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did we take the 2000s decade for granted?

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The 2000s saw some fresh blood in the scene with the start of the Ace Attorney and Professor Layton series (among others), which were not only fantastic games with fresh ideas, but brought adventurers and the DS and consoles in general closer together and have some of the most mainstream-recognizable adventure game characters around (on a related note, they’re among very few adventure games to make it to an arbitrary list like this).
The 2000s were also the time of Telltale Sam & Max, breaking new ground for the genre in rich character animation and camerawork and setting a high standard for voice acting, music and comedy writing.

     

The golden age of mathematics - that was not the age of Euclid, it is ours. -Cassius Jackson Keyser

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I agree about Machinarium.

I had to check its release date, and it is October 2009. I somehow thought it was later, but indeed it qualifies here, albeit barely, and it really should be mentioned as one of the best games of the decade.

     
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There’s also a couple of Secret Files games from 2000’s that are worthy of mention.

Broken Sword 3 for me too. And I quite enjoyed the Chronicles of Mystery games - although they are hardly classics.

     

3.5 time winner of the “Really Annoying Caption Contest Saboteur” Award!

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GateKeeper - 09 July 2020 10:27 AM

I read that as he specifically wants games of that era to be appreciated as what they are, and NOT be compared to the “golden age”, which is difficult to define anyway and everyone has his own idea about the beginning and ending point of that.

Funny, I actually paid more attention to the second part of Advie’s quote which you cut off Smile “and with at least AA qualities that we could not really appreciate back then enough” - I read it as he was talking about professional games with good production values that weren’t appreciated enough because they just weren’t good enough compared to the high-quality adventures of the past, but could be reevaluated now.

Those games look just as good, or even better, as many games from the “golden age”... But if you want to compare those games to those of the golden era, then they look quite as good, in many cases even better, than the games from a previous decade. Ben & Dan and The Shivah look much better (technically, artistically it’s always debatable) than AGI games, with SCI and Scumm games it’s more or less a tie, and goes one way or the other based on individual titles.

Sorry, I’m not an artist, but I will never buy that a game drawn by an amateur (Dan Marshall) or even a talented beginning artist (Ben Chandler) is of the same (not to mention of better) quality as games drawn by teams of experienced artists such as Peter Chan, Larry Ahern, Steve Purcell, etc. No, the quality is nowhere near, pixels or not, and Ben & Dan games didn’t even try to pretend as they made lots of self-aware jokes. Jokes about their current, not past games, unlike in your examples. That said, I should probably mention that I wasn’t talking about AGI games or anything from the 1980s since the technology wasn’t advanced enough at that time and many games were also made by amateurs (friends, family members, programmers who performed every other task). Under “golden age” people usually mean the 1990s, the time of both technological and creative boom.

You can’t say that a short film of 20 minutes is bad because it isn’t a two hour long movie?

If I bought a ticket to a theatre which follows its usual schedule (not some festival) and was shown a 20-minute movie, I would be certainly disappointed. Then again, movies usually last for 1.5-2 hours, so they can’t be really compared to games which traditionally take way more time to finish, and it doesn’t matter how the devs reach their aim - by inserting moon logic puzzles, mazes, respawnable monsters, looting, etc. This certainly influence the quality of games though, and I doubt many people considered Rex Nebular a masterpiece (even less people today I guess). But games like Monkey Island or Gabriel Knight are filled to the top with puzzles, dialogues, various events. And you don’t finish them in one sit.

     

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Nah… it’s a good decade. Perhaps from 2000-2004 is what I see as “Dark Ages”, with European companies (France leading the way) taking good share of the market and big companies stepping down. Also, in that period is that we saw rise of the AGS, free and indie developers, to keep the “wheel turning”. Then, in the second half and later in the decade, German companies (Daedalic namely) started producing some great games.

