Adventure Afterlife:Part 1

Apparently adventure games are still dead and someone wants to revive them, but what if…they never died and people kept making them. What if there were new ideas or really compelling characters in them ?

 

gabe

The schattenjager stalks through the night, his breath rising in the cool French air. He misses New Orleans fiercely, hell right now he’d give anything to be back in schloss Ritter. He pauses, his fake mustache is irritating him but it can not dampen the the thrill of the hunt. In his hand is a shovel, in the other? Adventure games, Gabriel Knight and his cat hair mustache killed adventure games and now…

Baron von Glower stands before Gabriel. Gabriel shudders, he should not be here.

“ You’re thinking I shouldn’t be here” he says “ but you’re carrying the whole of adventure games in your hand Gabriel. If you’re carrying an abstract concept I can be here.”

“ But I killed adventure games” Gabriel says, his Southern drawl growing more pronounced.

A third person arrives, a game developer.

“ I am going to revive adventure games” they say, they look like they mean it too. Von Glower turns and raises an eyebrow, but the game developer can’t seem to see him. Gabriel shifts nervously and hides the adventure games behind his back.

“ Oh and how are you gonna do that?” Gabriel asks.

“Well you see I played Monkey Island when I was growing up!”

“Oh” Gabriel replies.

“ Hey aren’t you Gabriel Knight? Didn’t you kill adventure games?”

Gabriel panics, how could they know so soon?

“ I read it on Old Man Murray.”

Gabriel gasps, and as he does so he realizes his hands are empty, they are gone.

“Or perhaps, you never killed them at all, but what do I know I’m just a figment of your imagination and you’re a fictitious character.” Von Glower’s voice echoes through Gabriel’s head. Somewhere overhead an owl hoots, and Gandalf enters the room. 

As an adventure game fan there are several things that make me start grinding my teeth when I see either journalists covering adventure games or developers talking about their work. These are:

1. Adventure games died, and xxx game is reviving them.

2. The developer or journalist played Monkey Island and xxx game is somehow like them.

3. This new game made in 2015 must be retro, because it’s an adventure game.

I’m going to talk about some of these points in this article and then I’m going to explain what my musings on this topic have led me to.

Adventure Games Died or were only made in the 90s

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Frequently when we see people talk about adventure games we seem them talk about their death. If you press further you’ll get linked to Old Man Murray’s hilarious and insightful  ‘Death of adventure games’ which highlights a pretty awful puzzle chain in Gabriel Knight 3 where the player uses cat hair to make a fake mustache. I’m not debating the awfulness of the puzzle here, or the excellence of the article. What I am pointing out was that this article was written fifteen years ago in the year 2000.

To give you an example of more recent coverage, in 2014 Birth Movies Death wrote about Broken Age:

“Gameplay will be familiar to anyone who played games in the nineties: exploration, inventory juggling, conversation and gentle puzzlework”

Which is funny because I’m pretty sure that could describe Fallout 4,I’ll get to the 90’s comment later . They add:

“But adventure games aren’t about gameplay innovation – the puzzles and thus player enjoyment are driven by the writing.”

This is a little harder to unpack, they are correct that adventure games are more about story and writing. A dialog mechanic probably won’t make the pull quotes as a special feature but it implies that adventure games don’t innovate or that mechanics don’t matter or that graphics or audio don’t get better. The variables may be smaller but that doesn’t mean that a good designer hasn’t thought about every single element of their game or that adventure games can do nothing new.

What I want is for games of any genre innovate and get better, but at the core the most important thing is if a game is good, if a player can have fun. Adventure games have continued to get released since the year 2000. Which brings me onto:

The Curse of Monkey Island

Not that Curse of Monkey Island

Comments where devs talk about their love of Monkey Island cause me some frustration. Let me clarify I love Monkey Island, it’s one of my favorite games series but if you want to make adventure games then ignoring twenty years of awesome stories and innovation is harmful. How can you make the best decision for your game if you’re ignoring what has come before? There’s twenty odd years of great ( and awful) ideas. Anyone can be inspired by anything they like, so I’m not dismissing Monkey Island as an inspiration but it’s like making an FPS in the modern day having loved Doom as a kid, but never having played anything else. In fact you just have to compare the original Doom with a screenshot from the trailer for the new Doom reboot and you’ll see some differences:

Stop using the word retro

The final of my gripes is the automatic use of the word retro. . Again by ignoring 20 years of games, you’re ignoring 20 years of progress for no reason. You’re also associating your game with cat haired mustaches. If you want to make a ‘retro’ adventure does that mean your game requires a bizarre leap of logic or a series of dead ends? No it doesn’t.Do you have to use pixel graphics? ..No. I by the the way love pixel art, but it should be treated the same as any other creative choice because that’s the style you want ( and dare I say it afford). When you make or write about an adventure game that has been made in 2015 then you shouldn’t do so out of context.

Broken Age

When Double Fine started it’s Double Fine Adventure Kickstarter, it did draw the spotlight of the mainstream game press back onto adventure games and led to coverage like the BMD article above. Broken Age ( the resulting game) didn’t revive adventure games, but it did draw press coverage from areas of the gaming press that wouldn’t have otherwise covered it. But despite being spearheaded by Lucas Arts alumni Tim Schafer it still described itself:

“A graphic adventure game for the modern age”

broken

Whatever your opinion on the final game Broken age featured graphics, animation and sound that just wouldn’t have been possible in the 90s. It was released for a dizzying array of devices with inputs that did not even exist. There are games that deliberately call back to old titles but I hope even they don’t blindly copy what has gone before.

