Elemental Challenge Day Fifteen: Point-and-Click

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Before the rise in prominence of hack ‘n slash, there was Point ‘n Click. Like tap dancing and TV shows with home footage of people getting hit in the balls, point and click adventures (as they’re often called) are something of a dying breed. They’re not totally extinct and there are some developers keeping the flame alive but they’re certainly out of the public, mainstream eye, most of the time. The invention and proliferation of the internet in the average household has led to the fundamental downfall of point and clickers. That’s because they’re essentially puzzle games (there’s some overlap with the Adventure and Puzzle genres), often featuring word or item puzzles with solutions that can easily be discovered with a quick trip to Google. Developers have been creative in getting around this, sometimes creating riddles that require answers unique to each copy of the game. Whether popular or of only niche interest, point and click games are a story-driven part of gaming history.

*select* READ *with* MAGE FAVORITES

 

blackmage  The Black Humor Mage

I have not played too many point-and-click games, but I do want to pick up ones like Monkey Island and Grim Fandango. For right now, I have played Broken Age, which was a great and charming game. I loved the story and the characters, and the awesome voice acting.

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mystic_knight1 The Midnight Mystic Mage (Sublime Reviews)

Oxenfree. Holy crap Oxenfree, this game was my runner up for Game of the Year in 2016 right behind Stardew Valley. You play as a girl meeting up with a bunch of friends on an abandoned island after prom and then things take a turn into the strange and the sci-fi. It is a seriously great game. (Honorable Mentions – The Silent Age, The Secret of Monkey IslandNightmares From the Deep: The Cursed Heart)

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spoonybardmageright.jpg  The Spoony Bard Mage (Nerd Speaker)

While the Telltale games have really evolved this genre to be so heavily story-focused, back in the day you had amazing games with both stories and crazy puzzles that were often so hard to actually figure out. I first played Myst as a child, and gave up pretty much immediately. As an adult, I had a chance to go back and revisit it, and found it to be an amazing experience that truly stretched my thinking. If you plan to try it out, make sure you have a pen and paper handy.

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FF3-NES-Geomancer1 The Five More Minutes Mage (Gamegato)

I thought that Minecraft Story Mode (Episodes 1-4) was a really fun spin-off of Minecraft. Enjoyable for veteran Minecraft players and new ones, Story Mode is fun to play, even if the action sequences aren’t the best. I also felt like episodes 1-4 of the series were the best.

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finalfourteenthmage  The Final Fourteenth Mage (Cilla vs. Games)

The Walking Dead. I’ll never forget that heart-wrenching scene at the end of the game. It wasn’t a surprise leading up to it but it still hurt. I enjoy games where it’s all about the story and your decision process. It’s enjoyable not only to see how the different choices result in different outcomes but also to compare your choices with those of your friends. I found many of the scenes in the first entry stuck with me more than the scenes in the second and I’m yet to play the third. To be personal, no relationship can compare to that of Lee and Clem. Although.. I’d still like to know why Lee was going to jail at the start of the game.

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HandheldMage1  The Hopeful Handheld Mage (Retro Redress)

I can’t say I’ve played a lot of point and click games, but I did love playing Broken Sword on the PS1 demo disk. I enjoyed the cartoon graphics and the wit of George, the main character. Sadly, I never got past the first few screens… it’s on my never-ending list of games to go back and play through…

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Kx18GL1dNEW  The Dapper Zaffre Mage (Save File 02)

I’ll admit, much of my enjoyment of Point and Click adventures was watching my brother at the helm. I didn’t truly appreciate how gorgeous on sparse palettes these games were until I grew up. The most memorable of these has to be Loom. I like to joke it’s what a P-n’-C would be if you made the protagonist a bard, because that’s basically what it boiled down to- progressing through the game playing melodies on a staff, each which would have its own effect and notes. I eventually did get to come back to it years later in high school and complete it, making it the first Point and Click I finished myself. Like a good number of games, though, it ended on a cliffhanger that was never resolved, as the two potential sequels never came to be.

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nostalgiamage  The Over-Caffeinated Nostalgia Mage (Nostalgia Trigger)

While on a gaming console hiatus for many years, I became emotionally invested in a number of iPhone games. As point-n-click games worked well for the interface, there were lots of great puzzlers to be found on the new, emerging platform. The Room is an incredibly dark and mysterious game that forces you to think “outside the box” – sometimes literally as well as figuratively! Deconstructing complex machines one small, and sometimes accidental, step at a time is immensely satisfying. There are three games in the series, and while the two sequels were both excellent, none of them captured my attention quite like the first.

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  The Rage Mage

Dark Seed II. You’d think a game that stole designs from H.R. Giger’s unused doilies would be a little unsettling, which it is but for all the wrong reasons. Anyone who bought it surely wasn’t expecting to play as a poorly dressed, virginal slice of white bread in boring suburban Texas instead of the terrifying, psychological sci-fi horror the cover art promised. This was one of the worst games in the Sega Saturn library, and that’s really saying something.

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rmage2.jpg  The Well-Red Mage

This was one of the earliest genres I remember falling in love with and for me they really represent a gooey slice of peanut butter nostalgia. It was a highlight of summer vacation when I got to go stay with my grandma and visit a nearby friend who owned a Commodore 64, on which we played Maniac Mansion and Zak McKracken and the Alien Mindbenders. I loved these games so much that when I saw an MS-DOS copy of Maniac Mansion on a floppy disk in a game store, I bought it even though I didn’t own a computer. I wouldn’t own one for several more years and I eventually lost the disk. I did get to play the game on the NES, a censored version, and the puzzles in the spooky mansion baffled me but I kept coming back for the self-aware humor. Still, as much as I adored Maniac Mansion, I have to give the final nomination to Zak McKracken and the Alien Mindbenders. This was the first game that made me laugh, if I remember correctly. How could I not laugh when a loaf of stale bread fell from a window and cracked the sidewalk? LucasFilm Games knew how to turn puzzle-solving into joke cracking and the bizarre situations were such a surprise. Plus, I’ve always loved sci-fi. Oh and that opening cutscene has some killer retro music. This is a game everyone should play.

