upper left border menu bar upper right border

Favourite Things title

Top 10 Books Top 20 Films Top 10 TV Drama / Sci-Fi Top 10 TV Comedies Top 10 Adventure Games

Top 10 Adventure Games (as of 07/01/2013)

I'm not particularly geeky when it comes to computer games; I don't play a huge amount and tend to favour the retro over the cutting edge. However, it's still something I've enjoyed since I was a child and my favourite genre would have to be Adventure Games. Particularly point-and-click adventure games. The idea of putting together a top 10 list of my favourite adventure games was rather exciting to me, so here it is!

10. Secret Files: Tunguska (2006)

Yes the name of it sounds like it should be X-Files-related, which it's not, but it's still great! I felt like there was quite a drought of new point-and-click adventure games in the early/mid noughties - I feared the genre might be on its way out - so the discovery of this game (and also Syberia) was quite exciting. I think a couple of sequels have been released now too, though I've not had the chance to check them out yet - infact I've not played a new adventure game in ages - I should really remedy that.

9. Leisure Suit Larry: Love For Sail! (1996)

I've enjoyed all of the Leisure Suit Larry games that I've played, but I think this one's definitely my favourite. For those unfamiliar, the Leisure Suit Larry games are not for everyone and definitely not for children! You basically play a pathetic middle-aged lounge lizard who tries (mostly unsuccessfully) to seduce young attractive women. It's full of innuendo and, er, hidden dildos! Not the most PC of games, though I did play it on my PC (ho ho ho).

8. Maniac Mansion (1987)

Definitely the oldest game on my chart - it's one of the earliest point-and-click graphic adventure games. We had it on an Amstrad computer and my sister and I used to play it for hours. Foolishly we believed there was some time element to the game and that new things would happen if we just waited long enough; we didn't realise the cut scenes were only activated when we reached certain points in the game play. We did fairly well with it but didn't really get that close to completing it (these were of course the days before the internet and being able to look up the walkthrough!). There are some pretty tricky puzzles in it, plus you need to make sure you select the right characters at the very beginning of the game, otherwise you're just wasting your time. Still, despite our inability to figure it all out, we had hours and hours of fun playing it - the characters are good and the dialogue's funny, plus it's actually rather eerie - the ticking grandfather clock in the hallway of the mansion and the fear that you're going to run into one of the family members at any point and get put into jail. My heart would genuinely start pounding on the times I'd enter the kitchen and run into the nurse (Edna) by the fridge. Thankfully there were also less-scary and more-surreal moments to keep you occupied as well, such as chatting to tentacles and kidnapping hamsters. Plus I did finally get to complete it years later when I could actually look for a walkthrough on the internet - hooray!

7. The X-Files Game (1998)

I was rather excited when my favourite TV show met my favourite computer game genre. It's not a graphically animated game like the others I've mentioned so far; it's all filmed footage that you get to control and interact with. You don't get to control Mulder or Scully, but that never really bothered me; I liked being some unknown agent and getting to investigate what's happened to Mulder and Scully. It makes it more exciting when you do finally get to see them. I kept hoping for a sequel of some kind, but it never really happened. A new X-Files game was released in 2004 on the PS2 (which prompted me to buy a PS2!), but it's a zombie survival game that's focused on shooting things and performing the occasional autopsy (if playing as Scully!) and not an adventure game. I still really like it and spent many hours playing it, but I'd have preferred another adventure game really.

6. Grim Fandango (1998)

LucasArts have made some brilliant adventure games. This is one that I borrowed from someone as I'd wanted to play it for ages. I have no recollection of who I borrowed it from or how that came about, but thank you to whoever it was. Wikipedia describes it as 'dark comedy neo-noir' (you play a skeleton in the Land Of The Dead) - the style of it's great and it's a lot of fun to play. As I don't actually own it, I've only ever played it the once, but I should really remedy that at some point.

5. Phantasmagoria 2 (1997)

Also known as 'A Puzzle Of Flesh'. Apparently this game was either heavily censored or banned in a lot of countries! Actually, it's quite possible I've only played a censored version of it myself, as the UK was amongst the countries to censor it. Interesting... I'm guessing they just made the sex scenes (and maybe the bondage) less explicit, which won't have made a difference to the plot and gameplay. Yes it has sex and bondage in it - it's also quite disturbing to play as the character you control goes gradually mad (though it's a bit more complex than that really). I played some of the original Phantasmagoria game at a friend's house one evening and was taken by how creepy and disturbing it all was, so when I then saw a sequel was being released, I had to get hold of it. It's a long way from the cuteness of LucasArts games and you could easily argue that it's trashy and sensationalist, but I've played it a few times and always really enjoyed the gameplay, the eerie atmosphere and the risque nature of it. Maybe I'm a little disturbed myself!

