The Simplest Tasks Done As Complicated As Possible: Point & Click Games

RdvIOIt takes a lot of stupid games to cement a game genre as “that one where logic is sporadic as British weather”, really it does. I honestly believe it overcomes the JRPG character tropes in a party, at least there is some self awareness at times to that cliché. I am of course talking about the point and click genre of games, a genre that had a lavish period in the infant years of the gaming and has had a spotty resurgence with the birth of Kickstarter.

I never personally found the appeal of moving a character with a mouse, not in the point and they go to it variety anyway. It never felt fluid for me and often relied on pathing that can go wrong or I can only go to an area if I click very specifically in this part of it. It also seems to draw far too much puzzles into the mix, I know the tech wasn’t great but I’m sure more can be done. I’m not one to shy away from a puzzle or two, hell an entire puzzle based game has sold million hasn’t it Professor Layton.

One thing I can generally approve of is the writing and visual work put into the games that litter the genre, trying for all sorts of motifs and themes in their visual design with witty and often comedic lines in nearly every game I could find. It’s nice to see some a genre hit so many aesthetics so well, I don’t think many genres that are prominent in the modern market can say they’ve touched a number close to the point and clickers.

What often pops into peoples minds though when the genre comes up is the ludicrous logic that dominates so many of the games, even a good few of the well received ones. How do you get a key? Well walk up to it of course and pick it up. Oh you can’t? Well ya idiot you are supposed to have talk to the old man before to know where the rubber ducky is that you can use to grab the key after you lower it down with that floss you found in that handbag…on the moon.

What is baffling is this sorta thing was not only common but had games where even the developer would praise and reward the few who figure it out, they clearly know how dumb it is yet continued anyway. I suppose there are a few analogies to dumb implementations in modern games that persist despite the developer awareness of their stupidity, showing either how stupid those today can be as well or perhaps they are the ones who played those games and feel like getting their own back against the world.

What I fail to find oddly is a game self aware of its stupidity and infuses its own brand of obnoxious logic upon the logic prevalent in the game. The Dead Rising series is as close to as I can get to what I desire, just find some things that might seen impossible to mix, do some fancy shit with some duct-tape off screen and ta-da! I have a lawnmower that shoots plungers, no more playing around.

I think there is a lot of potential both as a game and as a comedic piece to see a character throw his hands in the air, slap the gnome in the face and demand the powder he needs rather than go through a lengthy trial and error of items in his inventory. I need to get past this goat? Fuck it I kill the goat, goats don’t stop me from getting to my princess in a castle. Gonna be a bloody massacre though if she ain’t there though, I’ve had just about enough of this “adventuring”.

From what I’ve seen among some peers and a lot of internet talk, there is a nostalgia for these games and their resurgence has come about in part due to that nostalgia. I still however don’t seem many that appeal to me beyond my personal issues with the genres controls and the like, I wonder if trying to fuse the genre with others could prove to a worthwhile endeavour, hell I’d fund it if I could just to see what could happen.

We already have platformers that use a touch screen interface to assist and augment the game like Rayman Legends on Wii U, I can imagine it being taken deeper easily and with good results, who knows it may get a friend in on some co-op puzzle solving that boggles the mind in the right way.

I guess I just have mixed feelings about the genre and felt like throwing it out there to see if I can unravel some meaningful or worthwhile points, I feel like I narrowed down my perspective a bit more but not much.

Guess I’ll just keep bashing my head at the wall till the blood paints a picture of the keyphrase to get into the cookie jar, live in the ludicrous logic for a bit.

Are you a fan of the point and click genre or do you avert yourself at the mere mention of the word? What do you think could be done to get these kind of games a wider audience and appeal? Are there any you like the look of but don’t wanna get into because of the genres notorious tendencies? Thanks for the read and I’ll see you later.


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  1. #1 by leathehatless on May 13, 2015 - 5:11 pm

    Point and click games, the trully amazing ones, are so well made, they are on of my favourite “genre” (can i call it that?). A good story can be told by those games. Example, Don’t Escape 2. It’s clever, challenging and it’s very touching.

    It’s just a matter of searching for the true gems.

    BTW, loved the game of the picture in your post but i admit it was insane. (But part of the charm)


    • #2 by Prof.mcstevie on May 15, 2015 - 5:53 pm

      Insane as part of the charm…. see that is the very kind of thing that embodies what this genre and its audience are.

      Liked by 1 person

    • #3 by leathehatless on May 16, 2015 - 1:30 pm

      Can’t argue with that. xD


  2. #4 by Matt on May 13, 2015 - 2:19 pm

    Fantastic and funny write-up, as usual!

    I like the genre even if the sometimes insane logic behind the puzzles leaves me frustrated. I am not sure its audience can be expanded, though. The genre was born as some partially mainstream style of gaming, but nowadays it is destined to be niche due to all its quirks, which do not go along with modern gaming very well.


    • #5 by Prof.mcstevie on May 15, 2015 - 5:52 pm

      Fantastic? Funny? God and here I was just typing as I go trying to distil and opinion!

      Yeah I feel like alone the audience will never be expanded, it’d take an excellent game designer and story writer to bring out the kind of energy needed.

      Liked by 1 person

    • #6 by Matt on May 15, 2015 - 6:53 pm

      I wish we could get a game that paired up a different kind of gameplay with the usual top-notch quality scripts of point-and-click adventures. How awesome would that be?!


    • #7 by Prof.mcstevie on May 15, 2015 - 6:55 pm

      Like how the great platformers of their time were also great at shooting, driving and various other things, a cameraderie of quality mechanics in one single experience. It’d be hard but damn it could be fantastic.

      Liked by 1 person

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