Point and Click Adventure Games From Back in the Day You Could Still Recommend Today?

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liquiddragon

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Hey, I didn't grow with PCs and I didn't have much interest in the genre when they came to consoles back then. These days I find myself wanting to experience all the genres and games I neglected or didn't have the chance to play. Point and click adventures are one of them but I'm told most of them really haven't age very well.

Do you think the best way to play through them today is with a guide or are there ones that stand the test of time?

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Relkin

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The Longest Journey. I didn't play that until...2013/14? Had a great time with it. The sequel is garbage, though.

I didn't need to ever look at a guide for that one, but everyone's experience is different. If you get stuck, unstuck yourself.

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fisk0

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#3  Edited By fisk0

While I'd say that I personally prefer Sierra's adventure games over LucasArts', I think they're probably pretty hard to get into if you're not already familiar with the genre. LucasArt's Day of the Tentacle is very easy grasp, and while it has the genre's infamous moon logic puzzles, the puzzle solutions are goofy in a way that makes combining everything in your inventory with everything around you enjoyable. It also got a remaster a few years ago. After that you're probably ready to take on The Longest Journey and Syberia. If you enjoy the genre by that point you could probably take on Sierra's stuff. I'd probably recommend starting with something like Gabriel Knight or one of the other 90s ones with mouse driven interfaces. My favorite is still The Colonel's Bequest from 1989, but that one uses a text parser interface, and may not be a great entry point to either the genre or Sierra adventure games.

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mylifeforAiur

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Use a resource called UHS (Univeral Hint System) if you need hints. It's a great web resource that provides very detailed hints (rather than fullblown solutions) for a bunch of classic adventure games. Pretty much guaranteed to have your game listed. LucasArts is friendly enough (stay away from Zac McKraken--it's a hassle). Sierra is very dicey: a lot of their games are very punishing. Revolution Software games are amazing, though, and not too difficult: Beneath a Steel Sky, Broken Sword 1 & 2.

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ShaggE

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#5  Edited By ShaggE

Gah, I had written a detailed response, and Chrome crashed. FUCK.

So, a few personal favorites: Monkey Island 1, 2, 3, and Tales. The whole Sam & Max series. Day of the Tentacle. The Neverhood. Obsidian. Shivers 2. Phantasmagoria. The 7th Guest/11th Hour/13th Doll. The Space Quest series (being an earlier Sierra franchise, don't start off with these, as they like to kill you and screw you over constantly. Save early, save often). Riven. I Have No Mouth And I Must Scream. Sanitarium. The Tex Murphy series.

Most (but not all) of these stay away from the more egregious pixel hunting and moon logic that plagued the genre, although between you and me? There's no shame in walkthroughs, and good adventure games can be just as enjoyable with one.

Good luck on your journey! It's an incredible genre.

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goosemunch

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#6  Edited By goosemunch

I'm a big fan of LucasArts point & click adventure games. Some of their earlier ones from the 80's don't hold up, but the rest of them are still the best the genre can offer today (mostly because the genre stopped evolving since them). They practically wrote the bible on how to make these games friendly and accessible.

I'd also suggest using a walkthrough if you get stuck. This genre is mostly a storytelling vehicle and puzzles/gameplay are secondary. (which is why some big fans of the genre went on to create "walking simulators" like Gone Home or Firewatch that just strip out all the unnecessary gameplay and focus on what matters the most)

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Icemael

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Beneath a Steel Sky and Zack & Wiki: Quest for Barbaros' Treasure are two of my favorites.

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Onemanarmyy

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#8  Edited By Onemanarmyy

I don't think Space Quest, Police Quest & Tex Murphy hold up all that well from a playing perspective (given that point & click games often require you to do the 1 exact thing that the game wants you to do and these games tend to have some annoying failstates) but those series are still worth seeing through... So i found that often the best way to see that stuff is by just watching a silent playthrough on youtube.

