NOOOOOO, IT STILL HAUNTS: A Third 7th Guest Game

By John Walker on March 7th, 2013 at 9:00 am.

As the debate rages on about the existence of a loving God, vast evidence has been uncovered by those arguing “no”. In a brutal blow to religionists everywhere. Polygon reports that a third 7th Guest game is in development.

You may remember The 7th Guest fondly. That’s because you are one of the following:

1) Forgetful
2) An idiot
3) A mad wasp

The daft and dreadful game gained fame via of its use of videoed humans confusedly shouting something a bit like their lines within rendered backgrounds. Because, yes indeed, the CD-ROM had come along. The result was a limp collection of puzzle-book puzzles (we’re talking sub-sub-Professor Layton style dreary wonders) with some of the worst… I can’t bring myself to call it “acting”, the world has ever seen. Just take a look:

Then there was an even worse sequel, The Eleventh Hour. And now there’s to be a third, from the original developers. There’s inevitably going to be a Kickstarter, which should launch next month.

Right, but let’s be fair. There’s no way of knowing what this new game might be like – it might be amazing! My ideal would be something that spoofs the originals, a game cunningly ridiculing those early 90s days of lunacy, where 650MB of space was too much temptation for developers. I condemn only their earlier game, from a terrifying TWENTY YEARS ago. We are all so old.

Right, go on, make fools of yourselves and claim it was really great in the comments.

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79 Comments »

  1. Premium User Badge Lars Westergren says:

    Obviously, 7th guest and Myst are to John what Bioware games are to the RPGCodex. The Bioshock to his Dracko. The Obsidian game to his Wizardy.

    For what it’s worth, I did mildly enjoy the atmosphere of the first one, but found the acting very groanworthy. The puzzles were ok to solve but felt very much just jammed in there. I quit once I got into that damn labyrinth behind the…kitchen cupboard, was it?

    • DrGonzo says:

      Myst and 7th Guest are clearly awful to anyone who’s not a moron.

      • Xercies says:

        WHAT! I loved Myth not because of the puzzles and stuff but because of the whole exploration and atmosphere of it I could spend hours exploring the lovely scenery and islands it offered.

      • jorygriffis says:

        One time, a few years ago, I summoned up what I am willing to describe as an almost Herculean amount of patience and managed to play all the way through Myst without a walkthrough. I have to admit I had a pretty good amount of lonely, vacant, atmospheric fun with it, and my little puzzle journal. Not a bad game, just very misdirected.

        No amount of patience, courage or skill could get me through Riven, though.

        • