Wednesday, 11 September 2013

The Year That Was...1989


1989 was yet another year dominated by Sierra. Out of the eleven games I played for the year, six of them came from Sierra! While LucasArts continued to produce one game a year (and as usual it was a beauty), Sierra was keen to milk as much as they could from the successes of the previous years. That meant sequels for Leisure Suit Larry, Space Quest and Manhunter, yet it was good to see them also attempt to expand their reach by introducing new series that might appeal to different audiences. The Colonel’s Bequest was a refreshing old school murder mystery. Codename: ICEMAN tackled James Bond-like territory with a naval / spy crossover. Yet it was Hero’s Quest that brought with it the biggest success, with its RPG / adventure gameplay and fantasy setting becoming a favourite for many fans (myself included).


1989 was the year the genre began to cross-pollinate

If anything, it was this hybrid nature that was the biggest introduction to the genre in 1989. Apart from Hero’s Quest, which included many typical RPG features such as character class selection, skill stats and combat, other games such as Mean Streets, Codename: ICEMAN and particularly Neuromancer, also blurred the lines between their main genre and others. Not all of this crossbreeding was successful, but it was a sign of how few creative boundaries there were back in this era, when failed experiments didn’t automatically mean bankruptcy. 1989 also marked the first major year where someone stepped up to challenge Sierra and LucasArts, with Access’ Mean Streets announcing a solid new player on the scene. The game received only the sixth highest PISSED rating for the year, but it was the first game since Below the Root to get over 50, and proved it was indeed possible to match it with the big boys. Enough chat though, it’s time to award this year’s TAG (The Adventure Gamer) awards!


Which game will get the Atlantean Medallion this year!?

The Charles Darwin TAG: For the Most Evolutionary Game of 1989


Winner: Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade

This was a tough category this year, with quite a few games that really pushed the envelope. I’ve decided not to include Hero’s Quest, despite really wanting to, because its biggest innovations (a true RPG / hybrid, more realism such as night and day, eating and resting) can’t really be considered part of the adventure game evolution. I’ve chosen Indy for one reason really, which is branching dialogue options. Sure, it didn’t do it massively well, but it’s a feature that would be built into pretty much every third person adventure game for the next decade and beyond!


Branching dialogue! A critical moment in adventure gaming evolution.

Also worth a mention:

Mean Streets – for 256 colour VGA graphics, RealSound technology that included snippets of voice, and the first example of video

The Colonel’s Bequest – time based advances, meaning the player solves a mystery as it happens. Had a huge influence on games such as The Last Express.


The Lament Configuration TAG: For the Most Ridiculous Puzzle of 1989


Winner: Emmanuelle

I could have picked just about anything out of this horrible game, but the one that stands out involves a bird. After making my way to Iguacu by helicopter, I was transported to a waterfall where my character dived off a cliff into the water. However, I was only able to do this because earlier on I’d purchased a toucan from a shop owner. I can just picture the poor bird desperately flapping its wings to stop me from gaining too much velocity during my descent! Ridiculous!


Perhaps I used the toucan to break my fall?!

Also worth a mention:

Leisure Suit Larry III – Yeah, I know the game is not meant to be taken seriously, but the climax to the whole thing became more than a little bit stupid really. Trapped in a cage being lowered into boiling liquid with Passionate Patti, there appeared to be no way to escape. Lucky I picked up that magic marker back at the casino hey! That’s right, I simply drew a door on the cage with the marker and opened it, escaping death and entering...well that’s another story for later.

Manhunter 2 – So I’m on a staircase right, and there’s this statue with a gem and the word HEAVEN on it. A previous hint had given me the idea to rub the gem, so I did. The statue’s mouth opened and the letter F just appeared in the air right in front of me. Then an image of an oar appeared where the F had been! This was shortly followed by a P, and then a ruler, all just floating in the air as if held up by an invisible hand! Sure, I eventually figured out that it was all supposed to represent four pinches (f + oar p + inches), but the way it was communicated was strange to say the least.


