The Inventory Adventure Games

An elegant synthesis of adventure game websites.

ExoDos Volume 1 - Ultimate DOS Adventure Collection

 

A few years ago, Exoscoriae started work on an absolutely amazing project: to put every work of the adventure game genre that works on Dos in one single collection. The outcome was ExoDOS, which is now available on the absolutely stunning website The Internet Archive.

 

The collection primarily focused on commercially released titles. There are some freeware titles included, but of course there are thousands more interactive fiction titles which can be found on the web. I helped him initially tracking down some of the more obscure point-and-click titles. There have been several future versions/releases, and he expanded the collection with RPG, Strategy and (spit!) "Action" volumes.

 

Well, I too have been busy on a work in progress which is a Special Edition ExoDOS. It expands the project formidably to include text adventures (IF) and room escape games and now gives links to included files in a variety of formats so that you needn't play the games through DOS but can play through your favourite installed emulator, via one direct click. It has been a slow process, and if you want the work to speed up you can always start by posting some encouragement on the "forums" page.

 

Smartgenes Special Edition


 Original Edition

 

The work can simply be added to the previous volume so that you have a database which is the stuff of dreams— every adventure game listed in order for any platform whatsoever. Ballyhoo sitting next to Monkey Island, sitting next to Gremlins, Adventureland, Beneath A Steel Sky, whatever! At present it does not include games that were exclusively produced for Windows, but that will change when Exoscoriae works on that side of things. It all runs from Donarumo's database MEAGRE, which is incredibly versatile. You can view games in alphabetically in name order, publisher order, developer order, chronologically, etc, etc. At the Internet Archive the project is listed under the banner of The Vintage Software Collection. The Internet Archive is an absolutely excellent site, you can find incredibly rare books from all eras to download, and they even have computer game magazines in the archive.


Exoscoriae

How Exoscoriae managed to fit all that work in whilst being a father I don't know. (Though I know the feeling having a very young child myself). He is an absolutely great guy, evidenced by the fact that he has backed a mega eighty-two projects on Kickstarter in under two years. Eighty Two! A lot of these being adventure games.

Expanding the project, I have looked for adverts, tried to track down cover art, and of course the games themselves, for all the commercially released titles of the 80s-90s which were not released on DOS, but on Apple, Spectrum, Commodore 64, BBC, Atari 8-bit, Amiga, etc, and then also the freeware titles of the last two decades, interactive fiction and room escape particularly. I also included arcade adventures such as Dizzy — at least the ones with heavier adventure content where action-oriented arcade skill is not a chief feature.

The outcome is something which has significant historical and research value, since you can see the real history of adventure games in one fully playable package. Amazing, though maybe I would require funding myself to ever move this through to completion, as there are still a lot of titles out there.

smartgenes

Game of Thrones 2014

Telltale Games announced a new point-and-click adventure game based on the unbelievably awesome George R.R. Martin's Game Of Thrones, and it is already out. The possibilities for a Game of Thrones adventure are almost endless, there being so many interesting characters and plot lines, but Telltale have been quite sensible in making a story extension which does not interfere too much with the main characters. There are also a few RPG versions of Game of Thrones on the way as well, which I am sure will sell like hot cakes...


 

Meanwhile in 2015, Telltale plan to create a story-based Minecraft adventure. Yep, seriously. I for one am quite looking forward to this one,
despite never having played Minecraft.The program is quite a popular primary school pasttime, so how it wil translate into the more adult world of adventuring is anyone's guess.

 

 

 

George R.R. Martin's personal assistant is working on Telltale's Game of Thrones

The personal assistant to Game of Thrones author George R.R. Martin is assisting Telltale Games with its episodic drama based on the property, reports The New York Times.In a profile detailing Telltale's recent and upcoming work, it was revealed that science fiction author and consultant on the Game of Thrones television show Ty Corey Franck has been assigned by HBO as a story consultant on the project. The story also notes that the Game of Thrones game is still in pre-production, with Telltale referring to current character mockups as only samples.

