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Tim Schafer

What are the best Point and Click adventures of the last 10 years?

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Speaking of "Ben There, Dan That!" & "Time Gentlmen, Please!", the creator has a message for Tim Schafer:

http://www.sizefivegames.com/2012/03/14/hello-tim-schafer/

Originally posted by Dan Marshall

Hello Tim Schafer! Hi! You don’t know me, we’ve never met. I saw you once at the Develop Conference in Brighton, but you wouldn’t have recognised me because I immediately ran in the opposite direction, giggling.

Hello! So, now the Kickstarter’s over, I just thought it’d be nice to chip in my two cents about point and clicks. I really hope this doesn’t come across as anything other than idle meandering advice; obviously I’d never deign to lecture you of all people on making adventures, but, as you’re presumably aware: it’s the future now.

Hark! at all the flying cars and robots. Things sure have changed since Day of the Tentacle and Full Throttle and whatever that one with the pirates was.

As someone who has made two well-received, top-selling, award-winning old-school, LucasArts-esque point and clicks in the last 5 years or so, I thought it might be nice to impart what I learned from the experience, and what I garnered from the feedback I’ve received.

HERE’S FACTS:

People these days have a very low tolerance for tough puzzles. When I was stuck in Day of the Tentacle, you know what I did? I fucking well sat there and damn well worked it out. What was the alternative? Calling George Lucas’ hints line in America for twenty minutes? No chance. Click everything until something different happens, or pixel hunt every screen by sweeping the mouse back-and-forth. That’s what we had to do, and it put hair on my chest. Nerd hair, admittedly, but it still totally counts.

Now, obviously the core of point-and-click adventures is the puzzles, and a good hard puzzle is satisfying. Personally, I wouldn’t change a thing. But I’ve learned that signposting is extremely helpful – back in the day, “memory requirements” meant you had to fall back on “I can’t do that!” or “That’s not going to work” as the stock response for the majority of duff clicks. These days, you’re pretty much free of that limitation. So nudges in the right direction when the player’s practically right are much appreciated.

It boils down to this: just be aware that the joys of The Internet meant lots of people play point and clicks in one window, with a walkthrough open in another, because the ease of it has turned them into big cheaty cheats.

I reckon if anyone was using [clever technology] to track when people stop playing point-and-clicks, it’d turn out they all save and switch off with the introduction of a huge, sweeping area to explore. Suddenly loads of new people to talk to, new puzzles to identify… eugh. It’s probably also where people never bother coming back to the game. It’s daunting! Smaller, tighter, densely-packed areas with minimal to-ing and fro-ing are where it’s at. People loved the quick travel map in Time Gentlemen, Please! Walking around is for idiots.

Finally, and possibly most-importantly: the role of the auteur in adventures is key. When I was playing Full Throttle, there was a personal relationship between you and I. You, at the time, were presumably not aware of this. I knew that solving puzzles wasn’t necessarily about logic, or doing the right thing, it was about what walls you as a designer had chosen to put up. Your brain, your rules.

That’s what makes those games so special, and I’m aware it’s what people like about the Dan and Ben games – they’re clearly about us, and written by us. Whatever stupid logic exists is our stupid logic, and people who play the games often email me like we’re old friends, because they know who I am though the game. It’s what made DoTT so great, and it’s why you’ve found such support through Kickstarter, and I reckon it’s vitally important Double Fine Adventure is largely your game, with your big lovely mucky fingerprints all over it.

Can’t wait.

Love,

Dan

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OK, here we go:

- Lost Horizon

- Grey Matter

- The Abbey

- Edna bricht aus

- Zak McKracken - between Time and Space

- Harveys neue Augen

- The whispered Word

- Perry Rhodan

- Black Mirror 1-3

- Ceville

- (Riddles to easy but story great) Back to the Future, Wallace & Gromit (in principle the TellTale ones)

- Simon the Sorcerer 3D

- Syberia I & II

- Dreamfall

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Didn't The Longest Journey have some cool thing to highlight objects so you didn't have to pixel hunt?

I don't remember.

But it was a VERY awesome point and click. Is it from the last ten years?

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Descriptions coming soon as to why these games are awesome and more will be added. I just needed to get these ones out there.

