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USE broken-stock-of-a-gun-on-a-chain ON door

Posted on: April 4, 2007

as the old statement reads in Murder on the Mississippi (c64 Adventure game released in 1986).

Yesterday I was feeling a little bit odd and my head just wouldn’t focus on my tasks at hand. I though maybe I was just tired, but when I got back home S suggested I check my temperature, and it turns out I had a high fever. So today I am staying home taking it easy and trying not to get to caught up in work ;).

Now what better way to distract oneself than through some computer gaming I thought to myself, and starting searching the web for some free downloads. While doing this I drifted in to the realm of abandon ware (essentially games that are so old that no one cares anymore if you copy them around).

I have always been a fan of adventure games, and by that I mean real adventure games that feature a box of verbs at the bottom of the screen and where it is virtually impossible to get killed. Ever since I first started using computers I have always been hooked on these games with their wonderful ability to engulf the player in virtual settings. I guess to me in many senses it is much like reading a good novel, though a bit more interactive, challenging and frustrating from time to time.

Anyways, many times since the demise of the Amiga platform I have cursed the modern game development companies and Mr. Carmack (even though yes, I know he does a lot of good things in the open source sense…) for the death of this game genre. Mostly because I believe I have played through most of the major adventure games ever put out there, and while they are great the first time, the very game-play model doesn’t lend it self to replays (except for Cruise for a Corpse which might just be the best game ever produced…). So the lack of new titles puts me in the rust so to speak.

Still, there is one game that I never managed to get my hands on back in the days when you could spend afternoon by afternoon just playing; “The Lost Files of Sherlock Holmes: The Case of the Serrated Scalpel”.

Released in 1992 by Electronic Arts (Developed by Mythos Inc.), I think one of the reasons I never got to play it was because this was just about the time when Commodore was about to go down, and those were tumultuous times for most of us… (naturally I didn’t own a PC at the time…) I remember though, reading in DMZ (Besvarjaren Besvarar) about the various problems and riddles in the game, and thinking to myself “I have GOT to get this game…”. Never happened…

Until today! I downloaded DosBox and the abondonware PC image of the game, set it all up and dove in.

So here I am, sun flowing in through the living room window, drinking cider and eating potato chips while playing the one game I have been yearning for for almost 15 years… and I almost feel like I am 14 again ;)

The world would be a better place if there were more adventure games out there… Just imagine what they could look like with todays graphics…

“Come, Watson, come! The game is afoot!”

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11 Responses to "USE broken-stock-of-a-gun-on-a-chain ON door"

It don’t get better then that! wonderful

I actually had to erase my windows partition simply because I found it way to distracting. After spending way too much time just walking around in the world of Oblivion (the game that is), I decided that I didn’t have the time nor the discipline to keep windows installed on my Macbook (I’m not sure if this switch to Intel was altogether a good thing). I think you just convinced me to install it again…. dammit.

“Heeeeeeeeellooooooooo Geoooooooorge!”

Peter!
hehe! The scary thing is that it is getting more and more difficult to get these old gems to run properly. Running this game took a lot of tweeking, but oh it was so worth it!

Daniel!
Hahaha well you I think you are touching on two important things here.

1. Switching to Intel probably does make the Mac a more viable option for people who like playing games…

2. Our good old friend George! There has been some successful modern attempt in this genre. First one that springs to mind might not be Broken Sword, but rather Grim Fandango, which I recall you too had a thing for back when it came out :). Are you aware that there has also been a new chapter in the Sam & Max saga released recently? Might be worth checking out ;)

Yo!

Last fall I played through BaSS in Scumm for PSP – a great experience. I also got through DotT. Entertaining, but hardly as good as I remembered it. Anyway, ScummVM for PSP kicks ass.

Also, there are most definitely some new life in the adventure genre:

– Still life
– Sam and Max (which is published in the form of a continuing series)
– Fahrenheit
– Dreamfall

And, albeit not really within this genre:

– Knights of the old Republic I and II (did you ever play this game? It is easily on my top ten list. Please play it)
– A new Fallout is coming out, I hear….
– The latest Neverwinter Nights
– Elder scrolls IV – Oblivion (ofc you have to get the added Goonies-inspired pirate cave content. This game also has a great mod tool)

Yeah, I actually re-played Grim Fandango not too long ago. It is still such a great game, not to mention beautiful. the first Broken Sword is definately up there with the rest of them (maybe not quite at the same level as Cruise for a corpse, but is there anything that really compares to that game?)

