If you've read all previous entries you should know what games does my Holy Trinity consist of and why.
Now you probably think I'm all about first person shooters and realtime strategies. You're about 65% right but I delve into other genres as well. Mostly adventures, platformers, 2D space shooters and some simplier RPGs.
My where to begin...
The very first videogame I ever played was an 8-bit single screen platformer Manic Miner on ancient Commodore 64 machine. It was pretty funny but otherwise not too much worth mentioning. It was somewhere around 1991 and I was about 7 back then. It wasn't even my own computer. I played at my cousin's and didn't have an opportunity to properly finish the game. In fact I didn't have a chance to play many games myself up until year 1997 when I finally got my own pc.
C64 did leave a mark on me though and even today I ocassionally play some of its games using an emulator. I kind of miss the computer case's peculiar plastic smell, though
Back in those days there were just too many of those games to remember them all. I recall Codemasters' Dizzy series which was a funny platformer starring a sentient egg. Hard 'n' Heavy was a sci-fi Super Mario conversion featuring an astronaut protagonist. Blinky's Scary School had you rush a little ghost around a haunted castle and scare its owner before daybreak. In Fort Apocalypse you flew a tiny chopper both outside and underground while weird tanks were firing triple ice cream at you XD Draconus - a strange lizard man roaming around a dungeon full of weirdness trying to reclaim his reign taken away from him by some oppressive monster. Boulder Dash was a quick logical arcade that had you collect gems, dig dirt and push rocks in a cavern just to open an exit and proceed to the next one. Arkanoid was a weird pinball that had you fight a massive brain (kind of scared me back then). Most of those games had little more than zero replay potential even though they were kind of fun.
But there was a game that if you played, could never forget. It was made by the legendary LucasArts (formerly Lucasfilm Games) and one of the first point-and-click adventures ever. And had almost nothing to do with Star Wars except maybe a few shout-outs.
Its name was Maniac Mansion.
It had one hell of a wacky story and was full of dark humor even though I didn't get most of it back then. It goes something like this:
Once upon a time a meteor crashed into Earth. This is no ordinary meteor, however. Not only is it slimy, it is also sentient, murderous... and purple. The meteor lands near the mansion of one Dr. Fred Edison, a stereotypical mad scientist. (Is that cliche or redundant? I can never remember.) The meteor takes control of the doctor’s brain, and makes him build a machine that will suck the brains out of teenagers, then sends him out to kidnap them one by one (even though the machine is clearly built to hold three, but that’s besides the point). One of the teens he kidnaps is a sexy young cheerleader named Sandy. This causes a dilemma because being a cheerleader, she had no brains to suck out in the first place, and also her boyfriend Dave is now unable to get laid. So Dave, in a desperate attempt to foil Dr. Fred's cockblock, organizes a rescue attempt with two of his six closest friends and heads to the mansion for a fun and wacky adventure. (annotation borrowed from this article
by Valdronius - I strongly recommend reading it if you don't mind spoilers)
MM actually introduced the point-and-click (pac) genre to me. The interface was kind of difficult (a command menu with options like walk to, open, pickup etc.) and since C64 had no mouse the entire game had to be controlled either by joystick or a keyboard. Both was exactly as tedious as it sounds.
Nevertheless I had immense fun playing this. It was the first time I've seen videogame people do things real people do (well most of 'em). That is talk, open doors, use items and overall interact with each other in mostly civilized manner. Though you didn't have much to talk about with most NPCs in here because almost everybody immediately threw you into jail (that's what you get for barging into a mad scientist's house, byatch XD ). Also your characters could get killed if they did something incredibly stupid. However even then it was still possible to beat the game.
MM was also one of the first games that had multiple proper endings. Back then I only knew about the standard one. But others were funnier. I dig Valdronius' super mega happy ending but there is a way to make it better (hint: have Vendy send that manuscript) even though Valdronius himself might have a second opinion on that. Maybe it's just me liking timid flat-chested girls ... and tentacles. Boy this game made me like tentacles XD And brain-sucking contraptions with helmets looking like bathroom plungers connected to vacuum cleaner hoses. Wow, it really does sound kind of weird when I read it out loud.
MM spawned a sequel named Day of the Tentacle which succesfully managed to live up to its prequel's reputation. Now that the meteor was taken care of the big bad was the Purple Tentacle. After driking some goo produced by Dr. Fred's Sludge 'o' Matic machine Purple turned into an insane genius (and grew a pair of fingerless arms) and went on to conquer the world. Dr. Fred realizes what he has caused and swiftly imprisons both tentacles in his lab. That is until Bernard (who was also availiable in the prequel) with his two wacky companions manages to free them and thus enables Purple to commence his plan. Now Dr. Fred sends you on a mission to stop him using his unreliable time machine. The plan is to disable the Sludge machine before Purple has a chance to drink its mutagen. But the time machine malfunctions and accidentally sends each character into a different era. What a great outcome of events.
Not much is to say about the gameplay itself because it worked roughly the same. But the graphics improved a bit and your inventory featured images of items instead of loads of text. Now the characters could have conversations and the game was even voiced at certain times. The command menu was still there though. Also it was no longer possible to die. I even doubt the game had a Game Over. You could get temporarily stuck if you had no idea what to do next but there was no way to lose.
As for the humor - it is still as awesome as in the first game, if not better. Actually that's how you make a great PAC adventure. You either give it a strong complex story or an excellent wacky humor. Or both.
LucasArts spawned many other adventure games like the legendary Sam & Max franchise, a gravy biker story named Full Throttle, quite obscure Zak McCracken and the Alien Mindbenders, the Indiana Jones series and of course Monkey Island series. Indy is the only one of them I didn't get a chance to play.
But LucasArts didn't have a monopoly on adventures. There were also PAC games made by others I enjoyed. Namely Flight of the Amazon Queen where a pilot for hire Joe King (no joking XD) saves a tribe of Amazon women from another mad scietist craving after world domination.
Coktel Vision's Gobliiins series was kind of unqiue because it featured puzzles that required you to act quickly. The same complany made Woodruff and the Schnibble with similar design but different setting and more adventurish gameplay. Both games had rather weird wacky humor.
Beneath a Steel Sky looked pretty serious but also had its funny moments as well as a bit of horror in the final parts of the game.
Also in my country there was a company which made great PAC games. The 'Polda' (means Cop in english) told a story of your generic Czech policeman dealing with the weirdest crimes commited by not so fellow citizen. There were loads of jokes probably only people of our country understand. It spawned 4 sequels.
And don't forget independent projects like Mateusz Skutnik's legendary Submachine series which introduced a new genre - escape room.
I guess that's enough since I don't remember every single PAC adventure I played. There really is not much to talk about when it comes to gameplay mechanisms because these games are all played roughly the same. Some have a bit more or less convenient interface but that's not the thing that matters in this genre. As I said earlier it's either good plot or humor.
By the way probably the only genre I don't enjoy even the slightest bit is sports.
Next time I will be returning to my usual FPS routine. But don't worry, this was not the last unique entry.