The Rains of Castamere TAG – For the Most Memorable Moment of 1989


Winner: Leisure Suit Larry III

It had been well over twenty years since I first attempted to play Larry III, yet I still vividly remembered Tawni appearing mostly naked on the beach. Yes, this says a lot about where my head was at around that time of my life, but it proves that the scene has serious staying power regardless. If I include the bit later on at the beach where Larry sunbakes nude while a red lizard stands upright in the foreground, and the game’s incredibly awesome finale, well I don’t really have any doubts about which game had the most memorable moments!


Exactly how I remembered it!

Also worth a mention:

Hero’s Quest: The moment the hut of Baba Yaga lurches forward, then seats itself in front of the The Hero, beckoning him to enter if he dares.

Space Quest III: When The Two Guys from Andromeda finally smash down the fourth wall and take the player to Sierra headquarters to meet Ken Williams. It’s hugely arrogant of the designers to do such a thing, but somehow we loved them more for it!


The Needle’s Eye TAG – For the Most Unsolvable Puzzle of 1989


Winner: Emmanuelle

The manual gave me one instruction prior to beginning my quest to have sex with Emmanuelle. Find Mario! There’s only one problem with this suggestion though (well actually there’s lots). You see, Mario’s room number can only be found by seducing Nancy at the bar in the Salvador hotel. Unfortunately, Nancy only tells the player about Mario’s location about one in every four successful seductions, and only if the player chooses specific options at that point. Since there’s no real reason to seduce Nancy more than once in the game (as far as the player knows anyway), and trying to find Mario by looking in every hotel room generally results in an unfinishable game, this is one puzzle that relies completely on luck.


You mean by sleeping with every woman you can find.

Also worth a mention:

The Colonel’s Bequest – I realise that others managed to solve this puzzle unassisted, but I thought it was a bit shitty. Apparently the cook Celie is missing a necklace. I didn’t hear anything that suggested she was, but...well, she was. The necklace turned out to be hidden in the doghouse, but I couldn’t get to it because Beauregard (that’s the dog) was in there. I was supposed to give him a bone from the fridge to make him leave his doghouse so I could get the necklace, but of course, I didn’t know it was there. To make matters worse, I’d looked in the doghouse already and not found a necklace there, so there was definitely no reason why I would want to look there again. Add to all this the fact that the game let me give the bone to Beauregard earlier on in the kitchen, and this basically sucks!

Leisure Suit Larry III – I’ve already mentioned the magic marker puzzle, but what I haven’t talked about is how the player is expected to get it. It’s pretty similar to the Colonel’s Bequest puzzle really, in that the magic marker is sitting on a board in the casino bar right from the beginning of the game. I tried to pick it up early on, but the game wouldn’t let me. I didn’t think to try picking it up later as, well why would I!? Long story short, after surviving a bamboo maze, a bungy jump off a cliff, a dangerous rope climb across a chasm, an attack by a wild boar, and a hair-raising trip down an obstacle filled river on a log, I found that I needed that marker to draw my way out of captivity!!!


The Golden Mop TAG – For the Best New Character of 1989


Winner: Indiana Jones

Was there any question? It’s hard to beat one of the most loved characters of the past few decades, and Indy’s personality and abilities come across wonderfully in LucasArts first adventure game to feature him. If only we had a game with Han Solo in it now!


Who doesn't love Indiana Jones?!

Also worth a mention:

Tex Murphy – Tough talking and well, just plain tough, Tex is a character that would quickly develop into a fan favourite. A lover of film noir, this hard-boiled P.I. is hugely influenced by characters like Sam Spade and Philip Marlowe. We’re yet to see the best of him, but at least he’s here!

Laura Bow – This young girl might be a detective like Tex, but she does her thing in a very different way. Laura does everything by the book, trying to solve mysteries without taking advantage of others or risking lives. My own experience made her seem completely useless, but I don’t think Laura can be blamed for my shortcomings.


