Written by Joe Pranevich
As we approached our 100th Missed Classic, we had a tremendous challenge. What game could possibly be interesting enough or “classic” enough to warrant the 100th spot? With so many games played, most of the obvious candidates were completed long ago. We’ve played the first adventures, early games from later designers, and best sellers. Our 100th game needed to be more than that. We wanted to find a game that didn’t just look back on the history of our genre, but would look forward to the next iteration.
In the near future, we will be looking at Myst (1993). At arguably more than 7 million copies sold, Myst is certainly the best-selling adventure game of all time. Games like Myst and The 7th Guest (also 1993) will lead to major changes in adventure gaming, and some will claim the death of the genre. We’ll get to those topics in time, but before we can look ahead to Myst, we need to look back at its less well-known but hardly less amazing predecessor: The Manhole. As much an interactive experience as an adventure game, The Manhole stripped our genre to its most minimalist components. It doesn’t put icons or verbs between the player and the action, nor does it have a plot or real puzzles. The Manhole opens into an immersive world of whimsy and heart. The story of The Manhole is the story of two brothers, Rand and Robyn Miller, and an exciting new programming system for the Macintosh called “HyperCard”. They changed adventure gaming forever.