I recently downloaded the old adventure game, Quest for Glory II because I saw it was available for free (and legal) download from here. I really loved this game when I was kid, enjoying its fun adventure game elements and its minor roleplaying elements as well. You had to pick from 3 classes (wizard, fighter, and thief) but you could take skills from other classes, solve problems in different ways, and generally have a goofy time in silly Arabian Nights themed setting. It has been a blast playing one of my favorite games of all times, without a doubt.
The funny thing about to returning to a game like this is a reminder of how much more user-friendly games have become. I don’t mean complexity, as in my description of mastering a flight sim, but how much monotonous stuff many of us are unwilling to deal with in this day and age. I mean, the game, even at max speed, moves super-sloooow. Your character idly saunters around the world and objects and NPCs are constantly are moving around, forcing your character to stop and watch. As a kid, I don’t remember this frustration. In fact, I remember waiting even longer for load times but I guess I was extremely patient. It was the early 90’s and I didn’t understand computer games could move faster.
It’s not just the character animations, but just the gameplay itself. The game is progressive, in my opinion, in giving you the ability to buy a map for fast travel. Great, right? Well, before you can buy the map, you need to exchange your foreign money with a moneychanger. That, however, requires you seeking out this individual by walking through monotonous, uneventful, almost empty streets using the map that came with the game to make your way. Then you need to exchange your money. Then, lastly, you need to return to the map seller to purchase the map. Then, and only then, can you move instantly around the city. I have no idea why these steps were necessary, how they helped the game, or made it more enjoyable or challenging. It was needlessly monotonous, however, and almost a deal-breaker.
It makes me think back to all the games from the past, not just PC adventure games. How much tedious, bullshit gameplay did we deal with back then and consider it normal? Have you ever gone back and played any beloved games from childhood by way of X-Box Arcade or Nintendo’s Virtual Console and wondered how we could have considered those experiences enjoyable. I guess, in the case of Quest for Glory II, I’m still playing it instead of working on my WoW toons, rereading Game of Thrones, or getting some much needed sleep. That, I suppose, has to count for something.