Tuesday, 6 March 2012

The Year Ahead - 1988

I’ve decided that since I’m giving you guys some control over what games I play, I should revamp the way that process is handled. Consider this new format as a template for what you can expect going forward. You will see a "The Year Ahead" post every time there are three games left in the current year to play. In other words, since I now have only Police Quest, Shadowgate and Space Quest II to play through after the current game before reaching 1988, it’s time to figure out what games I’m going to play once I get there. Why start so early? Well, firstly, I list the last three games I've played and the next three games I'm going to play on the front screen. To list the next three games, I need to know what they're going to be. Secondly, I figure there will be some years where there is quite a bit of discussion and quite a few votes necessary, which will take time to sort out. So…let’s look at 1988.

Below is a list of games from 1988 that have at least 10 ratings on Moby Games and / or are on the Wikipedia Notable Graphic Adventure Games list.

For a game to automatically go on the play list, it must clearly be a graphic adventure game, it must have over 20 votes on Moby Games, and it must be on the Wikipedia list.
If a game has at least one positive result but not all three, it will go to a vote.
If a game has no positives, it will be skipped.

Please be aware that this is just a starting point for each year and gives you a bit of insight into how I'm selecting games to play. It's up to you guys to bring up other games that you feel are worth looking at, or even to disagree with any of my judgements regarding a particular game's genre.

As a final note before I get underway, I've decided to play games in the year of their release on PC, rather than based on the year the game was originally released on any platform. This will help avoid the issues I recently had with Maniac Mansion and will put games' technical qualities more into perspective. Neuromancer is a perfect example of this, being a game that was released in 1988, but didn't arrive on the PC until 1989.

Captain Blood
Is it clearly a graphic adventure game?Questionable
Does it have 20 or more Moby Games ratings?Yes (20)
Is it on the Wikipedia Notable Games list?No
ResultVote On It


Gold Rush!
Is it clearly a graphic adventure game?Yes
Does it have 20 or more Moby Games ratings?Yes (36)
Is it on the Wikipedia Notable Games list?Yes
ResultPlay It


Journey: The Quest Begins
Is it clearly a graphic adventure game?Questionable
Does it have 20 or more Moby Games ratings?No (11)
Is it on the Wikipedia Notable Games list?No
ResultSkip It


King's Quest IV: The Perils of Rosella
Is it clearly a graphic adventure game?Yes
Does it have 20 or more Moby Games ratings?Yes (59)
Is it on the Wikipedia Notable Games list?Yes
ResultPlay It


Leisure Suit Larry Goes Looking for Love (In Several Wrong Places)
Is it clearly a graphic adventure game?Yes
Does it have 20 or more Moby Games ratings?Yes (50)
Is it on the Wikipedia Notable Games list?Yes
ResultPlay It


Manhunter: New York
Is it clearly a graphic adventure game?Yes
Does it have 20 or more Moby Games ratings?Yes (26)
Is it on the Wikipedia Notable Games list?Yes
ResultPlay It


Police Quest 2: The Vengeance
Is it clearly a graphic adventure game?Yes
Does it have 20 or more Moby Games ratings?Yes (50)
Is it on the Wikipedia Notable Games list?Yes
ResultPlay It


Psycho
Is it clearly a graphic adventure game?Yes
Does it have 20 or more Moby Games ratings?No (10)
Is it on the Wikipedia Notable Games list?No
ResultVote On It


Zak McKracken and the Alien Mindbenders
Is it clearly a graphic adventure game?Yes
Does it have 20 or more Moby Games ratings?Yes (79)
Is it on the Wikipedia Notable Games list?Yes
ResultPlay It


Let the discussion begin...

33 comments:

  1. Hmmm...I have some formatting to sort out with this post. Will fix soon.

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    1. Sorted. Blogger has no form of tab, meaning I have to space out gaps. Makes for very messy formatting.

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    2. You can use Courier or any other mono-spaced font so columns would be aligned.

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    3. If coding isn't too scary for you then you could use tables. Just edit the html and do something like:

      [table]
      [tr]
      [td]Is it clearly a graphic adventure game?[/td]
      [td]Yes[/td]
      [/tr]
      [tr]
      [td]Does it have 20 or more Moby Games ratings?[/td]
      [td]Yes (79)[/td]
      [/tr]
      [tr]
      [td]Is it on the Wikipedia Notable Games list?[/td]
      [td]Yes[/td]
      [/tr]
      [tr]
      [td]Result[/td]
      [td]Play It[/td]
      [/tr]
      [/table]

      I couldn't actually put html, so change the brackets from [] to <>. You can look up attributes to change cell spacing and padding as well.