-To The Moon

-The Blackwell Series

-Sword and Sworcery

-Hotel Dusk

-The Mirror Lied

Other Mentions:

-Dreamfall/ The Longest Journey (I don't care if Dreamfall isn't Point+Click and if TLJ is just short of being too old, it deserves its spot)

-I don't know if 999 counts because it's a series of Escape The Room games set to a narrative, but it borrows heavily from Point+Click Adventures as well as the Visual Novel genre.

Dubious Mentions:

-LIMBO OF THE LOST!

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Zak McKracken - Between Time and Space (until now it was only released in German)

Are you saying it's finally been released in English? I can't find any indication of that on mckracken.net.

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The Daedalic adventures are true highlights; my favorite is "The Whispered World", which seems a little childish at first because of it's fantasy world and because of the protagonist, but it's also a textbook example of how you are supposed to finish a story and not just end it, besides that it also reveals surprising depths and is wonderfully told, while it finds a good balance between staying serious (which the story needs) and still being fun - it does that fabulously. It's not just the storytelling, the world is a thing of great visual beauty, with it's wonderfully drawn backdrops and characters, the very subtle soundtrack also fits in perfectly. The characters companion "Spot" is a nice idea and a cool gameplay element. It's a must play for every adventure fan, and if you speak German - play it in German. One of the best modern adventures in my person opinion, if not the best.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Whispered_World

http://www.the-whispered-world.com/

I just have to mention "The Secret Files" (Tunguska (1) and Puritas Cordis (2)) are two wonderful games, and while the riddle design is sometimes not exactly breathtaking, it manages to shine in other ways, like through it's awesome and memorable characters. The stories are not as good as the Whispered World but they are good enough and tons of fun, and i guess that's what counts. I love the way how the characters have to interact to solve riddles, which is one of the stronger points of the games, but sadly it doesn't happen often enough.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Secret_Files:_Tunguska

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Secret_Files_2:_Puritas_Cordis

http://secretfiles.deepsilver.com

Black Mirror is a game that i also loved, but it sins on every corner; you can die for example, which is rather pointless, and it's end is the direct opposite of the whispered world, which is a crime since this game is otherwise not that bad, sadly the series declines from that point on anyways, but still one of the highlights of the last decade.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Black_Mirror

I was not able to play it myself but most of my friends told me that's it's almost as good as the Whispered Word, so i think i should mention it (and play it soon): The Book of Unwritten Tales

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Book_of_Unwritten_Tales

http://bout.kingart-games.com/

Edit:

Damnit! Totally forgot about Machinarium, what an excellent little adventure.

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Machinarium, The Dream Machine, A Vampyre Story, Bone, Broken Sword I: Director's Cut.

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I know everybody doesn't share this opinion, but for me Simon the sorcerer 3D is the funniest adventure game I've played this last decade.

It's also probably the ugliest and one of the more frustrating (damn you evil publishers, forcing them to make it 3D...!)...I still love it as much as the first two games. The universe, story, characters and jokes are here as long as you can surpass the first hour.

Really, eject your real CD drive? What kind of puzzle is that? (maybe in a perfect world, but definitely not in a diverse computer configuration world)

and +1 for ugliest and hated the controls

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Machinarium was probably my favorite adventure game of the last ten years (I also enjoyed the two Samorost games thoroughly).

I also love most of Telltale's pre-Back to the Future output (the Bone games, Sam & Max's three seasons, Strong Bad's Cool Game for Attractive People, Wallace & Gromit's Grand Adventures, Tales of Monkey Island and Puzzle Agent, as well as Puzzle Agent 2 and Hector).

Finally, I've only played the first Blackwell game, but it was pretty good and I will definitely play the next ones when I get a chance.

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Hi everyone, I'm the new guy.

Anyway, I'm going to throw the game "Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP" in the round. It's not a "classic" Adventure in terms of game play, but borrows heavily on some elements. I got a big Kings Quest 5 vibe from it.

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Hi everyone, I'm the new guy.
Check the post count of everyone in the Kickstarter forums. You're all the new guy.

