Monday, 7 April 2014

Game 43: The Secret of Monkey Island - Introduction


Bring...it...on!!!!

As you could probably guess, I like a good list. It hardly even matters what the topic is. Top 50 movies of 2013? 1001 Comics to Read Before You Die? 67 Best Arnie One-Liners? You name it, I can get some form of enjoyment out of it. Obviously this list-fetish has brought many Best Games of All Time lists past my eyes, and there wouldn’t be many that haven’t included The Secret of Monkey Island somewhere on them. Computer Gaming World ranked it the 19th best game ever. Retro Gamer the 33rd. The Adventure Gamers website produced a top 100 adventure games of all time a few years ago, and The Secret of Monkey Island came in at 14th, which is far and away the highest of all the games on the playlist so far (Hero’s Quest didn’t even make the top 100 though, so I’m not sure it’s a list worth paying much attention to). Anyway, the point is that we’ve reached a very significant moment in the genre’s history, and it’s one I’ve been looking forward to since the blog began. I really don’t think I’ve played the game since my Amiga days, which finished nearly 20 years ago, so I doubt I’ll be breezing through it on memory alone the way I did with the King’s Quest Remake. Before I attempt to make a pirate out of Guybrush though, it’s worth spending some time looking at the game’s origins, and who was involved in its creation.


If this cover doesn't say adventure, I don't know what does.

The concept behind The Secret of Monkey Island was conceived by Ron Gilbert back in 1988. He’d just completed Zak McKracken and the Alien Mindbenders and was brainstorming some new ideas for future adventure games. One of these ideas was to base a game in the world of pirates, with the feel he would be going for based on the Pirates of the Caribbean theme park ride and a novel by Tim Powers called On Stranger Tides (the latter of which combined piracy with voodoo). He pitched the idea to LucasFilm, and they loved it. However, the company’s main designers (including Gilbert) were all currently assigned to Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. Once that game was in the bag, Gilbert immediately began production on Monkey Island.  He quickly realised that he was going to need significant help, so hired Tim Schafer and David Grossman to help him (neither of whom had been involved in an adventure game to date). The three of them would design and program the game together, with Schafer and Grossman also producing much of the game’s dialogue. There were issues early on with the three men’s writing styles differing too much to form a cohesive whole, but Gilbert made things work by assigning each of them to different characters and story sections, depending on the language and humour that was required. The majority of the dialogue was created on the fly as each programmer was producing these assigned scenes.


This is the first time we've seen Tim Schafer, who would go on to make his fortune as designer of adventure classics such as Day of the Tentacle, Full Throttle and Grim Fandango.

As far back as Maniac Mansion, Gilbert’s goal had been to make gameplay as accessible as possible. He’d always been frustrated with adventure games (particularly those by Sierra) where small mistakes lead to a game over screen or worse, a dead end. He was therefore determined that there would be no dead ends in his games, nor would the player die at any stage. This philosophy was applied to Maniac Mansion, but unfortunately the complexity of the game got away from him, and the result included quite a few unforeseen dead end situations. Gilbert, Schafer and Grossman were very careful while making The Secret of Monkey Island to bring this dream to fruition, and while they may not have been the first to succeed (Brian Moriarty’s Loom was the first game to successfully follow the LucasArts philosophy), they achieved it nonetheless. Speaking of SCUMM, The Secret of Monkey Island uses the same version of the engine that was used for Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, with only minor changes. That game had been the first to include branching dialogue options, but Gilbert built upon the technology to form a more entertaining and efficient system for Monkey Island. He also removed the “What is” option, and instead allowed the player to just move their cursor around the screen to highlight objects. The other significant change was in the graphics department. From what I can tell, the game was originally released in the same 16 colour, 320x200 pixel resolution as the previous SCUMM games, but shortly afterwards (as in a matter of months) was given a VGA makeover, with 256 colours to boot.


EGA: The difference might not seem all that obvious here...


VGA: ...but it is when you play them side by side.