The Severed Head TAG – For the Worst Game of 1989


Winner: Emmanuelle

Seriously, this game was terrible! Not only was the plot juvenile and borderline offensive, the puzzles were almost non-existent and the game mechanics close to unusable. It wasn’t even good to look at, which would have at least have made the game’s purpose somewhat satisfying, and don’t get me started about the randomness and lack of a save game feature. This is one of the few games that I wouldn’t play again, even if you paid me!


Emmanuelle: About as titillating as spying on old ladies

Also worth a mention:

Chamber of the Sci-Mutant Priestess – with a storyline that simply had to be written under the effects of hardcore drugs, this game at least had some interesting puzzles and a unique interface. Unfortunately it was extremely ugly, and had an ending that made very little sense.

Codename: ICEMAN – I’m happy that this game gets on a negative TAG list, as I really disliked it. ICEMAN had numerous potential dead ends that were usually enforced through a completely inadequate parser. There were also more bugs than I’d experienced in any other Sierra game, and some very boring and frustrating mini games to boot. Not fun!


The Atlantean Medallion TAG – For the Best Game of 1989


Winner: Hero’s Quest: So You Want to be a Hero?

If anyone asked me for a list of my favourite games (and no, no-one ever has), this would have to be on the list somewhere. It probably has something to do with my love of RPGs and adventure games, making this hybrid a fair amalgamation of my tastes, but it’s also the music, the fantastic visuals, the humour, and most of all, the sheer wonder of it all! There are so many memorable characters and moments, and thankfully the Cole’s were given the opportunity to take us on more magical adventures in years to come.


So You've Become An Atlantean Medallion Winner!

Also worth a mention:

Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade: I always see The Fate of Atlantis on top adventure game lists, but rarely this one. Now that I’ve played it I have to wonder why, as it’s a very entertaining and playable game, which captures the excitement and the adventure of the classic film trilogy (I’ll always just remember it as a trilogy).

Leisure Suit Larry III: I really didn’t expect this game to be as good as it was, particularly after the disappointing (and hugely buggy) first sequel. But Al Lowe got things right for this one, returning to what made the original so fun, yet with countless clever puzzles and some seriously funny moments!

Thanks for joining me for this year’s TAG Awards! Agree or disagree with any of my selections? As usual I encourage discussion, and look forward to getting stuck into 1990! This one should be very interesting indeed, with a few unquestionable classics (Monkey Island, Loom, Quest for Glory II) mixed into an eclectic bunch of lesser known games. No who’s with me!?

71 comments:

  1. IMO the bell puzzle from Colonel's Bequest deserves mention as unsolvable more than the necklace one :-P The necklace at least could be found fairly easily on a second playthrough, as 1) searching the doghouse says that *currently* it's empty 2) you've learned from the previous playthrough that giving the bone too early was useless. Then it's just a matter to showing the necklace to everybody. The bell on the other hand... it's just so stupidly counterintuitive. The game gives absolutely no hint that ringing the bell from slightly another position is recommended or even possible.

    Also, I think I noticed an error in the game list: Emmanuelle is the 26th game and Hero's Quest 27th. Their order should be switched. (I remember, because I discovered this blog while you were playing Emmanuelle, and I had just missed you playing HQ.)

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    1. Good pickup! I've changed the order of them. :)

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    2. I think the problem with the bell puzzle is really that it's _too_ advanced (technically) too early. It's basically a "real-world physics engine". "Of course" the bell falls straight down, so not standing directly under it is the correct answer. But back in the day, we didn't think that way (even though now, with game engines in complete 3D, it's completely intuitive).

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    3. In most Sierra games, when the player selects a meaningful action, the game animates the player walking to an appropriate position and taking the action. So if the game was "fair", ringing the bell from any position would move Laura to where she could ring it.

