PC Gamer has been running an article series called "Crap Shoot
" where they revisit an old adventure game and talk about how crap it is. This week's pick brought back memories for me because it was from the time when 3D Accelerator cards where first becoming mainstream and they where some of the first web content to leverage those cards way before stuff like Unity and WebGL where invented...... or before telltale games jumped into the episodic adventure games business.
Anyway these "movies" Brilliant Digital was making back in the late 90's weren't really movies per say. They where more like episodic adventure games based on licensed content and mostly played like those choose your own adventure books you might find in an elementary school library (I don't know if they still carry those kind of books there though).
The gameplay mostly consisted of making a choice at certain points of the game which branches you off onto a different plotline. In a way it kind of worked out a little better in as a game mechanic than in a book because you couldn't just bookmark the page with the choice and quickly flip back as soon as you sense there's trouble coming. Also since there's only so much room in a kids paperback most of the bad choices gave you a quick ending which doesn't have to happen in a game scenerio. But either way the choose your own adventure thing was still pretty silly and gimmicky.
There was only one choose your own adventure book that I truly liked and it was because of the subject and how well written I thought it was back then. I forgot the name of the book but it was about a kid who got a space vespa scooter and got a friendly alien blob pet thingy. But I digress.
Much like the choose your own adventure books these where all pretty gimmicky and the graphics are extremely dated by todays standards but looked very good back in the day running on a 3Dfx
card at 640x480 with bilinear filtering on a 14 inch tube monitor. The subject of these games was pretty much throw away tween paperback book fodder in fact most if not all of them where probably adapted from some of those choose your own adventure books.
But the novelty of the new 3D graphics along with the nostalgia of me having read the choose your own adventure books made it a neat experience for me plus it was one of the first times when they had a game'ish episodic web series kind of like what companies like telltale are doing today with their adventure series (I have been playing the Back To The Future one and would be playing the Jurassic Park one if they hadn't delayed it).
Each episode would pretty much end in cliffhangers which made me want to view the next one that and seeing more 3D accelerated graphics which again where a novelty at the time. Plus I was still rather young when I played them. ;)
One of my hobbies is revisiting old games via WINE or Emulation but these aren't readily available unless I find a disc to order. My memories of them are most likely much better than if I where to replay them though as the crap shoot article may indicate. I can appreciate old games for what they are but some things are probably best left in the past when you come down to it.
What's interesting to me is it seems netflix has some of these available to rent
. I guess they consider them to be movies. If I still had netflix I might consider renting them just for the hell of it.