4.23.2007

Outstanding AGS adventures

Adventure Game Studio, or AGS, is an engine for creating Sierra-style adventure games, and some talented amateur developers have put it to excellent use. Today I'm finally getting around to some of my favorite AGS games that I've wanted to share for a long time.

Fully Ramblomatic is the game studio of designer Ben "Yahtzee" Croshaw, and home to several of my favorites: The Trials of Odysseus Kent, a gothic black-humor adventure with stylish minimalist graphics (winner of a 2003 AGS Award for Best Dialogue Scripting); the outstanding, multiple award-winning John DeFoe quadrilogy, an era-spanning ghost story/murder mystery starting with whodunnit 5 Days a Stranger and continuing with the starship thriller 7 Days a Skeptic (concluding with new games I haven't yet had the pleasure of playing, Trilby's Notes and 6 Days a Sacrifice); and, one of his earlier endeavors, the Rob Blanc Trilogy, a comic space romp in the spirit of Douglas Adams. There are numerous other games there, including several new ones I have yet to play, and with Yahtzee's signature blend of compelling plot, wry humor, clever dialogue, well-executed puzzles, and respect for the adventure genre, they're pretty much all sure bets.







From Herculean Effort Productions comes the sterling Apprentice series, following the adventures of young magician's apprentice Mortimer Pibsworth. With two titles down and a third in the works, this series has received numerous AGS Awards and features lovely animation, fully voiced characters, and great gameplay and storytelling, including plenty of humor. Not to be missed.





xii games is a game studio with a couple of nice, offbeat titles to offer: by Vince Twelve, there is Anna, a talky, philosophical game in which you must restart the computer systems of your AI companion, and puzzler What Linus Bruckman Sees When His Eyes Are Closed, an interesting experiment where the screen is "doubled" into two visions of reality; there is also award-winning Spooks by Erin Robinson aka The Ivy, a classic, clever adventure set in the Land of the Dead.






Mourir en Mer by Dorcan is a touching, melancholy little game where you must help a dying invalid escape imprisonment by his tyrannical father and make a journey to the sea so that he can fulfill his dream to see it before he dies. Originally written in French, the English translation is not flawless, but the nice animation and challenging gameplay make this a solid, enjoyable game.




Permanent Daylight is a fun, irreverent adventure by Linus Larsson aka 2ma2 where you must stop an evil scientist from executing his plan to halt the sun in the sky, creating a world of permanent daylight. Winner of Best Character Art 2001, this is an all-around good game.




In addition to the few named above, the AGS site has tons and tons of games to download, along with user ratings and reviews. You can search or browse by title, length, or, if you want some good recommendations, start with the Picks of the Month or Award Winners page. There are quite a few titles I've had my eye on but haven't had the chance to play yet, and new ones are being added faster than I can keep up. There's certainly plenty to see.

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7 Comments:

Blogger Princess Haiku:

This is something different and interesting.

01:51  
Blogger bluewyvern:

I guess that's everything a blog post can strive to be -- !

I used to do this a lot more often, though...I've sort of slacked in my adventure game posting, but if you'd like to see more, I have links to all of my game posts in a separate category near the top of the sidebar.

Enjoy.

14:49  
Blogger Princess Haiku:

Blue, I have never played one of these games and now I see dire warnings about becoming "addicted."

On TV tonight there were clips of kids in a Chinese "bootcamp" treatment program. It is really that dangerous?

What is the most poetic game you can think of?

01:05  
Blogger bluewyvern:

Most poetic? Hmm. Let me get back to you. In the meantime, one of the top contenders for that title would certainly be Samorost, which you should definitely play and I promise you will enjoy. And if you like it, play the sequel, too. (Click on "flash games" on the top and you can choose from a list of their games.)

Another game that would be right up your alley is Gwen. It's lush and beautiful, and very poetic.

I will think of some more of the most poetic games for you, ones I think you'll like.

21:02  
Blogger bluewyvern:

I have heard about those Chinese programs, btw -- rehab for internet addiction, which usually manifests itself (in Chinese youth particularly -- because of various cultural and economic factors, China is especially plagued by this problem) as addiction to massively multiplayer online games, or MMOs, like World of Warcraft. Games like that can indeed be a bit all-consuming -- you can spend huge chunks of your life living in a single virtual world, advancing your character and developing social bonds with a community of players. Because there are always new things going on, other players meeting, holding events, and creating stories, the desire to "keep up" and not miss anything can be very powerful. I used to have a healthy gaming life in one of these MMOs, Ultima Online, but had to quit when I didn't have enough time to play and couldn't justify the $10/month subscription -- and, if played in moderation, these games can be very enjoyable. They are a different beast from adventure and online flash games, though, which, because they have a fixed content which you can play through and be done with, don't offer nearly the same opportunity for addiction. Sure, you can be addicted to seeking out and playing more and more new games, but isn't the same true of any medium you enjoy -- couldn't you be just as addicted to reading beautiful poems or finding great art?

21:13  
Blogger Anas Demens Purpurea:

I had some influence on your brain! :)

-insane purple ducky

15:04  
Blogger SSH:

Hi, glad to see AGS mentioned in another place. I run a blog dedicated to all things AGS, so if you like these games, add me to your feeds to keep up on all thats happening in AGSland!

12:24  

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