Adventure Series: Part I
Travis offers a sentimental look back at some of adventure gaming's most memorable gems on the PC.
Article by Travis Fahs (Email)
September 30th 2005, 09:00AM
Myst remains to this day the best selling adventure game of all time, Worldwide. It was a pop culture sensation when it was released and managed to reach an audience that no one had thought possible before. Myst was the talk of newspapers, magazines, and TV and sold some 10 million copies worldwide and won countless awards. Myst piqued the interest of the casual gamer with it's (at the time) dazzling artwork, simple, intuitive interface, and accessible scenario. However among genre diehards, it remains a controversial title to this day. Some even credit Myst with the decline of the adventure genre (due to lackluster Myst clones becoming a focus for a lot of developers). Still, Myst hit like an atomic bomb, and continues to be a vital (if slowly declining) series to this day.
For many gamers, Grim Fandango marked the end of the classic period for adventure gaming. It was one of the last adventures to come out of LucasArts, and the last by Tim Schaeffer. It's also considered by many to be one of the shining moments for the studio. Grim Fandango told the story of the Grim Reaper as a work-a-day shlub trying to get by in the land of the dead. The art was derived from a unique mix of inspirations including Mexican folk art and 1930s cinema. Despite critical acclaim, sales of the game were slow, and it failed to meet expectations, although it was successful enough to be repackaged several times over the years. Despite the strength of the story and presentation, Grim Fandango featured a very awkward and imprecise interface that may have turned some gamers off as well. For whatever reason, Grim Fandango's underperformance was seen as a signal to Lucas and to other developers to question the viability of adventure games.
After Grim Fandango, adventure gaming has been down, but not out. There's been a steady trickle of quality adventures over the last few years, including the successful Syberia series, a new Broken Sword, and Still Life.
Next time, we'll take a look at the next generation of adventure games. We'll also take a quick peak at some very recent and upcoming adventures from new and veteran developers alike, seeking to revive, reinvigorate, or reshape adventure gaming.