Notable Titles: Deja Vu, Maniac Mansion, Labyrinth, Monkey Island 1 & 2, Day of the Tentacle, Indiana Jones 3 & 4, Simon the Sorcerer 1 & 2
Notable Creators and Companies: ICOM Simulations (Darin Adler and Tod Zipnick), Lucasarts (David Fox, Ron Gilbert, Hal Barwood), Adventuresoft (Simon and Mike Woodroffe)
In 1985, almost at the exact same time as King's Quest was reaching some amount of prominence, a company named ICOM Simulations came up with a very similar idea. Whilst they wanted to create adventure games, they did so in a way that was notionally going to make adventure gaming easier.
A typical adventure game of the time relied on parser, which not only depended on a certain amount of typing proficiency as it came to a lack of typos, but imagination – if a game wanted you to 'CRAFT PAPER AIRPLANE' and didn't let you use 'MAKE', you needed to realise that the people who were writing the game only had the word 'CRAFT' in mind, which was always going to be an issue. Deja Vu made the potential for a game where one's imagination was the only real limit. By including the use of a simple drag-and-click interface, one needed only minimal computer skills to play through an adventure game.
|You still have plenty of choices – but none of them are impossible to guess|
Though the MacVenture suite of games is largely maligned due to difficulty, it doubtlessly inspired many adventure game companies to replace parsers with menus or lists of commands. Some of these early attempts took this approach to extremes.
|Are you sure we really need all these verbs?|
One of these early attempts was published by what would become the perhaps most influential adventure gaming company of all time.
|I bet you weren’t expecting this|
Starting with the not so well known Labyrinth (1986) and continuing with the much better known 1988 classic Maniac Mansion, Lucasarts was undeniably the leader of point and click adventure games. Largely known for their wacky designs, the company which now sadly has been eaten up by Disney repeatedly hits 'greatest adventure game of all time' lists for their iconic and quirky games. And unlike Sierra, Lucasarts had some successful imitators.
|Hey, it’s just the interface we copied!|
One of the key things to come out of this time period was that game saves were far less important than they'd ever been – to open up to a larger market, it was repeatedly made at the very least 'quite difficult' to have an on-screen character death, meaning that they were games that all of the family could enjoy.
|You can kill Guybrush Threepwood - but you really have to try it.|
This period of gaming was doubtlessly where adventure games began to shine, with many people who are on this website likely having started their adventure gaming career either with this style of gaming or the other subtly different one to come.