I've been on a point n' click adventure game bender for the past year or so, which should be obvious given the recent content on the site. In the past I've stayed away from a lot of Western games, not because I don't like them, but because they're usually covered elsewhere and I've prefer to be a bit more unique. That being said, I've been reading a lot of reviews on Adventure Gamers.com (ETC) and haven't found them quite up to par. It's not necessarily the fault of the writers so much as the way they're written. "Reviews" seem to answer the question "is this game worth buying/playing?" The "Articles" that I put on HG101 assumes that yes, it is, to an extent, and the question answered is "what is interesting, important, or historically relevant about this game?" These are the types of questions I want to address. A lot of adventure game reviews sorta skim over important things like storyline, characterization, narrative, and perhaps most importantly, puzzles, perhaps for fear of spoiling too much for prospective gamers.
I say, screw that. I prefer articles written for both those unfamiliar and familiar with the game, not only picking out highlights for the newbies, but to elicit memories from those who have played it, and criticize as such. I'm also finding that writing about this stuff is a bit more interesting than the usual expansive articles on unknown arcade games.
I'd like to expand coverage for these going forward, so I'm putting out a public request for classic adventure gamers: if you are interested in covering these types of games for HG101, please drop me a line!
I have a specific list of games I'd like to include that aren't already featured on the site, which include:
Sam & Max
Indiana Jones - Last Crusade / Fate of Atlantis
Rise of the Dragon
Heart of China
Callahan's Crosstime Saloon
Lure of the Temptress
Scooby Doo (Genesis)
Simon the Sorceror
A Vampyre Story
Beavis & Butthead: Virtual Stupidity
Wallace & Gromit
The Last Express
Leather Goddesses of Phobos
I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream
Rex Nebular and the Cosmic Gender Bender
ICOM Text Sims
(There are a few that aren't listed because I'm already working on them, like Full Throttle, The Longest Journey, Grim Fandango, and Monkey Island.) These aren't written in stone - if there's anything else you want to cover, that's open game too. I'm trying to keep it in the realm of Western point n' click games, so I'd prefer to stay clear of Japanese visual novels or similar games, like Trace Memory/Another Code or Hotel Dusk, mostly for the sake of focus. I have a few text adventures up there, but mostly because their sequels showed up in point n' click form. I'd be willing to bend for them if there are any ecstatic Infocom fans out there, though.
It can be something you've played in the past, or something that's completely new to you - it doesn't matter. Obviously it should be something that you like or at least think you'd like. If you don't own the game I can secure one for you. I can also supply screen capture software, because I need as many screenshots as possible. The only thing I asked ahead of time is some kind of samples of stuff you've written. I usually don't do this for open submissions, but I have a specific way I'd like the articles to read, so I'd like to know that you're down with writing them as such. I'm looking for articles on single games to be at least 1,500 words. If it's on a series, it can get by on being a bit shorter per each game, but probably not by much. Again, that's not set in stone, but it's a good guide for how thorough these should be.
You can over some of the reviews on the site for the style I'm aiming for (like Space Quest, Gabriel Knight, Broken Sword, Tex Murphy Mysteries, Leisure Suit Larry, Beneath a Steel Sky and Quest for Glory.) I also have some examples of reviews from Adventure Gamers.com for what's good and what isn't.
This is the most important one to read, because it's a great example of what not to do. Details on the plot and characters are so scarce it reads like a press release. It's filled with casual sentences and wording that do nothing to tell the reader about much of anything. The worst part is the conclusion, which claims it's "a true masterpiece and adventure gaming at its absolute finest" without telling the reader WHY.
I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream
This is actually a pretty good review. But it could really use a few more paragraphs talking about the specific characters, their troubles, and obstacles they have to overcome. It calls the game "unsettling" at the end but only explains the setup and not anything else beyond that. Also, it'd help to compare the game to the short story more closely. And some examples of the puzzles, if there are any noteworthy ones, would've been nice. (If not, then there's probably no need to mention it - I haven't played this one myself yet so I can't say.)
Maniac Mansion: Day of the Tentacle
Dreamfall: The Longest Journey
All three of these are excellent. The only thing I can think of improving for Day of the Tentacle is mentioning some specific puzzles, and maybe compare/contrast the gameplay and tone from the first Maniac Mansion. The other two are both very detailed and fully describe both where they succeed and where they fail. The only part I didn't like about the So Blonde review was highlighting troubles in the install process, because the writer didn't mention anything specific. (For me, it's that my anti-virus actually identifies the main executable as a threat. Mine isn't a bootlegged version, either, I have the packaging and everything, I think it's just think it's an unfortunate false positive that tosses a wrench in the works.)
There are lots of other great (and not-so-great) reviews in their archive. I'd recommend scrolling through them to get an idea of what really makes a good article.