Robert Wm. Gomez's

August 2007

Retro-Gaming Continued: Grim Fandango

Grim Fandango Box Cover

My overview of the video game classics continues with the LucasArts adventure game, Grim Fandango. In many ways Grim Fandango can be seen as the high point of point-and-click adventures. The genre, at least as a commercially viable entity, has since retreated into the more uncomfortably geeky corners of gaming world—the gaming world's parent's basement as it were. Rather than calling these adventure games, these keepers of the flame prefer the term interactive fiction. The hardest of the hardcore scoff at the notion of representational graphics cluttering up the ASCII purity of a command prompt. However, even these holdouts can't deny the artistic vision and narrative brilliance of Grim Fandango.

If it wasn't for the fact that the game requires a user to click and solve puzzles, Grim Fandango has the makings of a Pixar-type animated feature. We all know the tried and true Pixar formula. Take a group of non-human things: ants, toys, cars, fish, etc. Anthropomorphize them, and show us the secret workings of their society when the people aren't around. In the case of Grim Fandango, we get to see the secret life of Mexican Day of the Dead statuettes.

The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time

Screenshot from The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time

Well, I just finished The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time and I have to say that it does live up to the hype. I've always noted that whenever they come up with top ten lists of the greatest games of all time, this one is always near the top of the list. And by they I mean game reviewers and critics... you know, those bespeckled nerds who provide the four pages of non-advertisement content in the video game magazines. By the way, is it me, or is the top-ten list the primary literary device of these publications? Whatever happened to the plain old 500 word, rhet 101 essay about a topic of interest? If Swift were alive today would he be known for his Top Ten Most Modest Proposals... year after year, number one would always end up being Citizen Kane.