This is not Monkey Island!

March 18, 2008 at 12:32 am (Adventure Games)

They did it again. They: that’s people who compare each and every adventure game that’s being released to one specific game. Yes, you know the one: It’s The Secret of Monkey Island. Mind you, I love the game. It’s fun. It’s entertaining. It has some of the whackiest humour and strangest puzzles I’ve ever encountered. And I’ll be the last person to take away its cult status. That status is well deserved. But I’m sick and tired of people who, when writing a review about a new adventure game – be it as professionals or simply as gamers on  a board -, compare this game to MI, reaching the conclusion: “Weeelll… you know… it’s a nice game… has its moments… but it’s not as good as MI used to be…”, usually followed by some extra whining about the golden days of adventure gaming that have come to an end because, according to these people, we suffer from a complete lack of good games altogether since LucasArts and Sierra have stopped publishing great games. I agree with them that it’s a shame Sierra’s basically not existing anymore, and yes, I too would love to see more great games like MI or Gabriel Knight. I’d do anything for a fourth installment in the Gabriel Knight series, and GK3 is still my most favourite game. No other game has been able to dethrone good old Gabe but that doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate what game developers try to give us today; that I don’t appreciate the effort that goes into a new game, into the story, the graphics, the gameplay. I do, and some of the “modern” games (read: games that were published after the golden era) have blown me away – not as thoroughly as Mr. Knight, but some of them came pretty close.

It’s simply not true that there are no good games around nowadays. There are. You just have to open your eyes and give them a chance. Granted, the quality might have diminished a little, and there are a lot of bad games as well, but there are still those gems to be found that warm the heart of every gamer. Culpa Innata, for example, was a wonderful game, and Overclocked by House of Tales is probably the best adventure of the year 2007. So, for LeChuck’s sake, please stop whining about the golden days. They’re gone. They won’t return. But there are games waiting to be played, waiting to be appreciated for what they are. Besides, I’d really like to see a review for a game employing the same graphics, the same complicated control system, the same lack of voice acting, the same lack of graphics in the inventory, the same computerized sound as MI did. People would hate it, I’m sure of that – people hated Aurora which was released in 2007 but failed to provide voice acting, failed to translate inventory items. Today, this is a no-go (there are exceptions like first-person horror-adventures; Scratches comes to mind); it was ok in the early days because the means just weren’t there to do it any better. Nowadays they are there. We get the stunning graphics, we get good voice acting, we get matching sounds and music, we get more or less easy-to-use inventory and controls. And we still get the good stories.

1 Comment

  1. SSH said,

    OK, they are freeware and amateur, but some approach the quality of the classic Lucasarts and Sierra titles: check out the games at Adventure Game Studio http://www.adventuregamestudio.co.uk

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