The 3 Most Classic Point-and-Click Adventure Games
Despite being amongst the most popular early CD-based PC games, the point-and-click adventure is one that has largely been monopolised by one company in recent years. It’s not that the California-based Telltale Games is overly aggressive, it’s more the fact that the studio has so expertly redefined what the genre is all about – with narrative-driven titles such as The Walking Dead, The Wolf Among Us and Tales from the Borderlands heavily resonating with players over the past couple of console generations.
Long before Telltale’s brand of engrossing storytelling became synonymous with point-and-click adventure though, the market was ruled by quirky, charming entries that contained as much humour as they did exposition. This week sees the launch of the studio’s Galaxy of the Guardians: The Telltale Series, the developer’s first attempt at creating an overtly humorous title since 2010’s Sam & Max: The Devil's Playhouse. With initial reviews suggesting a mixed critical response, today we’re taking a look back at some of the funniest point-and-click adventure titles ever released.
Grim Fandango (1998)
LucasArts’ surrealistic adventure title Grim Fandango isn’t only considered one of the greatest adventure games; it’s also often in the discussion as one of the greatest video games of all time. The brainchild of Tim Schafer, who was also responsible for other seminal adventure titles such as The Secret of Monkey Island (1990), Day of the Tentacle (1993) and Full Throttle (1995), Grim Fandango received critical acclaim for its uniquely cartoonish, film-noir-inspired visuals and hilariously wacky cast of characters.
The game went on to receive a 2015 remaster on Sony’s home consoles and PC that was helmed by Schafer himself, reintroducing it to new generations of players. The title is largely considered the definitive edition of Grim Fandango, with improved visuals, overhauled textures and a reworked control scheme that switched out the previous tank-like configuration for a point-and-click system. A possibility of a sequel to the original title has long been discussed, with Schafer telling Kotaku that he had actively considered making an open-world Grim Fandago follow-up.
Ace Ventura: The CD-Rom Game (1996)
Ace Ventura: Pet Detective was the film that effectively served to launch Jim Carrey’s Hollywood career in 1994. Despite receiving middling reviews, the comedy was a huge hit with moviegoers, grossing $107 million at the box office against a budget of just $15 million. The titular eccentric private investigator proved popular with audiences, with Carrey’s “All righty then” catchphrase becoming embedded in popular culture.
The film went on to spawn a sequel and animated series, as well as a handful of video game adaptations. Ace Ventura: The CD-Rom Game, released for PC in 1996, managed to capture the charm and humour of the original movie, while the live action was supplanted by a comic book aesthetic. More recently, the Playtech-developed Ace Ventura forms part of Sun Bingo’s line-up of online slot games, offering players a 5-reels, 243-ways to win slot. The title features various sprite-based graphics of Carrey in his star turn, as well three mini-games based on the franchise in the form of Jungle Friends, Sneaky Walk and Loser.
Simon the Sorcerer (1993)
Released in 1993 for the Amiga and PC, Adventure Soft’s Simon the Sorcerer features the unwitting titular protagonist as he ventures through a fantasy world that is effectively a parody of various fairy tales and fantasy stories. Taking a lot of inspiration from the aforementioned The Secret of Monkey Island as well as Terry Pratchett's Discworld novels but ultimately having enough original gameplay to not be designated as a rip-off, Simon the Sorcerer received widespread critical acclaim upon release.
Featuring a typically British sense of humour as well as both linear and non-linear acts, the title went on to spawn numerous sequels and spinoffs, including a 1998 pinball video game. In 2014, IP owner StoryBeasts announced plans to revive the franchise via a Kickstarter campaign for Simon the Sorcerer 6: Between Worlds, but the project was quietly cancelled two years later.
With no games on our list being released since 1998, here’s to hoping that the remainder of Telltale’s Guardians of the Galaxy can get past the mixed response of the premiere episode in the series to reignite the comedy point-and-click adventure genre.