Like fish and chips, cheese and pineapple and peanut butter and jelly, some things are just meant to be together. From the beginning of the Nintendo Wii’s life, it’s been a no-brainer that the Wii Remote is the perfect fit for point-and-click adventure titles. With Zack & Wiki: Quest for Barboros’ Treasure wowing critics and gamers across the globe (even if its sales have been utterly disappointing) and the recent revelation that Sam & Max will be sleuthing on the machine soon, Nintendic puts together a wish list of other adventures in the genre that would be perfect for the Wii and asks whether such games still have a place alongside the likes of first-person shooters, giant MMORPGs other photo-realistic, fast-paced experiences or even the casual appeal to continue Nintendo’s draw of non-gaming audiences as Wii Sports did little over a year ago.
The Secret of Monkey Island
LucasArts seem to have given Nintendo the cold shoulder since the early days of the GameCube, but we’re sure whatever their differences, The Secret of Monkey Island could conjure the magic to help them become best buddies again. Originally released in 1990, the game follows hapless pirate wannabe Guybrush Threepwood. Fantastic puzzles, great casting and witty writing make it one the point and click genre’s greatest achievements.
Broken Sword: The Shadow of the Templars
Known as Circle of Blood in North America, Revolution Software’s third person point and click adventure was first released in 1996. The game’s story centres on one George Stobbart, a holidaymaker in Paris who narrowly escapes being blown to smithereens by a bomb outside a street cafe. Being an inquisitive sort, he follows clues left behind by the suspect which lead him on an extensive journey to locations such as Ireland, Span and Syria.
Day of the Tentacle
Another gem from LucasArts, this one, originally released in 1993. Following the events of Maniac Mansion (and using many of its gameplay elements to boot) Day of the Tentacle. Controlling Bernard and his six pals, the player’s objective is to stop the evil Dr. Fred Edison and his Purple Tentacle’s plans for world domination. Clever riddles that involve changing the passage of time and interaction with some of America’s most famous historical figures make Day of the Tentacle a true classic in the genre.
Beneath a Steel Sky
Developed by Revolution Software, Beneath a Steel Sky is set in a dystopian future in Australia. The game follows the trials and tribulations of Robert Foster, the sole survivor of a plane crash in the Australian outback. After escaping the clutches of storm troopers later on in life, Foster finds that he and his robot friend Joey must fend for themselves in what is an extremely harsh environment. Released to critical acclaim in 1994, a rumoured sequel has not since materialised.
Yes, another LucasArts effort (they know they’re stuff), Grim Fandango hit the PC in 1998 and was quickly heralded as one of the finest point and click adventures to ever have been made. The player controls travel agent Manny Calavera as he seeks the fate of his Meche Colomar in the Underworld, a world of the dead. Despite overwhelming praise, less than 100,000 copies of Grim Fandango were sold between its release and 1998. Many described this fact as heralding the end of the graphical adventure.
The above selection of titles is obviously very limited in scope, but with a back catalogue of titles offering rich pickings in the point and click genre and the upcoming launch of WiiWare, now would surely be a fantastic time for the genre to re-emerge. Add to the equation Nintendo’s continuing push towards attracting non-gamers and you see that point and clickers provide just the sort of experience those disillusioned by the complicated nature of modern videogames would relish.
Simple gameplay mechanics and controls, engrossing storylines, and adventures that can be played for long or short periods in the comfort of the living room (as apposed to sat stiff at a PC, the genre’s traditional home) are, don’t you think, would make a painless progression for those who were re-introduced into videogaming through the allure of Wii Sports?
Of course, developers (big and small) would also benefit greatly, particularly if Nintendo’s WiiWare service is utilised to its full potential. Many are already guessing that Telltale Games might release Sam & Max in episodic chunks via the download service, something that could be replicated by any number of developers, new and old. The likelihood of it all taking off is slim, but with titles such as Hotel Dusk: Room 215 being promoted on the Nintendo DS, there is the smallest chance that something could happen.
What are your thoughts on the graphical adventure genre? Do you think there is still room for them in the modern videogame climate, and if so would you welcome their addition to the Wii’s catalogue of software in particular? Also, what are your favourites from the genre’s back catalogue? Be sure to let us know in the comments section below.