit out of Ghost Trick.

I can see why you might lump it in with point-and-click style games, the story is definitely the crux of that experience, but to its credit, the gameplay is slightly more involved than a standard adventure game. So maybe that might help with your enjoyment of it.

My other recommendation would be To The Moon. Another story-focused game, but it's so well-written and moving, and the gameplay is so light that you won't get stuck or anything. It's also pretty short, maybe 4 hours or so.

Edited by BeachThunder

If you were to play another 2012 adventure game asides from Walking Dead, I would recommend Resonance - Great story and character, and I really liked the memory mechanic (you can basically use memories and thoughts as inventory items).

Also, this:

@beard_of_zeus said:

@EVO: Anytime anyone asks if they should play Ghost Trick, I will always respond with an excited "YEEEESSSSSS!!!!"

Posted by Azteck

I played Grim Fandango on W7 and it worked just fine. The only problems were gameplay ones (moving around, mostly)

Posted by emilknievel

@EVO: Toonstruck

Posted by Meltac

You should play Monkey Island. You can get both 1 and 2 for cheap on Steam. Both in remastered versions, which looks absolutely stunning, and if you don't like the look of the new style they gave it, you can change it back to the original at any time.

Posted by JazGalaxy

Adventure games for pc are like platform games for console. There are a bajillion of them but only a hand full of them ate any good or indicative of the genre as a whole. I think the genre gets a bad wrap, too, from people who don't know what they're talking about. Sierra games get unfairly beat up as overly difficult and convoluted largely because of Three deign choices in kings quest 5. On the flip side, lucas arts adventure games usually had better art and style, but we're rarely better games. For instance, full throttle is an amazing adventure, but it's about a half hour long if you know what to do and some of the puzzles are as banal as click on this and move it across the room. That being said. I'd say play kings quest 6, alone in the dark, and day of the tentacle. Best adventure games ever made, right there

Posted by EVO

@killacam said:

Not on your list, but for future reference play To The Moon. It's more pixel hunt than adventure game, but its emphasis on story and its well-written characters and dialogue more than make up for what it may lack in gameplay.

I'll get around to that eventually, when the time is right.

@BeachThunder said:

@beard_of_zeus said:

@EVO: Anytime anyone asks if they should play Ghost Trick, I will always respond with an excited "YEEEESSSSSS!!!!"

This is probably what I'll play next, but in addition to having a habit of not finishing adventure games I also rarely finish portable games.

@Meltac said:

You should play Monkey Island. You can get both 1 and 2 for cheap on Steam. Both in remastered versions, which looks absolutely stunning, and if you don't like the look of the new style they gave it, you can change it back to the original at any time.

It's a shame they haven't remastered the other games, because when I do finally play the Monkey Island series it will be jarring going from the second to the third (that is unless they haven't also remastered the others by then).

Posted by Rainbowkisses

@EVO said:

It's a shame they haven't remastered the other games, because when I do finally play the Monkey Island series it will be jarring going from the second to the third (that is unless they haven't also remastered the others by then).

I guess you haven't seen what the third game looks like.

It's entirely animated. There is no way this game could look any better.

Posted by JackG100

Id recommend Gabriel Knight, the entire series is interesting and they keep trying to keep it fresh. Great voiceacting in 1 and 3 as well, with Tim Curry and Mark Hamill providing. It holds a rather serious tone and mixxes voodoo, murder and other religious theme with some quirky wit at times. The music is also awesome in my opinion.

That said, Grim Fandango, Full Throttle and Day of the Tentacle are all great games. As is Monkey Island 3, and its graphics hold up still, thanks to a wonderful artstyle. DoTT can be a bit, out there on solutions though...

There is also Dreamfall, the sequel to The Longest Journey, which I enjoyed alot without even having played the first one.

Posted by Klei

Grim Fandango is the crème of the crème. It is considered the best adventure game ever. If you can get over the controls, that is.