      Similar issue with the suit of armor - Oiling the suit is "on the right track", so should either solve the puzzle or give a hint to the player such as, "Which part of the armor do you want to oil?" If the player instead typed, "Oil the axe" or "Oil the arm", death would be appropriate and amusing.

      Don't punish the player for doing what you wanted her to do! :-)

      Oh, small typo, Trickster - "The Lament Configuration TAG" says 1988 rather than 1989. Also, you could do with a line at the beginning explaining what a "TAG" is. I assume it's something like "The Adventure Gamer Award". Nice article though, and I appreciate the "egoboo". :-)

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    4. "Don't punish the player for doing what you wanted her to do! :-)"

      I feel justified in not being able to solve these puzzles now that a game designer has confirmed they break an unspoken rule. :)

      I've cleaned up the incorrect year and added a TAG definition to the post. Thanks Corey!

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    5. Yeah, it really drives me nuts when a game introduces a methodology or "mechanic" that you didn't even know was there. In these games, you get/use/do something and it happens. All of the sudden, it matters where you stand? Almost no one thinks of that because it wasn't a factor until now.

      I think it's compounded by the numerous silly ways to die in this game, so you're discouraged from trying to "solve" something that just kills you. There should've been some hand-holding puzzle early in the game that is solved by doing the right the IN the right place. Then the user would recall it later.

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    6. To be fair, if you type "use oil on armor" it does say "which part of the armor would you like to oil?"

      Death comes from using the oil on the:
      arm
      hand
      axe
      elbow
      shoulder

      Death does not happen if you oil:
      chest
      hip
      leg
      knee
      neck

      Clue is only found if you oil:
      head
      helm
      helmet
      visor

      and then you have to open said head, helm, helmet, or visor.

      I can definitely see how the dog puzzle wasn't properly fleshed out, although I would have thought you'd restart after nothing happened when the dog got the bone inside the house. When I found the necklace, I had no clue whose it was. I just so happened to show it to Celie first. I thought it was a clue to some greater treasure or something.

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    7. The game also makes a distinction between "left" and "right" bodyparts. If the side is unspecified, Laura apparently always defaults to the one holding the axe. (Is she being suicidal on purpose?)

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    8. Left and right from whose perspective?

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    9. Yeah, I wonder why Trickster didn't restore the game when he realized that giving bone to dog at Act I does not achieve anything. It puzzles me even more as he played many adventures with possible dead-ends so far and should be sensitive to such situations. We will never know...

      The Player won’t have to know about the necklace. I think it is obvious what should be done with a bone. If feeding the dog gives no results, the action should be performed later. The best time is when the dog changes its location. During the whole Act II the animal is in his doghouse and trying to give him the bone results actually in fetching sequence. Laura throws the bone and the dog leaves his comfy kennel. What the real adventurer is doing in this situation? Of course one is searching the new “room”. Then, showing jewelry to Celie or Lillian who is in the same location results in cook’s appreciation. At the same time she is changing mood towards your character which will pay dividends later.

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  2. Well... you can't say that Emanuelle isn't a memorable game.

    It's like it hit so many of your Steam Achievements that your friends had to go offline so that they could play in peace.

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    1. Yep. It cleaned up all three negative TAGs!

      I hadn't actually noticed that until just now. Was too caught up in making sure I didn't miss anything obvious.

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    2. Whoohooo! I made history by getting Trickster to play it!

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    3. Year 3245 AD...

      Schools are teaching young chldren in their history lessons about how over a thousand years earlier, Canageek forced Trickster to play the dreaded Emmanuelle, one of the worst games in existence.

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  3. Nice choices.

    In the useless but interesting trivia department: This post is almost exactly one year since your last 'Year That Was' post. It took you 363 days to finish 1989. At this rate, you'll catch up to the present by 2 days per year, meaning you'll catch up to 2013 in... well, best if we don't think of that :)

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    1. I should feel horrified, but then what's the fun in running out of games!?