While we’re on the topic of graphics, Gilbert hired a bunch of talented people to produce the characters, animation and background art required to produce his vision. A major part of the team that worked on the graphics for Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (Steve Purcell, Mark Ebert and Martin Cameron) came on board, as did the man behind the beautiful background environments in Loom, Mark Ferrari. Another eight team members created the art for the 256 colour version, including James Dollar and James McLeod (both of whom worked on Indiana Jones as well). The music of the game was composed by Barney Jones, Michael Land, Patric Mundy and Andy Newell, although I believe the famous “pirate reggae” was composed entirely by Land. Apart from Newell, who edited and mixed the music for Loom, I can’t see that any of these guys had done anything in the gaming world prior, which is surprising considering the hugely memorable quality of the resulting work. It’s worth noting that a much higher quality soundtrack was produced for the 1992 CD-ROM version. I do wonder whether it’s that version, or perhaps one from a later Monkey Island game, that I have in my head right now?! The only other involvement I’ll mention is that of Orson Scott Card. No doubt his involvement was over-emphasised for Monkey Island as it was for Loom, but it is often suggested he wrote a number of the insults that were used in the sword fighting scene while visiting the Lucasfilm headquarters one day.


The Lucasfilm team in 1990, all dressed up as Ron Gilbert.

There have been a few different versions of The Secret of Monkey Island, so it’s important to note which one I’ll be playing. The first version released, in October 1990, was a 16 colour EGA version on floppy disks. My rule is that I will always play the first version of a game unless the next version of it was released within twelve months of the original. From everything I can find, the 256 colour VGA version (also on floppy disks) was also released prior to the end of 1990. I’ve found this VGA version, and the title screen does indeed have 1990 at the bottom of it, so I don’t think I need any further proof that this is the one I should be playing. The third version, released in 1992, was on CD-ROM, and included the higher quality music that I mentioned earlier. Finally, a complete remake of the game was created in 2009, which I guess I’ll be playing in around 20 years time. I’ll be playing this game in SCUMMVM of course, and have found a copy of the original manual. There isn’t really anything in there that I didn't already know, but it does give a little bit of info about our hero’s motivation, for those of you that have never played the game. “In The Secret of Monkey Island, you play the role of Guybrush Threepwood, a young man who has just hit the shores of Melee Island (somewhere in the Caribbean). Our naive hero’s travels have led him to Melee Island in a quest to fulfil his life’s ambition...to become a fierce, swashbuckling, blood-thirsty Pirate!” So...who’s with me?!


2009 Elaine vs 1990 Elaine. To think that I thought she was hot in 1990!


Note Regarding Spoilers and Companion Assist Points: There's a set of rules regarding spoilers and companion assist points. Please read it here before making any comments that could be considered a spoiler in any way. The short of it is that no CAPs will be given for hints or spoilers given in advance of me requiring one. As this is an introduction post, it's an opportunity for readers to bet 10 CAPs (only if they already have them) that I won't be able to solve a puzzle without putting in an official Request for Assistance (see below for an example bet). If you get it right I will reward you with 30 CAPs in return. It's also your chance to predict what the final rating will be for the game. Voters can predict whatever score they want, regardless of whether someone else has already chosen it. All correct (or nearest) votes will go into a draw.


Example Bet:

V pna’g oryvrir gung zbafgre qvq vg,
Jul pbhyqa’g ur yrnir zr nybar?
V’z genccrq jvguva guvf tunfgyl cynpr,
Jvyy V rire or noyr gb tb ubzr?

Jub nz V sbe 20 PNCf?

Extra Note: We're extremely lucky to have a generous sponsor like Lars-Erik. Unfortunately, many of the prizes he has been donating lately have been unclaimed. This is obviously happening because winners already own the games, so we've decided to change things up a little bit! From now on, the person who correctly predicts what score I will give the current game (or are closest) will get to choose one of the next five commercially available games on the playlist. Lars-Erik will donate the game once a choice is made. So, if you predict the right score (or are closest), you will get 10 CAPs and a copy of any of the following games:

The Quest for Glory 1-5 Collection from GOG
The King's Quest 4 + 5 + 6 Collection from GOG
The Hugo Trilogy
Space Quest 4 + 5 + 6 Collection from GOG
Leisure Suit Larry: Greatest Hits and Misses Collection from GOG

69 comments:

  1. I just realised I haven't figured out the CAP Distribution for the King's Quest Remake. I'll do it first thing tomorrow.

