Hardcoregaming101.net Presents: The Guide to Classic Graphic Adventures is an ode to one of the oldest genres in electronic gaming. It is 772 pages in length, covers over 300 games and includes a number of interviews with classic game developers. It is an expansive tome, jam packed to the brim with history, criticism, and trivia. If you’ve ever asked the question “If I like LucasArts and Sierra games, what other games should I play?”, then this book should be your bible.
You can look at a preview PDF here.
Where to Order
PDF Download at Itch.io – $4.99
Table of Contents
Please note that when a title is listed, it includes all games in that series. For example, the Tex Murpy article includes reviews from Mean Streets, Martian Memorandum, Under a Killing Moon, The Pandora Directive, and Overseer. Titles not linked are currently exclusive to the book.
Leisure Suit Larry
Quest for Glory
Pepper’s Adventures in Time
The Black Cauldron
Heart of China
Rise of the Dragon
The Adventures of Willy Beamish
Lost in Time
Ween: The Prophecy
The Adventures of Woodruff and the Schnibble
Zak McKracken and the Alien Mindbenders
Indiana Jones – Last Crusade / Fate of Atlantis
Sam & Max
Eric the Unready
Companions of Xanth
Superhero League of Hoboken
Callahan’s Crosstime Saloon
John Saul’s Blackstone Chronicles
Tass Times in Tonetown
Shadow of Destiny
Amazon Guardians of Eden
Simon the Sorcerer
The Feeble Files
Legend of Kyrandia
KULT: The Temple of Flying Saucers / Chamber of the Sci-Mutant Priestess
KGB / Conspiracy
Cruise for a Corpse
Curse of Enchantia
Lure of the Temptress
Beneath a Steel Sky
Gold and Glory: The Road to El Dorado
I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream
Rex Nebular and the Cosmic Gender Bender
Return of the Phantom
Igor: Objective Uikokahonia
Divide by Zero
Innocent Until Caught / Guilty
The Orion Conspiracy
The Gene Machine
Hell: A Cyberpunk Thriller
Nippon Safes, Inc / Big Red Adventure
Tequila & Boom Boom
The Dark Eye
Bad Day on the Midway
Ripley’s Believe it or Not!
Jerome Lange Mysteries
The Journeyman Project
The Lost Files of Sherlock Holmes
The 7th Guest / The 11th Hour
Call of Cthulhu: Shadow of the Comet / Prisoner of Ice
Scooby Doo Mysteries
Beavis and Butthead
The Longest Journey / Dreamfall
Portopia Renzoku Satsujin Jiken
Below the Root
Princess Tomato in the Salad Kingdom
Murder on the Mississippi
Snoopy: The Cool Computer Game
Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure
Plan 9 from Outer Space
The Dark Half
Gadget: Past as Future
Inherit the Earth
Flight of the Amazon Queen
Chewy: ESC From F5
Kingdom o’ Magic
Cosmology of Kyoto
Bud Tucker in Double Trouble
Amber: Journeys Beyond
9: The Last Resort
The Last Express
The Space Bar
Nightlong: Union City Conspiracy
The Fish Files
Limbo of the Lost
Strongbad’s Cool Game for Attractive People
A Vampyre Story
Ben There, Dan That!/Time Gentlemen, Please!
The Chzo Mythos
Emerald City Confidential
Al Lowe (Designer of Leisure Suit Larry)
Corey Cole (Designer of Quest for Glory)
Bob Bates (Founder of Legend Entertainment)
Josh Mandel (Writer/Designer/Voice Actor for Sierra)
The cover was inspired by the “feelies” included in Infocom game packaging, which were nifty little physical goods based off something in the game. While the concept of feelies had died out around the time Sierra and LucasArts had taken over the market, I thought it would be cool to feature some homemade replications of various in-game items. These include a stuffed doll of Max from Sam & Max, the Schattenjaegar talisman from Gabriel Knight, King Graham’s hat from King’s Quest, a rubber-chicken-with-a-pulley-in-the-middle from The Secret of Monkey Island, and a cross stitch of Purple Tentacle from Maniac Mansion: Day of the Tentacle.
Initially I had just wanted to feature these goods, but decided to frame them in a photograph of an old PC monitor, surrounded by boxed copies of various classic games. It gave me good opportunity to show off some of my collection (which is much larger, but I couldn’t fit all of it) and was designed to elicit feelings of nostalgia from the days when Babbages’, Egghead Software, Software Etc. and Electronics Boutique were stocked to the brim with these things.
