Indie Experience Points: The Resurgence Of Point And Click Adventures
There has been a to-and-throe conversation around eGamer about the value of nostalgia, its place in gaming and the gamer’s psyche. With the rise of genres like the modern FPS, Western RPGs, indie games and a whole host of other developments other genres which were perhaps more strongly popular in the 90s are not commonplace anymore. This is to the extent that only a few developers are willing to explore said genre, mainly because its all been done before in that genre, or that the profit margins no longer bode well for games of that type.
One of the genres that has fallen into lower standing within the gamer mindset are point and click adventure games. This is not totally true, there are still a couple of Monkey Island releases and a few Sam And Max games every now and then. But largely the genre is not what it once was, especially since the golden age of LucasArts in the early 1990s. However, I find that recent attempts at the revival in genre particularly with the collaboration between TellTale Games and LucasArts with the Monkey Island series to be commendable in a economic climate that isn’t what it used to be.
Firstly, if you don’t know what a point and click adventure game, or as Wikipedia terms them “graphic adventure games”, then I should briefly explain what these types of games entail. Basically, in these games you would have a graphical representation, or illustration on-screen where you would have to point your cursor at various objects, characters and elements on the screen, and
with that action have a few relevant commands appear, and then proceed to click one of the commans (like ‘look’, ‘take’, etc) to further the story of the game. It was all about using your mouse to explore the context of situations, with some being as zany as possible.
What I’ve noticed about the resurgence of point and click adventure games is the form that they have taken. Whilst many of the games are still coming from the Telltale Games camp. There are a few exceptions, in the case of indie developers. Many indie developers make games for the sake of their own personal passion, and only afterwards when they realise that a game they’ve made is potentially profitable do they see the potential of what they’ve made. Over the past few years, with the rise of indie games, the industry has begun to increasingly cater to pet projects as profit margins, taking chances with indie developers. I think with the success of games like Machinarium by Amanita Design and the beautiful design in games like The Whispered World that slowly and the surely show that point and click adventure games are making a resurgence, in new forms.
Yet I don’t think point and click adventures will ever reach the heights of popularity typified by the 90s going into the early 2000s due to the changing gaming landscape which is dominated by the modern military FPS, DOTA clones and a host of Free-To-Play games. Multiplayer games are king nowadays, and point and click adventures represent an older way of thinking about games. With the release of recent games like Resonance, one sees a return to 90s point and click roots and funnily enough despite most of my claims about the fall of the genre; the game is receiving much critical acclaim. Perhaps things are changing. I can’t make any certain predictions, though. Trying to ascertain what is going to be popular in the next few years is a difficult task.