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    1. You just couldn't wait to get to this game, did you?

      This is gonna blow all previous scores out of the water. 85!

      Delete
  2. I'm going to guess infinite. Even better, infinite plus one. Meh... I'll go with just 72.

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  3. I'm going for 80. And hopefully playing along.

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  4. Hey! I'm new around here and I'm going with 72. Additionally, I don't think you'll need any hints/spoilers to complete this game, it's easier than most adventure games.

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  5. You might enjoy starting things off with playing its shareware demo, which uses some of the same characters and locations to present a short game with different puzzles. I believe it can be downloaded at http://www.dosgamesarchive.com/file/monkey/

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  6. Woah mama, Monkey Island! For the score, I'm guessing cake.

    And I'm seriously playing along. Can't say no to Stan! (hands waving, tapping foot).

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  7. This is what we've all been waiting for! I guess this must be the first game over 70, let's say 75.

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  8. Such high scores! Surely some mistake? There's still a lot of progress to be made, and while I really like this game there are better adventures to come (including the fantastic sequel).

    I'll go for a more restrained 69.

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    Replies
    1. Did hype even exist before the Internet?

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    2. Sure do! Has been around since the Printing Press was developed.

      Delete
  9. Am I the only one that prefers the graphics in the EGA vs. VGA (at least in this one screenshot)? The colors are just so much more vibrant.

    If I play along on the 2009 remake version, do I still get CAPs for it? Also, I'll guess 77.

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    1. Thought Loom looked good by EGA standards? Prepare to be absolutely blown away.

      Besides, LeChuck looks fugly in the floppy VGA version. The original actually looks skeletal and glowy, like the concept art. The darkest part of his sprite is the beard, neatly giving the impression how it's black but ghostly pale at the same time. The VGA version looks much less defined and like someone smeared poop all over him. They sort of fixed his look in the CD version (which is the the familiar version from my childhood) but it's still not as good as the original.

      I'm going to post further creenshots to let Trickster know what he's missing, so he can realize the error of his ways.

      Delete
    2. It's not too late to play the EGA one. I haven't started yet!

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    3. I'd say play the one that appeals more to your personal tastes.

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    4. What about a compromise? Play the VGA version, but in EGA, because it supports that. :-P

      Regardless of which version Trickster plays, I'm going to note some of the most interesting differences as he plays - what did the VGA update improve, and what it didn't.

      Delete
    5. Please don't do what Laukku suggests... it looks atrocious:D

      I like reading about the differences and how things change between versions, so please do note along.

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    6. Hopefully it's obvious that I was joking and Trickster doesn't actually follow my "suggestion". It could be worse, he could decide to play the game with CGA or Hercules graphics and the internal speaker.

      But I do wonder why LucasArts didn't make the game in VGA in the first place, if they bothered to program EGA support in their VGA games anyway. Maybe because only the EGA version supports CGA and Hercules.

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    7. For what those are, they aren't half bad in a small dose. I can't imagine I'd be able to finish the game like that though.

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    8. I wouldn't be surprised if the reason the VGA version was released later was a marketing tactic and VGA and EGA versions were actually ready for release at the same time. The staggered release could keep the game on store shelves longer and possibly sell 2 copies to the someone who liked the game enough.

      It actually looks to me more like the VGA graphics were done first and then the automatic downgrade Laukku posted was edited to make it look better.

      Zac McCracken, for example, definitely looks like the art was done separately

      http://www.mobygames.com/game/dos/zak-mckracken-and-the-alien-mindbenders/screenshots/gameShotId,8117/

      http://www.mobygames.com/game/dos/zak-mckracken-and-the-alien-mindbenders/screenshots/gameShotId,8124/

      It looks to me that in Monkey Island only the closeups were done separately.

      http://www.mobygames.com/game/dos/secret-of-monkey-island/screenshots/gameShotId,318378/

      http://www.mobygames.com/game/dos/secret-of-monkey-island/screenshots/gameShotId,318377/

      Now I'll wait for someone to point out an interview with one of the developers that proves my guess is completely wrong.

