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Graphing a throwback to old-timey adventure gaming

by: Randy -
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My lovely wife, Grace, is tearing into an eight-pack of Crayola Twistables Crayons as I write this.  ("No sharpening so twist up the fun!")  Laying atop her crossed legs is a wirebound notebook of 4x4 quidrilled ruled graph paper, and she's about five or six pages in already.

She's drawing garden floorplans.  And I'm jealous.

Not because I want to repeatedly draw out the template to our yard of fruits-and-vegetables-and-wildflowers-yet-to-be myself (complete with RV parking, concrete slab for a back patio, and ambiguous un-fenced border with our neighbor), but because it's been well over a decade since a video game has even remotely required me to draw any maps for myself.  It had to have been King's Quest V (or maybe it was VI), as I seem to remember feverish frustration beading sweat on my forehead while I moseyed a desert wasteland in the West. 

Perhaps that's not the best example, as my "map" -- which was nothing more than a series of loosely-labeled rectangles depicting the number of screens I'd traveled up, down, left, and right -- was a tool borne of contempt. I was happy once I'd graphed out the look-alike screens, but I was mad (madmadmad) that I hadn't thought of it earlier in order to curb my mounting anger.

So then I come across Strong Bad's Cool Game for Attractive People where the different locations Strong Bad teleports to on the map are rather arbitrary in their location.  So arbitrary, in fact, that Strong Bad -- once a new location is discovered -- allows the player to "draw in" the new location anywhere they want on the in-game map.  They're colorful little thumbnails, as if Strong Bad is carrying around his own eight-pack of Crayola Twistables Crayons; and the whimsical nature of the map-making harkens back to the days of King's Quest without necessarily harkening back to the retrospective frustrations hidden in those bygone halcyon days of Sierra adventure gaming.

Perhaps an adventure game will come along that, no, won't force you to draw in 120 screens of compass-bashing north-south-east-west rectangles, but might throw us '80s and early '90s adventure gamers a bone, letting us break out our rustic map-drawing skills once more for old times' sake.  I'd break out some graph paper for that.