Played Puzzled Over

A 20 Year Old Gaming Mystery, Solved At Last

While I don’t have a hard and fast date for an anniversary, this year feels like it’s roughly the point at which I’ve hit 30 years of playing video games. (Having just passed my 33rd birthday, this is a rather large amount of my life.) In that time, I have played countless games across most every platform ever released, and I have a surprisingly good memory of nearly every game I ever played.

Or perhaps I should say, every game, save one.


Games of 2011: Gemini Rue

I’ve spent a lot of time in 2011 playing games, but not a lot of time writing about them. Instead of my usual end-of-year game recommendations, I’d like to tell some stories or share some thoughts about the ones that meant the most to me this year. I’ll be posting one a day until Christmas. See all Games of 2011 posts.

I’ve always been a big adventure game fan. The first serious PC games I ever dove into (Maniac Mansion, King’s Quest I and II, Space Quest III) all fell into that genre. I probably had more Sierra 5.25″ floppy disk sleeves than plain white ones.

There’s been a big resurgence in the genre as of late – which has generally been great. I hedge that with “generally” because there’s a common theme through nearly every adventure game series that has reappeared that didn’t used to be the case. Monkey Island, Sam & Max, Back To The Future, Hector, and Strongbad[1. I realize I’m probably picking on Telltale here, but seeing as they’re mostly the ones doing this revival, I’m going to allow it.] all are humor-focused games. What I’ve missed are the adventure games where the focus is storytelling, and narrative, rather than puns.

It probably comes as no surprise that the first time I fired up Gemini Rue and watched the opening – a man only referred to by his captors as “Delta-Six” has his memory erased, and seemingly not for the first time – I let out a huge sigh of relief.

Gemini Rue is one of those games that I haven’t spent enough time with yet. I have only made it through the first five chapters or so. But what I’ve seen so far reminds me so much of those old Sierra titles – the pacing, the atmosphere, the interface design. It’s a welcome reminder of some of my gaming roots.

People who fondly remember Sierra’s best work should give this one a look.

Gemini Rue is available for Windows.