In fact, that's true. I've just made a bunch of double-(and triple, for that matter)-accounts here, I didn't know this was not allowed. Sorry! :)

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Oh man this is super hard, I've been ransacking my brain ( and also checking release dates). I selected 'best' to mean the ones that most stuck with me over time. This means my selection is weird ...

Cirque de Zale (2004)

http://www.adventuregamestudio.co.uk/games.php?action=detail&id=377

This really stuck with me. It's a classic fantasy adventure in a sort of Sierra/ Simon the Sorcerer style.

Apprentice Deluxe (2003)

http://www.adventuregamestudio.co.uk/games.php?action=detail&id=570

Just scraping in to the ten years. This is a really slick and funny game for a freeware title.

Ben There Dan That! / Time Gentlemen Please!

More people should play these, plays off of the self referential humour very well.

Strong Bad's Cool Game for attractive people

This is my favourite TTG, they go the humour and puzzles just right. I tend to find TTG a bit inconsistent in places but I think this was the most consistent and very faithful to the flash series.

Hotel Dusk

Suffers from some really finicky puzzle solutions, but very atmospheric and clever use of the DS for puzzles.

This list could be longer if I think if I was being looser with the point n' click definition, and also if I didn't have such a horrific backlong of adventures to play.

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Hi everyone, I'm the new guy.
Check the post count of everyone in the Kickstarter forums. You're all the new guy.

In fact, that's true. I've just made a bunch of double-(and triple, for that matter)-accounts here, I didn't know this was not allowed. Sorry! :)

Actually, a few of the regulars in Off Topic have alts. Me included, so don't worry about it.

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Oh oh yes, I third Apprentice I & II!

Both are absolutely lovely games, especially the second game. A bit sad we never got a third, the story was just about to get moving. They're funny, charming, and with the exception of one far-fetched puzzle in the first part, really well designed. Very old-school yes, and conventional, but for this matter also very well crafted. Ah...

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I liked Schizm (including the 'sound puzzle from Hell'), but it came out late 2001, so I guess it doesn't count.

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I have a feeling Tim has enough for his POLL and who knows if ANY of this will actually mean anything to developing THEIR game.

Old School would make one think we go to BEFORE 2002.

Still... some newer games are old school.

The Next Big Thing so far was the best of the new realm of Point & Clicks I've played.

I just started A New Beginning which has some really horrible acting beacuse the stilted Translation and the actors choosing to read the script directly instead of going "No one talks like this when they speak English!" unless in the future we all start talking like idiots.

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For me it's the first Runaway, then Syberia Iⅈ. I also enjoyed Perry Rhodan for it's SF ambience.

Did Monkey island special editions count too ? :D

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I'd echo many of the others already mentioned... Syberia, Myst etc.

Sorry if I missed the mention of these but...

A Vampyre Story (great humor) - Dreamcather Games

Drawn: The Painted Tower (all 3 games) Stuningly beautiful.

-Phil

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Because of the comments here I have finally gotten around to playing Machinarium. Very fun. I do really like their hint system, where you have to play a minigame in order to unlock the hint, so you still feel accomplished even if you look at hints. =)

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To be honest I had no idea there were more than a couple of adventure games made in the last 10 years.

So it is very cool to see the long list of games here. Which games would you recommend to someone looking for the next Curse of Monkey Island or Space Quest VI? Are any of these recent titles remotely comparable?

Maybe Runaway? That looks like it has almost Lucasarts-level graphics.

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So it is very cool to see the long list of games here. Whhch games would you recommend to someone looking for the next Curse of Monkey Island or Space Quest VI? Are any of these recent titles remotely comparable?

Maybe Runaway? That looks like it has almost Lucasarts-level graphics.

The Book of Unwritten Tales, maybe. You may like that.

Deponia comes awfully close to Curse of Monkey Island in many ways, but you'll still have to wait for an English translation.

While I enjoyed Runaway when it came out, at the time of the great adventure game drought, I don't think it holds up well. Yes, the graphics are beautiful, but don't be deceived. The script isn't very witty and puzzle design is spotty. One design flaw is so bad that the term Runaway Syndrome was coined to describe it.

