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did we take the 2000s decade for granted?

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tomimt - 10 July 2020 06:42 AM

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.

That must be a joke, because if there’s one game that aged gracefully, it’s Syberia. It even follows the nowadays trend with not too many hotspots, and it’s not that hard game to finish.

     

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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diego - 10 July 2020 07:03 AM

That must be a joke, because if there’s one game that aged gracefully, it’s Syberia. It even follows the nowadays trend with not too many hotspots, and it’s not that hard game to finish.

Nope. I tried to replay Syberia not so long ago and I found it utterly boring. Too many empty locations just for the sake of having them instead of them serving any purpose what so ever to the game or the story. Syberia does have moments of brilliance, but as a whole, it is a mediocre game that had the benefit of coming out in a time when there was a vacuum caused by the old greats ceasing to make adventure games. I don’t think that many people would remember it at all had it came out in the 90s exactly the way it is.

     
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tomimt - 10 July 2020 08:07 AM
diego - 10 July 2020 07:03 AM

That must be a joke, because if there’s one game that aged gracefully, it’s Syberia. It even follows the nowadays trend with not too many hotspots, and it’s not that hard game to finish.

Nope. I tried to replay Syberia not so long ago and I found it utterly boring. Too many empty locations just for the sake of having them instead of them serving any purpose what so ever to the game or the story. Syberia does have moments of brilliance, but as a whole, it is a mediocre game that had the benefit of coming out in a time when there was a vacuum caused by the old greats ceasing to make adventure games. I don’t think that many people would remember it at all had it came out in the 90s exactly the way it is.

Ok then. I must inform you that you’re in the minority though, as it’s doing great on modern digital services like Steam and GOG, not to mention that newcomers to a genre have a great time with it, in my experience.

     

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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tomimt - 10 July 2020 08:07 AM

Syberia does have moments of brilliance, but as a whole, it is a mediocre game that had the benefit of coming out in a time when there was a vacuum caused by the old greats ceasing to make adventure games. I don’t think that many people would remember it at all had it came out in the 90s exactly the way it is.

The same can be said of many other games too, and on the other hand, had some of those forgotten games from the 90’s come out before or after their time, they could have been well received instead of being lost in the mass of games.

diego - 10 July 2020 08:11 AM

Ok then. I must inform you that you’re in the minority though, as it’s doing great on modern digital services like Steam and GOG, not to mention that newcomers to a genre have a great time with it, in my experience.

I wouldn’t pay too much attention to how a game is doing in some store, unless it’s a new game. There are so many factors involved there. If we look at some sale statistics, there are bundle discounts and all that, if we look at user feedback, most often they are written by fans of the game who only want to promote the game.

Having said that, it is my experience as well that people who are adventure n00bs like Syberia. They don’t know much about the genre, have absolutely no frame of reference of genre evolution and all that, they just think it’s a nice game with a nice story and entertaining puzzles. It would be interesting to ask how they think about the game after they have played 100-200 other adventure games. As an experiment, it would take a while, I guess.

     
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GateKeeper - 10 July 2020 08:28 AM

Having said that, it is my experience as well that people who are adventure n00bs like Syberia. They don’t know much about the genre, have absolutely no frame of reference of genre evolution and all that, they just think it’s a nice game with a nice story and entertaining puzzles. It would be interesting to ask how they think about the game after they have played 100-200 other adventure games. As an experiment, it would take a while, I guess.

The thing with Syberia is that it’s a perfect diorama of everything good that the genre represents, not being necessarily best game in the genre (and it’s not). The graphics are splendid too look at, and it has an original, almost mature-like novel story. Kate has a lot of personality, and Oscar is just a great character, one of the greatest sidekicks in the history of the genre. It’s an approachable game, relatable, emotional while not being “cheap” about it. But speaking of the fans of the genre, Syberia has a lot to offer to them, too. You don’t need to excel at something, middle-ground is sometimes good too, if not the best. It would feel the same to me if someone said that Peter Sellers’ comedy movies are not that good, because you have plenty of other comedies with more mature humor. But those movies knew that they want to achieve, and they will always stand the test of time.

     

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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diego - 10 July 2020 08:40 AM

It would feel the same to me if someone said that Peter Sellers’ comedy movies are not that good, because you have plenty of other comedies with more mature humor. But those movies knew that they want to achieve, and they will always stand the test of time.

(off-topic)

Only someone dumb or dumber wouldn’t like those movies. “A Shot in the Dark” is simply great, quite possibly the best comedy film of all times. (Something from Marx Brothers or Mel Brooks might be comparable.)

The slow pacing can feel a bit strange for today’s audiences, but who cares.

