Tag Archives: PC Adventure Games

Life is Strange

Developer: Don’t Nod
Publisher: Square Enix
Year: 2015
Platform: Windows, Xbox, iOS, Android, Mac

Rating: 9

I came for the time travel. I stayed for Maxine and Chloe.

Life is Strange begins in media res, our hero Maxine Caufield alone in her thoughts in the middle of a photography lecture at the esteemed Blackwell Academy, a private art school for ambitious high school students. After being admonished by her professor and teased by the class bully, she plugs in her headphones and heads for the bathroom. There she witnesses the murder of another student, and following an emotional outburst of fear and anger, finds herself back in the same photography lecture ten minutes prior, with just enough time to prevent the murder from happening.

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Immortality

Developer: Half Mermaid
Publisher: Half Mermaid
Year: 2022
Platform: Windows, Xbox, iOS, Android, Mac

Rating: 6

One daunting goal for any game designer is ensuring the player experiences the story as intended while affording them enough agency to experience it at their own pace. Immortality is the third interactive film by Sam Barlow, following Her Story and Telling Lies, the common thread between them being that their narratives are pieced together nonchronologically at the behest of the player. Much like shuffling a deck of cards, no two players will experience these games in the same order, with just a few major reveals held back until a majority of their respective tales have been told. More ambitiously than its predecessors, Immortality successfully manages to tell several stories all at once. While the audience for the stories themselves may be somewhat limited due to the nature of the material, the game as a whole is another impressive achievement of game design in filmmaking.

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To the Moon

Developer: Freebird
Publisher: Freebird
Year: 2011
Platform: Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS, Android, Switch, tvOS

Rating: 6

The ending isn’t any more important than the events leading up to it.

To the Moon is near highly regarded and nearly every review you’ll see is from a dude who cried or became otherwise really emotional while played. While it didn’t hit me as much as most, it is indeed a lovely little interactive story that just about anyone would enjoy.

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Heavy Rain

Developer: Quantic Dream
Publisher: Sony
Year: 2010
Platform: Windows; PS3; PS4

Rating: 5

Holy shit.

It’s been a long time since I played a game and, immediately after credits roll, began talking to all my friends who had played it. I had also done so with Quantic Dream’s previous adventure game, Fahrenheit. And Heavy Rain makes that game look amateurish.

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Trilby’s Notes

Developer: Fully Ramblomatic
Publisher: Fully Ramblomatic
Year: 2006
Platform: Windows

Score: 5

The third game in Yahtzee Croshaw’s Chzo series, this game brings back Trilby himself but in a slightly different manner than in 5 Days a Stranger. The results are mixed, but it’s a refreshing change of pace and a solid entry for fans of the series.

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Martha Is Dead

Publisher: Wired Productions
Developer: LKA
Year: 2022
Platform: Windows, Xbox One, PS4, PS5

Rating: 1

Martha is, indeed, quite dead. At the same time, she is quite lucky. I spent six hours in this world and grew increasingly jealous of Martha every minute. Because by being dead, Martha never had to play this game. Despite my jealousy, I would like to think Martha’s spirit was looking out for me, as a repetitive game-crashing bug kept me from finishing. 

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Gone Home

Publisher: Fullbright Company
Developer: Fullbright Company
Year: 2013
Platform: Windows, Mac, iOS, Linux, PS4, XBox One, Switch

Rating: 6

Walking simulators (a game where there are virtually no puzzles and you walk around unveiling the story) are fairly popular now, but they were few and far between for the first thirty years of gaming. An early one that comes to mind is Infocom’s A Mind Forever Voyaging, though being a text-only game it still felt like there was quite a bit of work to do. The Dark Eye comes close, though there’s a lot of guessing as how to advance the story and there are some binary choices to make. I would guess the first big modern version of the genre is Journey, though it wasn’t ported to the PC until 2019; no doubt it inspired the wave of PC games to come. And it appears the wave started with the excellent Gone Home.

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Keyword: A Spider’s Thread

Publisher: City From Naught
Developer: City From Naught
Year: 2021
Platform: Windows

Rating: 5

I worked in a video store in the late ’90s and my manager was the only person who could get rid of customer late fees. One day a verbally abusive regular came into the store and I knew she had a late fee so high the computer system wouldn’t let her rent unless she paid it off. I was not in the mood for that confrontation, so in a panic I tried to wildly guess my manager’s 4-digit password. I nailed it on the second try. Bye bye late fees!

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