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    2. Trickster: If you reach 2013 and games are coming more slowly then you can beat them I will learn enough programming to write you one, and illustrate it with horrible stick figures. I'd much prefer to write a text adventure but we all know you hate those.

      That or you have to go back and play over all the boarderline and disregarded games you missed.

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    3. Since when are you averse from subjecting him to play games that he would hate? XD

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    4. Thre is a line when you just feel the pain and it stops being funny. Also, I'm not sure a game I drew with stick figures would be playable, as I'm about the worlds worst artist.

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    5. I probably run in a close second after you then. Because I my stick figures also sports boobs and dicks.

      Okay, jokes aside, as long as your game has an intuitive and user-friendly interface, I would personally try it out even if Trix isn't gonan touch it.

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  4. Nicely summed up, and good reasoning! I had to laugh at the way you come across as still angry at the necklace puzzle in The Colonel's Bequest.

    As a Texaholic I'm a bit sad that Tex Murphy didn't win the Golden Mop, but I have to agree with your choice when Dr. Henry Walton entered the arena the same year. Thankfully there'll be more opportunities for him to win some sweet, sweet awards.

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  5. nice :)
    Looking forward to 1990

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  6. Hey Trickster, could you give us a list of your favorite games? Come on, you know you were secretly hoping someone would ask.

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    1. Haha! I promise I wasn't fishing! Now that someone has asked me though, it would only be proper to answer. Give me a few minutes to think about it.

      I seem to recall writing a list for the blog at some point, but I can't find it anywhere. I'm sure it wouldn't take me long.

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    2. Alright, here's a very quickly flung together list of my favourite 10 or so games in alphabetical order. Yes, I cheated and included sequels wherever I felt like it.

      Baldur's Gate 1 & 2
      Half-Life 1 & 2
      Mass Effect 1 & 2
      Monkey Island 1 & 2
      Planescape: Torment
      Quest for Glory 1 & 2
      System Shock 1 & 2
      The Elder Scrolls 3 & 4
      The Longest Journey
      Thief 1 & 2

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    3. I'm actually more interested in knowing what adventure games you've already played and are familiar with. Obviously, pretty much everything from the 80's by now, :-P but what about future games on the list?

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    4. I can never manage to put down a list like that, I always change my mind too much, especially if I start replaying games and finding flaws that I had previously forgotten!

      I also find it quite interesting to see how many RPGs are there. Adventure gaming and certain RPGs certainly share a few elements, and some RPGs almost feel like adventure games anyway.

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    5. @Laukku: I can do that. Ok, here's a full list of every game on the playlist that I've previously played all the way through. There are a few others I recall starting, but have no idea how far I got, such as B.A.T. and Future Wars.

      I honestly can't remember whether I've played Quest for Glory V. I know I played through I to IV in a row some time in the nineties, but can't remember whether V was even out yet.

      The Secret of Monkey Island
      Quest for Glory II: Trial by Fire
      Monkey Island 2: LeChuck's Revenge
      Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis
      Lure of the Temptress
      Quest for Glory III: Wages of War
      Maniac Mansion: Day of the Tentacle
      Quest for Glory: Shadows of Darkness
      Sam & Max Hit the Road
      Beneath a Steel Sky
      Full Throttle
      The Curse of Monkey Island
      Grim Fandango
      The Longest Journey
      Escape from Monkey Island
      Syberia
      5 Days a Stranger
      Syberia II
      Dreamfall: The Longest Journey

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    6. Okay, Trix, here's another question: With the exclusion of RPG/Adventure game hybrids (and gameworlds that already have both; i.e. The Dark Eye or the travesty that is KQ8), which RPG do you feel would fare better as a pure Adventure game and vice versa for them to make it into your list of favorite games?

