10 Best Adventure Games
These 10 Best Adventure Games come from two eras in video game history. Either they are PC games from the days when sprites and text parsers were the norm, or they are current-day masterpieces that have finally realized that all the shiny graphics and in-your-face gore doesn't mean a thing if you don't have a great narrative. Adventure games are unfortunately looked over in our current gaming age, but hopefully by examining what was great about these 10 Best Adventure Games we will be able to look forward to a future that has a renewed focus on narrative excellence.
Leisure Suit Larry proved right away that games just weren’t for children. One of the first truly M-rated games, LSL wasn’t about saving the world from an evil conqueror or fending of an invasion of space mutant. It was about getting laid, pure and simple. That, and surviving the consequences after you get laid. It was one of the original adventure games played on home computers before gaming consoles even got into the adventure game racket, and it’s still hedonistically fun after all these years. That's why it's on our list of the 10 Best Adventure Games.
"OBJECTION!" Man it’s fun to say that, and that’s why Phoenix wright is so amazing. Sure, the logic in these games is a bit out there; Phoenix cross examines radios, parrots, ghosts, assassins, clowns, robots, and more in his pursuit of justice. But finally noticing the contradiction, pointing your finger, and shouting "OBJECTION!" makes it all worth it. Justice is served.
Grim Fandango was a game made by Tim Schafer before Double Fine was even a thing. It’s perhaps most well-known for being one of the most successful failures of the video game industry. This film noir set in the underworld was highly regarded as one of the best adventure games ever made.. by fans. However, the game was largely considered a commercial failure, eventually causing LucasArts to stop making adventure games all together.
Many of you will say that Professor Layton is a puzzle game, but it has a lot in common with the adventure genre. You still have to look for clues around each map. You still have to tap/click on just about everything around you. In later games, you even have to come to your own conclusions about mysteries in order to progress forward. Professor Layton is the perfect adventure game to play on the go, able to be easily saved between puzzles and linear enough to prevent the player from getting lost. Heck, the game is worth playing just because of Professor Layton’s awesome hat!
To the Moon isn’t very well known even by fans of the adventure game genre. It’s a small indie game made in RPG Maker XP engine by one man and a very tiny development team. So why does it make the list? Because of the story. It’s about a dying man and his strange desire to go to the moon. Scientists are using new technology to rewrite his memories on his death bed to fulfill one last wish before he dies. To the Moon’s story is so heart-wrenchingly beautiful it deserves to be on this list. Who would have thought that sprites could make you cry.
Let’s take a sharp turn away from the serous and talk about the hilarious instead. Maniac Mansion was an incredibly difficult but fun adventure game that combined the goofiness of Scooby Doo with the schlock of B-grade mad science flicks. The result was a pleasing 8-bit romp through a total nuthouse. Maniac Mansion is well known for being one of the only traditional adventure games on the NES, but its PC and C-64 releases were arguably way better. It deserves to be on the 10 Best Adventure Games list.
Myst started the CD-ROM stage of PC gaming. Not only was it the first game on CD, it was the first game that made you want to break said CD because it was so tough. Myst sold so many copies back in 1993 that it would hold onto that record for nine years until The Sims broke it in 2002. Myst had four sequels and numerous spin-offs. And it's still fun to play, even to this day.
In search of wealth and adventure? Search no further than Zork, one of the original adventure games that started sucking gamers into its rich story, only to never let go. Zork paved the way for so many text adventures that PC gamers back in the day didn't leave their computer chairs for weeks.
“You fight like a dairy farmer.” “How appropriate, you fight like a cow!” Even if you aren’t a fan of the adventure genre you probably know those two lines of dialogue, and that alone speaks volumes about Monkey Island’s popularity. Monkey Island was an artifact from the times when LucasArts was more well known for making brilliant text and graphical adventure games, rather than just milking the Star Wars franchise to death.
Until last year, Monkey Island would have easily taken the top slot on this list. It’s definitely the one game that people think of the most when you say “adventure game.” However, Telltale’s The Walking Dead is something far more than just a point and click adventure. It’s a work of art. It’s a very skillfully crafted piece of narrative that makes you identify with the character you are controlling in ways that few games are ever able to do. This game makes you ask uncomfortable questions about yourself all the time. “How far will you go to save someone you love?” “When does someone become a burden in a survival situation, and is it worth letting them die for you to survive?” This series hits us hard in the morals and makes us realize that, in a zombie apocalypse, it’s not the zombies you have to worry about. It’s the people. And that's why The Walking Dead scrapped its way to the top of our 10 Best Adventure Games list.