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    9. Still prefer the EGA look of Monkey Island, but wow, what a difference between those Zac McCracken shots.

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    10. @TBD: Nah, the EGA version was made first and then upgraded to VGA. There's interviews where the origninal artists only talk about using 16 colours (Here and here.) The VGA version credits extra people for converting to VGA (as noted in the blog above). The EGA art direction is more consistent (for example, EGA Elaine in your comparison actually looks like the cover art, with the same kind of black curly hair and facial proportions, and is probably drawn by Purcell). There's things accidentally left in EGA in the VGA version, and graphical effects that are in EGA but weren't bothered to be redone in VGA.

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    11. Bloody facts! Always proving my assumptions totally wrong :)

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  10. Ah, so we're here at last. This is THE one guys, seminal, genre-defining, the high-watermark of the point'n click era and the golden standard later aspirants would try (typically too hard) to measure up to, only to fail (typically miserably). Whether the humor is your cup of tea is beyond the point -- TSoMI's brilliance ranges from setting, to puzzles, to characters, to attitude; it still remains a crowning example of what unadulterated childlike fun is, or should be all about, and indeed some grandiose times were had by me and a group of friends, munching on pizza around an old CRT monitor, trying to work out some of the game's more challenging puzzles -and puns, in a foreign language, mind you!- on so many a late night. *sheds tear*

    So yes, let's say I have a soft spot for this one. Can't see what fault Trickster may find with it but just for the sake of moderation (and because I actually don't know how high the scale goes) I'll guess 78. I don't expect many other games to surpass SoMI in terms of sheer enjoyment but there's always room for surprises...

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  11. Let's say 78. The graphics and audio are going to let it down (presuming that we're talking in the realms of 'only' a 6-7.)

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  12. I'll go with a modest 68, because IMHO it's just slightly better than Loom.

    On the topic of Tim Schaefer, anyone tried Broken Age yet? Heard it's still pretty broken with plenty of bugs.

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    1. Bugs? don't think I found any.

      It's a generally good game. Fun, occasionally humorous and a bit short. Doesn't make much of the ability to switch between the two characters (I felt they should perhaps have forced switching at certain specific points).

      I wrote about it here (spoilers though): http://playedbypanthro.blogspot.co.uk/2014/02/indie-gaming-broken-age-part-1-review.html

      Delete
  13. Looks like 76 is still free. I'll be playing along, but Zenic, if you think you're going to be playing a different version, I'm playing the X-Box Arcade version. I started it just before I discovered this blog and been waiting to play along. This will be my first time, playing more than 30min.

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    1. Playing SoMI with a controller on XBLA works astonishingly well. I'm still annoyed that we won't be seeing special editions of any of the other LucasArts classics for the foreseeable future.

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    2. Yeah, that's the version I'm going to play it on. Glad to know there are others doing the same. I think the most I've done is seen screenshots of the game... might have tried the demo, but can't remember.

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  14. 86. An all-time classic for a very good reason.

    And I might be playing along with this one despite being part-way through two other adventure games already.

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  15. Replies
    1. Also, this is absolutely one of the best adventure games ever made, and one of my favorites. Timeless. That main theme gets me every time. And "running dangerously low on grog" is a decades-old in-joke with my sister - this might be the only game she ever completed on her own impetus. So damn good. Just so good. I owned first the "demo" version - which had different puzzles, I think (?) - and played and replayed it so often my father caved and bought the full version.

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  16. I'll guess 100, not because I think it'll get it, but because I want to be the first person to guess a 100 and not be more than 30 points off.

    I'm gunna play along with the EGA version, since I've played the VGA version plenty, but the EGA version never.

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  17. So, I thought I had a couple of new releases, but one was a top-down shooter marked as an adventure game, and the other was a hidden object game, which I don't think counts (feel free to correct me if I'm wrong).

