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The Best New Adventure Games. The Revival of a Video Game Genre

by: sinisterporpoise ; edited by: J. F. Amprimoz ; updated: 4/17/2012 • Leave a comment

Grim Fandango and Full Throttle may be long gone, but mystery fans can take on the roles of their favorite detectives in many new adventure game series that have been released for the personal computer.

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    A (Very Brief) Bit of History on Adventure Games

    grim-fandango box front 1600x2012 Many PC gamers thought adventure games went by the wayside after LucasArts stopped producing them. Some of the best adventure games in the heyday of the genre were Full Throttle and The Adventures of Grim Fandango. Adventure games came back recently, although they no longer seem to focus on the humor. Perhaps the advent of the flash games Mysteryville and Ravenhearst allowed PC adventure game developers to save this genre from near extinction.

    The old adventure games focused on humorous storylines and interesting characters. The new adventure games focus more on mysteries. The target audience for these games has changed also. Video games that were once marketed almost exclusively to young men in the 18 to 25-year-old age range now appeal to a more mature group of women. When the casual flash mystery games came out, the mystery format, in games as in novels, proved to be more popular with women than with men. (Don't worry guys, there are still adventure games out there that we can enjoy.)

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    Top 5 Best New Adventure Games

    Sherlock Holmes the Awakened Screenshot 1. Sherlock Holmes: the Awakened

    Even if you are not a fan of the works of H.P. Lovecraft, Sherlock Holmes: the Awakened mixes supernatural horror with the mystery genre well. The player need not worry that Watson or Holmes will see anything more troubling than a miniature statue of Cthulhu. Unlike Chaosium’s table top Call of Cthulhu role playing game, neither Holmes nor Watson suffers any sanity loss.

    In Shelock Holmes: the Awakened players explore environments from Switzerland to the Americas, London and a famous Baker St. apartment forming a base of operations. A sense of mystery and a feeling of impending doom help set the mood for this title. The major drawback of this adventure game is that some puzzles must be completed in a certain order.

    tales-of-monkey-island-wiiware-release-date-still-not-finalized 2. Tales of Monkey Island

    The offbeat, quirky and intelligent humor of this title ensure its place as one of the top adventure games of all time. Players who enjoyed the original can enjoy a new Monkey Island adventure on the web.. The Telltale Games webite offers the new game in episodic format. Some of the situations in Tales of Monkey Island make the game not suitable for young children.

    3. Sam and Max Season One

    sam-max Max, the bunny, prefers violence to, well, anything. Sam is a straight talking no-nonsense Humphrey Bogart rip off in the guise of a dog. Telltale Games felt that the time was right for a resurgence. Instead of being a re-release of a classic title, they released new episodic sequels to the Sam and Max games. The new Sam and Max: Freelance Police titles can be downloaded straight from Telltale Games an episode at a time. There is also a Wii version of Sam and Max Season 2.

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    rope pulley 4. The Nancy Drew Mystery Series

    Her Interactive has released twenty games featuring the famous teenage detective. These games seem simple at first, but can be quite challenging even for people who are good at solving puzzles. Adventure Games in the series include Ransom of the Seven Ships and Danger by Design.

    The Nancy Drew games often include detours designed to appeal to the target audience. Older gamers may find the mini games to be an annoying distraction that takes away from the storyline. The mini-games in Ranom of the Seven Ships only serve to slow the progression of the story.

    5. The Agatha Christie Games

    agatha-christie-and-then-there-were-none screen2 One may think Agatha Christie mysteries making the transition to the adventure game genre would make sense since Sherlock and Nancy got their own series.The Agatha Christie titles give gamers a chance to solve a mystery as Hercule Poirot, Agatha Christie's detective. The first title in the series is based on the book And Then There Were None.

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    Honorable Mentions

    SS01 A few web games deserve a mention as good adventure titles also. The BBC’s Death in Sakkara title captures the spirit of the genre well. Mystery, P.I. also remains popular among casual gamers.

    Finding the older point and click adventure games is difficult, although many people sell the titles on Ebay and similar auction sites. You can also visit Mystery Game Central to learn about new mystery flash games you can play on the web.

    The older PC adventure games such as Grim Fandango, Roger Wilco and Leisure Suit Larry catered to a mostly male audience. The newer adventure games seem to appeal more to female gamers. Perhaps this is because casual games like Mysteryville proved that there was a market for mystery-adventure titles after all. If the genre developers go all out, adventure gamers might see Sculder and Mully and Carl Kolchak star in their own games. (Carl Kolchak was the main character in the show from which the X-files drew inspiration.)