If you use the Epic Game Store, you might have grabbed Thimbleweed Park for free. Thought that was quite engaging. The Monkey island games are evergreen with it's silly characters and humor. Full Throttle is neat. Westwood's Blade Runner is a cool game Vinny is currently playing through. I quite like the Gabriel Knight series especially 2 & 3. Sam & Max is fun. Grim Fandango has a fantastic style (A few puzzle annoyances though). The Next Big Thing is a more current game that's worthwhile. Double Fine's Broken Age was a decently fun game as well. The Raven has a good old timey Agatha Christie vibe to it. Wadjet Eye makes a ton of excellent pixel-based point & click games with relatively mature stories (Gemini Rue, A New Beginning, Shardlight, Technobabylon, Unavowed, The Blackwell games). The two Book of Unwritten Tales games are quite good and have a fantasy setting. Same goes for the Dark Eye: Chains of Satinav & The Dark Eye: Memoria. And then you have the Sherlock games. Oh and if you like horror, try The Last Door. I also heard some good things about Jenny LeClue - Detectivu. I'm about to play Kelvin & The Infamous Machine, so that might be worth giving a look as well.

Also a shoutout to the Anamita games. Samorost, Botanicula, Machinarium, Chuchel. that kind of stuff. These games are often wordless and revolve around clicking objects on the screen a whole bunch to progress the story and solve puzzles while the characters are bugs, or robots or strange creatures instead of humans. Quite a neat niche they found for themselves in the genre.

I find that picking a point & click game is like 70% a gut feeling of 'hey i think this game has a neat style and i like the environment it plays out in'. Like Gabriel Knight 3 might not be the best game, but it's among my favorites because i love how it's grounded in reality and how it gives me that french vacation vibe. It also lets you draw crazy lines on a map to uncover ancient temples which feels like you're on some Da Vinci code shit.

Oh and given that point & click games are still very much about you doing the exact thing that the dev wants you to do, there's no shame having a guide at the ready. Point & Click games for me are all about getting through the story. Getting stuck & frustrated because you didn't realize that you can click the rope in Grim Fandango at two seperate points is no fun.

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Rebel_Scum

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Dunno how far back your talking but Broken Sword Shadow of the Templars is a damn fine game.

Even though that goat in Ireland defeated me. That game did take me 15 years to beat.

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eskimo

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#10  Edited By eskimo

I'd recommend only using a hint system when you really get stuck. Well designed adventure games generally have one or more clues somewhere in the environment, so it pays to just wander round talking to people and clicking on things if you get stuck. The fun of these games is the satisfaction you get from solving a puzzle on your own, and it's more satisfying when you solve the harder puzzles and move forward again.

Day of the Tentacle and Monkey Island 2 - LucasArts was the best developer of point and clicks back in the day, and these two are probably the best examples of their craft. The puzzles (mostly) make sense, and especially in the case of DotT, there are several story/puzzle threads you can alternate between if you're getting stuck on one.

Thimbleweed Park - a throwback to the good old days of LucasArts, while building in a lot of modern sensibilities that we've grown accustomed to in the intervening period. Even though it's a recent entry this is maybe the best example of the classic point and click genre, and is developed by the creators of Maniac Mansion. Great story and puzzles, without ever getting to obscure.

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TheChris

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Grim Fandango, I actually hope GBeast will play this now that they’ve played Blade Runner.

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Rigas

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Discworld 1 and 2 are still great. Recently replayed 1 and loved it.

The Monkey Island games are also classics.

Thimbleweed Park is a modern throwback. Its pretty good but the ending just kinda happens out of nowhere.

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nutter

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While I loved a lot of those games, including Police Quest, King’s Quest, Space Quest, Monkey Island, and others...

Maniac Mansion is my favorite AND it holds up. This might be heresy, but I’d go with the NES version for the music.

Also, maybe check-out Thimbleweed Park:

https://youtu.be/zRmh1aFHHQQ

It’s also a Ron Gilbert game. It’s a retro throwback that plays like those old games AND incorporates modern sensibilities.

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sparky_buzzsaw

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#14  Edited By sparky_buzzsaw

Monkey Island 1 and 2, Full Throttle, Grim Fandango, Day of the Tentacle, Runaway 2 and 3, Lara Bow 2, the early Broken Sword games, and King’s Quest VI should hold up. Sierra’s point and click versions of their games tend to be more accessible than their text input counterparts. With Sierra’s stuff, just save often. Discworld 2 and Freddy Pharkas, at least as curiosities, are worth a look too.

