Simply mentioning ‘Point and Click’ is enough to send many old-school gamer’s into a nostalgic haze for the ‘old days’ of PC. When there was no such thing as Steam and when gaming on PC was almost a ‘niche’ thing. Back in those days, the market was dominated mainly by three genres: FPS, Real-time Strategy and Point and Click along with the occasional text-based adventure. The Point and Click games of old were some of the first games to be used as a storytelling medium instead of just a simple way of passing the time. The likes of Monkey Island made themselves known to the world and were greatly celebrated. Even today, although not as popular as they were in their glory days, it’s clear the Point and Click genre still has a lot of dedicated fans. Just look at games like Broken Age which managed to raise over $3.3 through kickstarter or the many popular Point and Click series such as the Reincarnation series that populate online gaming sites in the hundreds. Yet looking over the genre, I just can’t see the appeal.
Maybe it’s due to my age. I wasn’t born in the genre’s infancy so I haven’t really experienced the games growing up. But nevertheless, I can’t understand why people enjoy these games. It’s not that I hate story-based games. You’ll know that if you’ve seen my many, many Medieval Cop Reviews. I think my problem with the genre lies in the little gameplay there is. Point and Click genres consist of wandering around areas collecting objects and then backtracking to use them or possibly combine them to make something completely new. Many games also have small puzzles dotted throughout the game that break up the gameplay a bit. I wouldn’t have much of a problem with this if collecting the objects wasn’t so much of a hassle.
Attempting to progress through the game is like continually walking round corners straight into locked doors and being stopped in your tracks by your faces unwanted contact with the wall. Every time the story seems to be going somewhere, you’re thrown into a jungle-like area that’s incredibly easy to get lost in. You then spend the next hour or two stumbling around clumsily trying to find that one pixel that also so happens to be an important object so you can finally move onto the next stage of the story before running straight into another brick wall of an area that slows the pace to a crawl once again. Maybe some people enjoy getting lost in a lush world but I don’t. It feels like more of an inconvenience than anything and it’s rare I’m impressed by what I feel is a two-dimensional(literally), limited ‘world’.
One of my earliest memories of playing a Point and Click game was one of the Monkey Island games on the Wii. At first, I was captivated by the story of pirates and the wide-open sea and was impressed that I didn’t feel lost in the story despite never playing any of the previous games. Then I got to the first island. Three hours. That’s how long I spent floundering around the island like a blind man trying to find the one thing I’d missed before eventually giving up in frustration. I wasn’t having fun. No matter how good a game’s story is, it still needs to be entertaining to play or I find it hard to get motivated enough to actually finish it and find out what happens. It’s still a game and it still needs to be fun to play.
That’s not to say I hate every single game in the genre. For one, I enjoy the popular TellTale games(mainly Tales from the Borderlands) because the story doesn’t take a backseat to the dull gameplay. Any gameplay sections where you have to interact with the environment are short and don’t drag on and on because it doesn’t take place in a ridiculously large area. There are a few online Point and Click games that I have enjoyed such as Deep Sleep but that’s only because I had the aid of an online walkthrough to help me figure out what to do. Call me what you will but I simply can’t enjoy Point and Click games that force you to spend many minutes and possibly even hours exploring their environments. No matter how good they look, it becomes boring to look at after your fiftieth time walking past it.
So, that’s my attempt at trying to explain why I don’t like this popular, classic gaming genre. But just because I don’t like Point and Click games doesn’t mean you can’t like them! What do you like or dislike about the Point and Click genre? I’m interested to hear your opinion so feel free to leave yours in the comments.