Adventure Game of the Year – 1999

Done! Finally done! I might go a step beyond with this one as well, but don’t count on it. If Wiki is right, there are some years where there aren’t ANY adventure games, so we’ll see. This year makes me incredibly sad because it’s a tell tale sign that adventure games are no longer popular. There are literally only 7 games this year, unless Wiki’s being a jerk…so yeah, this should be over quick.

#3 – Juggernaut

Some people (like me) would call this game an underdog, that maybe it just came out too late, that maybe if it was released around the time of Myst it would have done better. Other people might call it a steaming pile of shit. I can see that, at times, but it’s still a fun, bizarre adventure title. Basically put, your girlfriend becomes possessed, so you call a priest.

Fair enough…but then he asks you to DIVE INTO HER BODY TO FIGHT THE DEMON. Uhhh…yeah. There are VERY strange themes in this title involving souls, possession, torture, and much more. Like I said, it’s bizarre, but strangely intriguing. Definitely worth checking out if you can find it.

#2 – Discworld Noir

With Discworld 1 and 2, the entire experience is centered around comedy, magic, and general whimsy. While this is somewhat true in Noir, it’s also centered around being a P.I. and relatively dark themes. This is the only Discworld I haven’t beaten, but it’s damn impressive all the same. Problem is, with the tone shifting to what it has, it doesn’t FEEL very much like a Discworld title, which I think is its ultimate weakpoint.

#1 – Gabriel Knight 3 – Blood of the Sacred, Blood of the Damned

This is the second strongest of the GK titles. I didn’t really like the purely FMV driven GK2 and this one WOULD be alright, but the controls, camera, and just about every other gameplay mechanic are handled clumsily and awkwardly. The story’s alright…it has its ups and downs and does pick up toward the end. The only real reasons this one’s winning this year is because the other entries are so…weak.

Runner Ups

This was a terrible year for adventure games. I’m sure I’ll receive some flak for what I said about GK3, but I stand by it. It was okay. It was CERTAINLY better than GK2, but that’s not really saying much. That’s like saying it was better than both Phantasmagoria games combined (and it is). Sure, the story’s pretty good, the graphics are alright for the time, the dialogue’s pretty good, and the locations are interesting, but the game feels very meh and unpolished at times with the wonky controls.

I’d like to wrap this up by saying this. Why aren’t there any good, decent survival horror games anymore? Or for that matter, adventure games? Sorry, guys…it’s because of us, the gamers. The industry isn’t full of mind readers and often have to rely on statistical data. Even back in the 80s and 90s, you would have a shit TON more action and action hybrid titles than you would RPGs, adventure games, etc.

And this ISN’T a bad thing. I love several types of games, to be honest. But when you see one just…disappear…it’s almost like losing a best friend. Oh, maybe something will come out that REMINDS you of what genre X used to be like, but it’s just not the same. Bless them, Telltale sure is trying, but this bitesize stuff just isn’t cutting it for me. Remakes aren’t either.

But there’s hope. How, exactly? Consider something for a second. Portables, Nintendo, Steam, XBLA and PSN, and the indie crowd. The iPhone and DS have been seeing a rise in adventure games (as well as remakes and ports). So has the Wii, Steam, and XBLA/PSN. The indie crowd is especially ready to jump on this because not only do they have their ears to gamers’ mouths, they often ARE gamers themselves.

That’s not to say everything they pump out is GOOD…but enough of it is that it should warrant interest. So here’s what I’m going to recommend if you want to see more adventure games.

#1 – Buy adventure games. Especially if they’re big name, high production titles, get them. This is usually hard to justify because we know more or less what the experience is going to be and it’s often not a long one. But trust me on this one…if we ALL start buying more big budget adventure titles (as sparing as they come out), we WILL start to see a rise in adventure game releases.

#2 – Research and promote. The biggest problem a lot of independent developers have (among the many other problems they face I’m sure) is exposure. Take this site, for example. I bet you’d never even heard of it. They have some awesome stuff there. Even something as simple as promoting that link, sharing it with your friends, and going to it regularly would help.

But nevermind that…digging for new adventure games in general and promoting the good ones will ALSO help tremendously. Why’s that? Because it shows to the market that BECAUSE there isn’t enough supply (i.e. big name adventure games), you go looking elsewhere for it. Big developers are going to want some of that cheddar, which means shareholders are going to be more willing to put forward the big bucks for something truly unique and original from companies like, say, Eidos, Epic, Capcom, Konami, etc. (I think the only one of those that hasn’t done an adventure game previously is Epic interestingly enough).

#3 – Shock the market. This is the hardest one. Up to now I’ve basically suggested promoting and wallet ballots, which are very good, but this is the trickiest one. So next year we’re going to see excellent titles like L.A. Noire, potentially Mass Effect 3, also potentially Gears of War 3, and maybe a lot of other “must have” titles. Buy them later.

“WHAT, WHY?!?” Think about something for a second. A game will always depreciate in price. Gone are the days of Atlus titles reaching ridiculous prices because of scarcity. Even in the event that something like that started to happen, we’re seeing more “on demand” (aka Steam-like purchases) titles coming about. I’m not even going to bother talking about pirating and emulation; there is almost no reason to worry about getting a title brand new anymore.

Okay, well…there are a few reasons, but unfortunately, those reasons are perpetuated through peer pressure usually. Do I want to make sure I’m keeping up with the latest RPGs? You bet your ass I do! Do I want to have to wait around for the price of L.A. Noire to drop? Hell no, I don’t! The fact is, though, as certain games don’t fly off the shelves that are considered AAA titles…the industry’s going to wonder what the fuck is up.

Then they’re going to start having to change up their strategies. What else can they make? What else can they do? If we consumers show them we hold the power and show them what we want, they’ll have little choice but to bend. Also, this guy knows what’s up. Check him out when you get the chance. Oh yeah, and here are the runner ups:

Amerzone
Rocky Interactive Horror Show Game
Scooby-Doo – Mystery of the Fun Park Phantom
Stay Tuned For Danger

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1 Comment

Filed under GotY Series, PC, PS1, Retro, Sony, Videogames

One response to “Adventure Game of the Year – 1999

  1. Pingback: Hey Gun Sage, Whatcha Thinkin’ Bout? | Gun Sage's Blog

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