Home computers have been around for just over forty years and adventure games were there with them from day one.
The first home systems were text only. As newer hardware evolved they acquired character graphics, black and white pixels, color pixels with more and more colors, higher and higher resolutions and faster and faster memory access.
The first twenty years were marked by improvement after improvement as artists struggled to be creative with the severe limits of the medium. They frequently had to write their own utilities and were ultimately limited by how much you could save on the floppy disk.
Those were exciting times.
That was forty years ago. Most of the pioneers who brought us our favorite games are still alive, but they are now in their 60s and 70s. They won’t be around much longer.
Bitmap Books in the UK has specialized in interviewing the key players and assembling histories of the classic hardware and software that birthed our industry. The Art of Point and Click Adventure Games focuses not on stories, hardware, game engines, game play or marketing, but… wait for it… the ART!
The book starts with a brief history of Adventure Games beginning with the text adventures of 1979 and continues to the present. It then launches into the interviews. Pretty much all of the old classics and iconic games are covered. This would include King’s Quest, Myst, Toonstruck, Discworld, Blade Runner, Gabriel Knight, Flight of the Amazon Queen, Simon the Sorcerer, Secret of Monkey Island, The Dig, Maniac Mansion, Full Throttle and many more.
Pioneers include Al Lowe, Aric Wilmunder, Billy Allison, Brian Moriarty, Charles Cecil, Collette Michaud, Dave Gibbons, David Bishop, David Fox, Douglas Crockford, Éric Chahi, Gary Winnick, Gregg Barnett, Hal Barwood, Jacob Janerka, Jakub Dvorský, James Dollar, Jane Jensen, Jay Tholen, Jeff Stephenson, John Passfield, Jim Walls, Josh Mandel, Louis Castle, Mark Ferrari, Natalia Figueroa, Neil Dodwell, Noah Falstein, Oliver Franzke , Oliver Lindau, Patrik Spacek, Paul Conway, Paul Cuisset, Pierre Gilhodes, Richard Hare, Robert Lindsley, Robyn Miller, Rolf Mohr, Ron Gilbert, Shawn Sharp, Simon Woodroffe, Stefan Srb, Steve Stamatiadis, Tim Schafer and William Tiller.
No author is credited as the interviewees are all given the same basic questions to address: “What was it like working with…?” “Which games were you involved with?” And so on.
The book is 460 pages and is a true hardcover with sewn binding and a bookmark ribbon. Every page is a glossy lithography print with screenshots taking up more real estate than the interviews. And it comes with a free PDF copy for your tablet.
I had a lot of fun reading this book. Not only did it bring back a lot of memories, but it made me appreciate even more the effort taken to squeeze every last drop of art out of those (by today’s standards) primitive boxes. It also provided me with a bucket list of adventure games that I really need to play before they cart me off to the Home.
If you have any passion at all for Adventure Games, then you need this book.
P.S. The publisher is just a little touchy about photos being taken of their book. So I suggest you GO HERE to the publisher’s site to see the many askew photos they took.
+ Full history beginning with text adventures
+ Interviews with many of the pioneers
+ Every page is a glossy lithography print
+ Filled with screenshots
+ Reminds you of the many classics you never got around to playing
+ The hard bound version comes with a free PDF copy
– Doesn’t come with a free copy of every game mentioned. Bummer.