Franck,  along with fellow author Daniel Abraham under the pen name James S. A. Corey, has written several novels including the Honor Among Thieves Star Wars novel and the science fiction series The Expanse. Telltale's Game of Thrones is part of a multi-year, multi-project deal with HBO that will be produced as an episode series, much in the same vein as the developer's The Walking Dead, The Wolf Among and upcoming Tales from the Borderlands. According to The New York Times, HBO sealed the deal with Telltale after watching the studio's 10-minute prototype for the game.

"We were struck by the sophisticated level of work and high-quality approach to storytelling in all of their games," said HBO vice president of global licensing Josh Goodstadt. "We quickly recognized that this same level of quality and dedication could be a great complement to the richness of Game of Thrones."

Check out our interview with Telltale senior vice president Steve Allison for more details on how Telltale arranged this partnerships, and what we can expect from its upcoming slate of games. For more on how Telltale's games, check out on Friends List below discussing how the company creates characters that can act as players' moral compass.

 

2014 (..and beyond...) Adventure Games

 

KENTUCKY ROUTE ZERO: ACT III

 

The first act was released in January 2013, developed and published by the excellently
named Cardboard Computer. It was successfully Kickstarted, and should finally exist in
five acts. It has text-based dialogue, which is always a preference to me over childish
sarcastic audio dialogue, which seems to be prevalent in far too many games. Heroes don't
talk in bitter sarcasm! It has been dubbed as magic realism, but hopefully that just means
it has fantastic elements, as literary magic realism (such as Toni Morrison's "Song of Solomon")
is the most overrated trite tripe. Judging by descriptions, this game is, in contrast, evocative,
mysterious and gripping.

 

SAMARITAN PARADOX

Due in 2013, and available now, Samaritan Paradox is set in 1980s Sweden, which
hopefully pulls it psychologically into the greatest era of adventuring. Good to see an
adventure game without any crazy gimmicks, and just a good old-fashioned mystery
to solve.

 

ALUM

Alum is an RPG-inspired adventure game already successfully funded and due for completion
in around April 2014. Micah Orsie was at first unsuccessful with his Kickstarter but now it should
be all guns blazing. Alum lives in the city of Cosmos, which has been hit by an epidemic of "The Vague",
causing girlfriends like his beloved Esther to become dull and despondent. Think I might have met a few
girls who have been struck down by that one... An ambitious project for a 3-man team, but fingers crossed
that all goes well.

 

CITY QUEST

City Quest is a new title which draws obvious inspiration from the classic Sierra games.
There is a demo version available. A successful kickstarter, it also has support for the
Virtual Reality "Oculus Rift" headset. Still being working on December 2013.

BALLADS OF REEMUS 2

Jay Ziebarth's sequel to The Ballads of Reemus is expected in June 2014.
It was funded using Kickstarter (how did you guess), and the author used
cartoon images of several of the backers in the game. Perhaps the coolest
present within the tiers though is to get to introduce your own inventory
item into the game.

STASIS

Christopher Bischoff's Stasis is a 2D isometric adventure which is unlikely to see the light of day
until 2014. There is a demo, and it all looks professionally done. It looks to be what Prominence
had been promising the adventure community for some time but without the 3D (which is usually
unnecessary in my view anyway). It has a cyberpunk look at times, and reminds me of those gritty
first-person-shooter environments; why people like FPSs so much when all there is to do is mind-
lessly blast things is quite beyond me. This game shows the range that such games could have.

 

DROPSY

Dropsy is an open world adventure game designed by Jay Tholen which started life as a
choose-your-own-adventure. After an unsuccessful funding attempt, it appears to have
achieved funding twice (not sure how that works). There was some involvement with the
publisher Devolver Digital. Expected late 2014.

 

ARMIKROG

Armikrog is a new Kickstarted game developed by the creators of The Neverhood,
Doug TenNapel, Mike Dietz and Ed Schofield. As they are all veterans in the animation
industry, they developed the game using the same style of clay animation found in The
Neverhood and Skullmonkeys. I never completed Neverhood, though my girlfriend has
managed to get through it. There is a Wii-U version of Armikrog to be released, which is
interesting as we actually managed to play Neverhood using Wii VNC as a remote server
linked up the PC, with the laptop as the screen and the Wii Remote as the controller. It
made for a satisfying experience. The new game is expected around July 2014.

