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Most improved game companies

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Which developers would you say improved the most during their time making adventure games?

Access Software
would be up there for me. If you play Mean Streets and then Overseer back to back you’ll see what I mean. They were also making frustrating action games like Crime Wave and Echelon in the 80s so that says a lot, I think.

I think I’d also have to mention Legend Entertainment who went from the very average ‘cross-between-Zork-and-LSL’ Spellcasting 101 to the excellent Callahan’s Crosstime Saloon, while producing many other fine games.

If we’re looking at modern companies, Amanita Design is looking very promising. 2003’s Samorost was charming but really just a prototype of what they achieved in Botanicula, which I think is their best yet.

     

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Depends how selective you are - Sierra’s growth from Mystery House to a Gabriel Knight 2 is obviously impressive (like Access their late middle period was the strongest).

The Wadjet Eye games have improved a lot too - I’d say they got consistently better from the so-so Shivah to the incredible ‘Resonance’

     

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OneFlesh - 24 June 2013 06:24 AM

Depends how selective you are - Sierra’s growth from Mystery House to a Gabriel Knight 2 is obviously impressive (like Access their late middle period was the strongest).

The Wadjet Eye games have improved a lot too - I’d say they got consistently better from the so-so Shivah to the incredible ‘Resonance’

Wadjet eye are technically publishers, all their games are from diff developers.

You can go deeper though and say the team behind the Blackwell series have done well.

I’m waiting for someone to mention telltale, even though I personally found TWD a terribly forced and emotionally manipulative “game”. The choices they gave you were pointless, because no matter what you chose, the game would still treat you like a horrible person.

I have reloaded and tested this theory in many places, hoping to find a saving grace, because I wanted to like it, but there isn’t one. Pretend choice is not choice. It’s a façade of an interaction, laid on top of a melodramatic clichéd story.

I know its an obvious one, but my vote goes to lucasarts. what they allowed Mr. Schafer to attempt with Grim Fandango was a true step forward for a genre that was fading out at the time. It’s one of the finest examples of progression the adventure genre has ever seen honestly.

 

     
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Idrisguitar - 24 June 2013 07:53 PM
OneFlesh - 24 June 2013 06:24 AM

Depends how selective you are - Sierra’s growth from Mystery House to a Gabriel Knight 2 is obviously impressive (like Access their late middle period was the strongest).

The Wadjet Eye games have improved a lot too - I’d say they got consistently better from the so-so Shivah to the incredible ‘Resonance’

Wadjet eye are technically publishers, all their games are from diff developers.

You can go deeper though and say the team behind the Blackwell series have done well.

I’m waiting for someone to mention telltale, even though I personally found TWD a terribly forced and emotionally manipulative “game”. The choices they gave you were pointless, because no matter what you chose, the game would still treat you like a horrible person.

I have reloaded and tested this theory in many places, hoping to find a saving grace, because I wanted to like it, but there isn’t one. Pretend choice is not choice. It’s a façade of an interaction, laid on top of a melodramatic clichéd story.

I know its an obvious one, but my vote goes to lucasarts. what they allowed Mr. Schafer to attempt with Grim Fandango was a true step forward for a genre that was fading out at the time. It’s one of the finest examples of progression the adventure genre has ever seen honestly.

Both Lucasarts and Telltale started out pretty well. I love Monkey Island 1 and I love Grim Fandango. Telltale started with games like Bone and Sam & Max Season 1 and has declined from there.

I agree with Sierra, however. Their early games were not very good.

Blackwell hasn’t improved. It was tedious and badly written at the beginning and still is.

     
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Oscar - 24 June 2013 05:00 AM

If we’re looking at modern companies, Amanita Design is looking very promising. 2003’s Samorost was charming but really just a prototype of what they achieved in Botanicula, which I think is their best yet.

I agree.  They also set the standard, or raised the bar, that others will model themselves after.  Botanicula is a great game…...but nowhere close to Machinarium, #17 on the Top 100 (maybe shouldn’t be that high-up but definitely a classic).