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    4. Thanks for this. I'm going to try to sort it out and see how I go.

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    5. Alright, those instructions worked perfectly! Is there a way I can move the right column across a bit? I might as well get this right so I can use the template going forward. :)

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    6. Try adding width="60% to the table tag. Just mess with the % until you're satisfied.

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    7. I've got it looking better now! Thanks for your help Zenic. 10 points!

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    8. Zenic, can you write HTML in a comment by escaping the angle brackets? Like \this text should not be emphasized\

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    9. Nope, looks like it just deletes angle brackets and anything between them.

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  2. Gold Rush, Zak McKracken, LSL 2, and Manhunter? I'm looking forward to this year, I love all those games so much.

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  3. I like to see Zak McKracken ranked so high, this game is a must-play. I wonder if it will live up to my memories.

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  4. The numbers are just the number of people who submitted for ratings on Mobygames.

    I'd say you pretty set for this coming year. Journey looks like a text adventure with some static graphics (something I questioned when you played Tass Times), but this one doesn't even have icons. Pyscho? Misspelled? That'll probably be voted in as well. (I'd vote for it.)

    I've played none of these, so I may spam you less after Shadowgate. ;)

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    1. Pyscho! Yes, that's an unfortunate way to spell Psycho. Corrected!

      I'm not sure I've played any of these games before, which is surprising! I certainly haven't finished any. I can't believe how many Sierra games are on the list. Out of the six that are definites, five of them are Sierra.

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    2. In Hardcore Gaming 101's guide to classic adventure games, which is a huge book, Sierra (and affiliates Coktel Vision and Dynamix) games occupy approximately 1/4 of the book, so you're not done with Sierra games yet :)

      Captain Blood is a great game and will make you a nice change in your game list. A really weird one from what I remember though. Never heard of Psycho and never played Journey so I can't vote on these ones. The rest of the year will be great! You don't have an Uninvited lurking around this time...

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  5. Looks like a solid system! I wonder why Journey's status as graphic adventure is questionable, though, as the "RPG" elements are just dressing... the game seems to adopt the static graphics + menu-based commands combo that will be featured prominently on several Legend adventures down the road, e.g. Eric the Unready, the Spellcasting series and Gateway.

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    1. Well I guess that's up for discussion. I listed it as Questionable as I'm not certain whether it should be classified as Interactive Fiction or Graphic Adventure Game. The screenshots make it appear as though the player cannot interact with the graphical display, which is required for a game to be considered a Graphic Adventure Game.

      Can someone confirm?

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    2. Ah, you're right. The screens are static, non-interactable art. No biggie. I see the Legend games are on the master list, so at least they'll get a chance to be played. Gateway, for example, even uses a text parser! :-)

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    3. I'd say Journey is a bit of a border case - it's not exactly paradigmatic interactive fiction either, as the commands cannot be typed.

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  6. Alright guys...I need help on Mortville Manor. I've spoken to everyone and partially understand the two scrolls I have. I'm now managing to avoid being dismissed by not searching anything while anyone is in the room. I reckon the coat of arms is displaying all the items needed to proceed in the game, but I still don't have any idea what to do next. I've been in every room and know where every item is located. I can't see any way to get down into the well, despite attaching a rope to it, although the game seems to be hinting that I need to use the bible in some way (could be way of track there). I can't figure out what to do in the cellar either, although I'm convinced there's a secret door there on the left.

    Without giving the game away, I think I'm going to need a helping hand to get on my way. What am I missing? 10 points for the tip, but can I ask that people refrain from throwing spoilers all over the place. All hints in ROT13 please.

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  7. First of all, not really a spoiler:
    Gur perfg vf na vzcbegnag uvag.

    Then, what you're missing:
    Gurer'f n 3eq fpebyy va Whyvn'f ebbz, naq guvf bar jvyy gryy lbh jung gb qb jurer naq hfvat juvpu vgrzf (va n IREL pelcgvp jnl...).

    Hoping it will help!

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Daubeur. That definitely gives me something to go off. Can you confirm that by "crest", you're talking about the coat of arms? I've assumed from early on that the coat of arms contains clues as to what items I will need, but the families comments around it missing a motto doesn't mean much to me yet.

      As for Julia's room, I've tried to get in there, but it's always locked. When I ask anyone about it they direct me to Leo, but Leo simply states that he wants it to remain locked. I'm guessing I need to break in somehow, but there's no obvious way to do so. Maybe the screwdriver from Max's room will do the trick.