 

 

NOSEBOUND

Nosebound is a game which really seems to capture the style of many text adventures
in the late and mid-1980s. It is a film-noir style point-and-click adventure which I believe
will be on Steam. You play a private eye, Ray Hammond, but you will also switch to other
characters as the drama enfolds. Looking forward to this one.

 

 

 

2013 A Long Time Ago, in a Galaxy Far, Far, Away... J.J. Abrams was an Adventurer...

 J.J. Abrams, soon to direct Star Wars VII, could spearhead a potential revival of adventures, and not even the point-and-click genre, but the humble text adventure.

Abrams was interviewed by Steve Tilley of Quebecor Media: "I was such a huge fan of their games. Notably Planetfall, which for whatever reason was the most glorious gaming experience that I've had," Abrams told me in a recent chat. "Their marketing and packaging was so gorgeous. Just all the details that they would throw in, it really did help create a universe each and every time. I just could not have been a bigger fan."

Abrams attempted to buy the Infocom brand, only to discover the rights had been acquired just weeks earlier by someone else. (The trademark currently rests with a company that makes real-world versions of fictional film and TV products.)

"I don't know quite what I would have done. I'm guessing I would have held onto it and figured out a way to use it in some fun, new way, maybe even creating additional text adventures... I actually talked to some of the original (Infocom) guys who were at MIT and started this thing... I want to pursue it and see if there's any way to try and get the gang back together, or figure out some way to bring some of that back. It was too much fun."

MTV Video of J.J. Abrams on Interactive Fiction

Presumably this influenced his decision to produce S.,  a mystery book written alongside Doug Dorst. His main inspiration though was seeing a novel which a traveller had left on a journey, alongside the books of Dennis Wheatley. There was one I remember called ‘Who Killed Robert Prentice? It had a torn-up photograph in these little wax paper envelopes. As a child, I remember seeing those. That always stayed with me, that idea of getting a book, a packet, that was not just like any other book.”

 

2013 - The Adventure Revival Begins

The number of adventure releases set for 2013 is almost overwhelming.

 

Republique

Perhaps not strictly an adventure game, Republique has been described as stealth horror,
but maybe that is just to avoid the adventure game prohibition by the media.


Inspired by 1984 with Orwellian themes, Ryan Payton, the founder of Camouflaj is developing a game to
make up for the lack of serious games in the market. In Republique the player controls surveillance cameras,
and must help the protagonist Hope to navigate.

Jennifer Hale, who voiced Black Cat in Spider-Man - The Animated Series, Dyanheir in Baldur´s Gate,
Bastila in Knights of the Old Republic, and a myriad of other voice roles for cartoons, including Ms. Marvel
and Jean Grey, will be voicing the role of Mentor.

 

Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons

Released in August and September 2013, Brothers is a project which has on board Swedish film director Josef Fares.


 

Although it uses Unreal Engine 3 and is available for XBOX and Playstation it is all adventure.
The content is mythological and very intriguing.

 

 Lilly Looking Through

 

 

Winner of Best Adventure at the Intel Level Up Game Demo Contest, Lilly Looking Through
is a cutesy looking title from Geeta Games. Producer Steve Hoogendyk worked on Myst 3 and
had some involvement in Harry Potter and the Chronicles of Narnia movies. His wife Jessica
worked on animation, perhaps the reason that the game also won Intel Level Up's Best Art Design.
The game studio's name stems from their young daughter who crawled around the house
when learning to speak, uttering the sacred words "Geeta Geeta"...

 

Fables: The Wolf Among Us

 

Telltale's new title looks very glossy. Based on the best-selling comic book of the same name by
Bill Willingham, Fables is scheduled for release in October 2013, finally we get to experience the weird
and wonderful hybrid of urban and fairytale in adventure game form.

 

 Gone Home

 

Described as an undiluted adventure - which is probably why The Fullbright Company elected
to call it a "story experience", Gone Home looks very traditional fare, despite the lack of an inventory
system. Honestly, people will go to great lengths these days to avoid classifying their game as an
adventure... meanwhile, action game fans are able to use the genre"action adventure" as loosely as they
like.

