Technically, video games are constantly evolving. But they also told really good stories more than thirty years ago. These six adventure games from back then prove that.
Point’n’click adventures are among the oldest genres in the gaming world. Fans have been clicking and puzzling their way through bizarre fever worlds, sci-fi dramas and classic tales of chivalry since the mid-1980s. Hundreds of these games have been released over the past four decades. Six particularly good adventure games, we present. And the best news: they all exist in remastered versions for today’s computers.
1. Day of the Tentacle
“Day of the Tentacle” is downright bizarre from front to back. Three friends travel through time in Dixie toilets and have to stop a purple tentacle that suddenly has two little arms after a chemical accident and a strong desire to subjugate the world. This absurd story is presented in a fever dream aesthetic full of impossible architectural elements, oblique angles and curved interiors.
And it’s exactly this mix that makes “Day of the Tentacle” a true classic of its genre. Because although the story seems bizarre at first glance, it unfolds into an exciting time travel adventure with challenging but never unfair puzzles. And when else can you tear into the 18th century with a construction site toilet and watch the American founding fathers at work?
Worth playing because: Day of The Tentacle may seem downright chillingly bizarre at first. But behind the fever dream facade lies a humorous and exciting time travel adventure.
Point’n’Click-Adventure “Day of the Tentacle”, Double Fine Productions, for PC (Windows, Mac, Linux) PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox 360, Xbox One, ca. 15 Euro
2 The Secret of Monkey Island
This strange exclamation comes from a true classic of point’n’click adventure games. “The Secret of Monkey Island”, a humorous adventure about young Guybrush Threepwood, who wants nothing more than to finally become a pirate. Players help him on this mission and experience dozens of really funny moments on this journey. But also the one or other exciting showdown – because this unusual pirate story is not completely without a zombie villain.
The Secret of Monkey Island’s reputation among fans proves just how much fun it really is. Despite being over 30 years old, the lovingly designed adventure game is one of the best-known and most popular point’n’click titles ever. You can’t spell “game recommendation” any clearer than that.
Worth playing because: Detailed pixel graphics, a catchy soundtrack, a clumsy pirate in training. With these ingredients, Lucasfilm Games conjured up an entertaining adventure game in 1990 that has lost none of its charm to this day.
Point’n’Click adventure “Monkey Island,” Disney, for PC (Windows, Mac, Linux) PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox 360, Xbox One, approx. 9 euros
3. Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade
Along with Lara Croft, Indiana Jones is probably the world’s most famous archaeologist. But in fact, the well-read daredevil not only whipped his way through Hollywood movies in the past, but also through pixelated game worlds: “Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade” was released in 1989 and is the first point’n’click adventure game from Lucasfilm Games – a successful debut that sends the archaeologist on a quest to find his father and the Holy Grail.
It is true that the game tells the same basic story as the movie, which was released in the same year. But again and again the game digresses from the movie. Dozens of puzzles await, as well as one of the most beautiful and elaborate intro sequences of the entire genre. It’s worth playing for that alone!
Worth playing because: The movie hero Indiana Jones can also play games – and “Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade” proves that impressively. Lots of humor, many puzzles, including some real head-scratchers, and beautiful pixel landscapes await the players.
Point’n’Click adventure game “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade”, Disney, for PC (Windows, Mac, Linux), approx. 5 Euro
4. the Dig
The Dig” is also about archaeology. However, here players are not rummaging through ancient ruins and desert landscapes, but on the surface of a meteorite. It is hurtling directly toward the earth. A small expedition team is to blast the dangerous rock and makes a surprising discovery.
More should not be revealed at this point, because “The Dig” is most exciting when you don’t know too much about the game. Originally, a movie of the same name was supposed to be released at the same time as the game in 1995, but its budget was cut in favor of the development of the game. Also exciting: Star director Steven Spielberg was part of the development team of “The Dig” as a creative impetus.
Worth playing because: “The Dig” stages an exciting chamber theater in the middle of space, in which five researchers play the leading roles. Twisty, dramatic – and occasionally downright tricky.
Point’n’click adventure game “The Dig”, Disney, for PC (Windows, Mac, Linux), approx. 5 euros.
5. Simon the Sorcerer
Simon, the eponymous main character in “Simon the Sorcerer”, is actually a completely normal teenager, but one day he suddenly finds himself stranded in a fantasy world thanks to a magical book. Simon endures his new role as a sorcerer, who now has to put a stop to the chief villain Sordid, with a surprising amount of humor.
As heavy and epic as the subject matter of this point’n’click adventure sounds, many of the inhabitants of this world are bizarre and abstruse: The player will encounter socialist woodworms with ambitions of revolution, a striking bridge troll and a princess in pig form. Humor is very important in this adventure game from 1993 and makes “Simon the Sorcerer” a very entertaining adventure.
Worth playing because: The title character, Simon, endures his fate with a likeable long-suffering that makes for many funny moments and encounters. The game is a solid point’n’click adventure, including inventive puzzles and beautifully pixelated scenery.
Point’n’Click Adventure “Simon the Sorcerer”, Adventure Soft / Mojo Touch, for PC (Windows, Mac, Linux), approx. 9 Euros, the iOS version costs just under 5 Euros.
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“Myst” is an odd one out in this series of recommendations. Not a classic point’n’click adventure, but rather a global adventure. “Myst” is experienced from the first-person perspective and in a three-dimensional game world. Players look at statistical sceneries in which individual interaction points have to be discovered, which then reveal new scenes.
Sounds a bit dry, but it still doesn’t miss its effect: “Myst” is like a mystery thriller that tells an exciting story in a bizarre-surreal world. Instead of humor, the one or other eerie creepy moment awaits in the twisted 3D scenes. “Myst” was one of the first games released on CD-ROM. The graphics were sensational for the time and looked photorealistic to many eyes. Looking at the look of the point’n’click adventure game today, one wonders how this impression could have been created.
Worth playing because: “Myst” is not necessarily a particularly accessible game, but rewards persistent players with an eerie story set in a surreal-looking world. The first-person perspective, unusual for the genre, the unusual soundscapes of the soundtrack, and the challenging environmental puzzles are all reasons to catch up with this 1993 classic even today.
Point’n’Click Adventure “Myst”, Cyan Worlds, for PC (Windows, Mac, Linux), approx. 5 Euro
With material from dpa