      Actually, now that I think about it, I've come across several sets of keys around the place (four to be precise), but with a lack of things to unlock and with limited inventory space, haven't been carrying them around. That will be the first thing I try.

      10 points!

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    2. Well, if Leo doesn't want to give you the key, just take it from his room :)

      Coat of arms, of course... my "RPG-geek" vocabulary seems to be rusty.

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    3. I'll admit it right now. If you hadn't have made that last comment about taking the key from his room, I would never have got any further in this game! I've found it now, but that was ridiculously difficult.

      Is there anything elsewhere that hints that you might have to "Lift" Leo's pillow in his room (it isn't even obvious which room is his to be honest) to find the key? I tried everything in there out of desperation following your comment, but otherwise would never have tried that.

      Thanks again!

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    4. I guess that's one really annoying thing about this game: there's only one way and it's how the writers ticked. It makes the whole thing incredibly difficult.
      I guess there are books or movies where things are hidden under pillows and that's what they were thinking about.
      I kind of forgot, couldn't you figure out it was his room with the present he got from Julia? (or maybe he doesn't mention what it is during the conversation).
      By the way, did you find the cvpgher in the attic? It's not necessary for completion but it is to unravel the story.

      Keep up the good work, I'm looking forward to Police Quest :)

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    5. This is how a lot of puzzles were in games. One answer, and it's only what the designer / writer decided on. Anything else, no matter how logical, may as well not exist. What private investigator worth his salt doesn't know how to pick a lock?

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  8. Zak McKracken and the Alien Mindbenders was great, wanna see the next Leisure Suit too.. then Kings Quest are classics..

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  9. So, with 2 days left, unless something changes it looks like you are going to be playing Captain Blood, though we seem divided on if it is an adventure game or not.

    I'd say go for Psycho. One of the coolest bits of Chron gaming is finding all the wacky cool old games that you would never have heard of otherwise.

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  10. An interesting year coming up! There's only two candidates I haven't played, and of these, I am most interested of the Captain Blood - Psycho seems a more forgettable piece. Of the other games, I am especially waiting to see your opinion of the second Larry - my personal favorite of the series, although it is very easy to hate it - and of the Manhunter, which has an interesting, although underdeveloped concept.

    Although there's already a fair share of 1988 games, I found two more candidates, although both of mixed genres - well, I haven't played either, so this is all based on what Wikipedia says. The more plausible game to be played is Total eclipse, which at least Wikipedia lists as a combo of adventure game and 1-person shooter ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Total_Eclipse_(1988_video_game) ). Second is Star Trek: Rebel Universe, which apparently has some adventure gamish parts, although it seems mostly a space simulation ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Star_Trek:_The_Rebel_Universe ).

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  11. Another "yes" for Psycho!

    It might be interesting, and I've not heard of it.

    Looking forward to the upcoming games, there's some real classics on there.

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  12. I think it´s pretty cool the way you´ve given us precise criteria so that we can contribute to your list. I would have posted earlier but these last two days I´ve been fighting a damm virus, the worst that has ever infected my computer (the TR/Sirefef.B.P.1). Finally, yesterday, I was able to get rid of it thanks to the help from the good people of forospyware, who told me free of charge what to do and went through the antimalwares logs.

    Regarding the 1988 games, the year is looking fine. I have played all the Sierra games, except for Manhunter (even though it was only published, but not developed, by Sierra). So you can be sure I´ll be a regular visitor. And Zak McKracken is the only adventure game from LucasArts I haven’t played (though, thinking about those years, I should probably refer to Lucasfilms).

    Regarding Psycho, this is the first time I read about it. I’m curious regarding some of its mechanics. They look frustrating and since I don’t want to be the one who suffer through them I´m glad yu´re willing to ;). And I think Journey, though it isn’t a typical IF, is rather a friendly version of that genre than a graphic adventure game (but it looks nice). But, hey, the hardcore IF lovers surely will say that for almost all graphic adventures.

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  13. Haha, I'm looking forward to Police Quest 2. You get some real rug puller moments that make you restart the game if you didn't read the dev's mind. I love it. As for the games that require voting, I would say stick to the ones that are definite. There are tons of crappy graphic adventures waiting to destroy your soul.

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  14. I had never heard about Psycho (the game), so I used to think it would a good idea to try it. Then I read the review on "Home of the Underdogs"...
    It just might be the worst adventure game ever, so maybe you could give it a go and appreciate it as one would enjoy "Plan 9 from outer space" (so bad it's good).

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