Runaway is not the worst adventure you could play, but if you want to remain enthusiastic about the genre I would stay clear of it. I haven't played any of Pendulo Studios' later efforts, but I read that The Next BIG Thing and Runaway 3 are much better.

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So it is very cool to see the long list of games here. Whhch games would you recommend to someone looking for the next Curse of Monkey Island or Space Quest VI? Are any of these recent titles remotely comparable?

Maybe Runaway? That looks like it has almost Lucasarts-level graphics.

The Book of Unwritten Tales, maybe. You may like that.

Deponia comes awfully close to Curse of Monkey Island in many ways, but you'll still have to wait for an English translation.

While I enjoyed Runaway when it came out, at the time of the great adventure game drought, I don't think it holds up well. Yes, the graphics are beautiful, but don't be deceived. The script isn't very witty and puzzle design is spotty. One design flaw is so bad that the term Runaway Syndrome was coined to describe it.

Runaway is not the worst adventure you could play, but if you want to remain enthusiastic about the genre I would stay clear of it. I haven't played any of Pendulo Studios' later efforts, but I read that The Next BIG Thing and Runaway 3 are much better.

Thanks for the advice. Book of Unwritten Tales does seem to have a good tongue in cheek sense of humor about it.

Too bad about Runaway being shallow. I miss puzzles that are truly challenging. Although not so much the hair pulling that results.

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Too bad about Runaway being shallow. I miss puzzles that are truly challenging. Although not so much the hair pulling that results.

Runaway 1 and 2 suffer from a few unfair puzzles (still most of the puzzles are really fun) and poor English localization if you plan to play them in English. On the other side, they are really funny - with great plots and characters - fairly long and difficult, and boast really nice graphics (even for today's standard).

Runaway 3 A Twist of Fate and The Next Big Thing have amazing graphics and animation, good English localization, very funny dialogs and great plots full of twists and turns. But they are shorter and less difficult games (try to avoid using any of the included help systems if you want any challenge). Runaway 3 has been designed to be accessible to those who haven't played the first two episodes, and has a slightly darker tone. The Next Big Thing on the other hand is a completly new franchise with a zany setting and absurd humor that pays hommage to the golden age of Hollywood and classic horror movies (think Hammer, Frankenstein, mad scientists, etc.).

You can find all these games on Steam for a fairly low price.

If you want some challenge and a Monkey Island flavor, playing Tales of Monkey Island could also be a good choice. Not really point & click, but still a great adventure game.

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In no particular order:

The Moment of Silence (A massively underrated game).

A Vampyre Story

Gemini Rue

Machinarium

Syberia / Syberia II

Runaway: A Road Adventure (and its sequels: Runaway 2 / Runaway 3)

The Whispered World

Undercover: Operation Wintersun

This might be cheating with regards to release dates, but the remastered versions of the first two Broken Sword games and the first two Monkey Island games are top of my list for sure ;)

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The Next Big Thing on the other hand is a completly new franchise with a zany setting and absurd humor that pays hommage to the golden age of Hollywood and classic horror movies (think Hammer, Frankenstein, mad scientists, etc.).

It isn't a completely new franchise, as it basically is the modern style version of an old game also by Pendulo Studios, called Hollywood Monsters, a really enjoyable game for who likes a BIG challenge but that has some very convoluted oldstyle puzzles; in the middle open scene part, it actually suffers from some illogical solution, though not that commonly.

Sadly enough the game didn't see an English release even if it seems there is a bootleg version around; glad enough that it actually got a great localization in Italian.

The Next Big Thing copies a couple of locations, and a couple of the worst puzzles of the original, other than the general theme, but it's not a direct sequel. All in all, I was a bit disapponted by its length and its weird solutions in some spots and the story didn't really hit on me, but I guess that it's just a personal taste since I actually enjoyed the female main character a lot. It still felt as a step back after the wonderful plot, puzzles and immersion of Runaway 3.

Also, thanks a lot to the guys who suggested Ghost Trick in this thread, it took a while to find a copy for my DS, but now that I got it, it totally blew me for its plot and original gameplay.

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There's one point'n'click game everyone here has been playing and I think it ranks up there near the top of the list:

The Internet.

I've been playing it for the last 17 years and I still haven't managed to find the ending...

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