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AG Theme Of The Week #8- Most Impactful Adventure Games

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For the sake of the theme this week, I am mostly concerned with adventure games that were pioneers in some aspect (whether it be interface, gameplay, presentation), or games that had a major impact on the genre in some way (either positive or negative).
Some of these games might not be the best in their class, but might have given some inspiration for future games that followed.
This list is very subjective, and I hope that it spurs further discussion about some games that shouldn’t be on this list, or others that are missing that should be included.
So without further ado, here is My Subjective List of Most Impactful Adventure Games:

- We start with the first adventure game on record “Colossal Cave Adventure” (also known as Adventure). Colossal Cave Adventure was a text adventure game developed originally in 1976 by Will Crowther for the PDP-10 mainframe.

- In 1980, husband and wife Ken and Roberta Williams wanted to add more immersion to the text adventures of the time, so they created Mystery House for the Apple II which added primitive graphics to the text adventure.

- In 1984, Sierra On-Line developed for the IBM PCjr its flagship title King’s Quest. Not only did this game put Sierra on-line on the map as a premiere adventure game company for the next decade and half, but it also provided graphics quality not seen in previous adventures.

- In 1985, ICom solutions gave the world the critically acclaimed Déjà Vu for the Macintosh, one of the first adventure games that is fully controlled with the mouse.

The game was very popular and was ported to several other platforms including MS-DOS, the NES and Commodore 64.

- In 1987, a young Lucas Film developer by the name of Ron Gilbert wanted to streamline the complexity of text parsers at the time. He noticed that most actions in a text adventure can be distilled to a handful of verbs.
In his first adventure Maniac Mansion, he introduced a new scripting utility referred to as SCUMM (Script Creation Utility for Maniac Mansion) which powered the next stream of Lucas Film/Arts adventures. Although not the first Lucas Film adventure(that honor goes to Labyrinth in 1986), the game was probably the most influential as it set in motion a golden era of Lucas Arts adventure games that are considered today some of the best in the genre. It also cemented Ron as a premiere developer, and bridged the gap between text adventures and the point and click ones of today.

- In 1993, Cyan released Myst, a very cinematic photo realistic first person adventure game that created its own subgenre. It ushered in the era of CD-ROM based games and it became so successful financially
that it dominated the sales charts, and became the biggest selling computer game until the release of The Sims.

- In 1998, Lucas Arts released Grim Fandango. Although it was considered a critical masterpiece (even getting the honor of best adventure game ever made on this site), it was not a financial success, and it acted as a warning for bigger companies that the adventure gaming market is not as hot as it used to be. It was probably the last nail in the coffin for what is considered the golden era of adventure games.

- In 2005, Quantic Dream released a game called Fahrenheit(Indigo Prophecy in the US, probably to distance itself from the controversial Fahrenheit 9/11 Michael Moore movie). The game was noticeable in its lack of puzzles, its Quick Time Events (QTEs for short), and its branching story line. This formula will be adopted later by Telltale games in their future titles as well as Quantic Dream’s future outings.

- In 2005, Telltale decides to adopt a new strategy in delivering video games. Instead of delivering the game as one whole entity, it instead divides it into episodes that are released at a somewhat reasonable rate.
The idea is to deliver something akin to a telivision series, and use the money and assets generated from prior episodes to build the future ones. The first game to do that was Bone:Out from Boneville, but it saw the most success with the Sam and Max series. With the success of Telltale’s episodic model, many companies big and small followed suit, with games like King’s Quest, Kentuky Route Zero, Broken Sword 5 and all the future Telltale Games adopting this model.

     

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- In 2008, Tale of Tales released a very short video game called The Graveyard that was linear in plot, and had very little gameplay besides exploring the background. This gave rise to a new type of divisive adventure game, known by some critics as a walking simulator, because of the lack of gameplay beyond exploration in this type of game. Some notable examples that fall in this genre are Dear Esther, Firewatch, and The Stanley Parable.