    However, the following games are on sale:
    Dark Fall Collection (Last on sale: January, though this one is much larger.): http://store.steampowered.com/sub/35378/?snr=1_4_4__106_2

    Jack Keane 2 - The Fire Within: Point and click adventure, some nice graphics. http://store.steampowered.com/app/236970/?snr=1_4_4__106_3 Largest sale since July 2013, last on sale: Jan 2014.

    I'm not even sure if I should post it, as it is a PAINFULLY bad game, but Guise Of The Wolf is on sale. This is one of the games that is SO bad it made multiple commentators I follow (Lead by Jim Sterling and TotalBiscuit) revers their long standing stance that it is too hard to get onto steam and call for more curation. Sure, not this game alone, but it was one of the wave of dreck to his the stores at the same time. http://store.steampowered.com/app/259640/

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    1. OH and it is time for Deponia's bimonthly sale. It is on sale at http://store.steampowered.com/app/214340/ but I would NOT buy it at $19.99. It REGULARLY is available for $5, and was free a couple of weeks ago, though I bet we won't see that again. But we've seen it under $4 more then once since Christmas, so I'd wait a bit.

      Does it count as posting a sale if I give commentary that says it is a bad sale?

      Chaos on Deponia is also on sale, which I don't think I've posted about before: http://store.steampowered.com/app/220740/ but again, you can do better. However, it doesn't go on sale nearly as often as the first game, so here is the data, make up your own mind: http://steamalerts.com/i/18893

      Goodbye Deponia is ALSO on sale, and oddly enough it doesn't seem to go on sale very much, so you might want to pick this one up: http://store.steampowered.com/app/241910/ that said, I only have 6 months of data on it for some reason.

      Delete
    2. andddddddd I missed some.

      Real Horror Stories Ultimate Edition: http://store.steampowered.com/app/281370/?snr=1_4_4__tab-NewReleasesFilteredDLC_3 Came out on the 1st, so not sure if it count as a new release. Point and click. Terrible name. I wonder how many non-adventure games I could slip into one of these lists before someone actually noticed?

      Murdered: Soul Suspect: Not sure what type of game this is, but looks plausible as an adventure game. 10% off, but doesn't come out for 2 months. Does this count as a new game release or not? http://store.steampowered.com/app/233290/?snr=1_4_4__106_5

      Same problem with Moebius: Empire Rising. http://store.steampowered.com/app/264520/?snr=1_4_4__106_8 Again, on sale, looks interesting, but not out yet. I wish someone else would tell me about these games I'm posting, people who have played them, bought them, hated them. Also, if any aren't adventure games tell me so I don't post them again.

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    3. Dear word, it seems there are sales not listed on the front page:

      Nikopol: Secrets of the Immortals: 75% off. http://store.steampowered.com/app/11370/?snr=1_237_151__106 Another point and click. Do you even move in these games, or are they just static pictures or animated scenes?

      Oknytt: http://store.steampowered.com/app/286320/?snr=1_237_151__106 Man that is a dreary looking screen.

      Delete
    4. I've never seen a more elaborate and shameless grab for CAPs like this since the Sierra Madre heist in Fallout: New Vegas.

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    5. Considering that I only seem to get credit for a small fraction of the sales and new games I post, and I don't get any credit for doing stuff like making sure the hidden content wiki posts for each game was linked in the comments or the Saturday Crapshoot post was linked, I'll take my caps were I can get them.

      Delete
    6. So that is 9 game sales so far, as I'll count all the Deponia sales as one.

      The Wolf Among Us is on sale (10 sales). http://store.steampowered.com/app/250320/ I've heard a number of mixed reviews of it, but then again, they are comparing it to The Walking Dead, so that is a hard act to follow.

      New Adventure Game! (1): Dark Lore Mysteries: The Hunt For Truth http://store.steampowered.com/app/288970/?snr=1_4_4__tab-NewReleasesFilteredDLC Don't know anything about it, there are no user tags or reviews on steam yet, but I really like the pictures it has up.