Other point-and-click games I’ve enjoyed include the colorful Broken Age, the ever-charming Grim Fandango Remastered, and definitely the legendary King’s Quest series! They don’t make ’em like they used to.

Zak McKracken - Poster B

 

Come back tomorrow for more pointing and clicking, but not with that old genre again. Tomorrow, you can practice simulating reading. It’s just like real reading, only pretend.
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21 thoughts on “Elemental Challenge Day Fifteen: Point-and-Click

  1. The Room Series is one of the best point and click, puzzle games I’ve ever played. It’s challenging without being impossible, and some parts of it are a bit dark/unsettling.

    I actually remember my first point and click, King’s Quest lol. Then this game I played in school Dare to Dream. Lots of nostalgia attached to that genre.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Time to go Old School for some Sierra realness.
    EcoQuest- The Search for Cetus.
    Nothing beats this epic adventure under the sea.
    Bonus points for making ecology an integral
    part of the series, we need more games like this.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Now we are playing with fire. Point and click adventure games are in the middle of my wheel house right next to Mario inspired platformers and RPGs. So, for adventure games I went with The Longest Journey which is probably my favorite Point and click adventure game of all time and I am tempted to go with its sequel Dreamfall: The Longest Journey, which brought the game in to the 3D character realm, as my choice here. Instead, I am going to go with another classically styled, yet contemporary point and click game, The Book of Unwritten Tales. It is witty and well written, has mostly sensible puzzles, and a beautiful and engaging world to explore.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I nominate The Labyrinth of Time on the PC. This game had very little story (weirdly, it involved a depressed office worker freeing Daedulus from King Minos’ labyrinth, like in the Ancient Greek myth, which is made up of different times). I liked the way the game seemed to be made up of different artworks (using what was cutting edge 3D graphics), which changed as the player moved along. It was also a little disconcerting, as the location seemed to change at random (such as walking through a door in a train carriage from the Wild West leads to a 1920’s office building), but each location was linked like in a maze. I also liked the way the game used the different time periods, such as a clue found in a hotel in the 1940’s helps the player find an item in the Wild West, and it was interesting working out how the different items needed to be used to progress in the game. I also remember there were no other characters, yet the music included the haunting sound of ghostly footsteps. The only other creature in the game was the minotaur, which only calmly watched the player, which was also a little creepy. I was going to suggest Escape from Monkey Island, but I thought this game was more relevant as a point and click game. I have also been meaning to play an Indiana Jones unlocked as part of Indiana Jones and the Staff of Kings, which I have heard is a good point and click game.
    What is Maniac Mansion? What was censored? What was the retro music in Zak McKraken? I am surprised to see a LucasArt game, I remember that company created some enjoyable games that were not part of the Star Wars franchise.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I’d throw in Maniac Mansion, but since I mentioned it commenting another day on a different category, I’m going to say Police Squad III. It had multiple endings depending on where you ultimately chose wrong, and managed to tell a pretty cool story too. The series is up on GoG these days, so if you don’t want to fidget with settings in DOS you don’t have to!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. P&C adventure is one of my all-time favorite genres and there are some great choices made above. Syberia 1 & 2 are definitely my favorites, but I also really loved the Blackwell games, Lure of the Temptress, The Shivah, and the Monkey Island stuff. I picked up loads more during the Steam summer sale and can’t wait to dive in.

    Liked by 1 person

    • See I’m only familiar with the old stuff. It seems like its an antiquated genre. Do you think that’s fair? I mean, if you can just look up puzzle solutions… are there titles that do a good job of trying to keep players from getting around that?

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      • I think the P&C adventure genre had its heyday in the late 80s/90s, but it evolved into a more interactive experience through modern critically acclaimed titles like Life is Strange and The Walking Dead. I guess, in that sense, the genre is alive and well, but did disappear from the mainstream for nearly a decade throughout the early 2000s.

        I think with the internet making any narrative/puzzle-based game or genre easily passable for anyone interesting in looking up solutions, it’d be quite hard for games to develop around that. Some do, like Armikrog (which was a completely terrible game, might I add), by adding randomized puzzle solutions. You can always look up a general idea of what to look out for, but the symbols or colors you need to match vary from player to player.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Reblogged this on Sublime Reviews and commented:

    Point & Click your way over to The Well-Red Mage for day number 15 of the Elemental Challenge. My favorite game in this genre is definitely Oxenfree, it is a brilliant game with a nail biting story, I highly recommend it. Come check out the challenge and talk Point & Click adventure games with us!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I’m going to have to play a few of the titles named here! I haven’t played many point and click, but I do really like them. In high school, I watched friends play through bits of Myst and it seemed like a great game. I also have to second  The Midnight Mystic Mage’s shoutout for Oxenfree. I love that one. I didn’t even think of it for this category because I didn’t think of it as a point and click. That being said, my favorite from this genre is a super throwback: Putput Travels Through Time. That game had it all: cartoon cars, side quests to do silly things, puzzles, and an adorable lost dog! And don’t forget the fruity wagon wheels that didn’t really advance gameplay but we’re a ton of fun to earn.

    Liked by 1 person

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