Why a Point and Click Adventure?
Why make a Point and Click adventure? It's a very good question, I'm glad you asked. Point and Click adventure games were the games of my childhood. Growing up, my dad was a bit funny about us playing any games with guns or lashings of violence. Point and Click adventure games got the all-clear as apparently they engage your brain and make you think a bit (versus making you a violent psychopath).
I remember my big brother coming home from a friend's house having played The Secret of Monkey Island and wouldn't shut up about it. He roughly described the opening for the game and my skeptical young brain struggled to see how what he was telling me could occur in a computer game (I'd mostly been consuming a diet of shallow platform games until that point). I was pretty certain he was pulling my leg (he did that a lot to be fair). When we got our own copy lo/behold it was just as he had described which blew my tiny mind. He was redeemed, and we proceeded to hoover up Monkey Island and then work our way through the other LucasArts titles.
Over the years these games seemed to go out of fashion and fewer got made, I got into console games (I blame the SNES) but I've never really shaken their draw and appeal.
Time passed and the adventure game has made a comeback. It's been pretty exciting to see their renaissance and evolution over recent years with game like Machinarium, the Broken Age, The Telltale games, The return of King's Quest, Kentucky Route Zero, Life is Strange, Oxenfree and now Thimbleweed Park.
This time around though, my co-pilot has been my fiancée rather than my brother. She's not a huge gamer but loves Point and Click adventures. I think what she finds most appealing about them, compared to some other genres, is their accessibility and story. There are no complicated camera controls, usually no time pressure and there is something very satisfying about solving a puzzle, affecting the game world and progressing the story along.
So baring all this in mind, when faced with the choice of what type of games I'd want to make as an indie it was unsurprisingly that the first thing that popped up and lodged itself firmly in my sights was a point and click. Fortunately Tom and I were both in agreement and here's why:
1) We both like playing them. Now, this might sound a bit Captain Obvious (and actually we both like most genres), but it helps to be making something you actually would want to play.
2) We had a poke around in Unity and Adventure Creator, quickly got some simple scenes working so it looked like it was a thumbs up technically.
3) Whilst both reasonably technical and design savvy, we're both firmly from an art background and this genre will play to our strengths whilst allowing us to test and develop ourselves in other areas.
4) As a genre it's so open. We could tell any story we wanted, a gritty western, a space opera, an '80s high-school mystery, a time-travelling gentleman stoat trapped in feudal Japan. Anything we could imagine would fit and this freedom greatly appealed to us.
It's important to remember that when making games there can be so many possibilities that narrowing your vision and reducing your options can be a very good idea creatively, otherwise your mind may explode. So that was that. With the broad genre settled on we could shift our attention to the specific setting and story we wanted to share, which handily Tom will be talking a bit about in our next blog post.