I went online this morning to check the weather forecast. Two hours later, I was looking at the Wikipedia page for O’Toole’s Corollary of Finagle’s Law. How the hell did I get here? Where did the time go? I have no idea. I did, however, discover some new incarnations of Murphy’s Law – everyone’s favourite adage when it comes to explaining why shit hits the fan.
Beautifully captured moments of otherwise manly men… throwing rocks with their other hand. It’s the great gender equalizer: everyone looks so frikkin’ awkward. Reminds me of my mum trying to throw a tennis ball. A little something for the weekend. Enjoy!
There was simply no other way to advance the story – you sat there, hour after hour, just trying random (sometimes logical in hindsight) things like capturing an Energizer® bunny so you could use its batteries somewhere else. (I almost cried when I figured that one out.)
My point is this: you spent so much time immersed in the same environment, figuring puzzles out, that the looping background MIDI tracks and quirky sound effects stayed with you long after the end credits have rolled – and decades later you’re writing a post reminiscing about the good old days.
And so, without further ado – here’s my Top 9 Killer Old School Adventure Game Soundtracks:
#9 Leisure Suit Larry III
Classic Sierra-style MIDI tunes. Did I mention this game was my first encounter with boobies?
#8 Sam & Max Hit the Road
Ass kickin’ – nuff said.
#7 Beneath a Steel Sky
Industrial, post-apocalyptic tunes.
#6 Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis (on Crete)
Atmospheric and at times totally eerie – perfect for an Indy caper.
#5 Full Throttle (Increased Chances by Chitlins, Whiskey & Skirt)
I was so in love with this particular song I tried to cover it when I was learning the guitar.
#4 Day of the Tentacle
The music was as whacky as the characters themselves.
#3 Space Quest III: Pirates of Pestulon
Quirky, bizarre, and totally awesome.
#2 Monkey Island 2: LeChuck’s Revenge
An incredibly memorable mix of bumbling pirate-y tunes and Carribean island music.
#1 Grim Fandango
Masterfully scored collection of dark, greasy jazz, ethnic Mexican-inspired carnivale music, and grungy Americano tracks.
And there you have it!
Are you a fan of old school adventure games? Do you agree with my list? Would love to know what you think in the comments!
I don’t care much for online gaming. The idea of online gaming is cool – it’s the execution of it that, somehow, still doesn’t cut it.
You know what? It basically boils down to this. Imagine you’re in a vast open world MMORPG. You’ve just slayed some massive beast in a harrowing, all-or-nothing, death-defying battle, when your supposedly wise, sage-like online companion (a wizard who’s supposedly older than the land itself) suddenly turns around and utters, “yo n00b wtf is wrong with you. get teh (sic) crossbow.”
So much for immersive experiences, man.
It’s the nature of online gaming that breaks the illusion. What’s the difference between an online game, and a single player game? One key factor is the addition of human controlled characters (as opposed to computer controlled non-player characters) in online gaming – which introduces issues like unpredictable dialogue, questionable decision-making, unrealistic actions and just plain old trolling.
The responsibility of storytelling has been shifted onto the shoulders of the players at the detriment of the story itself. We’re only professional consumers after all, not professional game makers, so who are we to create intricate, nuanced and fully fleshed-out characters for the benefit of other gamers? Would a filmmaker make a film filled with basic character sketches – then ask the reader or audience to fill in the gaps themselves? Actually yes – they’re called straight-to-DVD-bargain-bin-titles.
Yes, we’re actively participating, but participation for the sake of participation, and truly involving yourself in a story are strikingly different things. The greatest novels and films succeed on so many levels because they draw you into the fabric of the story – without having to place you and your friends literally in the story.
What about the social aspect? Not all games are about stories – some are about multi-player action. That’s true – but then what differentiates one shooter from the next? If you take away the story – what’s left? Realistic sprites running around shooting at each other with bigger or smaller guns. That’s what it boils down to.
So why do we play online games? Why the growing trend? My theory is that we play them because they’re good excuses to play video games. We feel better playing online games because they’re more “social” than single-player games. Let’s not beat around the bush: if you were in the mood to socialize you’d meet up with some friends for dinner. Online gaming isn’t about socializing – “social” is merely a construct to make you feel that it’s “okay” to play video games again. We feel “social” while actually being quite anti-social.
So I say let’s embrace it. Gaming is still an anti-social thing, like reading, or watching a movie, in that they are best enjoyed on our own individual terms, as envisioned by the creator. I say “still” because while I don’t think we’ve reached a stage where the issues I’ve discussed here can be fully addressed yet – I’m not discounting the fact that someone somewhere will figure it all out someday.
In the mean time, if you feel like “devolving” – look back at some of the classic adventure games and you’ll be surprised at the quality of the stories and characters. I’ll leave you with two of the best old school adventure game characters ever to grace my computer screen.
Roger Wilco – Wilco stars in all six Space Quest games. He started off as a janitor aboard a space ship, saved the universe from alien scum, and ended up… as a janitor aboard another space ship.
Guybrush Threepwood – Guybrush is the main character in the Monkey Island series. His adventures lead him to incredibly strange places with ghost pirates, voodoo magic, rubber chickens, and of course, monkeys.
What happened to those good ‘ol graphic adventure games?
The thing I find most memorable about graphic adventure games wasn’t actually the graphics, it was the soundtrack: you’d inevitably spend so much time trying to find “the crowbar that opened the latch that released the pigeon that distracted the pirate,” that you’d subconsciously internalize every single MIDI note that was playing in the background. For more on retro MIDI soundtracks, check out my Top 9 Killer Old School Adventure Game Tunes — the coolest tunes only.
Here we go.
10. Space Quest IV: Roger Wilco and the Time Rippers
9. Leisure Suit Larry 3
8. Grim Fandango
7. Sam and Max Hit The Road
6. Full Throttle
5. Space Quest III: The Pirates of Pestulon
4. Beneath A Steel Sky
3. Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis
2. Day of the Tentacle
1. The entire Monkey Island series!
And there you have it: the Desk of Jiksun Top 10 BEST Old School Graphic Adventure Games. I have to admit it’s heavily skewed towards Lucas Arts and Sierra, but they were really that good.