Monday 6 September 2021

The Art of Point and Click Adventure Games Review

Bitmap Books have built up an excellent reputation now with a string of extensive and informative releases. As long-time fans of the point and click genre it seemed a perfect opportunity to dive into their hefty tome based on everything involving using obscure items and dialogue trees.

The first thing to say is that this is another release that certainly gives a good impression with it being the size of a small bus – both in general size and page count. This edition of the book now contains around 500 pages organised into chronological order spanning from 1984 all the way to 2020. An excellent opening laying out the history of the genre draws readers and also gives a great overview for those looking to know more or who may be unfamiliar with it.

If there is a criticism here it’s that there is no glossary to allow you to get straight to a particular game. Luckily the exhaustive interviews in the book are indexed alphabetically meaning it’s easy to find which legend you want to read about. The amount of people interviewed is unbelievable. Pretty much every icon and legend of the genre is here meaning you get insights into just about all of the major publishers and developers that made their name in this area. Multiple legends from Lucas Arts are here such as Tim Shafer and Ron Gilbert, Sierra games such as King’s Quest, Gabriel Knight and Police Quest are spoken about, Revolution and Westwood get a solid nod and even people behind Future Wars and the Discworld games are on hand.

In fact, the only real omission we found was that Ragnar Tomquist wasn’t interviewed about The Longest Journey series. That and the interview with Jane Jensen about Gabriel Knight had some strange questioning considering the game was remade in 2014. It would also have been nice to delve a little deeper into the issues regarding Discworld and what would be required to bring the games to a new audience. These are all minor point though as the amount of stuff in here is mind blowing.

The exhaustive collection of information also covers just about every major point and click game you can possibly think of. Being as pedantic as we are though we would have liked to see a 2004 mention for The Moment of Silence. Aside from that though we really couldn’t think of anything that was missing. There are hundreds of games here and it will likely send you racing to eBay to try and find adventures you’ve missed out on.

Mass of information aside the other big selling point of the book is of course the art work. As usual this have been handled expertly. Most of the titles are treated to at least a double page spread of an iconic image from the game. Key games are also given extra pages to show off more of the locations and key art work. All these pixels and screens and are presented beautifully.

Overall, The Art of Point and Click Adventure Games is an exceptionally high quality release from Bitmap Books. It works both as a casual coffee table book to be browsed through and looked at just for the art and also as a more thoughtful read containing all the information you would ever need for those looking to learn about an important and iconic genre. It’s easily worth the asking price and stands out even against Bitmap Books other excellent releases.

*picture from Bitmap Books website

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