HG101's Own Adventure Game:
When I was a kid in the mid-90s, the first thing I did upon discovering the internet was joining the Monkey Island Fan Club on the Prodigy message boards. There, as a bunch of other teenagers (probably), we created our own version of Monkey Island 3 (which, at that point, had yet to be announced). Years and years later, I spent approximately two and half years playing numerous adventure games for the Guide to Classic Adventure Games, largely with the intention of recapturing that same feeling of my youth, of exploring strange worlds, discussing topics with weird characters, and, of course, finding weird and wacky ways to die. The LucasArts and Sierra games were often the best of the bunch, so most of my adult adventure gaming life has been trying to find games that held up to those standards. While I found some excellent titles that were great in their own right (Simon the Sorcerer, Broken Sword and The Longest Journey in partciular), they never quite tickled me in the same way. So, I decided to apply what I'd learned over playing dozens upon dozens of adventure games, and make my own. That, and after slapping together ¿Que Pasa Perro? in a week (a game which I still love despite its obvious simplicity), I found that I enjoyed making games and wanted to do something on a grander scale. (And also make it an actual point-and-click game, so people would actually play it.) And thus was born Christopher Columbus is an Idiot.
The story is loosely based on history, in as much as "history" is defined by checking a Wikipedia article, translating it into another language, forgetting half of it, and then deliberately misappropriating the rest into a form that would surely baffle the academic community. In real life, Christopher Columbus was someone so deeply in denial about his misdiscoveries that he wrongly identified an entire race of people - a mistake with ramifications today! - and apparently refused to acknowledge that he'd ever done anything wrong. What kind of foolish buffoon does that? That's what we seek to answer.
I've felt that with the proliferation of indie development over the past few years, we've entered a second Golden Age of adventures games. But while titles like the Blackwell series, Gemini Rue and Resonance are all excellent, there aren't many of them that are all that funny... at least, with the exception of the two Ben There, Dan That! games, which I happily talk about all day to anyone in earshot. The reason why I loved these types of games as a kid was because they had an excellent sense of humor. Comedy in gaming is rare altogether, for reasons that I'm not entirely clear on, and I want to bring that back.
So Christopher Columbus is an Idiot is extremely silly. Sure, themes of colonialism and religion are explored, but it all takes the back seat to stripper librarians, beaver uprisings, nude time gypsies, crying dolphins, dandy fops, addle-brained monarchs, warrior princesses, hipster turkeys, pornographic conspiracies, dragon fetishists, telepathic rabbits, and at least a few references to the baffling 1992 adventure/dungeon crawler/space combat simulator game Inca. The whole deal is obviously inspired by LucasArts games (though the interfae is closer to Sierra) but the sense of humor is quite unique.
I began working on the game in January 2012, though work on the Sega Arcade Classics Vol. 1 book eventually took precendence. Still, I've had the entire first act of the game sitting on my hard drive, mostly complete, so I figured, why not put it out there on the internet to play it? So, I polished it up, and added some music thanks to one Edward LaBarbera, and have now offered it for download.
The major thing to note is... I'm not an artist. So, all of the graphics are doodles done in MSPaint. I happen to think they are relatively high quality doodles, but they're not exactly professional. One day, I hope to launch a Kickstarter so I can hire some actual graphic artists, to put the visuals on par with mid-90s PC graphic adventures. But this is one of the main reasons I've released this first chapter for free, to give a taste of what the design and writing is like. As a pitch, the words "an adventure game in the style of LucasArts and Sierra classics!" have lost all meaning, since they pop up so often, and God knows I've been duped into playing too many games that claim to be inspired by The Secret of Monkey Island yet are saddled with dire writing and incredibly unfunny humor. The only way to prove myself, I feel, is to put this out and let you guys judge for yourself.
Of course, this is in sort of a pre-beta phase. It's definitely playable from beginning to end, but I'm sure there are bugs that we haven't stumbled upon. I'm also looking for feedback on sticking points, things that seem too confusing, things which are presented to the player out of order (it's tough designing something when you have three different quests going on at the same time!), things that break the game or seem buggy, or otherwise areas that are kind of stupid. My goal isn't to make the game difficult, just silly.
Also, from a technical standpoint, AGS is weird. You might need to muck with the separate setup program to get the screen ratio correct, plus vsync only seems to work with the DirectDraw 5 driver. Even running in full screen, I can't get it working without the image being letterboxed. I've been told that there are some hacked versions of AGS that allow true widescreen support, and if that's the case, then I will be using those going forward. The game also runs in 16-bit color mode, so Windows might complain for a second when you start it. This is because there's a weird bug in AGS that causes MP3 files to skip when changing rooms, but only in 32-bit color mode.
Finally, there are a number of characters here which don't seem to do much other than talk and assign puzzles. That's because this chapter is just a setup, and they're meant to appear in the later chapters. This download encompasses the entirety of act 1, and the first few rooms of act 2. Which is... roughly a third of the currently planned game.
Anyway, please enjoy the game, and feel free to leave feedback on the forum topic!