More recently than those, Wadjet’s Blackwell series, Yesterday, The Next Big Thing, the more recent Telltale Sam and Max games, Still Life, and Heavy Rain. Hard to think of these as being old enough to be classics, but I suppose they are now.

if you can find it, there was a surpris8ngly superb And Then There Were None video game as well.

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cikame

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The one point and click i always return to is Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis, i'm not a big Indy fan but regardless i love the adventure in this one, and i didn't find the puzzles to be too mind bogglingly obscure as they often are in these types of games. The Steam version works totally fine and includes the voices, back in the day i played the game voiceless but the voice acting is actually good i don't mind it at all.

@rigas said:

Discworld 1 and 2 are still great. Recently replayed 1 and loved it.

I really need to replay these, i still quote them to this day.

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DeekyFun

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#16  Edited By DeekyFun

The major LucasArts games are worth starting with. A number of them have remasters and mechanically play as well as they did when released. Ironically it's the 'newer' 3D ones which age worse in terms of presentation and control, but most are still serviceable today, due to the nature of the gameplay.

If you're interested in looking at the classics, I'd say start with Day of the Tentacle, Sam and Max Hit the Road, Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis and the first three Monkey Island games. If those grab you, it may well be worth checking out the rest of their back catalogue. Theres a lot of good stuff in there.

Sierra have some great classics too. I find them harder to recommend straight off because the SCI interface isnt quite a nice as LucasArts SCUMM engine, and they have a nasty habit of punishing the player by killing them or putting them into a dead-end/unwinnable state. This can be a frustration. If you're up for the challenge though, go for it. Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Fathers is one of their better games, and one of my favourites.

Other general classics have been mentioned already, but to echo: The Broken Sword series is excellent, and Beneath a Steel Sky is an earlier on from Revolution which is pretty good too. Toonstruck is great too, and Bladerunner, which has just been rereleased on gog.

Someone already mentioned UHS. I think that's a good shout as it gives you some degree to control over how much help you want. It's a good idea to have it for when you're stuck, as it can happen even in the better games and it is a frustration point when you just want to keep on with the story.

Have fun if you do start digging into this stuff.

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Sombre

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Indiana Jones and the fate of Atlantis is fucking A+

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goosemunch

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GOG has a sale going on right now, so you can pick up a lot of the classics for like a couple bucks.

One thing that hasn't been mentioned yet in this thread: Check out the supplementary documents first (manuals, graphic novels, maps, pamphlets, etc). When you install games from GOG, it will install them along with the game most likely in PDF form. Most of (non-LucasArts) point & click adventure games did a lot of world building outside the game, and expected the players to skim through the documents before they start the game (while the game was installing or whatever). It's rarely required but it can greatly enrich the fiction. Oh and remember that the tutorials were often not in-game, but on the manual.

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glots

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#19  Edited By glots

@thechris said:

Grim Fandango, I actually hope GBeast will play this now that they’ve played Blade Runner.

I think there'd be a better chance at this, if Grim Fandago had also been made available digitally just recently, instead of 2015 already. Sure'd be a treat though, easily my favorite adventure game ever and I know Vinny has referred to it as one of his favorites too. Would be a pretty good chance he'd forgotten most of it by now too, after 20 years (oh god). Edit: Guess @alex played it too, now that I'm rewatching the QL.

Loading Video...

I don't really have any suggestions beyond the ones already mentioned here. I think playing them with a guide is just fine, or pulling one out when you get stuck and don't want to bang your head against the wall for hours is at least plenty acceptable. The Monkey Island 1-2 remasters had a neat hint system that I used, when I couldn't figure something out.

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Moskelosk

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The Longest Journey is one of my favorite games of all time so it would get a strong recommendation from me.

Many of the old LucasArts adventure games are also really good. Grim Fandango, Sam & Max, Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis, Day of the Tentacle and Monkey Island 1-2 are all great.

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MeierTheRed

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wollywoo

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I would suggest Grim Fandango, but that game has some seriously nutty moon-logic puzzles so beware of that and don't be afraid to look up hints occasionally. It won't ruin the experience.

I also really, really like Curse of Monkey Island. The cartoon art style is just gorgeous and it holds up well today. It's hilarious as well. It does also have its share of zany puzzles, so beware, and be prepared to click on (and pick up, if possible) every dang thing.

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liquiddragon

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Thx for all the great responses. I definitely have a couple of these through giveaways and stuff. Funny I made this thread without realizing, I've been playing Policenauts and I think it might qualify as a point and click adventure.

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EdgeKasey

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#24  Edited By EdgeKasey

Quest for Glory: Shadows of Darkness

I played the heck out of that game.

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Zaadyn

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Myst and Riven aren’t perfect games, but beside being decent puzzle games they are filled with beautiful and imaginative environments that really transport you to another world. They come from the period in the 90’s when people were figuring out CGI and doing really experimental and trippy things with it. There’s nothing quite like them, even after all the years they’ve been out.

If you like games like Outer Wilds and the Witness, I highly recommend them.

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Strathy

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Curse of Monkey Island for sure.

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SethMode

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A lot of great recs for classic and modern games here, but I have to second the recommendation for a modern one that is spectacular: Unavowed. More simplistic game play and puzzles but a great story with a lrgit great twist!

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hermes

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LucasArts games are pretty wonderful. Monkey Island 1, 2 and Day of the Tentacle recently got remade but included the option to switch to the original graphics...

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BBAlpert

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Nodima

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Full Throttle is a really good pull for this specific thread, surprised more people haven't mentioned it. If I recall correctly, there are only two, maybe three points in that game that are a bit rough to figure out: the guard dog, the bike upgrade and the notch in the wall. The former and latter I think were just a little too pixel hunty, while the middle came down to some bunk RNG to pad out the length of the game.

The voice acting, art direction and general story beats are all top notch, though, and it really takes some risks with some very non-traditional gameplay elements for the genre.

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MagikGimp

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As with all older games, my advice would be to check out the PC Gaming Wiki for advice on the best way to get them to run on a modern rig. By and large, the vast majority of point and click games will work best with SCUMMVM but not all so it's worth reading up if you want the best experience. Also bear in mind with DOS games that the official release of DOSBox hasn't been updated in... Never mind, scratch that. Apparently they've started releasing builds on the stable trunk again. It's been such a long gap between releases that I never went to check until now. The SVN (subversion) builds are still worth checking out though. They add extra features or are made for more precise emulation. More useful for demos than games but still might be handy.

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SuperJoe

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I'd recommend adventure games that have an HD remaster/remake over their originals for quality-of-life improvements, resolution appropriate for modern displays, sound that isn't AM radio quality....especially if you don't have any nostalgia attached.

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Stephen_Von_Cloud

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I have to say that if you aren't willing to guide your way through a lot of them are rough as hell. Even say Grim Fandango, which I love has a couple terrible puzzles or the awful forest part of the game. They all have annoying puzzles.

I think Sierra stuff is maybe roughest of all because of the punishing nature and basically necessity for trial and error though again guides help a ton. I have to say Quest for Glory is very underrated and its a shame there haven't been more RPG/Adventure hybrids like it.

Day of the Tentacle

The Monkey Island series: 1-3

Grim Fandango

Full Throttle

Sam and Max Hit the Road

QFG III and QFG IV

my top recommendations for older adventure stuff.

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tlchwi02

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The Dig holds up on writing and production value (fully voiced with professional actors back in 1995!) with the caveat that you shoud 100% not hesitate to do what vinny and alex are doing in the blade runner playdate and be ok with consulting a guide.

it is a game where you can drive yourself insane hearing robert patrick (the t-1000 himself! in 1995! fully voiced!) say 'those two things don't go together.' thousands of times. the puzzles are very much of 'find the widget and use it with some random object' variety, so there isn't much point in bashing your head against the wall too much. but it has a cool story, the world and visuals are neat and because it was part of spielburgs foray into games through his buddy lucas's company, they put a solid amount of spit polish on it. also its like a nickle on steam sales, runs on anything more powerful than a graphing calculator and (assuming you're willing to use a guide if something is too obviously obtuse) a relatively breezy runtime.

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goosemunch

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@tlchwi02: I mean... The Dig is a fine enough game, but being fully voice acted with a professional actor wasn't particularly noteworthy by 1995. Pretty much every point & click adventure games that came out on CD since 1992 had full voice acting, often with recognizable actors. (remember Tim Curry and Mark Hamill in Gabriel Knight 1? Star Trek 25th Anniversary had the original cast of the TV show even!)