      Also Agarest: Generations of War Zero is on oh, Gygax, I can't even try and get you to buy that as a joke. The main selling point of the first two games of the series was 'elf jailbait'. RPG.net has had two "Lets Play" thread on games in the series: http://forum.rpg.net/showthread.php?634144-no-spoilers-Where-I-Play-Record-of-Agarest-War-2-Elfsploitation-Boogaloo which did the entire first generation of the 2nd game in the series and http://forum.rpg.net/showthread.php?704481-WIP-Agarest-Generations-of-War-This-is-All-David-s-Fault and oh owe owe owe my head hurts with how terrible a game this is, I'm sorry for even thinking I'd try and slip it in with actual adventure games when it is a mislabled RPG, and the very worst dreck of the RPG world at that.

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  18. Hey, look! Gilbert has posted even more of his old design notes for this game:

    http://grumpygamer.com/5215077
    http://grumpygamer.com/9090783
    http://grumpygamer.com/9972553
    http://grumpygamer.com/1460272

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  19. First time posting-- I've been going through the previous posts over the last month and still have about nine games to get through to be current, but I wanted to get in on score guess. I ran my guess numbers for each PISSED category and got .73333... so whatever that would be is my guess for the final score (don't remember whether you round up or down). It's a just for fun guess, though, leave me out of the contest, etc. I might read your current posts parallel to the old stuff until I catch up...
    Oh, and my first experience playing this was the 2009 remake, which I'm sure is an odd position among your regular posters here!

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  20. Well, I was thinking 69, 70, or 72, but those have all been taken. So my guess is 71. If a game is going to dethrone Hero's Quest at the top of your list, it will be Secret of Monkey Island. This was Lori's and my favorite graphic adventure game, although Indiana Jones and the Secret of Atlantis was close.

    Incidentally, I seem to remember talking with Ron Gilbert at the 1990 GDC during which he mentioned that he had "borrowed" some ideas from Hero's Quest. I think I remember that we in turn "borrowed" from SoMI for QG2, although the timing doesn't seem right since QG2 released only a month after Monkey Island. All of the writing and design was complete months before that.

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  21. The current Humble Bundle has Broken Sword 2 and The Shivah plus seven other games for a minimum of $4 --- Now that's a deal! ;)

    https://www.humblebundle.com/

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    1. Thanks! Ended up getting it for Shivah alone, the rest I'll probably never play. p

      Tricky, can you transfer 5 CAPs to Zenic?

      Delete
  22. CAP Distribution and Leaderboard updated for King's Quest Remake

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    1. Um, Trickster? How are you counting these? I counted 3 new adventure games AND a sale on one posts alone.

      On the King's Quest Remake - Won! post I posted about the following new games:
      Black Mirror 2 - Reigning Evil
      The Witch's Yarn
      Actual Sunlight
      Harvester

      and one sale (Oknytt) (Plus one game someone else had already posted--opps), which is about as many support awards as you've listed in total. Would you like me to start keeping a running total for you, or do you just disagree on some of the games I've counted as adventure games.

      Delete
    2. Hmmmm…. Has Zenic still got any CAPs for guest blogging?

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    3. There's every chance that I missed a few, but at the same time, I really don't want to get caught up arguing over whether or not a particular release on Steam should be considered an adventure game or not. I've generally given CAPs for each sale or announcement, rather than for each game in it, but if you announce a sale containing fifteen adventure games (with your own commentary to go with it), I've been been a bit more generous. I don't think listing fifteen games on sale at once justifies 75 CAPs though, which is where the problem may lie.

      I really do appreciate all the effort you put in, so perhaps there's a different approach we could take, similar to the 20 CAPs per game award I give to Lars-Erik. I'd happily give you a set amount of CAPs per game to be our GOG / Steam release / sale announcer, but then what happens when others beat you to the punch or you have some time away? More thought needed...

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    4. @Ilmari: I realised today that I probably should do a CAP Distribution update for the Circuit's Edge posts, so will pay out Zenic at that time.

      So much admin!

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    5. I was going to remind you, but kept forgetting. ;)

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    6. Fair; How about this; 5 CAPS up to the current limit, then 1 CAP per additional sale? That way I don't zoom ahead of everyone else, but I still get something for reading hundreds of steam sales searching for one adventure game?

