Why everyone should play graphic adventure games

5 minutes, 35 seconds

Growing up my favorite games to play on a computer were point and click graphic adventure games. The first computer I had was a Packard Bell with Windows 3.11. The computer specs were as good as you’re imagining they are. I was lucky enough to grow up during the LucasArts graphic adventure heyday, back when they would make things besides Star Wars games. I loved games that were challenging, had a great story, and made me think. I had Nintendo and Super Nintendo too and I thoroughly enjoyed playing them. But there was something about the stories, non-linear play and picking up items and wondering what I would do with them in adventure games that fascinated me.

All video games were bought at EB Games in Oxford Valley Mall. Although I think the much-coveted LucasArts Archives Vol. I was bought online or through a catalog. Sam and Max was the first graphic adventure game I ever played. I bought it separately and it was also in the archives. It’s my all-time favorite game because it was first and because it was beautifully bizarre. I also enjoyed the Monkey Island series and Grim Fandango, which happened when I was in college, and many others. I have a list of my all-time favorites and must play adventure games at the bottom. They don’t make them like they used to but you can still find some occasional gems.

Besides playing for the story and the challenge, I loved being forced to think outside the box. And that’s the reason why everyone should play these games. To become better thinkers and in turn better people.

Below are the biggest benefits of playing:

Making do with what you have - One of my favorite parts of playing is grabbing everything you can take. Even if you don’t know what it’s for or even what it is or does. Then later you can look at your inventory and try and figure out how it would be beneficial to you based on where you’ve been. This is a good strategy to have in life. Try to solve problems with what you have, not with what you wish you had.

Puzzle Solving - Everyone loves a good puzzle or should anyway. It requires you to use all your brain cells. More importantly, it teaches you trial and error is sometimes the best way to figure something out.

Listening - Adventure games teach you to do something more people need to do in life, listen. You’ll need to talk to everyone, ask them as many questions as possible and then see how what they say pertains to what you are trying to accomplish.

Being Stuck - There’s a time in every one of these games when you will inevitably get stuck and you’ll have no idea how to keep going. That’s a good thing. It teaches you to not panic or become frustrated. It makes you retrace your steps to see if you missed anything. If all else fails, you can look at a walkthrough. Sure that is cheating but you can just look for a hint that will help push you in the right direction.

Someone else’s point of view - Every day in life we look at things through our eyes only. Obviously, we can all see things through our eyes but smarter people try to look at things through someone else’s point of view when the situation warrants it. Whenever a play a new game and I’m lost early on, I’ll look up hints to try and get my mindset aligned with the makers of the games. This way I can look at future puzzles and try to think the same way they would solve the puzzle.

Games you must play:

You can buy all of these games on Steam or GOG.

Monkey Island - All of them, from Lucas Arts to Telltale Games.

Grin Fandango - Probably one of the better adventure games you’ll ever play.

Sam and Max - The LucasArts game is the first adventure game I ever played. The first two seasons of the Telltale Games are really good too. It started to go downhill in Season 3.

Day of the Tentacle - This is another really great game. I’d recommend the first Maniac Mansion game but the graphics might be too old school for some players.

Deponia - I love this series. Although it may not be for everyone and the game might be considered a little sexist in some respects. But I loved the story and characters immensely. The fourth game was really bad for several reasons and I recommend you avoid it.

Broken Sword - This is another great series. Games 1, 2, and 5 are classics. I didn’t really play the 3rd and 4th ones because they are in 3D. A sixth one may be forthcoming at some point.

Machinarium - A great game but not recommended if you are new to the genre or get stuck easily. To put it bluntly, it’s hard.

Runaway - The first game in this series was really good. The rest of the series had parts that were either great or awful. If you can get through the bad parts it’s worth it.

Anna’s Quest - I liked this game but I hated the ending for several reasons. Still worth a look.

Night of the Rabbit - The story of this game was fairly odd in many respects but it’s worth a play.

A Vampyre Story - This was supposed to be a series of games but it never happened due to lack of funding. It’s still a great game but it had a few glitches. Just don’t expect to ever see how it ends of course.

My Brother Rabbit - It looks like a kids game but it’s very addictive. Recommended if you like puzzles in Where’s Waldo form.

The Inner World - A game with a sinister tone and an adorable main character.

Hiveswap - Apparently this game was based on a hugely popular webcomic. I guess I was out of the loop.

The Hand of Glory - One of my favorite of the modern area. Plays like Broken Sword but has so much else going for it.

Jenny LeClue - Another great one with some amazing writing, voiceover, and sound effects.

The Raven Remastered - Although the ending is a bit of a stretch, you’ll enjoy the mystery and twist and turns along the way.

Not Another Weekend - A throwback to Maniac Mansion in some ways, you play as a bellboy trying to remove all the guests and employees. A really fun concept jampacked with 80's references and a dark ending.