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    7. Wow! A lot of overlap with my list:

      Baldur's Gate 1
      Mass Effect 1 & 2
      The Elder Scrolls 5

      Three series overlaps. I'd also add
      Civilization 3 and 4
      Masters of Orion 2
      Nethack
      Dwarf Fortress
      Goldeneye (Oh, nostalgia)
      Final Fantasy Tactics Advance
      Crystal Quest for Game Boy (Bethca no one else here has played it!)
      Golden Sun 1 & 2 (Man, I should finish that game!)

      Honourable Mention:
      Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance (Even if I gave up in frustration)
      Castle of the Winds: A Quest for Vengeance (And sequal). Not a great game, but I love the UI ideas in it. Multiple windows! Customizable layout! Bindable keyes! Custom avatar! GAMES TODAY DON'T DO THIS.

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    8. Dammit, I forgot Baten Kaitos, one of the few games with a really good plot (thought I sort of gussed at the twist) and some of the best art ever in a game, and easily the best music I have ever heard in a game.

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  7. Hmm, I have two questions:

    1. You listed Spellcasting 101 for 1990 and disregarded both Spellcasting 201 and 301? Any reason for that? I think all Legend Ent. games should work well with your blog, while they are a mixture of interactive fiction and an adventure game, they are fully playable without typing even one word (something that can't be said for AGI Sierra games).

    2. Do you plan to work through the games in a more chronological order? I know that old games don't really have 'solid' source for exact release date, but still, this year has shown that the current 'throw all games released in a select year together' doesn't work - I can't help but think that playing Sierra games out of order did influence the final score for some games.

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    1. Good questions, especially as I have answers for both.

      1. All three Spellcasting games are considered interactive fiction, which means none of them can automatically be Accepted. The first one was listed as Borderline, as it had enough reviews on Moby Games, but is now Accepted as one of the readers spent CAPs to make it Accepted. If you want to know more about CAPs and their use, I encourage you to read the below post.

      http://advgamer.blogspot.com.au/2012/05/companion-assist-points-explained.html

      2. Yes, I absolutely plan to play them chronologically from now on. In fact, what you see on the game list for 1990 is in chronological order of when they were released. I used the dates on the files whenever I couldn't find a solid source. I very much regret not doing that for 1989, and agree it probably screwed me up a bit.

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    2. Ah, I see, thanks for clearing that up.

      Legend Ent. games are... well, something I'd consider halfway through IF, halfway to adventure games. They do have a lovely prose though, and if memory serves me, the puzzles in Spellcasting games are great.

      Hopefully you'll like the game enough to include the sequels. :)

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    3. Sorry for double posting, no way to edit previous posts that I see...

      One thing your 'Year Completion' write-up misses is a quick look at the games that you skipped (or at least anything you can find).

      Nothing more than a few words (maybe explaining why it was skipped) and a single screenshot. Would be especially useful as the games seem to get removed from the Google spreadsheet.

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    4. Most Legend Entertainment games are unquestionably graphic adventure games. Superhero League of Hoboken may be more of an RPG, but certainly has the adventure game chops (and Steve Meretzky! What's not to love?). Lori's and my Shannara is another hybrid adventure/RPG like Quest for Glory, but slanted more towards the adventure game side (maybe 80/20 adventure/RPG rather than 60/40 in Hero's Quest). Skipping any Legend game would be quite wrong for this blog.

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    5. I agree with this! The Legend games are unique enough (and reportedly, good enough) to warrant bending the rules a bit IMO.

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    6. Well, I've vowed to make Trickster play everyone of Legend IF games, so if my CAPs won't run out and/or I'll have occasional donations from others, you'll be seeing them. I'd say up to Eric the Unready Legend games could be classified as IF, even if technically one could play them without typing anything (Hoboken and Shannara both came after Legend had dropped out the parser, so they definitely count as graphic adventures).

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    7. I don't think any rule bending will be required. There are enough CAPs around here to make me play them all. Sounds like that's a good thing!

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    8. Strange that Callahan's Crosstime Saloon didn't make it to the list, if we're talking about Legend stuff.

      I remember my first time playing Superhero League. It was pretty funny but the humor is a little grating after the first playthrough.

