The Rise and Fall (and rise again?) of Classic 2D Adventure Games.

About 12 years ago, computer gaming discovered 3D graphics, and whilst in principle this is a great advancement, it rang the death knell for the golden age of Role Playing Video Games. Classic titles such as Monkey Island, Simon the Sorcerer and Discworld were no more. We aim to start a campaign to bring them back.

In 1987 LucasArts (then flying under their LucasFilm banner), created a game called ‘Maniac Mansion’. The game was a very simple 2D game where the player could choose between a set of characters and use them to explore the mansion of a Mad Scientist in order to rescue their Friend, This game, whilst not the first of its type, was one of the first to become a true success and spawned many other related games. Most notable of which is the now-famous ‘Monkey Island’ series of games. Sadly these titles are no longer being released and -with few exceptions- playing the originals can be difficult unless you are technically minded and able to run an emulator, or own a retro machine like the Amiga.

It has been twelve years since The Curse of Monkey Island was released. This was the last 2D Adventure game to be released with any success as shortly after, the 3D craze began. Developers tried to create sequels and spinoffs to their existing titles in 3D, however, whilst these games were able to thrive in their beautifully artistic 2D environments, when ported to 3D they lost their charm and eventually, their audience.

These days this type of game is beginning to see a small resurgence in the mobile market, with the recent UK release of the iPad and the unstoppable popularity of the Xbox Live Arcade and Steam platforms, I would like to suggest to game developers out there that you create modern versions of ALL of your old classics, I for one would love to relive Simon the Sorcerer in glorious 32bit 2D graphics. Last year LucasArts release a 32-bit remake of the original Monkey Island to great success. It was wonderful to replay such a classic game and it still feel like it was brand new.

New scene from monkey island remake.

This is not where our campaign ends though, we would love to see companies like LucasArts and Sierra create new titles, revitalizing the charm and humour of other games of its ilk. With our modern technology and our wider gaming audience, this could be the new golden age and we will look fondly back on the nineties as the silver age of 2D RPG’s instead of lamenting the fact that our beloved genre has died.

In an effort to prove that these games still have their charms, we have set up a Facebook Group, once our number reaches an impressive amount we will show it to games developers. If we can make them see that there is still a demand for 2D RPG games we may even be able to see them return.

To round this article off, here are some screenshots of some of our favorite adventure games of the 80’s and 90’s.

Discworld

Discworld Screenshot

The Secret of Monkey Island

Monkey Island Screenshot

Beneath a Steel Sky

Beneath a Steel Sky Screenshot#

Day of the Tentacle

Day of the Tentacle Screenshot

Simon the Sorcerer

Simon the Sorcerer Screenshot

If you wish to join our Facebook group, you can find it here. Have we missed your favourite game? Share your memories with us in the comments.

– See more at: http://www.digitalfusionmag.com/blog/offbeat/the-rise-and-fall-and-rise-again-of-classic-2d-adventure-games#sthash.ah959GrI.dpuf

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Alex Foxleigh
Freelance UI Developer at
Freelance User Interface Developer, Aspiring novelist and ill-informed political writer from Sevenoaks, UK.

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