The back cover is a shrine to Roberta Williams, one of the founders of Sierra and creator of King’s Quest. It was sort of based on a joke from (I think) a Retronauts podcast, where they admitted that they thought Roberta Williams was pretty attractive. (She was featured partially nude on the cover of Softporn Adventure, after all.) I thought it would be interesting to create a shrine to her – I instructed my graphic designer to make it classy without being too creepy. Ms. Williams, if you see this, please note that it is meant with the greatest respect!
Ryan McSwain, Samuel “derboo” Melzner, Kevin Anderson, John “Sketcz” Szczepaniak, Michael “sotenga” Plasket, Collin “arjak” Pierce, Paul “Garamoth” Chenevert, Corwin “WildWeasel” Brence, Jon Cameron, Ed “Bobinator” Burns, Michael “Munchy” Boyd, Ryan “susanismyalias” Woodward, Aiden “grendelmk2” Monnens, Jason Johnson, Harry Milonas, Brad “noiseredux” Allison
Cover Design, Photography and “Feelies” by: Kate Eggleston, except for Purple Tentacle cross-stitch portrait by Brandi Swenson
Frequently Asked Questions
$27 is an awful lot of money to spend on a book.
Yes, it’s not exactly cheap, but I’m confident that it’s entirely worth it. It’s an absolutely gigantic book, weighing over three pounds, and there’s a ridiculous amount of material that will keep any fan reading for hours on end. It will also graciously help support the site, and go towards the publication of future books. The Kindle version is cheaper, since it obviously doesn’t need to be printed.
What’s the difference between the articles in the book and what’s already on the site?
If you’ve read the reviews on the site, they are pretty much the same as the book, and follow a similar style and format. All of them have been copy edited to fix typos and improve readability, and a few have been cut down to fit, although they’re still largely the same as the version on the web site. (Not all of the revisions have currently been incorporated into the site.) There are also numerous titles that are currently only covered in the book. All games covered have a box shot and at least one screenshot, although note that the book is in black and white. Many reviews are extensive, however, there are also numerous shorter, single page reviews.
Will any of the articles currently exclusive to the book ever be posted on the site?
Some of them will be. The longer articles – King’s Quest, The Journeyman Project, The Chzo Mythos, Zork, etc. – definitely will show up at some point. But there are a lot of single and double page articles that I’m not entirely sure I can find a spot on the site without placing it together with larger articles. Like, maybe one day you might see the Bill & Ted article here if we do a big blowout on Bill & Ted games (there are more than you’d expect!), and there are a lot of really unique or overlooked games that will probably be posted as well, but otherwise a majority of those will probably stay exclusive to the book.
Why isn’t this book in color? I would totally buy it if it was in color.
Price. The retail cost is $27 for a 772 page black and white book. Through the same publisher, a color printing would have to be split in two books costing over $60 each, which is completely unfeasible. However, the Kindle version is in color, as long as your device can support it (the PC Kindle Reader, iPod Touch, iPhone, iPad, etc.).
Why isn’t X game covered?
Defining the scope was the hardest part of this project. When this all started, our initial plan was to cover the “best of” adventure gaming. This included the entirety of LucasArts and Sierra, since they were by far the most popular, but I also wanted to include the works of Legend, since they were incredibly overlooked and their library is excellent. I had also wanted to include some of the better regarded series and games, like Broken Sword, Simon the Sorcerer, and The Last Express. Trying to figure out what as “significant” slowly turned into “whatever I could fit”, although we had some ground rules. In defining “graphic adventure”, we took that to mean any game that had an interface that did not solely rely on text. This mostly meant anything that used a point-and-click interface, though there are numerous exceptions, like the AGI-era Sierra games.
Originally I’d wanted to include games from all eras, but decided to focus on the “golden age”, running from the release of King’s Quest in 1984, up until roughly 2000. However, we still featured a number of newer games, mostly ones that had thematic ties to older titles, including Strong Bad’s Cool Game for Attractive People (which has a whole episode devoted to old school adventure games), Secret Files (obviously inspired by Broken Sword), A Vampyre Story (developed by a LucasArts vet), Gray Matter (designed by the writer of Gabriel Knight) and a few others. I also included Runaway, which is a series that’s often suggested for fans of old LucasArts games, as well as Syberia, which is relatively popular too, and Limbo of the Lost, because it’s the most derided game in adventure gaming history. We also stuck in a few of the best recent indie titles as well.