 

Among the Sleep

 

 

The winner of Norweigan Game Awards Hype 2011 (what does that mean exactly),
Among the Sleep is described as a survival horror game seen from a child's point
of view. Survival horror, eh? Now where have I heard that old chestnut before? Krillbite
have knocked back the release date a few times, but it also has a release for Linux,
which is always a good thing. Perhaps most curious is their pledge that if they meet
their funding goal, they will add support for the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset.

 

 

Amnesia: A Machine For Pigs

 

Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs is a sequel to the Dark Descent. This time the inventory
system s gone (usually a bad idea in my view). It's a survival horror, which means as we
previously ascertained that it's probably a horror adventure.

 

 

Goodbye Deponia

 

 

Goodbye Deponia is the third and final adventure in the Deponia series. Deponia is the only traditional
adventure game for PC which I have seen in a high street store in recent years, albeit the store CeX
which deals in second hand games. This is testimony to the fact that publishers Daedalic are doing something right.

 

Jane Jensen's Moebius

Perhaps one of the most interesting new games is  designed by Jane Jensen,
famous for the Gabriel Knight series. The game is seriously under-hyped, and
in line with current trends of making techy people happy, there is a version for
Linux as well as for iPad. The storyline is very intriguing involving a set of
individuals bending reality itself.

 

Despite the under-hype it achieved its funding goal, showing that the market is out there
waiting to be tapped. As they've started a new studio, Pinkerton Road, we expect many
more great titles from them. I also like the simple promotional idea of having the girl Laura
(pictured above) play a marathon 24-hour session of Gabriel Knight as a means of
spreading he word.

 

Hadean Lands - Interactive Fiction - Andrew Plotkin 

After playing "A Change in the Weather", Plotkin has not been one of my favourite authors, however it was one of his early works, and his new project definitely deserves some recognition. It is being developed primarily for the iphone (etc) systems, with only limited edition copies available for desktop operating systems. Hopefully with some good fortune he will go ahead with the Android port also.

 

The project was one of the first successful adventure game Kickstarters, with $31,337 funding pledged as long ago as 21st December 2010, and at a time when everyone was talking of "cuts"; so it was great to see such initiative in action. In contrast, or perhaps in parallel, to point-and-click adventure games, interactive fiction is not considered commercially viable... But despite this, Plotkin proved that this is to some extent only an opinion. Since then many adventure game authors have been inspired to get their projects rolling via Kickstarter. More on the project here. As of November 2013 this is still a work in progress.. Update: Finally released in October 2014, with Plotkin giving much kudos for everyone's patience.

 

The Rabbit's Apprentice

Shades of Lewis Carroll, as Daedalic take us further down the rabbit hole.
Matt Kempke's game stars the excellently named protagonist Jerry Hazelnut. It was originally named Night
of the Rabbit
and was fortunately renamed The Rabbit's Apprentice, which thankfully removes any
connections in my mind to the excellent thriller starring Robert Mitchum, The Night of the Hunter.

 

 

1954 Alcatraz

 

Not content with the final installment of Deponia and The Rabbit's Apprentice, Daedalic
release 1954 Alcatraz. Daedalic have developed a staggering 28 titles in four years,
as well as publishing another 20. This time the treatment is the infamous San Francisco
prison, which is not ony historically notorious as an escape-proof prison, but also has
its adventure gaming history, from the old arcade adventures Alcatraz Harry and Alcatraz II,
to the room escape Escape From Alcatraz - and various versions of this same title, from the
Android App by Icon Games to the one featured on Addicting Games. It is, of course, prime
material for adventure games (there is even a Minecraft replica of the prison), and Daedalic´s
version has alternate endings (which I´ve personally never been fond of). It has fully researched
locations and an atmospheric score.