     
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Bonsai - 24 June 2013 09:39 PM

Botanicula is a great game…...but nowhere close to Machinarium, #17 on the Top 100 (maybe shouldn’t be that high-up but definitely a classic)

Let’s say they are both great and leave it at that Smile

I also think they complement each other nicely, one representing the world of machines and the other the world of life.

     
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Oscar - 24 June 2013 10:26 PM
Bonsai - 24 June 2013 09:39 PM

Botanicula is a great game…...but nowhere close to Machinarium, #17 on the Top 100 (maybe shouldn’t be that high-up but definitely a classic)

Let’s say they are both great and leave it at that Smile

I also think they complement each other nicely, one representing the world of machines and the other the world of life.

You’re absolutely right, both are fantastic…...kinda like AQWIC and Anacapri (not everybody has good tastes ) Wink

     

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Zifnab - 24 June 2013 08:20 PM

Blackwell hasn’t improved. It was tedious and badly written at the beginning and still is.

I disagree.  Have you played all of them?  The entries have become increasingly solid with each release… In my opinion, the pacing has become tighter and the puzzles better-designed over the course of the series’ development.

I can understand if you simply don’t like the series, but to say the games haven’t improved *at all* seems to be a bit much.

     
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Colster - 25 June 2013 01:49 AM

I disagree.  Have you played all of them?

No, only the first 2 and the start of the 3rd. You do have a point and I would ask: how much have they improved? Because the first 2 games I found were pretty ordinary for something people were comparing to the old classics, and so I would say there’s a lot of room for improvement for the company. This is the “most improved” company thread after all. If they have only improved a little bit (which was my observation) then surely there are other companies more deserving for this thread?

My choice would be Frogwares if they hadn’t released the abomination “Testament of Sherlock Holmes”. Their first few were not good at all and they peaked with “Nemesis” and “The Awakened”. It’s a pity they have chosen the path of mini-games and casual style gaming.

     
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Blackwell games clearly improve. If you find them boring and the stories bad they obviously are not games for you.

The first Blackwell game is very short and limited in gameplay, it’s more like a first chapter really. The second game I enjoyed immensely, actually even more than the 3rd but that really wasn’t about gameplay as much as the characters, I really loved that auntie. 4th game is longer and has loads of varying puzzles, it’s definitely the best one in the bunch if one considers the gameplay. But my favourites still are 2 and 4.

Personally if I don’t like some series I stop playing it but don’t go around telling people who loved them how horribly wrong they are. The majority seems to think Blackwell games improved a lot not to mention how highly praised Gemini Rue and Resonance are, compared to Blackwell or the earlier games. So I don’t really get why Wadjet Eye wouldn’t be “deserving” to be in this thread. Or is this just meant for the top10 and the rest aren’t allowed a mention?

Art of Murder series improved also a lot. But I guess City Interactive is no more. The first game was pretty bad gameplaywise while the third was actually quite impressive already. One can again debate about the stories - many people prefer the first one - but considering the direction on making the games, they were definitely on the right track.

     

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millenia - 25 June 2013 08:55 AM

Personally if I don’t like some series I stop playing it but don’t go around telling people who loved them how horribly wrong they are.

This is terribly hypocritical. You yourself are telling someone how horribly wrong they are, because you liked a series. Anyway the thread isn’t about liking or disliking, but improvement. You can love Blackwell and still have an opinion that it didn’t improve. And if you hate it your opinion is no less valid. Not everyone must do as you do.

     
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Zifnab - 25 June 2013 09:16 AM
millenia - 25 June 2013 08:55 AM

Personally if I don’t like some series I stop playing it but don’t go around telling people who loved them how horribly wrong they are.

This is terribly hypocritical. You yourself are telling someone how horribly wrong they are, because you liked a series. Anyway the thread isn’t about liking or disliking, but improvement. You can love Blackwell and still have an opinion that it didn’t improve. And if you hate it your opinion is no less valid. Not everyone must do as you do.

