Point-and-click games are both a popular pastime for online enthusiasts and designers and officially produced product games available on the market. Rather than moving around a 2D or 3D character the player must use their sense of logic and their mouse to find and assemble various clues scattered around the scene in order to escape a locked area, uncover a mystery or complete a quest. Sometimes the adventure will be a heavily plot-based epic adventure; other times there will be little plot whatsoever. The games are usually (though not exclusively) first person games, and can be of various genres though the most popular appear to be horror and, naturally, mystery games. Surreal games are another popular genre. Many games strive to create vivid, highly atmospheric settings which the player will enjoy exploring.
Point-and-click games are highly popular online, both to play and to create, specifically because they are so easy to put together. One can be put together with a simple Flash program. Because they are are mass produced online, their quality varies massively
with some being incredibly detailed works of art and comical entertainment, and others involving only the barest of details and stylistic appearances. Many point-and-click games have proven to be highly logically taxing, and some quite frankly skip around logic all together and require dramatically Out of the Box
thinking to complete. Most point-and-click games are based on intelligence, rather than coordination and game playing skill.
Many examples of point-and-click games can be found here.
Variations on these Games include the following:
- Adventure Games, such as by Sierra, LucasArts etc. The game follows a storyline progression but the player must point and click through (with some dialog boxes) to solve problems and advance. Scripted in detail with elaborate stories, painted background graphics, and Choose Your Own Adventure side-plots. Their biggest heyday came in the '90s, followed by a bust in the wake of Doom. Today dozens of excellent games are made every year.
- Room escape games - the player awakens (usually) to find themselves trapped in a locked room. These games usually involve little backstory asides from what is necessary to get the player into the room in the first place.
- Search and Mystery Games - The player must utilise their logical skills and exploration abilities to uncover a mystery, find a solution to a problem or even uncover a crime. Elements of these are often found in the more urban Adventure Games.
- Exploration Games - Such as Mystery Of Time And Space, are mainly a combination of Escape the Room games and Exploration games, requiring both sets of skills. Often these games contain higher levels of story-telling.
- Living Artworks - often not games precisely so much as surreal or experimental works of art which can be explored by clicking various objects.
- Eduanimation products which are often endorsed by schools, or otherwise sold as external "fun and learning" activities such as the Logical Journey of the Zoombinis.
The point-and-click genre was preceded by text-based games such as Interactive Fiction
, and is also succeeded by roleplaying
genres such as MMORPGs
, along with First-Person Shooters
Tend to be ripe with Nightmare Fuel
. Sometimes the game isn't scary itself but the mood can be quite unsettling.
Examples (in alphabetical order):
- Amanita Design Games:
- Botanicula: Released as part of the Humble Botanicula Debut, along with the previous two games and Windosill.
- Machinarium: Where you start as a small robot tossed onto a trash heap.
- Samorost (Driftwood) is an award winning Flash game that influenced a lot of following surreal games. In it, the player aides a tiny white figure through a moss-covered trunk that functions as a spaceship. Photographs of moss and bark make up the background, the design of every level is based on the fact that this is a trunk on which tiny people live. It has a sequel in Samorost 2.
- Windosill (not part of Amanita Design Games); your goal is to help a toy boxcar get from one room to the next by interacting with all of the strange and wonderful sights around it.
- Ambridge Mansion, an indie horror game in which you are trapped in a mansion haunted with shadow creatures.
- A New Beginning: A retired bio-engineer and a female time traveler work together to stop a Corrupt Corporate Executive from destroying the Earth's climate. However, not everything, especially the time traveler, is what they seem...
- Anna's Quest
- Barrow Hill
- Belial: A demon is kicked out of Hell and must get his powers back before conquering it.
- The Blackwell Series
- Blade Runner: The 1997 adventure game set in the Blade Runner universe.
- Blues And Bullets
- Blue's Clues
- Brink of Consciousness: Dorian Gray Syndrome: A serial killer has kidnapped your love, and it's up to you to get her back.
- Bulb Boy
- CaptainGerBear's ChubPan is Exactly What It Says on the Tin, a chub panda..
- The first three Clock Tower games were point and click games, though different from the norm, as there was a stalker who would interrupt puzzle solving and force you to run and hide. They also were... a little scary.
- Conquests of the Longbow
- Covert Front
- Crimson Room is another early Escape The Room game, but unlike MOTAS, focus was placed on one single, advanced room. A couple of sequels were made, such as Viridian Room and Blue Chamber, both of which are probably even a little harder.
- Dare to Dream, a shareware game from 1993 by Epic Games.
- Dark Fall:
- Dark Fall: The Journal
- Dark Fall: Light's Out
- Dark Fall: Lost Souls
- Dark Seed
- Dark Seed II
- Dark Scavenger is played with this crossed with a menu-based interface.
- Dead Synchronicity. A amnesiac man in Crapsack World.
- The Dead Case. You're a ghost and you've got to solve your own murder. Does it get any more awesome? No, it does not.
- Déjà Vu (1985) was the first adventure with an entirely mouse-driven interface (the MacVenture engine, also used for Uninvited and Shadowgate).
- Discworld and Discworld II: Missing Presumed...!?
- Disney created many games along these lines in the late nineties. These games, being Disney-based and therefore required to involve some educational value, were sometimes literacy and numeracy based, depending on the target age group. While the games created in the nineties were CD-roms, the newest one was made for Wii.