     
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eriktorbjorn - 10 July 2020 03:32 AM

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…)

I stand corrected. For some reason I thought Telltale exclusively announced they had hired their own actor as replacement. But maybe I confused it with Back to the Future, another disappointing adaptation of one of my favourite film series.

     

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tomimt - 10 July 2020 08:07 AM

Nope. I tried to replay Syberia not so long ago and I found it utterly boring. Too many empty locations just for the sake of having them instead of them serving any purpose what so ever to the game or the story. Syberia does have moments of brilliance, but as a whole, it is a mediocre game that had the benefit of coming out in a time when there was a vacuum caused by the old greats ceasing to make adventure games. I don’t think that many people would remember it at all had it came out in the 90s exactly the way it is.

There’s a big difference between something “aging poorly” and not being conducive to replays. An atmosphere of isolation is integral to the Syberia experience and all the beautiful but empty screens help make for a powerful initial playthrough. Not so much any time after, when maybe all you want to do is just get to the gameplay. This would also explain why it’s still so newbie-friendly. It has little to do with a lack of familiarity with the genre, as Gatekeeper suggests, and much more to do with the fact that of course the newbs are experiencing the game for the first time.

As to the overall topic, I don’t think there’s much question that the first half of the 2000s were pretty poor, but it was most definitely rebounding nicely in the second half. Maybe not all the games were Golden Era-level successes, but that’s really when the genre’s “revival” took place.

 

     

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Doom - 10 July 2020 12:07 PM

I stand corrected. For some reason I thought Telltale exclusively announced they had hired their own actor as replacement. But maybe I confused it with Back to the Future, another disappointing adaptation of one of my favourite film series.

funny thing is, that Bob Gale was part of the development of Back to the Future, it’s not like Telltale worked behind his back with the game. And what comes to not having Michael J. Fox back as the voice of Marty, maybe his Parkinson’s was bad at the time. He has a couple of years gap between projects during the time the game came out and was in development. It’s not like he was against the game, he does have a small role in the last episode after all.

     
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Back to the Future was poor choice of a franchise compared to something like Sam and Max, or Bone, because it was an epic, cult movie series which needed a big budget production, and in my opinion, a full-fledged, non-episodic game. Voices were great, script was OK, but it just didn’t work with the Telltale-format, with cartoon-like graphics and one-room-at-a-time game design. Not to mention that it was at this time that Telltale started spawning interactive movies instead of puzzle-oriented, adventure games. I guess they should have choosen Seinfeld instead of BttF.

     

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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GateKeeper - 10 July 2020 02:02 AM

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.

Thanks for the info, I’ll definitely keep an eye on these. Hopefully at least a couple turn out good.

About games like Syberia is interesting, because like I was saying in my post I remember these games so fondly and they had some quality to them that spoke to me personally, even though objectively I know they are not at the level of the classics and they have plenty of problems. Syberia, like Jackal says, doesn’t sit well with genre veterans and lacks replayabilty probably because of its lack of proper adventure game gameplay, I can see why it would seem boring. But for me it had a lasting impact with its themes, its atmosphere of isolation and this melancholic quality to it all. Very few games have that impact on me.

     
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Games I like from the 2000’s:
Syberia 1
Syberia 2
Still Life
Indigo Prophecy
Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney
Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney - Justice For All
Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney - Trials and Tribulations
Ace Attorney Investigations: Miles Edgeworth
Another Code: Two Memories
Another Code R: Journey Into Lost Memories
Hotel Dusk: Room 215
Blackwell Legacy
Blackwell Unbound
Blackwell Convergence
Dreamfall: The Longest Journey
Sam & Max Save The World
Sam & Max Beyond Space and Time
Strong Bad’s Cool Game 4 Attractive People
Tales Of Monkey Island
Machinarium

There’s a lot of games I really like. You didn’t have a single iconic studio that was just putting out hit after hit (quality wise) like LucasArts but there’s a smattering of worthwhile titles from the various scenes that were keeping the torch lit for adventures (indie, handheld, japan, europe, TTG).

diego - 10 July 2020 07:03 AM
tomimt - 10 July 2020 06:42 AM

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.

That must be a joke, because if there’s one game that aged gracefully, it’s Syberia. It even follows the nowadays trend with not too many hotspots, and it’s not that hard game to finish.

I played the Syberia games fairly recently (I played 2 just last year) and I enjoyed them quite a bit. I actually think the 2nd game was even better than the first. Absolutely love the setting/world-building in those games. Also, how many of the puzzles feel like real world mechanisms. There is a lot of back tracking in the first game (the 2nd one is better about it) but it wasn’t bad enough to put me off the game’s strengths.

