This past weekend, I cozied up with Stacking, a curious little puzzle-based adventure game from the folks over at Double Fine. While I'm only approaching the halfway point to completion, and will reserve judgment until I've finished, the overall experience has gotten me thinking. In addition to being a game whose presentational attributes are the very definition of the word "charming," the core gameplay seems quite adept at doing something I've been hoping to see for a while: reinvent the classic adventure game.
What's so impressive is that the core attributes that make an adventure game what it is (exploration and puzzle-solving) are still there, but they're presented in new ways that really encourage experimentation. The trial-and-error methodology that seems inescapable in puzzle-driven adventures is presented in a way that's far more entertaining than traditional adventures that simply encourage players to combine everything in their inventories until something works. Stacking still requires some of this puzzle-solving experimentation, but manages to make it much less annoying than usual. In fact, it's pretty fun.
Naturally, that gets me thinking about other tried-and-true genres and gameplay mechanics that are in desperate need of makeovers. Any ideas?
And, in other news: