Point-and-Click: The genre that didn’t die

Once 3D took hold of gaming, one of the early Nineties most popular types of game, the
point-and-click adventure, started to disappear. In some ways, that’s hardly surprising. The games were generally dialog driven stories with puzzles in them, and just the occasional action point – all of these things can be found in newer adventure games, which usually have much more action in them.

Nevertheless, the relaxed, quirky point and clicks were never forgotten, and the rise of downloadable and indie games on all platforms has seen a resurgence. And that’s fantastic: point-and-click is the ideal choice for the casual gamer who wants a deeper experience. They don’t require dexterity or learning complicated controls – if you can use a computer at all you can play these adventures. Currently, there’s a great mix of updated classics and new games available to play, and here are a few ways to get started.

Machinarium: One of last year’s prettiest games, the puzzle element is pushed to the fore in Machinarium, but even when it gets hard it’s cute enough to keep you motivated. There are demos available for Windows and Mac.

LucasArts Adventure Pack: This collection of four classic games from the early Nineties may look outdated, but they are fantastic. There are two Indiana Jones titles, plus LOOM and The Dig – The Indiana Jones adventures have held up especially well, with excellent writing, puzzles and humor. Windows only.

Zombie Cow Studios: This is a two man team, who’ve created two excellent adventures – Ben There, Dan That and sequel Time Gentlemen, please! They are full of jokes, definitely not for children or the easily startled, and the stories are excellently off the wall. The first game is free, too so check it out!

Broken Sword/Beneath a Steel Sky: Touchscreens are ideal for point-and-click games, which is good news for iPhone users. Two of the greatest ever adventures, from Revolution Software, have been remastered and updated with a brilliant control scheme. Both are gripping stories, and Broken Sword looks especially fantastic. You can still play the original Beneath a Steel Sky on your Windows PC.

Telltale Games: This team have brought back both the Sam & Max and Monkey Island franchises in 3D to great success in episodic content, and continued with new series featuring Strong Bad and Wallace and Grommit. These are all excellent adventures, and they bring high production values back to point-and-click games – great if you can’t stand lo-fi retro graphics!

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