- Eastern Mind: The Lost Souls of Tong-Nou
- The Elvira games created by HorrorSoft (now AdventureSoft). The player was a random guy, hired via an ad in the classifieds to save Elvira from some sort of supernatural menace. They were a hybrid of adventure games and old-school RPGs, and featured more death scenes than any given Sierra game could dream of.
- Emerald City Confidential
- Enchanted Scepters (1984) was the first to introduce clickable scenery items to an illustrated text adventure.
- Spongebob Squarepants Employee Of The Month
- Escape from Horrorland
- Esklavos stars two goblin-ish creatures who, with the player's help, free an oppressed (and very odd) country from an orc-ish army. The gameplay can be rather unintuitive but no one level is like the other in challenges or design. It's quirky, full of shout-outs and even occasionally touching and the music is great.
- Exmortis and its sequel is a Horror-based Point and Click game dealing with the end of the world and the rise of a demonic overlord. Warning: There's a Downer Ending. Plus it's downright scary.
- In Eyezmaze Grow you have to figure out the right sequence to click the icons, where every icon adds to and evolves the scene.
- Fatty Bear
- Flight Of The Amazon Queen only really began once the titular aircraft lost the ability to fly, making the game somewhat mislabeled.
- Full Pipe is a rather strange Russian example of the genre, where a man enters a giant sewer maze to get his shoe back.
- The Fog Fall is a creepy escape-the-room (or rather escape-the-bomb-shelter) game set around a post-atomic disaster.
- Framed 2004 (2004): Jamie finds his girlfriend Eleena dead. He gets arrested by the police and charged for her murder. Jamie must escape, investigate, and find out who is responsible for the murder.
- Gadget: Past as Future
- Gods Will Be Watching
- Hell: A Cyberpunk Thriller
- I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream, a brilliant adaptation of the eponymous short story that expanded on the setting and uncovered the reasons for AM's hatred of humans.
- Innocent Until Caught series
- In The 1st Degree
- Jack French, an online detective game by Johnnybdesign.
- John Saul's Blackstone Chronicles: An Adventure in Terror, a video game adaptation of John Saul's novel series The Blackstone Chronicles.
- Jurassic Park (Sega CD)
- Kathy Rain
- The King's Quest series.
- Lands of Lore: The Throne of Chaos.
- Last Half of Darkness
- Legends And Myths, which is rather obscure. As the title suggests, there's a lot of emphasis on teaching mythology, as the player must solve puzzles to rescue three cyclops children from an evil witch. There's also galleries of myth-based art and stories.
- Logical Journey of the Zoombinis was a type of point and click game popular among schools due to its logic-based puzzles and games.
- The Longest Journey and, to a slightly lesser extent (less pointing-and-clicking and more running around using a D-pad/arrow key arrangement...even a bit of basic combat thrown in occasionally) its sequel, Dreamfall: The Longest Journey.
- The Lost Crown
- Maniac Mansion, and its sequel Day of the Tentacle.
- The Mental Series, or at least the second, third and fourth games. The Journey, In the Woods and Mental Showtime.
- Minecraft: Story Mode
- The Monkey Island series.
- Monster Basement and its sequel, Monster Basement 2
- Motas (Mystery Of Time And Space, 2001) is believed to be the earliest Escape The Room game and has been the blueprint for many of the games created since.
- The Nancy Drew game series.
- The Neverhood and its sequel Skullmonkeys
- The Night of the Rabbit
- Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors
- Nippon Safes, Inc.: an old Italian adventure game that garnered some success in European countries, about three misfits in a fictionalized, comical version of Japan. Has a sequel, The Big Red Adventure.
- Pajama Sam
- Papers, Please: You play as a border guard in a fictional Communist country, checking papers and deciding if people should be allowed into the country, turned away, or detained.
- Plague Of The Moon: You play as a witch named Alucarda who is trying to avenge her mother Margaret and her being burned at the stake for witchcraft. There are some Role-Playing Game elements mixed into it.
- Please Don't Touch Anything takes a more minimal approach by positioning the player behind a singular control panel, with only the title and a cryptic wall poster as their instructions.
- Polcarstva is a Living Artwork game with reasonably little gameplay at all. This game is all about visuals.
- Post Mortem
- The Riddle of Master Lu
- Sam & Max Hit the Road and Sam & Max: Freelance Police.
- Secret Files
- The Shiver series.
- Sissy's Magical Ponycorn Adventure
- Star Trek: Borg is a memorable Full Motion Video Star Trek tie-in example.
- In Starcraft II's campaign mode, between each mission (which, as you would expect is Real-Time Strategy) you wander your flagship in point-and-click style.
- Starship Titanic (by Douglas Adams)
- Sub Machine started out as Escape the Room, and quickly became Exploration/Mystery.
- The Tale of Orpheo's Curse, a tie-in game to Are You Afraid of the Dark?.
- Tsioque, a hand-drawn adventure game about a Princess escaping the clutches of an evil Wizard while her mother is away.
- Wax Works was HorrorSoft's last title, and is close enough to the Elvira games to be considered a spiritual sequel. The gameplay was more varied, the difficulty was higher, and the level of gore was jacked up considerably.
- the white chamber, a horror/sci-fi themed game which stars a girl who finds herself in a coffin on a spaceship and ARGH OH GOD.
- The X-Files Game, a horror and adventure game inspired by the famous TV show.
- The first half of Yu No is a sci-fi point-and-click adventure with Visual Novel elements and Time Travel gameplay mechanics. The prologue and the second half, on the other hand, are straight-up visual novels.