I promised, at one point, that I would come up with a way to play some non-chronological games in my All the Adventures quest. Perhaps a graphic adventure or two?
Just playing a game at random doesn’t quite nurture my completionist impulse, so I have pared down from a much larger list to obtain this set of 13. I call it the “Innovation 13” in that it is themed around adventure games doing something different or noteworthy, although some are still rooted in tradition.
No promises I’ll get through these quickly — I still consider the chronological list my priority. But at least I have something to draw on for a little variety, yes?
The Innovation 13
1.) Breakers (Rod Smith & William Mataga, Synapse Software, 1985)
From the company better known for Mindwheel. Your job is to convince an alien race you are their Messiah. The interface and gameplay are in real time.
2.) The Cretan Chronicles (John Butterfield, David Honigmann & Philip Parker, 1985/1986)
Bit of a cheat here – this is a gamebook series. It’s set in ancient Greece with some unique mechanics.
3.) Metropolis (Arcadia, 1987)
From Mobygames: Metropolis is the city of the future, founded in 5067. You are a security agent for the software company IC&D and your adventure is about to begin. Solve ten different crimes and voyage the city through a series of “Zoomtubes”. Just don’t give out your M.U.M. code to ANYONE! The game is largely conversation-driven, with a 20,000 word spoken vocabulary and advanced artificial intelligence.
4.) The Colonel’s Bequest (Roberta Williams, Sierra, 1989)
A mystery game that is considered in some quarters Roberta Williams’s finest work.
5.) Guardians of Infinity: To Save Kennedy (Paragon Software, 1989)
In this time-travel text adventure game you direct multiple agents in real time with a multi-window interface. It is as crazy as it sounds.
6.) Scapeghost (Pete Austin, Level 9, 1989)
Level 9! A juggernaut amongst UK text adventure fans, an obscurity for North American fans. In any case, you play a murdered police officer who comes back as a ghost to solve his own murder.
7.) Star Trek 25th Anniversary (Elizabeth Danforth/Jayesh J. Patel/Bruce Schlickbernd/Michael A. Stackpole/Scott Bennie, Interplay, 1992)
One of a respectable line of Star Trek adventure games, this (and the sequel) has an enormous amount of branching and variety in possible approaches to each mission.
8.) T-Zero (Dennis Cunningham, 1992)
A monumental game involving the mysterious Count Zero. The prose and atmosphere are remarkable.
9.) Curses (Graham Nelson, 1993-1995)
Graham Nelson’s early masterpiece. Your search for a lost map of Paris leads to a web of family secrets. I did beat this back in the day (with extensive hints) but I figure if anything is worth a second look, it’s this game.
10.) Cosmoserve (Judith Pintar, 1997)
A programming-related game with a fake-DOS interface; also supposedly one of the best games ever written using AGT.
11.) The Longest Journey (Didrik Tollefsen & Ragnar Tørnquist, Funcom, 1999)
The fans of this are superfans, and I figured I should put at least one “core game” on this list, even if it ends up being more traditional than the rest.
12.) The Shivah (Dave Gilbert, Wadjet Eye Games, 2006)
You play a rabbi in charge of a failing synagogue. “A rabbinical adventure of mourning and mystery.”
13.) Kentucky Route Zero (Tamas Kemenczy & Jake Elliott, Cardboard Computer, 2013-present)
I have heard almost legendary things about this one; I’ve been waiting for the last episode to come out before I start it.