Top 10 Modern Adventure Games

I grew up with classic Sierra and LucasArts adventure games.

I started playing them when I was six and we didn’t have English yet in school. As a result, much of my initial vocabulary was seeded by text-input games like Space Quest and Leisure Suit Larry 1.


Believe it or not, “use rubber” was one of my first and most remembered proper English phrases (although I would not really count Larry 1 among my favorites).

I fell in love with the creativity, writing, humor and puzzles, some of which would take me weeks to solve. Adventure games are what ultimately inspired me to become a programmer.

The genre has seen a bit of a comeback recently, and there is a growing number of amazing games coming out every year.

Here is my (growing) list of recommendations.

1. The Book of Unwritten Tales (2009 and 2011 on PC, Mac, Linux)

2. The Inner World (2013 on PC, Mac)

3. Broken Age (2014 act one on PC, Mac, Linux, iOS)

4. Blackwell Series  (2006-2014, PC, iOS)

5. Machinarium (2009 on PC, Mac, Linux, PS3, PS Vita, iOS, Android, Windows Phone, Blackberry Playbook)

6. Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons (2013 on PC, PS3, X360)

7. The Cave (2013 on PC, Mac, Linux, iOS, Android, Ouya, X360, PS3)

8. The Book of Unwritten Tales 2 (2014 early access on PC, Mac, Linux)

9. Deponia (2012 on PC, Mac, Linux)

10. The Journey Down (2010 on PC, Mac, Linux, iOS)

If you have any comments or other amazing adventure games to add to the list, please share. I may also update the list once I have played through my backlog.

Honorable mentions:

My backlog:

More amazing games (arguably not in the same category):

Looking Forward To:

Creativity and Making Mistakes

Every creative project I worked on had its share of mistakes.

Fixing a mistake is usually hard on the team and expensive for the organization. This is why we as professionals have every reason to try and avoid making them.

However, trying to avoid mistakes can make us afraid of testing new ideas and making decisions that could turn out wrong.

Fear destroys creativity. And once instilled, it spreads like a virus.

Careful planning and smart decision-making are extremely valuable. But mistakes will always be a part of the creative process. We must allow ourselves to occasionally hit a wall, learn, and try something different.

Without the fear of making a mistake and without the fear of punishment.

How else can we be expected to innovate?

Exporting tasks from Basecamp to Trello

After using Basecamp Classic for years, our team needed something fresh.

We had just come from an all-day test session that resulted in 200+ new tasks, and I started looking around for something visual, fast and with a good API.

We opted for Trello after some fruitful Twitter research and tests.

Getting data out of Basecamp Classic is pretty easy: under Settings:Export, they allow you to export all tasks, messages etc. in raw XML format.


Using a slick little library called Trello.NET, I then wrote a simple C# task importer that cycles through the XML file, creates lists and adds a card for every outstanding Basecamp task.

Within a few hours, the new board was ready and we were up and running!


We will keep using Basecamp for some of our projects for a while, but Trello is already proving to be must faster and more convenient, especially when working on a game.

Indie Games and Innovation

When Sony announced the PS4 a few days ago, we saw more of the same – more power, more polygons and higher reliance on visual verisimilitude – but this time with a share button.

As videogame researcher Ian Bogost put it shortly after the event (tldr):

A first-person shooter is a first-person shooter. A driving sim is a driving sim. FIFA is FIFA. There’s nothing revolutionary about them, no more than there’s anything revolutionary about a wacky family sitcom or an apocalyptic action flick.

We are seeing fewer and fewer examples of AAA games surprising us with something new and creative. With huge budgets and shareholder value at stake, large organizations manage risk by sticking to proven game concepts.

Indie game developers, on the other hand, don’t have to. We can experiment with new game mechanics and themes and push the limits of gameplay for the rest of the industry.

But are we really seeing that much more innovation in indie games?


Does Clusivity Affect the Way We Think?

English, like most languages across Europe and Africa, lacks what linguists call clusivity, the distinction between inclusive and exclusive first-person pronouns.

When you say We are going to a bar later tonight” in English, the person you are talking to doesn’t know whether the we includes them or not.

At least not without additional context.

In contrast, northern dialects of Mandarin distinguish between the inclusive 咱們  (zánmen – “me, one or more other people and you”) and exclusive 我們 (wǒmen –  “me, one or more others, but not you”).


The Gamification Fallacy

In his book The Black Swan, Nassim Nicholas Taleb described a notion he called the ludic fallacy.

It can be summarized as the tendency to misuse simple games (dice) to model real-life situations and to apply naïve and simplified statistical models in complex domains.

In tech, we currently have a similar fallacy, implying that every service can easily be improved by using simple game mechanics.

The term coined to represent this is gamification.

And while I (and possibly many behavioral economists) agree that game mechanics can be of great use, using points, progress bars and badges hardly constitutes something as being a game.