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    9. One of the criteria is also that a game is unquestionably a graphical adventure game. Maybe once Trickster gets through the first he'll reevaluate the others. It'd still only make them borderline though.

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    10. Wait. A Callahan's game made BEFORE Spider Robinson decided he should be writing serious science fiction? WE MUST FORCE TRICKSTER TO PLAY THIS. I have 243 CAPS I don't need, this will happen.

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    11. Yeah, it was based on the novel written in the same year I was born and Elvis died.

      Imagine a mash-up of Cheers/Space Quest/Happy Days/Leather Goddesses of Phobos with shades of Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.

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    12. @Zenic - Oh, and it totally is a graphical adventure.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Callahan%27s_Crosstime_Saloon#Other_versions

      Which makes it even more mysterious that it was missing from the list.

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    13. And let's not forget that the lead designer/writer of the Callahan's game was Josh Mandel, formerly in Sierra (and lived next door to Lori and me for a while). Josh also collaborated with Al Lowe on Freddy Pharkas and Leisure Suit Larry: Reloaded. He wrote a lot of the incidental text in Shannara. And generally funny guy!

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    14. @Kenny: my comment was supposed to refer to the Spellcasting series, but got pushed down because I took too long to respond. I'm not familiar at all with the Callahan games.

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    15. @Zenic- Like what Mr. Cole said, quite a handful of Sierra heavyweights were involved in the making. Totally worth it to check it out.

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  8. Somewhat surprising that Neuromancer didn't get to be even a nominee in any category, although it was the game you spent most time on in this year. Perhaps it deserved its own category - "the game that I wasted my life on".

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    1. I'd agree that "Longest Journey Award" for the most time spend on a game should be a category.

      Especially since Trickster goes to the effort of timing his playthroughs anyway.

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    2. Good idea! It might not be the most interesting category since you all know how long I spent on each game, but I'll add it next year.

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    3. How about also adding a "Groundhog Day Award", where the game is so repetitive and dry that you wish you could end the game immediately?

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    4. Perhaps more interesting would be the game that feels like it takes the longest (obviously this can be situational too but I, for instance, feel like Emanuelle probably felt longer for you than Neuromancer, as at least in the latter it's a game you wanted to get back to. Inversely, I expect Les Manley or Hugo's could well sweep the bad game categories for 1990, yet neither are long enough to make you feel like you've been playing them forever.

      However, it is now the nineties, and there is time for KLAX!

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    5. As everyone is making suggestions, how about a Reader's Choice -award? Say, we could all send our votes for Trickster during the last game of the year by e-mail, and the winner would be revealed in the Year That Was -post.

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    6. 1990 - last year with majority of the games made in EGA, last year with a considerable amount of parser games, the year that Sierra turned to VGA, the first year with more than one Lucasfilm game

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    7. I totally give 6 thumbs up (because I keep a few in pickle jars just in case I need to replace my current ones) on the Reader's Choice Award.

      Trix, maybe you could also set up a poll of all the games you played on every "The Year That Was" posting.

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    8. I also thought of the longest precived time award. How about the King of Limbo award for longest perceptive time spent playing a game?

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    9. There are some good ideas here! I'm going to test out the Reader's Choice TAG by doing a survey. It will be interesting to see how the results differ from my own.

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    10. Damn... I was going to vote for Emanuelle for 1989. XD

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    11. No one has dared to vote any of the nominees for the Worst Game Category...

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    12. I am *never* going to live that down.

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    13. Whoops! Guess who voted for it? XP

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  9. 33% off Cognition Season Pass, now only 19.99:

    http://www.gog.com/news/season_pass_cognition_an_erica_reed_thriller

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    1. That's a new release actually, which is cool. Even more exciting to me is that GOG has released The Legend of Kyrandia, a game I'll definitely be playing when we reach 1992.

