The ISA-Bus

One blog to bind them all.

Monthly Archives: January 2012

Why are there no isometric adventure games?

It’s interesting that no or nearly no adventure games have used the isometric perspective, or rather, the game system that comes with it. The only exception I know is the rather unconventional Sanitarium.

This is strange because many of the isometric RPGs of the late 90s (especially the Fallout games) have strong adventure elements. Dialog trees and inventory-based puzzles go well with this type of engine. But adventure games have moved from the old 2D room view either to a gameplay-wise identical 3D room view (The Longest Journey) or to a full 3D environment (Gabriel Knight 3).

This may be one reason for the decline of adventure games in the second half of the 90s: They had stopped evolving. They moved well from parser-based text interfaces to graphical point-and-click interfaces (and contributed some of the best graphics in the 320-pixel-era), but then they got stuck. The live actor/full motion video thing was a dead end, and did not contribute anything to gameplay anyway. And the possibilities the 3D environment was not utilized either. As one critic of Gabriel Knight 3 remarked, you can crouch, but what for? It’s not as if there were a note hidden under a bed anywhere in the game.

Mikosan Fight, a PC98 doujin (1996)

Moved to new blog.

A note to my Twitter followers

Currently, I’m writing about two completely different topics. Three weeks ago, I started a new blog about painting, poetry, music, and the like. And I have this blog, and a couple of websites, about computer games and computers in general. But I only have one Twitter account, which I use to publicize updates on any of these blogs or sites.

When I started my new blog, I briefly thought about creating a new Twitter account as well, but dismissed it. I try to word the titles of my posts in a way that it should be fairly clear which topic they belong to (WordPress updates are tweeted automatically). If you are interested in the arts only, you can follow Vivat! Crescat! Floreat! directly, though I think you need a WordPress account for that. This is currently the only place where I post about this topic, and if that ever changes, I’ll announce it there.

Veigues by Game Arts (PC88, 1988)

During their cooperation with Game Arts, Sierra ported all the PC-88 games of that company to IBM, with one exception: Veigues (ヴェイグス). Why they omitted this “Detailed, stylish and memorable robot action game […] let down only by its jerky scrolling” (Jap-Sai) is anybody’s guess. It may have to do with the fact that Veigues used a custom palette, not just the eight digital colors, so porting would have been more complicated.

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