Thursday, May 31, 2012

The Dream Machine 1-3 Available on Steam

The Dream Machine, the episodic adventure game that is handmade from clay and cardboard, is now Available on Steam. Episodes 1-3 are available on Steam now. Episodes 1+2 are available for $5US, episode 3 is also available for $5US, or the 3 games and a preorder for the next 2 games are available in a package for $15US. Episodes 4 and 5 will be released at a later, as of yet unannounced date.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Space Quest Collection 75% Off On Steam

The Space Quest Collection is today's daily deal on Steam. For 11 more hours, you can pick up all 6 Space Quest games for only $5US.

This is the perfect time for the deal, as the games have the same humor and style as the upcoming SpaceVenture adventure, which is also made by the Guys from Andromeda, the creators of Space Quest. If you enjoy the Space Quest games, be sure to pick a pledge level and support SpaceVenture.

Playable SpaceVenture Prototype Demo Released

The Kickstarter for SpaceVenture, the planned space adventure game by Space Quest creators Two Guys From Andromeda, has released a playable prototype demo.

The prototype demo uses the Chrome browser, which is used simply to make development of the prototypes easier. The full game will not use Chrome and will not require a browser to play. An engine for the full game hasn't been decided upon yet. In the demo, you can already see the classic Space Quest humor and art style in full swing. There are three deaths to be found, along with the humorous dialog that always comes with the Space Quest deaths.

The next prototype will be released after the project reaches $300,000US, so be sure to pick a pledge level to back the game if you want to see an even more advanced prototype demo with more classic Space Quest-style humor.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Jurassic Park is Finally Complete on the iPad

After a four month wait, the final episode of Jurassic Park: The Game, Episode 4: Survivors, is finally available to purchase for the iPad (iPad 2 or higher recommended) at iTunes.

Along with this release, all four episodes now are optimized for better performance (Episode 1 and episode 2 have been updated. Episode 3 and episode 4 already contain these optimizations).

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Bundle in a Box: Adventure Bundle

Bundle in a Box: Adventure Bundle is an indie bundle like none other. Unlike the other bundles, this one contains nothing but adventure games! For a minimum of less than $3US, you can get the following games:

But if you beat the average of less than $6US, you will also be able to download two additional games:

The games are DRM-free and help support charity and the Indie Dev Grant. For a detailed description of the games, see this post on Gnome's Lair.

Thanks to the bundle's co-founder, gnome for letting me know about the bundle.

Friday, May 25, 2012

The Walking Dead: A New Day Review

The first episode of Telltale's The Walking Dead is out now, and it manages to set the bar pretty high right out of the gate.

The game's story takes place before the events of The Walking Dead comics and television show, during the initial zombie outbreak.  In other words, it takes place at a time when the main protagonist of the other "The Walking Dead" media, Rick Grimes, is still in the hospital.

This timeline change has allowed Telltale to follow a new protagonist, Lee Everett, a man who was convicted of murder, but now is free among the rest of the population, just trying to survive the zombie apocalypse.  At the beginning of the game, he encounters a young girl named Clementine, who he reluctantly takes into his care due to the fact her parents are missing.

Together, they try to survive by trying to form allegiances with anyone who is still alive, as that will greatly improve their chances of survival. Although the game centers on a new character, Lee meets characters from the comic and television show along the way. The characters Lee meets are respectful to the comic book's timeline for the most part, and their appearance in the game isn't just for pleasing fans of The Walking Dead. The way they are portrayed in the game actually makes sense within the universe of The Walking Dead.

There has been much said about Telltale's choice of Quick Time Events (QTE's) in Jurassic Park, and they do return here.  However, they don't happen that often, and they are used in a way that they heighten the tension of the game.  Most people will be pleased to know that QTE's are not the main focus this time around. You gain direct control of Lee with the left stick (or keyboard) any action selections are controlled by using the right stick (or mouse) to move a cursor around the screen until you find the object you want to manipulate.  In this sense, it is very much like an adventure game.  There is also a verb coin that pops up when you can manipulate an object.  You choose what you wish to do with this object by choosing one of four slices of this coin.  You may choose the slice of the coin to look at an object, use an object, or in some cases, use an object from your inventory on an object.  This game does feature the return of an inventory system, which is a staple of adventure games.  The items show up in a bar along the side of your screen, but as I stated earlier, the items are selected through the verb coin.  Adventure gamers will instinctively try to select the item directly, but the new system is easy to use, so it shouldn't take long to get used to it.

The inventory system also allows for more standard action sequences rather than QTE's.  Lee will be able to use objects on the walking dead at points in the game.  Like all other media in The Walking Dead universe, the game is highly character based rather than a zombie apocolypse slasher.  However, like the comics and the television series based on it, there will be moments where it is inevitable that Lee and his team will have to put some of the walking dead out of their misery.

