Steady on, because this post is not really about adventure games per se. It’s about audio, specifically the challenges of recording clean audio, and it gets a bit technical. So if you don’t give a shit about microphones, audio devices, gating, compression, and whatever else goes into that stuff, you’re best off reading something else. I’ll get back to talking about adventure games next time (probably).
Not an insignificant amount of people who are watching my Let’s Plays on YouTube have noticed that my audio setup is not the greatest in the world.
Specifically, there is an omnipresent hiss in my commentary audio, which — although barely noticeable when you’re listening to it on speakers — becomes very irritating when listening to it with headphones.
You know it, I know it. Sierra games were so unfair, man! Well, now you can have a bit of fun at their expense.
A little while back, I made a couple of Photoshop templates for the Sierra death screens — both AGI (Space Quest I & II era) and SCI0 (Space Quest III era).
We’ve had some fun with these on Twitter for a while now, and I think it’s time to unleash them unto the world. Feel free to download these and create your own Sierra deaths — use them as memes, as reaction gifs, or just for shit and giggles.
Simply put your choice of graphics in the transparent “holes” in the template (just put any image you want on the bottom layer, and resize it to taste). Then edit the text to suit your needs.
In the first episode, I talk about how Space Quest fans playing on an MS-DOS PC were jealous of those playing on an Amiga, because the Amiga people got to enjoy the game with digital sound effects.
Most famously, being able to actually hear Roger actually speak the words, “Where am I?” in the intro (even though the line is actually in a thought bubble, but never mind that).
Turns out that the MS-DOS version actually did ship with all the digital sound effects in the game code. They were in the game files when the game was released in 1989, and they are still in the game files if you buy the game on GOG or Steam today.
What it didn’t ship with was a working SoundBlaster driver.
UPDATE: Well, actually, it did … sort of.
Since writing this post, I’ve had a few people tweet me to tell me they did hear the digital sound effects when they played the game back in the day. That was quite surprising, as I was under the impression that the SoundBlaster driver for the game was just faulty regardless of circumstances.
Turns out, the SoundBlaster driver does work, but only on specific cards, and only with specific settings. Here’s one chap who got it working on an official Creative Labs brand SoundBlaster 8-bit card with IRQ 7:
Matt Wales has written for Kotaku a piece entitled “Point and Click is Dead Again,” and that sound you just heard was the collective adventure gaming community all around the world sighing in exasperation. The article itself is either petulant whining or, worse, clickbait — perhaps both.
In it, Mr. Wales argues that the adventure gaming mechanics of yore are tired and clichéd; relics of an era gone by. “Haven’t we moved on by now?” he seems to ask between the lines, perhaps whilst alternating between stroking the perceived cleverness of his ego and his cock. He apparently arrived at this earth-shattering conclusion of said genre demise because Syberia 3 really sucked balls.
No, Mr. Wales, adventure games are not dead. Let us forego the immediate knee-jerk response by bringing up recent titles that are firmly rooted in classic genre tropes but still manage to stay fresh and vibrant, like Paradigm, Kathy Rain, Tesla Effect, Shardlight — a pass he attempts half-heartedly to head off in the opening paragraphs of his article. (Why he would put Thimbleweed Park in there is beyond me, though — if anything, THAT game, almost by its own admission, belongs in a museum.)
Let us instead focus on the absurdity of declaring a genre “dead.” I can only assume this was a calculated move on his part to dredge up a tired old cliché in an article that, ironically, focuses on tired old clichés.