     

Recently finished: Four Last Things 4/5, Edna & Harvey: The Breakout 5/5, Chains of Satinav 3,95/5, A Vampyre Story 88, Sam Peters 3/5, Broken Sword 1 4,5/5, Broken Sword 2 4,3/5, Broken Sword 3 85, Broken Sword 5 81, Gray Matter 4/5\nCurrently playing: Broken Sword 4, Keepsake (Let\‘s Play), Callahan\‘s Crosstime Saloon (post-Community Playthrough)\nLooking forward to: A Playwright’s Tale

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Yeah, I forgot to mention Telltale. It is true that, in my opinion, they never reached the same level of quality in their later games like with the Sam&Max; series (or those early, brilliantly “true to the source material” games like the Bone and Wallace&Gromit;) but looking back, Telltale should be having a deserved place in the history of developers like those giants from 90s. I personally never liked the episodic format, and their gradual turn to interactive movie format (I think those should be saved for real actors), but even then, they reached the wide audience and made a good evolution from indie developer built on the remains of Lucas Arts, to a respected company.

     

Recently finished: Four Last Things 4/5, Edna & Harvey: The Breakout 5/5, Chains of Satinav 3,95/5, A Vampyre Story 88, Sam Peters 3/5, Broken Sword 1 4,5/5, Broken Sword 2 4,3/5, Broken Sword 3 85, Broken Sword 5 81, Gray Matter 4/5\nCurrently playing: Broken Sword 4, Keepsake (Let\‘s Play), Callahan\‘s Crosstime Saloon (post-Community Playthrough)\nLooking forward to: A Playwright’s Tale

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There was some really good games, but it`s only natural/fair to get few good games in ten years. 90s was Waaaaayyy better in quality and 10-20 had much more good stuff to offer. 2000-2005 was really bad period and after that it started to revive a bit..

     

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Ahenobarbus - 09 July 2020 06:09 PM

2000-2005 was really bad period and after that it started to revive a bit..

I disagree about what you say about 2000-2005.

I’m not going to say the first part of the 2000’s was better for everyone, but it was certainly better for me.

If you’re going to say there’s no right or wrong about taste, then you can’t claim the early 2000’s were worse than the later 2000’s for everyone.

It all depends on what games you like.

For example:

Games from 2000-2005 that I enjoyed:

Secret of the Lost Cavern - 2005
Egypt III - 2004
Return to Mysterious Island - 2005
Schizm - 2001
Schizm 2 - 2003
Sentinel - 2004
RHEM - 2002
RHEM 2 - 2005
Uru - 2003
Myst III: Exile - 2001
Black Mirror - 2003
Dark Fall - 2002
Dark Fall 2 - 2004
Atlantis 3 (Beyond Atlantis 2) - 2001

This doesn’t even include the edutainment games like Bioscopia (2001) and Genesis (2000).
Manufacturers stopped distributing these in the very early 2000’s, at least in the US.

Games from 2006-2010 that I enjoyed:

Sherlock Holmes: The Awakened - 2006
Sherlock vs Arsene Lupin - 2007
Sherlock vs Jack the Ripper - 2009
RHEM 3 - 2007
RHEM 4 - 2010
Scratches - 2006
Lost Horizon - 2010
The Lost Crown - 2008
Nostradamus - 2007
Secrets of Da Vinci - 2006

Games 2000-2005 that aren’t my favorites but got excellent reviews at AG and elsewhere:

Syberia - 2002
Syberia 2 - 2004
Still Life - 2005

Syberia 1 and 2 were top selling games as adventures go.
I’m not sure how well Still Life sold.

For me, the late 2000’s were very similar to the early 2010’s, mainly due to games from Daedalic. But there was a shortage of 1st person adventures in the 2010’s due to Kheops going under, and my favorite Kheops games were actually their earlier games anyway.

     
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What I’m getting from this discussion is that nobody liked Myst 4. I know it had a silly dream sequence, but it was still pretty good.

     

I Am the Knight of the Order of the Sun!

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I don’t think anyone could claim the 00’s were a “bad” decade. 10 years is a long time and any decade is going to get a number of games that, no matter your taste, you will enjoy.

The argument is that the 90s and 10s were just so much better. And I can get behind that argument. If we want to be scientific about it, let’s look at the number of 4 and 5 star reviews from the 90s and 2010s compared with the 00s.

     
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diego - 09 July 2020 01:31 PM

Yeah, I forgot to mention Telltale. It is true that, in my opinion, they never reached the same level of quality in their later games like with the Sam&Max; series (or those early, brilliantly “true to the source material” games like the Bone and Wallace&Gromit;) but looking back, Telltale should be having a deserved place in the history of developers like those giants from 90s. I personally never liked the episodic format, and their gradual turn to interactive movie format (I think those should be saved for real actors), but even then, they reached the wide audience and made a good evolution from indie developer built on the remains of Lucas Arts, to a respected company.

My memories of Telltale Sam & Max is not exactly warm and fuzzy. Playing the original Lucasarts Sam & Max I was mostly glued to the screen. Playing Telltale’s I was mostly thinking “oh great, another Bosco conversation” (*checks watch*). It had the occasional good joke but on the whole was repetitive, boring, and formulaic and I played it because there was nothing else. I can’t imagine I would appreciate it more now than I did back then.

 

     
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I was actually going to make a post similar to this one. I’ve been away from the adventure genre for a while now, only playing like 1 or 2 games a year and I’ve been reflecting on that. I’m not sure if it’s because my taste on game have changed as I turned to consoles and to more actiony type of games or if there’s just nothing in the genre that interests me anymore. There are great games coming now of course, but boy do I miss traditional point and click games with good production values and thinking about it, those were last made in the 2000s.

Nowadays the more traditional ones are usually indies with low budgets and low production values and the one with more budgets are more cinematic interactive experiences or “walking simulators.” I can enjoy both of course, but am I the only that misses those types of games made in the 2000s?

I realized a lot of my favorite adventures were made in that era mentioned in the OP and I agree with them that we took them for granted. Games like The Longest Journey, Syberia 1 and 2, Black Mirror, Runaway, The Moment of Silence, Secret Files, Still Life, Scratches, Dark Fall, early Deadalic titles, etc. I find it so ironic that many people consider that time as the death of the adventure game or a dark time, when for me personally it feels dead now in this era, even though they would say that more adventures are being made now than ever Confused

     
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danigar - 09 July 2020 10:28 PM

Nowadays the more traditional ones are usually indies with low budgets and low production values and the one with more budgets are more cinematic interactive experiences or “walking simulators.” I can enjoy both of course, but am I the only that misses those types of games made in the 2000s?

No, you aren’t, and that’s why games like that are being made all the time!

To pick a few that haven’t even been released yet, so obviously there’s no way to tell anything about their real quality, but they seem to be 2000’s by appearance (as in 2.5D third person game and such) and have good production values:

Beyond a Steel Sky

The Night is Grey

Orbis Fugae

Rauniot

Resort

Rosewater

Willy Morgan and the Curse of Bone Town

There are much more for sure, some are not yet announced and don’t have any store pages set up yet.
At least going by numbers, there will be many games, and presumably some will be of good quality too. The problem is, of course, whether they are what people want to see. At least the BASS sequel will be controversial for sure. We know already that it’s not even attempting to be like 1990’s games, more like 2000’s games.

     

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Doom - 09 July 2020 09:33 AM

They substituted claymation, the main feature of Aardman’s films, with their cheap 3D, they didn’t even care to invite Peter Sallis and used some unknown American voice actor instead.

That’s a bit harsh. From what I understand Ben Whitehead is British, and was already Aardman’s official replacement actor for Wallace for when Peter Sallis wasn’t available. (E.g. for toys and commercials? I vaguely remember reading about that at the time, but take that for what it’s worth because I can’t find the article now…)

 

     
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The way I see it, a good deal of 2000-2010 was filled with what I’d call B-roll games. Some of them aren’t bad, but there aren’t that memorable games there either. Even some of the ones that are revered from the era have aged somewhat poorly to a degree. Like Syberia, which I liked quite a bit, but which I nowadays just can’t bother playing anymore. Syberia 2 is even worse.

For me, the brightest spot of the is the Sherlock Holmes games by Frogwares. While they are somewhat clunky technically, they are fun games to play unlike some other titles from the era, like the Secret Files titles I find absolutely horrible. Some titles, like Still Life and Black Mirror, had quite a bit of promise, which they didn’t really manage to cash in.

     

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