Space Quest. Day of the Tentacle. Gabriel Knight. Monkey Island. To gamers of a certain age, the mere names evoke an entire world of gaming, now largely lost.
Graphic adventure games struggle to find success in today's market, but once upon a time they topped sales charts year after year. The genre shot to the top of computer gaming in the latter half of the 1980s, then suffered an equally precipitous fall a decade later. It shaped the fate of the largest companies in the gaming industry even as the games' crude color graphics served as the background for millions of childhood memories. It gave us Roger Wilco, Sam & Max, and the world of Myst. But few gamers today know the complete history of the genre, or how the classic Sierra and LucasArts titles of the late 1980s and early 1990s largely disappeared beneath the assault of first-person shooters.