A Brief History of Adventure Games

Many people still have great fondness for point-and-click adventure games. They were once the mainstay of PC gaming, until the first person shooter and role-playing genres took the helm and steered us out into the darker and more sinister waters. But still, the point-and-click has not died the death that many feared it might. In fact, recent years have seen a significant revival in what was once thought to be an unfashionable, out-of-date and essentially limited way of playing games. With titles such as Zach & Wiki: Quest for Barbados Treasure on the Wii, the extended re-release of Broken Sword: The Shadow of the Templars on the DS and Wii, Ceville on the PC, and new iterations of the irrepressible Monkey Island recently released (and re-released) on multiple platforms, it is clear that the genre is far from dead.

But what did point-and-clicks have that so many games have missed? The answer is somewhat uncertain. What is clear is that no matter how their subject matters differed, they were always quirky, imaginative and fun, never really taking themselves too seriously, even whilst battling evil zombie pirates or solving fiendish puzzles devised by ancient civilisations. If you were to group a selection of modern first person shooters into a room together, you wouldn't equal even a quarter of the life and character which just one cIassic point-and-click adventure manages to deliver.

Here then, in near enough chronological order, are just some of the adventure games which shaped and influenced the entire genre, and continue to have an impact on gaming today.

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9 Comments Refresh
Posted by ahoodedfigure

Excellent survey. Here's hoping you'll still be able to add to this list!

Posted by Daveyo520

I have only played one of these... I need to change that.

Posted by DefaultGen

Great list.

Edited by enemymouse

Those Infocom text adventures were like candy to me as a kid. I love to see them get their props, thanks! AMFV is one of the most interesting games I've ever played and it left a big impression on me.

Check out Border Zone for its realtime elements and Witness for basically defining film noir treatment in a video game as far as i'm concerned.

Posted by Scotto

I would die for Double Fine to release an updated version of Grim Fandango - even as a boxed product, if necessary. Just make it widescreen, update the controls, and up the graphical fidelity. I've got a copy of the original game, but it's nearly impossible to get it working 100% properly on a Windows 7 machine.

Posted by Scotto

Oh... and how do you put the Telltale Sam & Max game on this list, but not Sam & Max Hit the Road???

Posted by Hamst3r

Woo! Bad Mojo! :D

Posted by gbrading

I was thinking "Why has my list suddenly got all popular?" then I realized Dave tweeted about it. :P

@Scotto: Hit the Road is a really funny game, but Save the World proved that Sam & Max, and by extension adventure games, still aren't dead. It re-invigorated the genre for a new generation. And I completely agree with you about Grim Fandango: It is a crime that it isn't commercially available.

Posted by Video_Game_King

Huh? No Machinarium? That's the game that all other adventure games should try to be.