I also love the look of pre-rendered environments from that era and Syberia II has some of the absolute best I’ve ever seen. I had a blast playing through that game.

     
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great discussion here, but to be clear I am taking that decade side, yeah it hadnt the constant innovation of the 90s or the last decade, but it had many loyal* games to classic format with a very decent production value, i see Black Mirror, Dreamfall, Machinarium, Samorost 2, Edna & Harvey, Still Life and Syberia standing above any game released since 2010, even games like Jack Keane, Broken Sword 3, Everlight, Vampyre Story standing the test of time well enough too, and if you cant see it, just imagine them released today, they IMO are better than All Wadjet Eye games (expect for Gemini Rue).

when a game like Unforeseen Incident or Paradigm comes out we get very excited about them, well, this was the constant standard of that decade or even better.. if we gonna cry over the lack innovation then we must remember we wouldn’t ourselves accept it then, all we wanted is just to see new games filling the Void of Lucas and Sierra, and these game were like the light in the darkest hours, and that gives them too much respect imo and value too.

     
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I think between 01-10 were some dark years for the adventure game titles. Analysing the titles that I thought I liked has me realizing that I liked them because I was desperate to like them. I was starving and bread and water seemed like a nice steak to my desperate pallet.

While there were some truly great games in there such as the Black Mirror series there were far too many games being churned out with what seemed to be without a soul. Without an attempt to create a personal connection. It was akin to a one night stand, as opposed to building a relationship.

While I’m sure the companies would have loved to create a piece of art, it seemed as if they were fighting for there lives. The adventure game market was all but dead. The MARKET market was dead in the early 2000’s. Everyone was broke, and the demographic who were raised on the golden age of adventure games were desperately scrambling to keep whatever start of our lives that we had built (I’m a 39 year old in the US).

Even if the companies themselves or their investors COULD weather the storm personally, they had a difficult time pushing their product. So, it seems like these companies were completing their projects and were throwing hail Marys in hopes of making. Rather than drawing up a real plan, making a real game and trying to capitalize on a market who was desperate to get lost in a well designed game in order to turn our brains off of the troubles we were facing they went the othernway. Staff cuts. Each gameseemed to be something lacking. Games often had beautiful art but terrible storyline. Good storyline but terrible character dialogue. Great characters and art but downright stupid puzzles (box pushing in Broken Sword 3).

With the Advent of platform conversation, mobile devices, Kickstarter things picked up. I ltimately we, us, you and I who previously had been hit hard financially weathering the storm and looking for nostalgia. Many of us had kids and wanted to share with them. It’s helped.

While we will probably never see another staff like Sierra had back in the day, we do have dedicated production teams who truly care. Many of the greats are truly back making games. They are married to their games. They love their characters. There is passion. There is soul.

     

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Advie - 11 July 2020 10:07 AM

great discussion here, but to be clear I am taking that decade side, yeah it hadnt the constant innovation of the 90s or the last decade, but it had many loyal* games to classic format with a very decent production value, i see Black Mirror, Dreamfall, Machinarium, Samorost 2, Edna & Harvey, Still Life and Syberia standing above any game released since 2010, even games like Jack Keane, Broken Sword 3, Everlight, Vampyre Story standing the test of time well enough too, and if you cant see it, just imagine them released today, they IMO are better than All Wadjet Eye games (expect for Gemini Rue).

Even just some innovation would have been nice. Not one of those games has any sort of innovation except for the Amanita games.

Thankfully since they we now have the best of both worlds - innovation and tradition. Maybe there’s not a whole heap of traditional titles coming out these days, but when they do they’re often a lot better made. I would take 1 Virtuaverse or Technobabylon over 20 Still Lifes or Jack Keanes.

Captain Blondebeard - 12 July 2020 08:48 AM

Even if the companies themselves or their investors COULD weather the storm personally, they had a difficult time pushing their product. So, it seems like these companies were completing their projects and were throwing hail Marys in hopes of making. Rather than drawing up a real plan, making a real game and trying to capitalize on a market who was desperate to get lost in a well designed game in order to turn our brains off of the troubles we were facing they went the othernway. Staff cuts. Each gameseemed to be something lacking. Games often had beautiful art but terrible storyline. Good storyline but terrible character dialogue. Great characters and art but downright stupid puzzles (box pushing in Broken Sword 3).

That’s a good point. You could see that standards were dropping too. When Monkey Island 4 was released in 2000 it was heavily criticized (rightly in many cases) but then when Tales of Monkey Island came out it had much worse artwork, and was praised like the Second Coming of Jesus. The fans were just so desperate for adventure games so an average game seemed like an oasis in the desert.

     

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