Holiday Gaming

Written by  //  December 1, 2014  //  At the Museum, Newsletters  //  No comments

Holiday Shopping with DGM

Our volunteers put together a few suggestions for your holiday gaming, both for presents or hanging out with friends; see below. If you shop at Amazon, don’t forget to designate Digital Game Museum for your Amazon Smile donation. You can make that login automatic with our add-on for Firefox, any Chrome extension for Smile, or use this link.

Want a little something for yourself? We’ve added gifts for donors to our new donations page – check it out! Stickers, buttons and 2 styles of t-shirts are available. Another perfect gift for the gamer on your list is to adopt a game in his or her name. Just send us a $20 donation and tell us what game you’re adopting and the gamer’s name and, if you like, why.

December is your last opportunity to give us a tax deductible donation or artifact for 2014, so send a little holiday cheer to DGM and give us a good start for 2015 while getting yourself something that shows your support for saving games and gaming history.

Happy, healthy and safe holidays!

Judith Haemmerle, Executive Director

Holiday Gaming

XMAS Lemmings

Here are some gaming suggestions for the holidays from our volunteers, either for giving or just hanging out and playing. We have games for adults and kids, free and otherwise.

Justin: How do small, tundra-dwelling rodents relate to the winter holidays? Though their infamous mass suicide is an urban legend, the “Lemmings” games are real. Get in the holiday spirit with four free Xmas-themed demos from the popular puzzler series. Download the Xmas-Lemmings freeware pack and revel in holiday music, suicidal Santa-suited Lemmings, and winter-themed level art.

Ben: I’d like to recommend two games that are very near to my heart: X-COM and X-COM. The original X-COM (1994) tasked the player with defending the Earth from alien attack, blending turn-based combat and a large-scale strategic view for a surprisingly compelling experience. The latest X-COM (2013) (Rated M) accomplishes much the same feat with modern game design sensibilities and a far larger budget. Both games can be purchased on Steam (expansion strongly recommended!), and the 2013 game, expansion pack included, is also available on both iOS and Android. Whichever you play, you won’t regret it.

Judith: If you want something to play with the under 12 set, introduce them to Sissy’s Magical Ponycorn Adventure. You can play free online. We’ve featured Ponycorns at several events and found that adults may have trouble solving the puzzles; you’d better get a child to help you. The Incredible Machine has been rebooted as Contraption Maker and is available on Steam for both Mac and PC, $9.99 (on sale for $1.49 until the 2nd!) It’s a great classic and fun to play as a family, teaching problem solving skills and physics à la Rube Goldberg.

Steven: The storytelling game The Yawgh might be good for people who want a simple, cooperative storytelling experience. However, it has limited replay value. I also recommend the incredibly fun indie game FTL, a starship-adventure-manager that you can play in an hour or two – and keep replaying. Playthroughs can range from 10 minutes to an hour or two. It makes a great gift but be warned, people have been known to get heavily invested in the survival of their crew!

Dave: One great way to spend time with your family during the holidays while minimizing the likelihood of driving each other crazy is to fire up a family MMO. There has always been a rich tradition of special holiday patches in Massively Multiplayer games and Guild Wars 2 has done a great job of hosting amazing content with a definite holiday flair. “Elves,” making robotic toys that run amok and rewards based on classic holiday toys like pop guns, gives you a good reason to keep playing and the group adventuring in GW2 is fantastic.

Artifact of the Month: Day of the Tentacle

Day of the Tentacle

Released at the peak of adventure game popularity, Day of the Tentacle (DoTT) is widely considered one of the best games ever made. A sequel to Maniac Mansion, DoTT begins with a disembodied talking purple tentacle drinking from a river of industrial waste. Inevitably, this causes the tentacle to grow arms, gain superintelligence, and decide to conquer the world. The only solution: shut off the industrial waste before the tentacle takes its first drink.

Thanks to a malfunctioning time machine (imitation diamond just wasn’t good enough), most of DoTT is broken up among three different time periods: the Past, Present, and Future, with three playable characters split among those timelines. The characters can pass objects back and forth using their Chron-o-John toilet-based time machine terminals. As expected from any game centering around time travel, many of the puzzle solutions involve clever manipulations of time.

