It’s Never Been Easier to Make an Adventure Game
In the early years of the personal computer, the adventure game genre reigned supreme, exemplified by classic titles like King’s Duties And Secret of Monkey Island. Artists in Toronto Julia Minamata grew up playing this style of game, which emphasizes storytelling and story-based puzzles.
“With an adventure game, you move through it at your own pace, and it feels more like a book than a video game,” Minamata said in Episode 459 of Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy audio file. “I found—as an art-loving, book-loving kid—that interactive storytelling was the kind of game that appealed to me more.”
Video game journalist Kurt Kalata loves adventure games so much that he writes and edits Classic graphic adventure guide, a huge book detailing dozens of different games. It was exactly the kind of book he wished he had as a kid growing up in the 90s. “I remember keeping a [adventure game guidebook] around like my Bible, although it’s mostly just how to play games and how to beat them,” he said. “I wanted something like that, but actually about games.”
The adventure game genre has been dead for many years, but the emergence of tools like Adventure game studio created a flourishing indie scene. Minamata is working hard Crimson diamond16-color adventure game inspired by Sierra’s 1989 murder mystery The Colonel’s Will.
“What brought me back to the genre was when I started seeing games produced by solo developers,” Minamata said. “Yahtzee Croshaw does The Mythology of Chzo, Francisco Gonzalez made the Ben Jordan series. This is someone who is using Adventure Game Studio and that really inspires me.”
And while tools like Adventure Game Studio can help simplify the coding process, there’s still no shortcut when it comes to creating great artwork. Kalata spent many months making a Monkey islandgame – inspired is called Christopher Columbus is an idiot, but ran into obstacles when it came time to polish the image. “Everything there was scribbled in MS Paint, and it ended up being like, ‘I don’t know if I can make time for this without turning it into a commercial project, and to turn it into a commercial project then I need good art,’” he said.
Listen to the full interview with Julia Minamata and Kurt Kalata in Episode 459 of Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy (above). And check out some highlights from the discussion below.
Kurt Kalata on point and click versus text parsing games:
“[With a point-and-click game], you only have so many tools to interact with the world, so in the end as long as you try everything, you will work it out, and that’s a comfortable bed feeling for me. You can try everything, and eventually you will find it. And the text parser in Sierra games isn’t particularly good compared to information company games have better vocabulary. I think if the game did a little bit of upfront about telling you what it understood—and if you didn’t have to guess what it decided to call a noun, or at least it had more synonyms for some from— it will be better.
Julia Minamata on the game designer:
“In view of the current situation we are in, I have come Western Paxand i was able to meet Lori and Corey Colethat was really cool, and I got to meet Douglas Herring, who is the artist for The Colonel’s Willthat is the main inspiration for my game. Al Lowe there too, so that’s really cool. They were on an adventure board together, so I met them and chatted a bit with Lori and Corey Cole. … So it’s been great to see and attend events to showcase my game—just casually meeting people here and there, and seeing those who are still evolving. [games]. It’s just really inspiring.
Julia Minamata on The Colonel’s Will:
“Artists are given a lot of freedom in terms of what they are creating. They were provided with some references, some pictures of similar homes, but mostly they were left to their own equipment. With things like King’s Dutieswhat will happen is Roberta William will sketch a basic picture ‘Here’s a tree, here’s a stream, and here’s a rock’, and she’ll pass it on to the artists, who’ll interpret it into something more professional. But the great thing about The Colonel’s Will that she didn’t do it. She just said, ‘Go and do it,’ so [the artists] was able, from the start, to create this wonderful atmosphere.”
Kurt Kalata on the future of Monkey island:
“I joined with Limited happenings and I know they’re hoping this whole project will garner interest in Disney. Disney is so big that they don’t even really know what [Monkey Island] is because it’s just ‘some old games from the 90s that people like’. So we were hoping that enough money was generated that they would say, ‘Okay, people care about this. Monkey Island stuff, and this is the original designer, who will be taken care of when doing something with it, so maybe make some kind of connection.’ … The stars must align. Someone who works with [these companies] Must be a fan of these games. Someone must care.