Riddle Me This: Why Don't They Make More Puzzle Games?

Quote of the Day: "I realized the moment I fell into the fissure that the book would not be destroyed as I had planned." -- Atrus in Myst

The video game industry is huge and competes with movies, television, and books when it comes to telling some exciting stories. Like in other media, games fall into a bunch of genres. I like sports games, role playing games, fight games, quiz games, racing games. My favorite aspect, however, is puzzles. I'm not just referring to stuff like Tetris or Mahjonng. I'm talking about games in which the puzzles serve a purpose to tell a story and move the story along.

The Fool's Errand was one of the earlier examples. Other video games nowadays feature puzzles as part of their game play, even if they are not considered total puzzle games themselves -- such as Legend of Zelda, Resident Evil, and Silent Hill.

A good example of the "puzzle adventure" genre is The 7th Guest in which you roam a haunted house and solve puzzles in different rooms. There was a sequel called The 11th Hour.

I picked up the new highly anticipated game, Batman: Arkham Asylum, because it features some puzzle-solving moments. The game not only has a lot of action and physical heroics, but it also lets you use the Dark Knight's detective skills as you roam the asylum, discovering its secrets and battling the lineup of crazy villains.

My favorite puzzle game, and arguably the best one of all time, is Myst. You solve multiple, ingenious enigmas, search for clues to find lost pages of books that lead you to different worlds, and it is all in an immersive environment where you control the story flow, you control where you go and what you do. You can revisit puzzles, you can skip harder challenges and come back to them later. It's like you're dropped in a strange place knowing nothing and then just go around discovering amazing things around every corner as the story unfolds with every clue to see and every puzzle you manage to solve.

There were sequels, like Riven, Myst III: Exile, Myst IV: Revelation, Myst V: End of Ages, and games that tried to recapture the success of Myst like Uru, but none really reached the level of greatness of that first game. The music, the graphics, the game play were just perfect in my opinion. I wish other games could recapture that.


Mike said…
Arkham Asylum is amazing. There aren't really traditional puzzles to solve along the lines of what you're looking for, though. There are riddles (from the Riddler, natch) for things you need to take pictures of, but they're pretty basic.

There aren't many Myst clones anymore, but the graphic adventure genre is enjoying a bit of a comeback lately. Lucasarts has finally released a bunch of its classic adventure games on Steam, and Telltale Games just resurrected Monkey Island for a new episodic series.

I totally hogged my brother's computer in the mid-'90s to play Myst. I'm not even sure he got to play it himself!