No, you are not wrong if you don’t like something, that is just a matter about taste. You are wrong saying that the series doesn’t improve at all (though that could be your opinion too - even though a weird one - I’m not really arguing that) when you obviously just dislike the whole series and didn’t even try out the latest games that really show the improvement. You are missing the information required to make that kind of observation.

You also keep just talking about the one series when the original person that mentioned Wadjet Eye was really comparing Shivah with Resonance, where Blackwell games are in the middle. If one would think that all the Blackwell games are equally good/bad, that person should still say that Resonance, Primordia or Gemini Rue are not improvements from Shivah or Emerald City Confidential. Are you saying that?

     

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millenia - 25 June 2013 09:32 AM

You also keep just talking about the one series when the original person that mentioned Wadjet Eye was really comparing Shivah with Resonance, where Blackwell games are in the middle. If one would think that all the Blackwell games are equally good/bad, that person should still say that Resonance, Primordia or Gemini Rue are not improvements from Shivah or Emerald City Confidential. Are you saying that?

I agree with you millenia…..the journey from The Shivah to Primordia has been remarkable.  Wadjet Eye has undeniably excelled year after year. Putting out 10 games in about 6 years is an accomplishment in itself.  Great job Dave Gilbert Smile

     
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millenia - 25 June 2013 09:32 AM
Zifnab - 25 June 2013 09:16 AM
millenia - 25 June 2013 08:55 AM

Personally if I don’t like some series I stop playing it but don’t go around telling people who loved them how horribly wrong they are.

This is terribly hypocritical. You yourself are telling someone how horribly wrong they are, because you liked a series. Anyway the thread isn’t about liking or disliking, but improvement. You can love Blackwell and still have an opinion that it didn’t improve. And if you hate it your opinion is no less valid. Not everyone must do as you do.

No, you are not wrong if you don’t like something, that is just a matter about taste. You are wrong saying that the series doesn’t improve at all (though that could be your opinion too - even though a weird one - I’m not really arguing that) when you obviously just dislike the whole series and didn’t even try out the latest games that really show the improvement. You are missing the information required to make that kind of observation.

You also keep just talking about the one series when the original person that mentioned Wadjet Eye was really comparing Shivah with Resonance, where Blackwell games are in the middle. If one would think that all the Blackwell games are equally good/bad, that person should still say that Resonance, Primordia or Gemini Rue are not improvements from Shivah or Emerald City Confidential. Are you saying that?

The point made above by Irisguitar was that Wadjet Eye publishes games made by different companies so it’s senseless to talk of any progression in their releases.

My own point was that you may very well be correct that Blackwell has improved, but in my eyes it’s still a generic pixel-art pulp story full of cliches, and in spite of a minor improvement in graphics and writing ability there are many other companies more deserving of the title “most improved”. If we accept your rule that we cannot criticize the opinions of people who like things, I don’t see why you should criticize the opinions of people who don’t.

Should I play the rest of Blackwell #3 and #4? Maybe, but if you had read 2 books by an author and don’t like them, would you keep going hoping for a massive sudden boost of talent? I doubt it.

     
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Blackwell games do improve technically from one episode to an another, but they aren’t as such very good games I’d say.

     
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i find the gameplay of blackwell series mediocre (but it’s the same with many recent titles I’ve played so I kind of stopped carrying). But I still think of the series as an example of improvement. In story, length, characters, puzzles, outlook, atmosphere… My favorite part so far is the third (all that Joe Gould stuff got me really excited). The whole story and universe reveals itself in a really nice pace and it’s really nice when some pieces of the story won’t click together until you go to the later chapters. Lately, when I play adventure games I care mostly for the story and the atmosphere. This game has them both and continues improving them with each chapter. Saying that it’s something else disguised as an adventure game is just wrong.

     

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