Given what you’ve read so far, you can probably guess that DoTT is a surreal comic adventure. One of the first games released on CD-ROM, DoTT augmented its bizarre visuals and gameplay with an appropriate voice-over: 4,500 lines of dialog recorded and included on the CD.

Day of the Tentacle is widely considered one of the best games of all time, and we’re proud to have both the DOS and Macintosh releases in our permanent collection.

Gift of Jeff Haas, 2012.032.001 (shown). Gift of Loren Cody, 2014.004.004.

Adventure Games Part 4: Rebirth

Telltale Monkey Island

In 2001, Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney was released in Japan for the Game Boy Advance and achieved significant popularity. In 2005, it was re-released worldwide on the Nintendo DS, becoming an instant hit and spawning a pair of spinoff games. While not a classic Sierra or LucasArts style adventure game, the series borrows heavily from the basic ideas behind the genre.

Quantic Dream had their own concept of a modern adventure game. In 2005, they released Fahrenheit (Indigo Prophecy in North America), an action thriller game with adventure foundations. In 2010 they followed up with Heavy Rain, an atmospheric noir thriller that received significant critical acclaim.

Telltale Games secured the rights to Lucasfilm’s classic Sam and Max adventure game series in 2006. They released it as a new episodic series, starting in late 2006 and continuing through 2007. Responses were generally, though not universally, positive, and the game was a commercial success.

Telltale began work on a second Sam and Max adventure game series. After its release, they followed up with an adventure series based on the Homestar Runner franchise, then another based on Aardman Animation’s Wallace and Gromit. Telltale also secured the classic Monkey Island franchise for yet another episodic series. The resurgence of interest encouraged LucasArts to re-release its classic adventure games on modern distribution networks.

Many adventure games are getting a remake thanks to Kickstarter funding. One example is Leisure Suit Larry in the Land of the Lounge Lizards, which was re-made and expanded as Leisure Suit Larry: Reloaded following a Kickstarter that raised $655,182 in 30 days. It was done by N-Fusion Interactive under the umbrella of Replay Games. The original creator, Al Lowe, was involved, as were several other members of the original team. It was released in June, 2013 and received mixed reviews. Lowe left Replay Games after his two-year contract expired due to problems with Replay Games CEO Paul Trowe.

Adventure games have also regained popularity in the indie scene, although few have received significant press. Gemini Rue is a recent award-winning noir adventure game by Wadjet Eye Games, a studio responsible for several other excellent adventure games. The Chzo Mythos is a horror series released by Ben “Yahtzee” Croshaw, and created with Adventure Game Studio, a free development tool for making interactive fiction. Another tool popular with hobbyists is the Text Adventure Development System. Although the industry as a whole seems hesitant to embrace the adventure game, good games are still being produced.

This Month’s Trivia Questions

What game company was founded in Hawaii in 1940 to provide coin operated amusement machines (including jukeboxes, slot machines and games) to military bases?

Last Month’s Trivia Answers

Why was there no 4th game in the Leisure Suit Larry series, going straight from #3 to #5?

A) Writer’s block
B) Deliberate marketing ploy
C) A time-traveling character from Space Quest deleted it
D) All of the above

All of the above.

Al Lowe explains what had happened to the fourth installment in Part 3 of 3 of the Leisure Suit Larry fireside chat with designer Al Lowe and Replay Games CEO Paul Trowe. The video was made on April 27, 2012 for Lowe’s Kickstarter project.

I went to do Larry 4. I was working on that and I was really stuck […] One day I was up at the office and I ran into a woman, Liz Jacobson, in the hallway and she said “What are you working on now Al? Larry 4?” and, like a smartass, I said ‘No, Larry 5. Yeah, of course Larry Five’ and it was like ‘Oh my god! That’s the answer! I don’t – Who says I have to do a mid-sequence? Why do I have to do four now? I can skip that completely, do Larry 5 and then refer to 4 through’ and it was just like a big insight that happened because of a smart ass remark […] but it became a real marketing coup too because when the sales people went out to sell Larry 5. The universal question from the buyers was ‘Wait, Larry 5, what happened to Larry 4?’ and we immediately got mindshare, which is half of making a sale. So, the sales of Larry 5 were just great because of that and plus it became one of software’s big jokes. It’s a fun thing to say.

Transcribed from the video starting at 4’30”.

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