Posted by Zuldim

I vote Grim Fandango. That's a really good game.

Posted by Meltac

@Rainbowkisses said:

@EVO said:

It's a shame they haven't remastered the other games, because when I do finally play the Monkey Island series it will be jarring going from the second to the third (that is unless they haven't also remastered the others by then).

I guess you haven't seen what the third game looks like.

It's entirely animated. There is no way this game could look any better.

Yup, pretty much. Absolutely fantastic game, and its style is stellar.

Posted by Slag

Well since you played Longest Journey, you might want to play Dreamfall: The Longest Journey before too long

but after that any of the old Lucasarts ones are hard to go wrong with

I'd play Monkey Island series before Grim Fandango though. I personally think Grim Fandango is easier to appreciate (and it's fantastic) if you understand what came before it.

Posted by SpunkyHePanda

@Meltac said:

@Rainbowkisses said:

@EVO said:

It's a shame they haven't remastered the other games, because when I do finally play the Monkey Island series it will be jarring going from the second to the third (that is unless they haven't also remastered the others by then).

I guess you haven't seen what the third game looks like.

It's entirely animated. There is no way this game could look any better.

Yup, pretty much. Absolutely fantastic game, and its style is stellar.

The problem is going from the 3rd to the 4th. Woof.

Posted by ShaggE

The Neverhood is my personal favorite. There's none other quite like it.

Posted by BeachThunder

@ShaggE said:

The Neverhood is my personal favorite. There's none other quite like it.

Sigh, I really wish that was available somewhere :(

Edited by AssInAss

@EVO said:

So, any suggestions?

The Dream Machine. It's episodic, and should take just a day for all current 3 out of 5 episodes released. One of the best this year.

Just watch the trailer and play it immediately. Just do it! The claymation art style that's only ever been evoked in Neverhood (my avatar) and locations will suck you right in.

I don't agree with your title of this genre being "near-impenetrable", you've already played some major and obscure ones so you're as much into this genre as me :)

Playing with friends or family is a much better experience. We all figure out puzzles or what to do. This is one of the only genres where backseat gaming is validated.

Oh, AND YOU SHOULD TOTALLY FINISH BROKEN SWORD 1 AND 2 BECAUSE BROKEN SWORD 5 IS COMING NEXT YEAR OMG JUST MARATHON IT!

Posted by AssInAss

@ShaggE said:

The Neverhood is my personal favorite. There's none other quite like it.

:) If you like claymation, you should check out the game I posted above.

Posted by JoeyRavn

If you want to play Grim Fandango, you're in luck: ResidualVM was just released. Think of ScummVM, but for Grim Fandango and Escape from Monkey Island (the fourth entry in the series). You'll be able to play those games on any modern system without any issues at all.

Posted by ShaggE

@AssInAss said:

@ShaggE said:

The Neverhood is my personal favorite. There's none other quite like it.

:) If you like claymation, you should check out the game I posted above.

I've played the demo, I really should get around to the rest of it sometime.

Edited by Vextroid

Starts and stops with Indiana Jones and the Fate Of Atlantis.

Posted by EVO

@AssInAss said:

@EVO said:

So, any suggestions?

The Dream Machine. It's episodic, and should take just a day for all current 3 out of 5 episodes released. One of the best this year.

That's been on my Steam wishlist for some time now. I'll probably play it when all 5 episodes have been released.

Another I forgot to mention is The Journey Down.

Posted by Empirepaintball

I'm totally, totally with you. Gameplay trumps storytelling for me. That being said, Day of the Tentacle really caught me.

Posted by VoshiNova

@RoujinX said:

Gemini Rue is an incredible game. I cannot recommend it enough.

Yup. And I think your an idiot if you cannot play + finish this game.

Posted by Cold_Wolven

There is something charming about adventure games but I never felt compelled to beat them. It wasn't till I became fascinated after playing Dreamfall that I went and played The Longest Journey and actually finished it.