As this game is mostly about interactions between characters, dialog options are also available in this game, also selectable with the same verb coin system as object manipulation.  Appropriately, the dialog in the calm moments is similar to a traditional adventure game, where you can take your time and choose what you wish to say.  However, in tense moments, there is a timer where you have to choose what you wish to say quickly or Lee will remain silent.

The most touted feature of The Walking Dead is that the game remembers the actions you make and the dialog choices you choose and tailors your game around it.  Unlike some things that have been added to adventure games in the past, this is not a gimmick.  It adds a depth to the game that is unprecedented in Telltale's games. The characters will remember what you say to them, and the game will remember the choices you make.  This is true not just for the episode you are playing, but in future episodes as well.  If someone dies in episode 1, they will remain dead throughout the remaining four episodes.  Someone to whom you make a friend or an enemy will stay a friend or enemy in upcoming episodes.  The options you choose are saved to your memory slot, whether on a computer or a console (as the next episodes on console are considered DLC, making each episode use a single memory slot), so if you have two or more game saves, each save will be independent of each other. 

The voice over work and music is always a high point in Telltale's games, and the quality continues here.  Bay Area Sound handles these duties once again, and they shine as usual.  Jared-Emerson Johnson has composed a score that is fittingly eerie yet has a adventurous feel, and fits the mood perfectly.  The voice over work is excellent.  Lee's voice captures the complexity of his character, and the side characters fit their roles as well.  As usual, some familiar names to Telltale fans have returned, as Nikki Rapp (Morgan Le Flay from Tales of Monkey Island) is here in a role that will be familiar to fans of the comics and TV show.

The first episode of The Walking Dead stands it's own with the best games Telltale has made.  The story is engaging, the music and voice overs are excellently done, the puzzles are interesting, and the new controls are easy to use, and make the game fun to play.  The branching story system of The Walking Dead is the best thing to happen to Telltale's episodic gaming structure since they switched to monthly episodes with Sam & Max Season One. It helps give the entire season a feeling of cohesiveness as a complete game in a way that was never there before.

Final Verdict:
4½ out of 5

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Sega To Publish Adventure Platformer "The Cave"

Sega is publishing a new adventure platformer by Ron Gilbert and Double Fine called The Cave. The game harkens back to Ron Gilbert's first game, Maniac Mansion. There are 7 classes of people to choose from to complete the game, each with their own skill set and abilities.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

The Journey Down Chapter One Is Available Now

The Journey Down Chapter One is the first part of a four part point-and click adventure game. It is an HD remake of a free low-resolution game, also named The Journey Down. The game has been getting a lot of pre-release buzz at the Mixnmojo forums for it's art direction. Developer Skygoblin was "inspired by the cartoony style of Bill Tiller's COMI, as well as Peter Chan's Full Throttle and Grim Fandango", and you can definitely see the influence in the art direction.

The wait for the game is over, as The Journey Down has been released for PC and Mac in downloadable form at Adventure Shop, Desura, and a whole lot of other places.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Torin's Passage Comes Out Of Retirement At GOG

Torin's Passage is the latest Sierra game to come out of retirement at, courtesy of the latest Sierra IP holder, Activision.

Torin's Passage is a family friendly adventure game developed by Al Lowe (who is most known as the developer of the not family friendly Leisure Suit Larry series). In the game, Torin, a son of a farmer from the planet Strata must rescue his family and defeat the evil sorceress Lycentia.

The game is considered a cult classic today, as although it's a children's game, it's a fun adventure full of humour only adults would understand and the puns Al Lowe is known for.

No More Episodes of Doctor Who Adventure Games

I've received a few e-mails wondering what happened to the planned Doctor Who: The Adventure Games: Series 2, and to be honest, I was wondering myself.

The answer isn't satisfying, but it isn't shocking either.  The BBC has no plans for any more adventure games. They've been set aside for games that are not part of the BBC license fee, such as Doctor Who: The Eternity Clock and the MMORPG Doctor Who: Worlds in Time.

So, unfortunately, even though series two was announced to be "bigger" than series one, it's actually one quarter smaller. At least we can hold solace in the fact that The Gunpowder Plot, the only episode of series two, is much better than any of the games in series one.

Enter the Story: A Midsummer Night's Dream is Out

Enter the Story, Chris Tolworthy's ambitious project to create choose your own adventure games based on the world's most famous literature continues with William Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream. This is the famous story that finds fairies manipulating a group of lovers in order to get what they desire, during the ceremony celebrating the wedding of Duke Theseus of Athens and the Amazon queen, Hippolyta.

This game, and the other online games in the series, are made with Javascript, and are choose-your-own-adventure stories with some casual adventure style puzzles thrown into the mix. For $19.99US you can unlock 10 online stories, and the original five off-line casual adventure stories that were created with Adventure Game Studio.

Tex Murphy Joins the Kickstarter Bandwagon

The Project Fedora kickstarter proves once again that this year is definitely a great year for adventure fans. The project is one by yet another two adventure game veterans.