  Escape the Room Alcatraz
                                                                 Minecraftian Alcatraz

 

Hero-U: Rogue to Redemption


So, many people had placed a sizeable lid on the coffin of adventure games,
but the comebacks continue to fire. So many of the older authors are returning
to bring rekindled joy to afficionados. The creators of Sierra's Quest For Glory are
back, using a custom version of the Unity engine to resurrect the dismembered parts
like a Level 40 Priest. Corey Cole and Lori Cole succeeded in a, you guessed it,
Kickstarter Fund. It does feature combat, it is available for Linux, and while Hero-U might
be classified as an RPG it is still another welcome addition to the adventure revival.

 

 

 

 

Dreamfall Chapters: The Longest Journey

Another day, another Kickstarter fund, this time for the next in the series of The Longest Journey.
The Longest Journey is certainly one of the best adventure games that I have played, so I am very much looking
forward to Dreamfall Chapters. Red Thread have already raised over $1,500,000 for their project.
There is no doubt that Kickstarters are proving invaluable in allowing high quality commercial adventure games
to be released post-2010.

 

Double Fine Adventure

 

Double Fine are producing a brand new point-and-click game in 2012 (now called Broken Age in 2013 and delayed, but in production). Thanks to the Kickstarter fund, they raised over 3 million dollars for the project, and surely the whole of the adventure game community is looking forward to this one.

 

 

Enter the Story Games

Enter the Story has a very unique selling point as adventure games go in that it allows you to actually be within the content of the game. Not only that, but they deal specifically in classic books such as the forthcoming The Count of Monte Cristo, which looks like it will be a marvellous version of the Alexandre Dumas tale.
The game is finished, and the demo is here.

Get Lamp

 

 Jason Scott's documentary on text adventures.

Read Rob's interactive review.

 

RESONANCE

One of the earliest adventure games to gain funding as far as I know, was a game called Resonance by xii games, a graphically beautiful indie point & click adventure which was funded successfully in 2009. The Gnome @ Gnome's Lair said in 2012 that it blew him away. Vince Twelve and Janet Gilbert were the programmers, while the game itself has four swappable characters, which on that score beats many games hands down. In 2013 Vince also locked himself in his house with developers from the Omaha Game Developers Association, and the outcome was Forest, a caffeine-fuelled game produced in 24 hours. I bagged it at the end of 2013 for only £1.74 on Steam. It's very curious in its genre-blurring, at one point film-noir, at the next mystery, but it's very neat. Plus I love the idea of your recollections being inventory items.. Nice one, team!

 


 

 

 

 

Prominence - A Science Fiction Adventure Game

Prominence is a science-fiction adventure that is being developed by a small, independent team, but we’re working hard to deliver a thought-provoking story wrapped in a powerful and highly-immersive game experience. A partial list of scheduled features includes:

  • Pre-rendered 3D environments with animated effects
    All of the environments in Prominence are built in 3D and pre-rendered for maximum visual impact and quality. Many of the in-game environments feature animated effects that enhance the realism and immersion.
  • Story-based inventory, environmental and graphical puzzles
    The puzzles and challenges in Prominence are story-based. Just as in real life, some of them may have more than one solution. None of the puzzles require lightning-fast reflexes or platform-gaming skills.
      
  • Branching story with multiple endings
    At a particular point, you'll be given an opportunity to choose between two different paths. Each path will lead not only to a different ending, but will have different obstacles to overcome and unique environments to explore.
  • Original soundtrack
    Digital Media Workshop, Inc. has been producing music for over ten years, and we plan to capitalize on that experience to bring the world of Prominence to life through powerful environmental soundscapes and a cinematic score.
  • Professional voice-acting
    Prominence will feature an ensemble of character voices supplied by professional actors.
  • First person viewpoint
    To provide the most immersive experience, Prominence is presented in a first-person panoramic view.

     
    September 5, 2010: Voice casting for project compete.
    November 2013: Still to be released... But we have some in-game footage at last:

  • What is an Adventure Game?

     

     

    Charlie Brooker goes through the various types of video game genre in his
    funny yet insightful inimitable style. We start at part 3 with the Adventure Game.
    Continue with part 4 for Ryan and Rab's damning assessment of the FPS.

     

    2015 ... Samorost

    Amaita Design are producing the third in the series, Samorost 3.
    It will be full-length with high-definition graphics. iOS and Android
    versions are also expected.

     

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