Over this past weekend, I played and finished Grim Fandango Remastered. It was the first point-and-click adventure game that I’d played in a very long time, and it absolutely did not disappoint. Even though this was my first time playing the game, it felt nostalgic. I’m still thinking back on the story and characters. I’m even considering replaying. I’ve been hooked on point-and-click games all over again.
Point-and-click adventure games were the first games I ever played. Guybrush Threepwood was the first character I ever controlled, and The Secrect of Monkey Island was the first game I remember finishing. Even when newer consoles and games were coming out, I kept going back to point-and-click games. In high-school, I bought a LucasArts Adventure game bundle on Steam and played through all of the games. Even though the games were over a decade old, they were still just as much fun as when they came out.
Playing through Grim Fandango reminded me why these games are so timeless, and why I love them so much. They are technically video games, but they’re much closer to being an interactive show. There’s really no game-play to speak of outside of, yep you guessed it, pointing and clicking. Since there haven’t been any improvements in the way that we point and click on things, these games play just as well as they did 15 years ago. The only thing that ages these games are the graphics, but a quick look at the indie games on Steam will show you that pixel art is back in full force. The story and characters are the main focus in these games, and those don’t age.
I found myself never skipping dialogue and clicking on all of the objects in the various environments. The writing in the game was so good that I would put off progressing the plot just to explore more lines of dialogue. This is where the strength of a game like this is evident. It’s what initially drew me into video games in the first place. I saw games as fun interactive stories with original characters and environments. Even today, I find myself drawn to smaller games with interesting art design and fun stories. I’ll play the occasional blockbuster shooter, but I usually listen to a podcast while I’m playing. They just don’t hold my attention like these classic adventure games.
When I did finish Grim Fandango, I didn’t feel like a mighty thumb warrior who had conquered countless AI enemies; I felt like I had just finished a great book. I had that all too familiar feeling of completeness and emptiness. I watched the credits roll and thought back on how great of a game it had been while simultaneously wondering what to play now. Finishing a good book will ruin you on reading for a few days. In the same way, I just haven’t felt like picking up any new games after beating Grim Fandango.
Because point-and-click adventure games are similar to books, they’re a great entry way for video game newcomers. There are great stories and characters, the controls are simple, and you move at your own pace. They don’t surround themselves with the intimidating wall of ‘gamer’ culture. If you like the idea of playing a comedy noir centering around a travel agent in the land of the dead, give Grim Fandango a shot. It doesn’t want to test your skills; it just wants to tell you a great story and give you a few laughs.
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