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    2. What!? KYRANDIA'S ON GOG!?! Awesome! :-D

      I already have it (in real floppies! But the 4th floppy has some corrupted data unfortunately), but it's great that it's finally legally available for everybody. One of the little gems from the early 90's. The sequels however are not there yet, it seems...

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    3. Kyrandia has got to be one of the best thought-out fantasy worlds for an adventure game.

      As for Cognition... I personally dislike having games being chopped up and sold in seasons like a TV show.

      I usually wait till they finished the entire thing before I'll buy it. Like the Walking Dead series.

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    4. I like the idea of making games smaller and thus cheaper to make, so that studios have to invest a bit less money before getting some return on there investment.

      Honestly I think companies need to chill out and make a few games with each engine before moving on (We got THREE out of the Oblivion Engine, all of which were great. Why did we only get one out of Skyrim?)

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  10. I played Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade just recently and I have very mixed feelings about it. I really enjoyed the game up until reaching the castle, at which point I found it immensely tedious. Basically the only way to solve puzzles was: try all dialogue options with all possible costumes, and reload if a fight starts (going through fights is not really an option, since you'll soon or later find yourself in an unwinnable state). The zeppelin maze was also very frustrating. Plus, I couldn't actually finish the game, since I missed the Grail picture in the castle, the books in the library, and the inscription in the catacombs, and trying all the cups didn't work. I had to watch a video of the ending on youtube. That's a shame, because I really loved the graphics, the puzzles, the humor and the general tone. It could have been a perfect game!

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  11. Agree with the above comment. Giving the reward for the best adventure of the year to the repetitive mechanics and a stack of mazes is ridiculous. However, it seems that games played by you before (in childhood, I suppose) receive better ratings. Ah, nostalgia…

    Some other disagreements below:
    1) I have written about this in the comments section of the Larry 3 but want to repeat it. You are not very perceptive player. When magic maker starts to be pick-able it shines/flickers/whatever for a moment after entering the location. How could you miss that?
    2) Maybe Chamber of the SCI-Mutant Priestess is not the best game of the year but I wouldn’t place it as the worst. It leaves comfortable story-wise area and goes its own way. It’s experimental, it’s unique, it’s French. I am afraid of your future ratings of French productions. They differ too much from EN/US games for some Players. Well, I suggest playing the Amiga version, it has much better graphics.

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    1. It's pretty difficult to answer on behalf of Trickster, since he had his own unique look, when he was in sole charge of the blog. I could point out the obvious that it was Emmanuelle that Trickster chose as the worst game of the year, not Chamber of etc., but perhaps you didn't like even taking the latter as a candidate.

      As a representative of the "new order" of TAG (which you will come to know, if you ever reach the final few games of 1990 and which really took to to its own at the beginning of 1991), I can at least say that we have now at least more varied approach to adventure games, because of our multiple viewpoints. We do still have reviewers who despise all things French, but also reviewers like myself, who are at least curious about them (and as I hope my recent Missed Classic -review of an older Coktel Vision -game, Mewilo, shows, I'll try to give the credit to a French game, when and where it deserves this).

      As for the design choice of how difficult puzzles should be, I have a hunch we may just have to agree to disagree (we'll see when you come to the community reviewer time). We are not trying to play and score the games as adventure game experts or highly perceptive gamers who can see all the hints lying around, but more like Average Janes and Joes with less than stellar mental abilities. I am especially curious to see what you will think of my review of Maupiti Island - the game has what might perhaps be called fair puzzles, which still require the player to go through so incredible amount of abductive loops that I just felt the need to detract the game some points on that account. But you'll still have a long way to get there.

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    2. Hey, Ilmari, thanks for the comment. I am trying to catch up with this blog but it will take a while if ever. I have decided to play all the games from this site consecutively which I didn’t play before and there are a lot of them. After reading 34 games I see many social-related and review approach changes which definitely enrich the blog. It is nice to know that the site evolves in the good direction. I hope that someday I will play along with you, guys, and enter into ongoing discussions.

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