Most discussions about the adventure genre begin with an acknowledgement of its glory days in the ‘90s before bending toward its subsequent death. The decline of the point-and-click adventure is often presented as a phase of gaming history – an indisputable event. That isn’t necessarily true. Though adventure games aren’t mainstream hits anymore, they haven’t died. Their time in the spotlight earned them a devoted following of fans who have kept the genre on life support over the years. These sustaining efforts might pay off soon; with the popularity of mobile gaming and a handful of high-profile titles in development, the adventure genre is on the brink of resurgence. It may never reclaim its former status, but these are the projects responsible for keeping the genre alive long enough to give it another chance.

By Fans, For Fans

King's Quest III Redux by AGD Interactive

As adventure games became a shrinking part of major publishers’ release lists, fan communities from around the world realized the only way to keep playing their favorite series was to continue development themselves. Thanks to accessible and free software (most notably Adventure Game Studio), this goal is within reach for anyone willing to invest the time and effort. Several enthusiasts have even banded together, forming development groups dedicated to revitalizing the classic properties that defined the genre’s heyday. 

One such studio, AGD Interactive, has released VGA remakes of King’s Quest I, II, and III, plus one for Quest for Glory II. Another group, Infamous Adventures, remade Space Quest II (as well as its own version of King’s Quest III). After some legal wrangling, Phoenix Online Studios has released four of five episodes in a full King’s Quest sequel entitled The Silver Lining. All of these games are currently available as free downloads.

These projects are labors of love. They involve coordinating the efforts of talented artists, writers, programmers, and voice actors from around the world to create complex and massive quests. Since these developers don’t charge money, all of that effort isn’t in the interest of making a profit. Their affection for the genre, its conventions, and its history is evident to any adventure game fan on every screen and in every puzzle.

Portable Adventure
Remakes are a great way to revisit a classic, but you should turn to your phone or tablet if you want straight conversions of the games you know and love. Mobile devices are almost perfectly suited to point-and-click mechanics, and have received no-new-frills ports of many old favorites. For instance, Broken Sword , Gobliiins, and Riven are all currently available on iOS. Though great new adventures like Sword & Sworcery are also available on these devices, the structure of the marketplaces make it difficult to separate the good from the bad.