Sunday, December 26, 2010 Presents: The Guide to Classic Adventure Games

Awhile back I talked about the adventure game book I was working on. It's still under progress but I figured I'd post a quick update on its status.

First off, the cover image is almost completed, which you can see a version of above. It still needs to be Photoshopped, cleaned up and reoriented, but this is pretty much what it will look like. My initial concept was to feature a whole bunch of homemade replicas of items from various adventure games, designed by a few friends of mine and inspired by the feelies from the Infocom games. They look amazing (they're all from relatively popular games - try to guess what they're all from!) but figured those alone would be a little too obscure. So, I took my computer and surrounded it with a bunch of games from my collection, to display just a bit of the breadth of content covered. The back cover image isn't completed, although it does feature the Roberta Williams framed photo.

Second, the Table of Contents has been updated to reflect a more finalized list of reviews featured. There are still a few more I have planned but just need to sort things out with contributors and so forth. I've also posted a sample in PDF format with approximately 50 pages of snippets from various articles, including a few reviews that aren't yet posted on the main site. Please note that these are still in draft form and the final versions will differ slightly, although the basic format will still be the same.

Third, my old pals at The Armchair Empire conducted an interview with me about the book, so please read up on my goals and why I decided to undertake this project.

And finally, the release date and price is still up in the air. I'm shooting to have it done by April, but I'm always planning on anything possible going wrong, so that may shift. I still want to hit the $25 target price, but that will all depend on the final page count, which is looking to hover around at least 650. More news will be posted as they emerge!


  1. I strongly suggest that you include a review of Mindshadow. It was Interplay's very first game as a matter of fact, and one of Brian Fargo's early works. It's a great game for its time, and it handles the amnesia plotline really well.

  2. Looks cool, but it seems like strictly a text adventure game with some graphics. There are a couple featured in the book - Legend's early output and three Infocom series (which had graphical remakes/follow-ups), and a few Sierra (On-Line Systems) titles where applicable, but the standard text adventure stuff is otherwise outside the scope. There's a ton of stuff I'd love to cover but I had to draw the line somewhere.

  3. Insta-buy for me. I was sold even before that tasty PDF sample.

  4. Indeed GREAT stuff, this is a must not only for us adventurers but for any gamer.. Respect mate for the site and the book ofc..

  5. Please release a Kindle version as well!

  6. that cover looks f a n t a s t i c ! every adventure gamer needs a rubber chicken with a pulley in the middle at the ready

    really looking forward to this

  7. This is a real treat for adventure fans. Good luck on your enterprise. Do you have other book ideas after this one?

  8. would love to buy this in kindle format -_-

  9. I'm doing this through CreateSpace, which is affiliated with Amazon, and it's my understanding that converting it to Kindle is extremely easy, so that is definitely in the cards.

  10. Just wanted to say that I am extremely excited about this book, and it is not often that I would say that about a video game related book. I will buy any book that comes off of this site, so I hope this does well!

  11. Besides my rampant rage over some of the newer guest articles that gush like on certain series, I've been happy overall with the adventure stuff. The Al Lowe interview was golden.

    I'm guessing this book will be mostly "Kurt-centric" so a lot of the writing that wildly varies for the guest articles won't make a ton of appearance. I like that the LucasArts articles starting the book are way more informative than that garbage Rogue Leaders book that was put out a year or two ago. It was only good for the concept art. Mixnmojo did a super informative series of most of the main LA games which were jam packed and no longer on their site (!).

    I guess this also sort of explains why a lot of mediocre or plain bad adventure titles still got articles even admitting that they weren't very good, since they were going towards a bigger idea. I'm still going to disagree with a lot of retrospective worth on things like Robert William's garbage design methods or a lot of newer series that are loved just because adventure fans are starved (never speak an ill word of a new mediocre adventure or no one will ever make one again!) but there's a lot on that lits of unfinished stuff that I find to be gems that I can't wait to see articles of. Especially Coktel Vision games, I find those to be gems overall.

    Also I can't believe Altered Destiny is mentioned, as well as Les Manley. Egads I found those awful and figured they would be lost to time for most part (deservedly I think). It's more hilarious that they will be preserved in a book than anything else really. The 80s mullet style hair featured in those games in 10 times more prominent and worse than any older Sierra game, as well as the shocking variety in age appropriate content.

    Altered Destiny and the Les Manley games go hand in hand with the shockingly bad lost adventure series I include the Hugo series in as well as two games of complete shit called Find Felix and Hot Rod Harry. These are all immensely entertaining to me just because I get to see others commenting on games I forced myself to finish when I was young even though I knew they were awful. I guess it's easy to be bored and play whatever when you have not much money and tons of time. It's now the complete opposite for me.

    Also, if there's one thing that would make me have an attack of joy, is if some way, some how the game U.F.O.s (called Gnap in Germany, for whatever reason) were played through and given an article. The animation is wonderful and the concept and humor are so strange for an adventure despite a lot of being a direct Ren and Stimpy rip off. I could make an ISO of the game and send it if needed. It runs great in XP despite it being in that awkward Windows 98 phase where there was no reliable DOS version and they will usually not run in Win 2000 and up. I would love to see what information could even be dug up on the designers or company and why it was made. It seems like whatever else H+A was doing at the time just consisted of Monopoly video games and other boring licensed interactive tie-ins.

    Maybe to a lesser extent, Stupid Invaders could be talked about, but it's more of a big strange acid trip movie than a full on adventure. Definitely not as good as U.F.O.s, but has a similarly odd charm that puts off the relentlessly holier-than-thou and frustratingly highbrow crowd of adventure fandom.

  12. Most of the book is authored by me, but I have edited some of the contributor articles (like the Myst one) to keep the style and tone more consistent throughout.

    I actually kinda sorta like the Les Manley games. They don't have an original bone in their code anywhere, but the first one had some inventive puzzles, and the second one had a bizarre super 80s porno atmosphere despite not being very dirty at all. Altered Destiny is probably one of the best looking EGA adventure games I've ever played, but the game itself is pretty bad.

    Coktel games I'm split on. I generally hate their puzzles, but the writing and sense of humor is so bizarre and unique that I can't help be amused by them. They're just so very...French.

    There are a couple of "newer" games featured but not many. Runaway (which is on the site) I did not like very much at all. Syberia I'm not a fan of either, but at least I understand now why people like it. For recently posted Gray matter, derboo did a great job of picking out both the good and the bad. I do like The Longest Journey and Dreamfall, though I prefer the latter over the former. I think the only other recent games reviewed are Telltale, and the only one of those not associated with a LA property is Strongbad.