Before the rise in prominence of hack ‘n slash, there was Point ‘n Click. Like tap dancing and TV shows with home footage of people getting hit in the balls, point and click adventures (as they’re often called) are something of a dying breed. They’re not totally extinct and there are some developers keeping the flame alive but they’re certainly out of the public, mainstream eye, most of the time. The invention and proliferation of the internet in the average household has led to the fundamental downfall of point and clickers. That’s because they’re essentially puzzle games (there’s some overlap with the Adventure and Puzzle genres), often featuring word or item puzzles with solutions that can easily be discovered with a quick trip to Google. Developers have been creative in getting around this, sometimes creating riddles that require answers unique to each copy of the game. Whether popular or of only niche interest, point and click games are a story-driven part of gaming history.
*select* READ *with* MAGE FAVORITES
The Black Humor Mage
I have not played too many point-and-click games, but I do want to pick up ones like Monkey Island and Grim Fandango. For right now, I have played Broken Age, which was a great and charming game. I loved the story and the characters, and the awesome voice acting.
The Midnight Mystic Mage (Sublime Reviews)
Oxenfree. Holy crap Oxenfree, this game was my runner up for Game of the Year in 2016 right behind Stardew Valley. You play as a girl meeting up with a bunch of friends on an abandoned island after prom and then things take a turn into the strange and the sci-fi. It is a seriously great game. (Honorable Mentions – The Silent Age, The Secret of Monkey Island, Nightmares From the Deep: The Cursed Heart)
The Spoony Bard Mage (Nerd Speaker)
While the Telltale games have really evolved this genre to be so heavily story-focused, back in the day you had amazing games with both stories and crazy puzzles that were often so hard to actually figure out. I first played Myst as a child, and gave up pretty much immediately. As an adult, I had a chance to go back and revisit it, and found it to be an amazing experience that truly stretched my thinking. If you plan to try it out, make sure you have a pen and paper handy.
The Five More Minutes Mage (Gamegato)
I thought that Minecraft Story Mode (Episodes 1-4) was a really fun spin-off of Minecraft. Enjoyable for veteran Minecraft players and new ones, Story Mode is fun to play, even if the action sequences aren’t the best. I also felt like episodes 1-4 of the series were the best.
The Final Fourteenth Mage (Cilla vs. Games)
The Walking Dead. I’ll never forget that heart-wrenching scene at the end of the game. It wasn’t a surprise leading up to it but it still hurt. I enjoy games where it’s all about the story and your decision process. It’s enjoyable not only to see how the different choices result in different outcomes but also to compare your choices with those of your friends. I found many of the scenes in the first entry stuck with me more than the scenes in the second and I’m yet to play the third. To be personal, no relationship can compare to that of Lee and Clem. Although.. I’d still like to know why Lee was going to jail at the start of the game.
The Hopeful Handheld Mage (Retro Redress)
I can’t say I’ve played a lot of point and click games, but I did love playing Broken Sword on the PS1 demo disk. I enjoyed the cartoon graphics and the wit of George, the main character. Sadly, I never got past the first few screens… it’s on my never-ending list of games to go back and play through…
The Dapper Zaffre Mage (Save File 02)
I’ll admit, much of my enjoyment of Point and Click adventures was watching my brother at the helm. I didn’t truly appreciate how gorgeous on sparse palettes these games were until I grew up. The most memorable of these has to be Loom. I like to joke it’s what a P-n’-C would be if you made the protagonist a bard, because that’s basically what it boiled down to- progressing through the game playing melodies on a staff, each which would have its own effect and notes. I eventually did get to come back to it years later in high school and complete it, making it the first Point and Click I finished myself. Like a good number of games, though, it ended on a cliffhanger that was never resolved, as the two potential sequels never came to be.
The Over-Caffeinated Nostalgia Mage (Nostalgia Trigger)
While on a gaming console hiatus for many years, I became emotionally invested in a number of iPhone games. As point-n-click games worked well for the interface, there were lots of great puzzlers to be found on the new, emerging platform. The Room is an incredibly dark and mysterious game that forces you to think “outside the box” – sometimes literally as well as figuratively! Deconstructing complex machines one small, and sometimes accidental, step at a time is immensely satisfying. There are three games in the series, and while the two sequels were both excellent, none of them captured my attention quite like the first.
The Rage Mage
Dark Seed II. You’d think a game that stole designs from H.R. Giger’s unused doilies would be a little unsettling, which it is but for all the wrong reasons. Anyone who bought it surely wasn’t expecting to play as a poorly dressed, virginal slice of white bread in boring suburban Texas instead of the terrifying, psychological sci-fi horror the cover art promised. This was one of the worst games in the Sega Saturn library, and that’s really saying something.
The Well-Red Mage
This was one of the earliest genres I remember falling in love with and for me they really represent a gooey slice of peanut butter nostalgia. It was a highlight of summer vacation when I got to go stay with my grandma and visit a nearby friend who owned a Commodore 64, on which we played Maniac Mansion and Zak McKracken and the Alien Mindbenders. I loved these games so much that when I saw an MS-DOS copy of Maniac Mansion on a floppy disk in a game store, I bought it even though I didn’t own a computer. I wouldn’t own one for several more years and I eventually lost the disk. I did get to play the game on the NES, a censored version, and the puzzles in the spooky mansion baffled me but I kept coming back for the self-aware humor. Still, as much as I adored Maniac Mansion, I have to give the final nomination to Zak McKracken and the Alien Mindbenders. This was the first game that made me laugh, if I remember correctly. How could I not laugh when a loaf of stale bread fell from a window and cracked the sidewalk? LucasFilm Games knew how to turn puzzle-solving into joke cracking and the bizarre situations were such a surprise. Plus, I’ve always loved sci-fi. Oh and that opening cutscene has some killer retro music. This is a game everyone should play.
Other point-and-click games I’ve enjoyed include the colorful Broken Age, the ever-charming Grim Fandango Remastered, and definitely the legendary King’s Quest series! They don’t make ’em like they used to.
Come back tomorrow for more pointing and clicking, but not with that old genre again. Tomorrow, you can practice simulating reading. It’s just like real reading, only pretend.