      I'll also keep busking for tips by writing funny things about games. I'm also willing to modify my sale presentation based on what information you guys want, in order to make finding the sales worth the CAPs I get.

      Delete
    7. Or! One CAP per game, and I do the math for you?

      Delete
  23. I'll guess 90. If this game doesn't at least score that high on a 100-point scale, then the scale is broken.

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  24. Whoops. I took a hiatus from reading this blog but managed to get through the backlog just in time to catch up with Monkey Island. I'm planning to play along, albeit with the remake. Of course I caught up over the weekend and then promptly forgot to check the blog again until now. :/

    I'll guess 74 because it looks to be free, although I believe it will actually score higher.

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  25. Hey Trickster, would I get any CAPS for live streaming an adventure game then uploading the recording to YouTube? Would anyone be interested in watching a newbie adventure game player stumble through an adventure game live?

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    1. I would be interested. Then I could compare with my own painfully awkward tries to make a Let's play (in spanish) :p (https://www.youtube.com/user/Deimarii/videos)

      Delete
  26. Man, Steam is flooded with hidden object games as of late. They look so pretty, but I'm pretty sure they aren't really adventure games. What do you lot think?

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    1. Nah, hidden object games are not adventure games for me, they're casual puzzle games. There's nothing wrong in that, but shouldn't be lumped in with adventure games. Talking of which, I might have to clean those out from Wikipedia's adventure game list as well.

      Delete
    2. Just to add to the confusion, there are some hybrid hidden object/adventure games too (A lot of the later Mystery Case Files and the Big Finish casual games, for example) They're still very clearly casual games though so not a lot of overlap

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    3. I play a lot of them (as in several dozen at least, probably way more than I want to think about if I started counting), and almost all modern hidden object games have basic inventory puzzles and minigame-type puzzles in them. A few of them don't even have hidden object scenes, and are straight-up inventory puzzle/environment interaction games (Violet, Namariel: Lords of Iron, some mind-related one I can't remember the name of). Some of them are quite fun, but they are qualitatively different than the old Sierra/LucasArts/et al games... it's late in the night for me so I can't come up with a useful guideline about what makes them different than the games this blog covers (especially the oldest games), but there was a definite fork in the evolution of the genre that split off the Deponias/Night of the Rabbits etc from the Mystery Case File/Treasure Hunter etc. casual games. If anyone else is familiar with the subgenre, it might be fun to hash out some distinction that clearly separates the two.

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    4. Cool, it sounds like some of them are a) valid targets for Trickster to play and b) worth CAPS here. However, as I don't know which ones are which, I'll leave that genre alone for others to figure out, unless someone asks me to keep an eye for when a certain game goes on sale.

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    5. This discussion feels really familiar (re: Is it clearly an adventure game? from when this blog was started and we discussed what an adventure game is).

      The (not a) problem with gaming is that games are inherently a creative product. As such, there will always be some games that neatly fall into groups, and plenty of games that clearly doesn't.

      I've played my share of hidden object games, and yes, some of them comes perilously close to being adventure games. I'm not sure we're going to find a clear definition that doesn't end up with gray areas, just because I'm not sure there's one to find.

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    6. Lars-Erik: It always bugs me that games have such poor categories. They are much easier to classify then music, but there is no argument what genre Bach or Beethoven fall into. Even Mendelssohn is agreed to be early romantic, despite the very strong influences of the earlier era in his music.

      But games? No one agrees on games, and then you get huge arguments about "That is just semantics, what is the point, blah blah blah"

      The point is to make good comparisons, to show the influence over time, and so I can find similar games. i.e. if I like Nethack, the odds that I like ADOM, Angband, DoomRL are greatly increased. Which is why I dislike genre-dilution, as calling Rogue Legacy a Roguelike when it doesn't have the same similarity reduce the utility of the term Roguelike to describe a game I am also going to like.

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  27. I know tSotMI won't probably get 81 but that's my guess as I'm late to the party! For me this game is in my top-5 adv games of all time and certainly top-10 games in general! The memories (CGA age) are incredible.

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