by: Anurag Ghosh
; edited by: J. F. Amprimoz
; updated: 4/17/2012
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Did you know that the first graphic adventure game was released way back in 1980? The first games used still pictures & text. The best PC adventure games of the early 90s involved complex puzzles and a very engaging storyline. They also influenced modern pixel-hunting games.
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Best Adventure Games for Your PC
Add a dash of puzzles and sprinkle some mystery, what you get is a perfect recipe for the best PC adventure games. These point-and-click games generally rely on the mouse as players interact with objects and environment using an on-screen cursor.
PC adventure games analyze your observational and deductive skills and are mostly cerebral as they test your brains through complex, but logical puzzles. Such games encompass a huge variety of themes including detective, horror, cyberpunk and funny games. From the first adventure game Mystery House (Sierra On-Line, 1980) to the epic King’s Quest series to newer games like Overclocked: History of Violence, graphic adventure video games are still a favorite amongst hardcore and casual gamers.
Today, many point-and-click adventure PC games get released every day. Some are created by amateur enthusiasts using cheap flash game engines, while others are developed by well-known game companies. But there are many classic games that have still endured the tough video game competition. Here are the best titles that have never lost their shine and are played by gamers over and over again.
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The Secret of Monkey Island
The game is one of the best PC adventure games ever developed, and one of the first and only adventure games that was ported console. The Secret of Monkey Island revolves around the misadventures of Guybrush Threepwood, an aspiring pirate who will do anything to join a bunch of sea robbers on the Island of Melee. Players have to guide Guybrush through various difficult objectives put forward by the pirates. The game has many clever puzzles that do not frustrate you at all. A little logic and you’re through.
Characters in The Secret of Monkey Island resemble 2D cartoon characters and look very funny, particularly Guybrush, with his laughter-evoking ponytail. One of the key aspects of the game was the rib-tickling text dialogues exchanged between Guybrush and a rival pirate, where choosing the right insults and comebacks dictate the outcome of your sword duels. Monkey Island was one of few graphic adventure video games with a humorous twist. There's also a revamped version of Monkey Island that has enhanced graphics and sounds. You can purchase this game at just $9.99 from steam.
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Beneath a Steel Sky
Cyberpunk games (futuristic adventure games) entered the graphic adventure scenario on the heels of the literary movement in the late 80s and early 90s. Games like BAT, Bloodnet, Dreamweb and many had a very futuristic storyline coupled up with good graphics and gameplay. Beneath a Steel Sky is one such cyberpunk game known more for its dark and interesting plot than gameplay. It’s a linear game with logical puzzles. You will have to progress while interacting with other characters and inventory through engaging levels. You will love the technological conspiracies and a complex plot.
Beneath the Steel Sky has a simple mouse interface. You can examine items by left-clicking on them and a simple right click allows you interact with objects. The graphics are better than other cyberpunk games of the era, particularly the unique comic-book styled intro. Beneath a Steel Sky is one of the best PC adventure games available free on GOG.com: free and legal.
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Kings Quest: Quest for the Crown
When Kings Quest: Quest for the Crown made its debut in 1984, it allowed players to control an animated character instead of rummaging through boring still pictures. The game is more like a fairy tale adventure that revolves around the Kingdom of Daventry. Players have to help Sir Graham, the hero, to retrieve a stolen mirror by embarking on a dangerous journey.
The one factor which made King’s Quest a favorite among gamers was the interactive graphics. At that time, the best PC adventure games used a combination of still pictures and text. With King’s Quest, players could control a character as well as interact with the environment using the keyboard. Although the original Kings Quest game is not available free (legally), you can download the Kings Quest Remake from Gamershell.com. It has all the fun and adventure of the original KQ game as well as enhanced graphics and sound.
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Think of any retro graphic adventure game and this title surely pops up in your mind. Maniac Mansion was the first point and click adventure game that utilized the mouse and the command screen effectively. It was the first to use the SCUMM game engine developed by Lucasfilm Games. The engine has commands listed at the bottom of screen. When interacting with any object or environment or when exchanging dialogues, players have to click on a verb listed on the command section to execute that action.
The game is about rescuing a modern damsel in distress named Sandy from the clutches of Dr Fred. Players take control of three characters to solve puzzles and interact with other characters using the Command interface. Maniac Mansion also has an inventory section where players can unlock certain items by using two objects from their inventory. It has high replay value and is still considered one of the best point and click games.
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You might have gone through a laughing riot reading Terry Pratchett’s Discworld novels and books. If so, then you may have played the game series based on the same title. The first Discworld was released for the DOS platform in 1995 and immediately reached the top of the success ladder, thanks to some smart gameplay and challenging puzzles, not to mention a tie-in that has a huge cult following
You will find almost all Discworld characters in the game including Death. The graphics will remind you of other adventure titles such as Simon the Sorcerer and the Monkey Island series. Just like any other graphic adventure game of the mid-90s, there is no voice work, but atmospheric music is good. The game is certainly one of the best PC adventure games and is still played by many Pratchett fans.