There’s a particular type of non-arcade puzzle-solving story game, which these days is often built on tapping into the nostalgia of people who were children in the 90s. These games, which I refer to as ‘narrative adventures,’ tend to draw on a small number of specific genre signifiers. Back in the 90s, the two big common threads between the forms were the ‘Lucasarts’ genre of games, which tended to be designed without failure states, and ‘Quest’ genre of game, which tended to relate to failure more actively.
Basically, the vibe was that you couldn’t die in Lucasarts games, and you couldn’t lose either. Lucasart games were always going to give you room to make progress, so anything that could work was going to work, which meant the game could eventually break down into trying everything on everything else. By comparison, Quest games could kill you to signal ‘hey, don’t do that.’
And the game that set the pace, that started the mechanisms for both of these genres was Kings Quest 1.Continue Reading →