- In 2012, Double Fine raised $3.3 millions on kickstarter for its adventure game dubbed Double Fine Adventure(later renamed as Broken Age). The game’s original goal was $400,000 so it beat the original goal 8 fold. This encouraged many devs to use kickstarter as a funding platform, and we saw new entries from known devs like Dreamfall Chapters, Broken Sword 5, Thimbleweed Park and Armikrog as well as new comers like Kentuky Route Zero, Dropsy and 2064: Read Only Memories.
Kickstarter became very controversial, due to some of the games not living up to the hype, and others not releasing on time or at all(Looking at you Space Venture).

     

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nice theme SD and lets not go argue here ever about whom were the pioneer at one of those aspects as much as who had the real impacts over on; like if you come to MM being the bridge between text and point and clickthat was made before it but i guess as the title of the thread says , which has the impact and no doubt that MM is the one which had the impact over the term PnC until today.

nice stations along the adventure gaming time-line are brought here already and i agree agrue with every bit of it, but i might add 1 or 2 just in between some of those.

Between MM and Myst there were KQV which had the impact over pushing the genre on top of all other video games from the copies selling perspective and being considered the break thru for Microsoft and multi media in general, such as pushing the CD-Rom Technology for adventure gaming and computers , which has opened a great scoop, Myst wouldn’t have been to achieve creating and selling the game for a reasonable price nevertheless the success of KQV and its impact that happened prior.

Between Myst and Grim Fandango Phantasmagoria had the first impact over using FMVs into adventure gaming and video gaming in general and this impact is still visible until today and no one can take off Phantasmagoria at this criteria .

 

 

     

if everyone here has been just a just bit conservative; stop making all those daily intense posts, we may could ‘ve been able to catch up with any of them; as no one have been able to catch up with all these recent intensive forums activities

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Advie - 10 July 2017 08:24 AM

Between Myst and Grim Fandango Phantasmagoria had the first impact over using FMVs into adventure gaming and video gaming in general and this impact is still visible until today and no one can take off Phantasmagoria at this criteria .

Well, except 7th Guest Grin

Only one other I can think of is that Portal has sort of created a whole sub-branch of level-based puzzle games - Antechamber, Talos Principle, Quantum Conundrum, Turing Test

And then there is Alone in the Dark, which had more impact outside adventure gaming.

     
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Thanks for such an interesting time-line of games SoccerDude that have influenced how the genre has progressed to present us with the diversity within it we have today!  Thumbs Up  I haven’t much to add except for some inspiration from your posting of this:

SoccerDude28 - 10 July 2017 01:30 AM


- In 1985, ICom solutions gave the world the critically acclaimed Déjà Vu for the Macintosh, one of the first adventure games that is fully controlled with the mouse.

The game was very popular and was ported to several other platforms including MS-DOS, the NES and Commodore 64.

It seems that this idea pushed the genre on enough for interactive fiction with graphics to return in this case in 2016 ‘revamped’ to include all the best parts of adventure gaming that evolved along the way & with a wonderful interface - it surely must have been influenced by games like Deja Vu:

Interactive fiction is only a small part of the AG genre & is already being produced whatever but if StoryCentric Worlds manage to perfect & share/hire their ‘game engine’ which I believe is the aim then it could lead the way to more games being developed that are essentially IF but ‘feel’ like a ‘regular’ AG! 
Smile

N.B. The screenshot is from the IF remake of The Filmmaker which follows Lifestream & Shady Brook that were remade similarly.

     
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Under a Killing Moon may be also considered as a major impact on real-time 3D in adventure games (this era didn’t last long, and the real boom started only with the introduction of licensed 3D engines such as Unity, but nevertheless). And King’s Quest 5 helped popularizing the icon-based interface.

     

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I like this retrospective topic, SoccerDude!  You did a nice job of showing how the variety in the adventure game genre evolved. Thumbs Up

     

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BitingWit - 10 July 2017 09:45 AM

Well, except 7th Guest Grin

Only one other I can think of is that Portal has sort of created a whole sub-branch of level-based puzzle games - Antechamber, Talos Principle, Quantum Conundrum, Turing Test

And then there is Alone in the Dark, which had more impact outside adventure gaming.

When it comes to FMV games, from what I found browsing the internet, the first adventure game that used FMV must have been Mean Streets in 1989 although the game was not full FMV from what I could tell. There were other FMV titles before it like Dragon’s Lair, but those were more action oriented.

As far as full on FMV, Sherlock Holmes: Consulting Detective released in 1991 seems to be the first one, followed by Night Trap in 1992. 7th Guest followed in 1993, and I would agree it was probably the biggest one.

I do agree with Portal as an influence to level based adventure puzzle video games like the ones you mentioned.

Alone in the Dark was definitely the grand daddy of survival horror, but that is a whole other genre usually considered outside the scope of adventure games since it relies a lot on action and survival.

     

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Doom - 10 July 2017 01:29 PM

And King’s Quest 5 helped popularizing the icon-based interface.

Yeah definitely, KQ 5 took SCUMM to its next logical evolution(was it the first one to do that I wonder?), and it was later adopted by Lucas Arts in games like Sam and Max and Full Throttle. Full Throttle simplified it a little by holding left mouse button to pick an icon rather than scrolling through the icons to get to the one you were looking for. There was a point also when even having icons was too much and you just needed left click for action (talk, pick up, walk to) and right click for look at. These days, most point and click interfaces use the full throttle or the one click action interfaces or something very close to them.

Loom stands as a very unique game that utilized sound patterns as its interface, and it was brilliant. I am surprised no body who came afterwards copied that mechanic.

     

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Lady Kestrel - 10 July 2017 02:34 PM

I like this retrospective topic, SoccerDude!  You did a nice job of showing how the variety in the adventure game genre evolved. Thumbs Up

I definitely agree Lady K! Well done SoccerDude Smile

SoccerDude28 - 10 July 2017 08:14 PM

Loom stands as a very unique game that utilized sound patterns as its interface, and it was brilliant. I am surprised no body who came afterwards copied that mechanic.

I was thinking of this as I read your initial post. Which reminds me of a freeware adventure game that is a must play for any fan of Loom. http://www.olavandthelute.com/

     

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Loom was more of a precursor for simplified interfaces where you do most things just by clicking. When you remove the magic interface it has, Loom is in usability pretty much what a lot of one click or two click games are today.

     
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Great thread!

May I suggest Samorost? It was a game which is inspiring a lot of games with quirky visual style and environmental puzzles such as Lume, The Tiny Bang Story, Morphopolis, Dark Train and Karma: Incarnation.

     
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BitingWit - 10 July 2017 09:45 AM
Advie - 10 July 2017 08:24 AM

Between Myst and Grim Fandango Phantasmagoria had the first impact over using FMVs into adventure gaming and video gaming in general and this impact is still visible until today and no one can take off Phantasmagoria at this criteria .

Well, except 7th Guest Grin

its debatable cos 7th guest wasn’t a full FMV game only the characters, but Phantasmagoria was.

     

if everyone here has been just a just bit conservative; stop making all those daily intense posts, we may could ‘ve been able to catch up with any of them; as no one have been able to catch up with all these recent intensive forums activities

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Advie - 11 July 2017 10:40 AM
BitingWit - 10 July 2017 09:45 AM
Advie - 10 July 2017 08:24 AM

Between Myst and Grim Fandango Phantasmagoria had the first impact over using FMVs into adventure gaming and video gaming in general and this impact is still visible until today and no one can take off Phantasmagoria at this criteria .

Well, except 7th Guest Grin

its debatable cos 7th guest wasn’t a full FMV game only the characters, but Phantasmagoria was.

What do you mean by “full” FMV game?  Meh

Is this town FMV? Where was it filmed?

     

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Advie - 11 July 2017 10:40 AM
BitingWit - 10 July 2017 09:45 AM
Advie - 10 July 2017 08:24 AM

Between Myst and Grim Fandango Phantasmagoria had the first impact over using FMVs into adventure gaming and video gaming in general and this impact is still visible until today and no one can take off Phantasmagoria at this criteria .

Well, except 7th Guest Grin

its debatable cos 7th guest wasn’t a full FMV game only the characters, but Phantasmagoria was.

Even if you wish to discount The 7th Guest Advie, Under A Killing Moon was released in 1994 and Phantasmagoria in 1995 so your FMV argument falls down there.
The one thing Phantasmagoria did lead on was how not to do FMV Laughing

     

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Technically speaking also Dragon’s Lair can be counted as an FMV title. And if I’m not mistaken, the term was used first to describe those kind of laserdisc games. And Dragon’s Lair was released in 1983.

     
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