Chris Jones, who also plays Tex Murphy, and co-creator Aaron Conners have started Project Fedora to bring the 21st century's greatest down-on-his-luck private investigator back in a new full motion video adventure game. The game will take place where Overseer (and its infamous cliffhanger) left off, but the storyline will also be enjoyable to those who have never played a Tex Murphy game.

Like the other adventure game kickstarters, there are multiple tiers with a wide range of goodies. The game itself costs $15, and there are goodies ranging from downloadable art to a walk-on role (for $10,000US if you have cash to burn). As has become the standard since the Double Fine Adventure kickstarter, the $100 tier includes a collectors edition boxed version of Project Fedora, your name in the special thanks section of the credits, and the game's soundtrack on CD.

If you enjoy the Tex Murphy series, or just want to see a new sci-fi film-noir mystery adventure, then head over to the Project Fedora kickstarter and pick a tier.

Monday, May 14, 2012

A New Game by Space Quest Creators on Kickstarter

The adventure game madness continues on Kickstarter as more famous adventure game creators return, thanks to fan support.

This time, it's the Two Guys from Andromeda, Scott Murphy and Mark Crowe, who have returned. They are known for creating the popular Space Quest series at Sierra, and they have returned to bring a humorous adventure game set in space to a new generation of gamers.

The game, titled SpaceVenture, already has a cast of famous voice actors on board on this game, including Gary Owens who was the narrator in Space Quest 4 and Space Quest 6. They plan on releasing the game on PC, Mac, Linux (in DRM-free versions), iPad and Android Tablets at the same time once the game is ready to release.

Like the other adventure game kickstarters I have covered on this blog, preordering the game costs $15 and the rewards increase with the higher tiers, including a big box release of the physical game at the $100 tier.

There are 28 days to go and approximately $350,000 left until this project becomes a reality. The game certainly seems to have all of the classic elements in place that made Space Quest a household name for Sierra in the 80's and 90's. So, if you want to support the project, choose your pledge level at the SpaceVenture kickstarter.

Thanks to mjomble, a developer of the Space Quest: Vohaul Strikes Back fan game, for alerting me to the presence of this kickstarter.

Quest for Glory Series is on

Quest for Glory 1-5 joins the ranks of classic adventure games who have risen from the ashes at This package includes all five games in the Quest for Glory series, and is the first digital re-release of Sierra titles to include both versions of a game instead of just the newest one. The original Quest for Glory is available in two versions, the original 16 color game (as Quest for Glory, not the original title of Hero's Quest as Sierra had to change the game due to trademark concerns) and the 256 color remake.

All five games can be purchased in a single pack for $9.99, which is an excellent price for the series, which is well loved for it's fantastically well-done melding of the adventure and RPG genres.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Jane Jensen Kickstarter Will Produce 2 Adventures

Jane Jensen's Moebius and Pinkerton Road Studio Kickstarter is now loaded with even more stuff.

The best news is that the Pinkerton Road Kickstarter will be producing two new adventures, rather than just one. The second game is only called Mystery Game X at this point, but it will be included as part of this kickstarter.

We know that the first game selected from a list of proposal by Kickstarter backers will be Moebius. The story of the game is described on the kickstarter as:

Malachi Rector is an antiquities dealer who hunts down artifacts all over the world. After his upscale Manhattan store is destroyed in a fire, he's hired by billionaire Amble Dexter to investigate a series of events and document them in his meticulous way.

The first event is the death of a young woman in Venice. She was found hanging from a bridge. As Rector investigates her life, compiling facts for his dossier, he realizes that the beautiful and talented young woman -- and the interrupted path of her life -- had great hidden significance. It appears that Amble Dexter and his associates are playing with the fabric of life in a way Rector never imagined was possible. Even he, Rector himself, is part of a larger pattern. He must figure out who is doing what, and whether their intentions are for good or ill, before he can decide if he will play his pre-scripted role -- or try to change the outcome. This is a metaphysical thriller ala Dante’s Equation and Gabriel Knight.

The backer bonuses have been increased as well. The $200 tier still gets a big box release for the games made by Pinkerton Road, but the big box of Moebius has also been added to the $100 tier. In addition, the $100 tier also will get a high-res digital art print of this year's art, signed by Jane and Robert.

There is also new concept art for Moebius, which looks pretty impressive:

If you are interested in these games, there's still eight days left to back Jane Jensen's Moebius and Pinkerton Road Studio Kickstarter

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Leisure Suit Larry Remake Will Have New Material

The Leisure Suit Larry HD Remake Kickstarter is now over $650,000, which means that the game will feature new material, plus a whole new scene with a new woman.

The material will be written by Al Lowe, with the original Larry 1 team. Additionally, Replay Games itself is made up of former Sierra employees, so this is a big deal for Sierra fans. There is still just under an hour left at the time of this writing if you still want to pre-order the game by picking one of the tiers available at the Leisure Suit Larry HD Remake Kickstarter page.

EDIT 5/3/12: It's now over, but you can still help the total amount raised increase by pre-ordering the game for $20US through Paypal.