I saw they made a new version of Another World. From what I gather of the demo, they basically just upgraded the graphics a bit and left the game intact. Good call.

Knights of the old Republic I I’ve played through I think twice and I’ll join Peter in saying: Please play it.

I was playing Oblivion when I played through the latest neverwinter nights, and I was constantly hounded by my own comparison of the two games. They are certainly playing in different leagues, and I wasn’t able to enjoy NWN at all. Not sure it’s entirely fair to compare the two games though.

A new Fallout… god help me.

Peter!
You have some very strong titles lined up here! I’m really glad that you took the time to point them out to me! Let me continue my ranting on adventure/role playing games.. (As always in a most unstructured and opinionated way ;)

Often I find that today the line between role-playing games and adventures is blurred to a level where it is difficult to see their distinction. This of course raises the question of what is an adventure game? Well for me for example I want my character development to be entirely narrative driven, and not the product of distributing points earned by bashing trolls. (Though that def. has its charm too!).

I want my alter ego to be provided to me, with all the background and details already established, albeit sometimes unknown when the game starts out.

I also want the story to be at least somewhat linear, whit the concept of “exploring” (sometimes defined in role-playing games as Finding hunting grounds where the same trolls reappear regularly to provide nice ‘gaining’ opportunities ;) ) confined to single screens and a clearly defined time-space. Also, I want the exploration to be just as much about exploring the depths and motives of my protagonist as well as the characters that I meet along the way.

I want to be able to pull away from the keyboard and spend my commuting hours thinking about how to solve some problem in the game, without fearing that maybe I didn’t train the right skills or buy the right Item to progress.

Hmm this is turning into a rant about why I like adventure games more than role-playing game, which was not at all my intention…

I think what keeps me away from many games (and granted, this is not a problem with the games, this is all personal preference), is the level of complexity that you have to master before being able to enjoy them, and the amount of time you need to invest in front of the computer in order to get through them.

I remember playing The Pandora Directive on the PC many years ago (Oh No! Not one of those ‘Oh I remember how good and glorious it all used to be!-rants, spare me!!!’), one of the Tex Murphy adventures (you know Under a Killing Moon with James Earl Jones and so on). I think the actual game play was like 30 hours or so, but the time spent trying to puzzle together the pieces of the mysteries and riddles in the game probably amounted to just as much, and this is time spent in the bath or while going back and forth to school. (It was released in 1998 :)

Ok I completely lost my focus in this reply, but never mind… Bottom line, I just want to play more adventure games!

I tried playing KOTOR and got a few hours (maybe 10-15?) in to the game, (and oh what a beautiful game it is!) but ultimately I decided that it was simply going to take to much time and effort to do it justice and so I simply gave up (SHAME on me!).

I love the list you gave me Peter! I will def. check these titles out! You might just have provided me with the shot of gaming-vitamins that I so longed for!

Daniel!
I really hope they go for Louis A. in the intro again! :)

I can totally relate to what you’re after – having riddles to ponder while on the train and so on. I find that that’s one of the things I really treasure in a game. Personally I find that Turn-based strategy games for portable consoles give me that satisfaction. I like flipping the DS open, making a few moves in Advance Wars, closing the lid and then considering different tactics until I open the game again the next day or so.

Peter!
Now there is a good point! I really enjoy playing role playing games on the PSP for the exact same reason. I gave it a go with one of those love-romantic adventure games since they are often marketed as adventure games. Not that it wasn’t fun, but they are generally challenging in other ways than say Monkey Island ever was.

Then again, I had the pleasure of coming across a role playing game called Legend of Heros, which really turned out to be more of an adventure game. Yay!!

Looks like this weekend may be suitable for some gaming – looks like Tokyo will be rainy saturday.

Weird. Just realized that you actually live in Tokyo. Hm.

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