4. Syberia (2002)

Like I mentioned when talking about 'Secret Files: Tunguska', the discovery of this game was rather exciting as there'd been such a drought of good point-and-click adventure games. I discovered it before 'Secret Files: Tunguska', though not as early as its release in 2002 - I think it wasn't until about 2007 or 2008! So maybe the drought hadn't been as bad as I thought and I was just unaware of a lot of great game releases. I think I have Amazon's recommendations to thank for discovering this game. It's beautifully rendered and a joy to just navigate and explore. I think I pretty much completed it in a weekend as I just couldn't stop playing it. I then discovered that there was also a sequel to it, so I got hold of that and completed it incredibly quickly as well. Not that the puzzles are ridiculously easy - I confess to cheating and looking at walkthroughs here and there - I just enjoyed playing it so much. I've also just discovered there's a third one due in either 2014 or 2015, so yay!

3. The Monkey Island Series (1990 - 2009)

I've counted the whole series, but the first 2 games are still my favourites and definitely the ones that I've played the most times. Actually I've still not gotten hold of or played Tales of Monkey Island from 2009, so I should maybe only count the first 4 games. I first discovered Monkey Island via a friend of mine who had it. We played it at her house and I loved the whole style and humour of it and especially loved the notion and gameplay of Insult Swordfighting! I got hold of it myself, as well as Monkey Island 2 (on the vast number of floppy disks they came on!) and then bought the subsequent 2 sequels as they were released. I re-played the first game not that long ago and am currently in the middle of re-playing the 2nd game (thanks to the wonderful Scumm emulator). The fun of them just doesn't seem to wear off, plus there are always puzzles that I just forget how to do, so even after 20 years it's still a bit of a challenge. I really should get hold of the newest game and also re-play the 3rd and 4th games - so much adventuring, so little time!

2. Day Of The Tentacle (1993)

Also known as 'Maniac Mansion II'. I did consider grouping it together with 'Maniac Mansion', as that's what I've done for Monkey Island etc., but it's such a hugely different game that it didn't really seem right. You've got a few of the same characters (including the tentacles, of course), but that's where the similarity ends. The 6 year gap makes a huge difference in terms of graphics and it all feels a lot sleeker. Whereas 'Maniac Mansion' can be quite creepy, 'Day Of The Tentacle' is full-on cartoon silliness. You still get to jump between different characters though, which is a technique that I'm surprised more games designers haven't chosen to adopt, although I suppose it makes the gameplay a lot less linear and more complex. The time travelling element is also genius as you end up with 3 different characters in the same place, but during different periods of time (one past, one present, one future). This means that characters can leave objects in the past (or present) and the other characters in the present (or future) can discover them in a different state (for example, wine can be left to turn to vinegar). The characters can also exchange objects with each other in a more direct way via their Chron-o-Johns (time-travelling toilets, but of course). This expansive gameplay makes this quite a complex but incredibly fun game to play. I've no idea how many times I've played it over the years, but it's a lot. As an added bonus, it's also got the entire 'Maniac Mansion' game included within it!

1. The Broken Sword Series (1996 - present)

The first Broken Sword game was released in 1996. I discovered it through a demo version on one of those CD-roms you get free with computing magazines. I was totally taken with it, just from the small amount you got to play in the demo - I needed more! It felt like an age before the game was released and I got it, though it was probably just a few months. Needless to say, I loved it. It's beautiful, it's funny, it's gripping, the puzzles are fun (with the possible exception of The Goat, which infuriated me for hours and even has its own Wikipedia entry!), it has great characters (including one from Hemel Hempstead and another from Newcastle!) and the love story sub-plot's a nice bonus. The 2nd game came out just a year later and I loved it just as much. I then eagerly awaited the third, as I'd read it was planned to be a trilogy. The wait for the 3rd game seemed torturous and I started to wonder if it would ever happen. When it finally did become a reality, I had mixed feelings - of course I was excited for a new Broken Sword game, but it was no longer going to be a 2D affair, it would now be a 3D game. It was released in 2003 and I did really enjoy it, but I missed the feel of the 2D games, it just wasn't quite the same - plus there were too many parts where you had to sneak around, which were more annoying than challenging. As a final part to the trilogy I was a little dissatisfied, but I figured that was that. But no, in 2006 a 4th game was released! I guess it was a trilogy in the same way that Star Wars was a trilogy! I seem to remember enjoying it more than the 3rd game, though still nowhere near as much as the first 2 games. I've never actually felt the urge to re-play either the 3rd or 4th game, which says a lot. So why have I included the entire series as my number 1? Why not just the first 2 games? Well, that's because a 5th game is due this year and it's going to be in the same style as the first 2 games! The original design team are back together, they're making it in 2D and they've been taking input from the fans of the games. It's being funded through Kickstarter (yes I'm one of the backers) and it sounds like it should be pretty amazing - I can't wait (even if they are apparently bringing The Goat back!!). The only new fix I've had of Broken Sword within the past few years has been the Director's Cut of the first game, which was released on Nintendo DS and Wii in 2009. I played it on the DS, which was a new experience in itself (as my PC is my adventure gaming device of choice), and I really enjoyed all the new scenes and puzzles and the opportunity to revisit it all in a new way. If you're a fan of adventure games at all and you've not played the first Broken Sword game - do it now! You'll develop a strange affection for sewer keys, but don't let that put you off.

 
base left base base right
Home Biography Blog Writing Music Links Contact