So…

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After coming across yet another forum post where a well meaning person wanted to discuss the future of retro adventures, I decided that I wanted not only to write this rant but to actively highlight and discuss the innovations the genre has been through, and work my way through and blog my way through all the adventure games that released in between. I also want to discuss the ‘death’ of adventure games, and talk about the post Old Man Murray world of adventures. If ‘m going to angrily tell people to go away and and do something like play through 20 years of adventure games, then I am happy to do so myself.I hope along the way I’ll also learn something as I take a second look at games I played as well as playing a few titles I missed along the way.

I plan on starting a bit before the article was published in 1993 the year after Monkey Island 2 came out, I’ll then run past the year 2000 when Gabriel Knight 3 come out right up to the present day.

I hope whether you agree or not that you’ll join me in this journey. Feel free to suggest games I should be playing and why.

Free anime voice pack – Kawaii Friend

friend
Click to download the free anime voice pack

Like this pack? Send me a tip!

 

Since my Kawaii Fighter  voice pack has been weirdly popular, I thought I’d use the spare few moments I grabbed during vocal warm ups this week and record you another free anime voice pack. Samples included are

Ready
Go
Great
Cool
Amazing
ooooh

Bad
Awful
Maaaan

Hi
See Ya
Morning
Evening
Afternoon

laugh

https://href.li/?https://www.dropbox.com/s/qhr9jodqv6ml61v/Kawaii_friend.zip?dl=0

The voice samples are in mp3 format and are zipped.Only restriction is no adult themed games and nothing you make money on please. If in doubt please ask and I can check it’s OK or work something out. Music use is a-OK and in fact is probably the most wide use case for these samples.

Also please credit :

“Azure’s Kawaii Friend Voice Pack http://www.shonen.co.uk” or credit my twitter @azuresama

You can also use it for other projects such as mods, animations etc

 

Sun Dogs is out! on Steam & Itch

Sun Dogs, the game I contributed to as a writer is out now to buy on Steam and ITCH.io , there’s also an article on Kill Screen with quotes from myself and Nic Tringali the game’s lead designer. It’s really awesome to see the game out, Nic’s been working really hard to get it ready for release. I had a lot of fun working on it, so I hope you all take a chance to enjoy it.

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Sun Dogs is on Greenlight

Sun Dogs, the interactive fiction / adventure game I’m working on as a writer is now on Greenlight please vote

“ Sun Dogs is a game of exploring our inner solar system, altering your body, and embracing death.In a distant future where humanity alters itself without a second thought, you must do the same. Skim along the Sun’s corona, float above the surface of Venus, travel the dusty plains of Mars. If your body dies, your mind will be given a new one, and you will keep going. FeauturingExpansive and unique sci-fi worlds

Dynamic text reacts to your character and actions
Full modding system allowing additions or rewrites to the entire game

For more info on modding and the game, visit our website and devlog at www.sundogsgame.com

 

RPG Shopkeeper free indie game/ mod voice pack

It’s been hard to record much lately but I’ve found time to make a new voice pack! This pack is a fantasy shop keeper that could be used in something like a skyrim Mod or RPG maker game. As with my other voice packs this is free for non commercial use, and for projects with out adult content. If you have any questions or wish to use the pack for commercial use please email me. ( aralechan@gmail.com)

Download free RPG / mod/ animation voice pack
Download free RPG / mod/ animation voice pack

It can be Downloaded here

Voice is English , female, mid pitch

Included are various phrases:

Greetings.

My Lord!

My Lady!

We have a sale today!

Thank you

Also please credit :

“Azure’s RPG Shop keeper Voice Pack http://www.shonen.co.uk

You can also use it for other projects such as mods, animations etc

Preview:

 

 

All the way down

atwd atwd2

I did some VO in All the way down, a free Adventure game set in Yorkshire.

Programmed and Written by Steve Poulton (Calin Leafshade @CalinLeafshade)
Background Art By Hayley Griffiths (Sookiesock @Sookiesock)
Character Art By Matt Frith (Tier @MatthewJFrith)
Portraits By Victor Pflug (Pinback @modredcastleton)
Lead Voice By Drew Wellman (ddq5 @ddq)
Shopkeeper By Rebecca McCarthy (Azure @azuresama)
Other Voices By Steven Poulton (Calin Leafshade @CalinLeafshade)

Download on AGS

 

 

Game jam game – Narcoleptic Weight Loss Expert

Exciting freeware game

 

Narcoleptic Weight Loss Expert is a strategic button clicking game in which you must help a man get fit, whilst struggling to stay conscious. Using calorific transubstantial technology you are able to trade the calories burned by your client to purchase new items to stay awake and keep motivated.

But really it’s all about the music.

This was originally a 4 hour random name generator game jam that we made a year ago and added some more crap to later and then promptly forgot about.

ddq: Coding and direction
Azure: Writing and item sprites
MattFrith: Background and animations
enkerro: Music
Grundislav: Voice acting

Download the game.

Download the soundtrack.

 

 

Combat Kid free voice pack

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It’s been a while since I last made one of these but I’ve randomly found myself with a few free recording days. I’ve not been taking on new roles since I started on Latency and I finished up all the VO I owe. This means I’ve ended up with a random free recording day so I thought I’d do another pack.

This one is very loosely inspired by Link in Windwaker so it’d be suitable mainly for a young boy or tomgirl character.

https://href.li/?https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/44588485/combatkid.zip

Only restriction is no adult themed games and nothing you make money on please. If in doubt please ask and I can check it’s OK or work something out.

Also please credit :

“Azure’s Combat Kid Voice Pack http://www.shonen.co.uk

 

Like this pack? send me a tip!