I've probably mentioned before how many of my earliest-and some of my fondest- gaming memories came from playing point and click adventure games, particularly those produced by LucasArts. For a type of game that employed such a simple control scheme they offered a surprising amount of depth and complexity to the player in terms of characters, storyline and the puzzle solving one would have to perform in game. This last, admittedly, would often be the point where the word "fun" got replaced with words that sported as few as four and as many as twelve letters.
But I digress.
Times have changed, though, as they always do and gamers have been wanting new types of experiences from their games that didn't involving starting at 2D environment, something with breadth, depth, and the ability to walk up to most everything in the world, pick it up, look at it, throw it, and in many cases blow it the f*** up. I'm not objecting to this at all, as I was just playing a stirring session of Fallout: New Vegas before writing this post, but it does sadden me to hear all the voices from both developers and consumers saying that the adventure game genre is, in the words of Stephen Fry in Blackadder Goes Fourth, "very nearly dead, if not very actually dead".
However, it seems that there are many people out there who haven't heard that this is the case or, if they have, have refused to believe it. Telltale Games, for instance, has continued to create additional adventures in the point and click line, the independent developer Wadjet Eye Games has created several spectacular adventures, and a website that a friend of mine turned me onto called Good Old Games, and it was there I found one of the most refreshing point and click adventures which comes from a European company named Daedalic Entertainment.
Deponia is a surprising entity because, not only does it employ a gameplay mechanism that many consider antiquated, but due to the lushness of it's graphics and the attitude of it's main character, who goes by the name of Rufus. Rufus is unusual because most game characters, even if they are to be set up to be the subject of many jokes, have a redeeming factor about them. For Guybrush of Monkey Island fame it was his apparently indestructible innocence no matter how dark his situation got, which amused and buoyed the spirits of many.
Rufus, on the other hand, is the opposite. He has a dream, much like Guybrush has, but it's one of those dreams that will prove to be a nightmare for everyone else. Whenever he walks into a room he automatically assumes he is the smartest one it, and will refuse to entertain any other notion. No sacrifice is too great to accomplish his goal, even if it means stripping the shirt off someone else's back to accomplish it…and leering if it happens to be a woman whose shirt has just been removed.
A throughly annoying character is our Rufus, then, a fact that I uttered many times while playing the game. Yet, the most fascinating part of the game was to watch how that behavior lead to his interactions with others in the game and how it stayed intact while gradually mutating into something new over the course of the 2 games in the series.
Don't ask about what was going on in those last two images. Play the game and find out.
Despite the fun of the game, what buoyed me most about it was that Deponia was something genuinely fresh in a genre that many believed is all played out(no pun intended). I do hope that the development of gaming overall continues to move forward, but I also hope that this type of gaming will be one that won't ever fade into obscurity.
In age where being hardcore and load in gaming seems to becoming the public face of gaming, titles like these continue to show at that there are gamers who still value story and experience over blowing things apart.