LucasArts titles certainly were a notch above others when it came to quality of acting throughout. There were good stuff coming out of companies like Sierra and Westwood, but their background characters often sounded like they were recorded in a broom closet, read by whoever happened to be walking by.

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tlchwi02

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@tlchwi02: I mean... The Dig is a fine enough game, but being fully voice acted with a professional actor wasn't particularly noteworthy by 1995. Pretty much every point & click adventure games that came out on CD since 1992 had full voice acting, often with recognizable actors. (remember Tim Curry and Mark Hamill in Gabriel Knight 1? Star Trek 25th Anniversary had the original cast of the TV show even!)

LucasArts titles certainly were a notch above others when it came to quality of acting throughout. There were good stuff coming out of companies like Sierra and Westwood, but their background characters often sounded like they were recorded in a broom closet, read by whoever happened to be walking by.

that might be why The Dig stands out to me- outside of the really well written story (i recall the novel of it was quite good too) it had so few characters they could afford to do all pro-acting. either way, its a good story with sometimes dumb puzzles that can be run through and enjoyed with a walk though fairly quickly and painlessly. i stand by it as a solid adventure game of the era

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MagnetPhonics

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#37  Edited By MagnetPhonics

Adventure games are maybe my favourite genre of game. One of the habits I've started in 2020 (Late 2019 to be accurate) is working through an adventure game for 30 minutes-1 hour before bed as a way to both unwind and work through my pile of shame. (Currently playing Lamplight City.)

As for recommendations; Personally, I don't think going back to the "classics" is strictly necessary. IMHO the modern adventure game scene is just as good a place to dive in. Many of these are classics in their own right anyway and the focus on Lucasarts erases a lot of history. I'd personally recommend Unavowed (maybe my GOTY) from 2018.

For a historic recommendation I'd say go with Day of The Tentacle but only because it comes with Maniac Mansion built in(use the C64 in game to play it,) which is IMHO a better game than its sequel and contains many innovations absent from later Lucasarts games: multiple endings, having to work around NPCs living their own lives and interacting with each other, optional characters forcing different solutions, etc.

edit: Also don't feel bad about using a guide if you get stuck. "Moon logic" is a real thing. Though in the case of Maniac Mansion I would say that you're generally making progress on multiple fronts at once and exploration is more of a thing, so you might enjoy it a bit more if you hold off for a minute or two.

@nutter said:

Maniac Mansion is my favorite AND it holds up. This might be heresy, but I’d go with the NES version for the music.

The NES version was the first version I played so I'm biased, but I agree. IMHO the infamous Nintendo censorship isn't enough to ruin it.

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SubliminalKitteh

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Humongous entertainment has some goods point and clicks, though they are mostly kid focused, they have some great puzzles and some are actually funny. Spy Fox and Pajama Sam are the two series I recommend, stay away from Putt Putt.

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cornfed40

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Leisure Suit Larry 5 was probably the pinnacle of the series.

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Bonbonetti

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Personally I would rather support and recommend modern Indie studios making games in this genre,

Stasis, Whispers of a Machine, Edna & Harvey, Shardlight, Technobabylon, Blackwell, Kathy Rain, Thimbleweed Park, Trüberbrook, Night in the Woods, Lamplight City, Unavowed, Still There, Unforeseen Incidents, The Samaritan Paradox, The Last Door, Gemini Rue, Irony Curtain: From Matryoshka with Love, Anna's Quest, Detective Di, The Book of Unwritten Tales, The Little Acre ... there are plenty of good games in this genre made by existing developers.

However, if you are set on playing the old ones, my recommendations would be: The Dig, Call of Cthulhu: Shadow of the Comet, I Have No Mouth And I Must Scream, The Last Express, Syberia I & II, Blade Runner. I remember liking Discworld as well.

I would have liked to add Star Trek Judgment Rites and 25th Anniversary, but I hated the ship combat in hose games. The adventure bit is awesome, with multiple solutions, but the combat more or less spoils these games for me. You might like it though.

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Zaadyn

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Humongous entertainment has some goods point and clicks, though they are mostly kid focused, they have some great puzzles and some are actually funny. Spy Fox and Pajama Sam are the two series I recommend, stay away from Putt Putt.

Humongous had some really great titles, especially for kids games. I'm surprised that genre never grew in popularity for kids. Or maybe it did and I'm just out of touch.