It’s kind of ironic that this review of the “Lost” videogame faults the game for its reliance on outdated and obsolete game mechanics, because the review itself relies on an outdated and obsolete assumption: that adventure games are no longer relevant.
A game journalist in 2008 saying “adventure games are dead” is kind of like a stand-up comedian making jokes about airplane food. Where’ve you been, dude?
But if you’re going to make the claim that adventure games haven’t been relevant in fifteen years, at least do a little research. The review says that all of its problems are because it’s one of those “adventure games – think Monkey Island” and then goes on to list fault after fault with the game, all of which were already addressed by the time the Monkey Island games were released. I’m pretty familiar with the Monkey Island games, especially The Curse of Monkey Island (1997), and they don’t have any of the problems he names.
There’s no instant death — like, say, Gears of War (2006) or Shadow of the Colossus (2005). No “invisible barriers,” like those of Mass Effect (2007). No items that are only “activated” after talking to the right person, like The Phantom Hourglass (2007). No pitch-black areas — Doom 3 (2005) — that require you to constantly relight or replenish your light source — Half Life 2: Episode 1 (2006) — or “fiddly and tedious” games that require you to collect tons of items scattered throughout the level — Psychonauts (2005) or Dead Rising (2006).
The reviewer claims he’s going to stick with the game, though, because of its intriguing story, strong production values, and good music. The Monkey Island games are guilty of having those.
I can’t offer an opinion on the “Lost” game either way, since all I’ve seen of it is a glimpse on screens being demoed at WonderCon. The bit that I saw had a close-up of a Hurley model whose dead-eyed stare still haunts my nightmares — but I can’t fault it for that, since that’s pretty much the state of the art for photorealistic videogame art these days.
But assuming that the “Lost” game did screw up the game mechanics as badly as the reviewer claims, that’s still just the fault of that game. There’s no need to continue the assumption that that kind of junk is endemic to adventure games, and isn’t found in any other genre. We’ve already got enough people who think that adventure games are doomed to be nothing more than interminable stretches of nothing interrupted by mazes and variations on decades-old “get through that door” puzzles.