The success of indie games such as Limbo, Bastion, The Journey, and Mark of the Ninja aren’t because of the elaborate gameplay mechanics that the big-titled $60 releases are known for. These games sneak their way into our Steam Libraries, our Xbox Live Downloads, and our PSN Library because of their simplified gameplay, innovative art styles, and storytelling that can attach you to a protagonist you know so little about. But indie games aren’t the only genre that succeeds with this formula. Point-and-click adventure games, a genre that was one of the staples of computer games when they first took off, are on the rise again. This week we see the release of Face Noir, a point-and-click game set in the Depression-era New York City, and features gameplay and themes that paints the game as a pseudo-combination of L.A. Noire, Pokemon Snap, and Bioshock. The logo is also dangerously resemblant of Bioshock’s. And next week, we have The Raven: Legacy of a Master Thief, a more fast-paced point-and-click adventure game set in Europe in the 60s, centering on a high-stakes criminal investigation across the continent. The idea of a more fast-paced point-and-click game that relies on split-second decisions is what made Telltale’s The Walking Dead series so popular; popular being an understatement given the amount of “Game of the Year” awards it won. So if point-and-click adventures are on the rise, what are we going to see next from the genre? Who knows? But here are some ideas.
Bourbon Street Bar Crawl
This past Tuesday, July 16th, was the one year anniversary of the first article I had published here on HalfBeard’s HUD. It’s been a great year, filled with some great features, a few HUDcast appearances, and the dysfunctional Game of the Year deliberations. But apart from that, this past July 16th was also my 20th birthday. It goes without saying that my next birthday is going to be the big one, (actually, the big two-one), and one of my goals to be completed once I turn 21 is to complete, or at least attempt, a bar crawl along the famous Bourbon Street in New Orleans. The more I thought about this endeavor, the more I realized what a great point-and-click adventure game this could be. I like the idea of a character creation aspect in this game with different traits for your character. A character with a high-workload job could mean more money for drinks, but less tolerance to alcohol since they have so little free time. A character with alcoholism in the family history could handle more liquor, but would be less able to judge how much they’ve had, and could risk blacking out. The game would be relatively open world, or rather open street, and would feature a number of bars and clubs that the player could choose from. Each establishment features people to talk to, drinks to consume, food to eat, and activities to perform. You won’t have a stat bar that tells you how drunk you are, you have to figure that out from little things your character does, and it’s up to you and your character to determine how drunk you get. Will you end up having the best night of your young life, or upside down hanging from a balcony throwing beads at people when it’s not even Mardi Gras? Either way, your virtual liver will never be the same.
NSA Technician Simulator
Inspired by recent events, and designed to be a series of minigames, the NSA Technician Simulator puts in the chair of a lowly National Security Agency computer technician, tasked with keeping America safe by spying on its citizens and listening into their phone conversations. Now before I continue, I would like to point out that I am fully aware that the NSA isn’t actually listening to your phone calls. They just have records of who you’ve been calling and for how long. Allegedly. Anyway the beauty of “NSA Technician Simulator” is that it can be a hilarious parody of the NSA. In this comical version of America’s big brother, we could see your coworkers doing silly things such as pouring through hours of the footage from Vine’s that have been edited out for threats to national security. On the other side of the room, a poor summer intern has to inspect The Illuminati’s Twitter archives for secret messages to anarchist cells across the country. But what does your character do? Your guy has to generate phone call chains that try to pinpoint domestic terrorist groups. And don’t forget looking for patterns in text messages to try and determine someone’s radical Communist agenda. And does this person’s phone number spell out I-LOVE-HITLER on the keypad? Better get the President on the line. And finally, when you think you’ve discovered the greatest threat to America, you realize your FaceCam has been on this whole time.
Doctor Who: The Adventure Game was a series of third-person adventure games released between 2010 and 2011 from Sumo Digital and BBC. A year later, Doctor Who: The Eternity Clock, a 2D/3D side-scrolling puzzle solver and platformer was released from Supermassive Games and BBC. Eternity Clock was not nicely met with reviews, and justifiably so. The puzzles were clunky, there were more technical problems than even a Sonic Screwdriver could handle, and the stealth system was unbalanced and infuriating. Doctor Who’s transition to a proper video game would be best done through a point-and-click setting. Since a lot of the Doctor Who television series involves exploration, being quick on your feet, and a great deal of cleverness, a point-and-click adventure game would be topnotch for playing as the Time Lord. If we could play a Doctor Who game where you could play as more than just the one Doctor and the one companion, where the puzzles are challenging and don’t make the solution blatantly obvious, and that involves choosing the right dialogue option in conversation, then we’d have a fantastic Doctor Who game. Fans of the show know how much the Doctor loves to excessively run his mouth, so making his conversations, or more accurately, his rants, a part of the game’s structure would be vital. And hilarious with moments like this.