Freddy Pharkas: Frontier Pharmacist

I first played this game when I was a youngling at my Uncle’s house and I remember being so excited when I booted it up and watched the witty Ballad of Freddy Pharkas play out.

The concept was original and captivating—an ex-gunslinger hangs up his sidearms to go out West and become a pharmacist before events draw him back in to his gun-toting ways—all set in a gorgeous cartoon Wild West setting.

I quickly filled the first two prescriptions that acted as the copy protection to the game, then enthusiastically took Freddy outside to explore where I promptly walked into a swamp and died.

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Simon the Sorcerer

This post was originally written before the 25th Anniversary Edition was released in April 2018

Simon the Sorcerer is a 1993 adventure game by Adventure Soft. You play Simon, a teenager who chases his dog through a portal and into a world is under threat from Sordid. It’s up to the rather sarcastic Simon to become a certified wizard, rescue Calypso, and save the day in a game that gleefully subverts and gently mocks many fantasy tropes.

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Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis

Warning: As ever, spoilers about this 26 year old game abound. 

Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis is a 1992 action adventure game from Lucasarts, featuring everyone’s favourite adventuring academic. It adheres tightly to the Indy tropes: a mythical ancient power has the potential to give the Nazis the edge and a sceptical Indy and a credulous sidekick (Sophia) have to go on a quest to find it first (which inevitably involves a little bit of colonial grave-robbing—altogether now: where does it belong?).

It’s a surprisingly realistic portrayal of what an archeological expedition might look like. As with many real life digs, it involves a lot of foreign travel, punching, and the widespread destruction of ancient artefacts.

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Monkey Island 2: LeChuck’s Revenge

I was ten years old when I first played Monkey Island 1 and it blew my mind. Granted, it does not take much to impress someone at that age: pirates, sharp writing, and a well-realised world is plenty.

A more mature and cynical eleven year old, on the other hand, is much harder to excite. It was therefore somewhat surprising to me at the time to have the belief I had experienced everything the world had to offer roundly shattered by the 1991 sequel, Monkey Island 2: LeChuck’s Revenge.

Warning: spoilers

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Space Quest IV

Space Quest IV is a graphic adventure by Sierra On-Line, first released in 1991, and is the fourth in a series of six Space Quest games.

This is my second Sierra adventure (the first being Quest for Glory IV, which I haven’t written about yet because I only realised after finishing it that it was published in 1993 and not 1989 like I first though) and I found this one to be more accessible and the puzzles to be a more straightforward. Unfortunately, it suffered from the same narrative problems as Quest for Glory.

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Bureaucracy

While technically a text adventure rather than a graphic adventure, it was written by Douglas Adams and it is this writing pedigree that got this game on my list

In this department, the game doesn’t disappoint. The humour and characters set the bar high very early on for what adventure games could provide in terms of narrative and experience, foregoing the fantasy and science fiction to present a biting satirical critique on the modern world, one that still feels fresh and relevant today. 

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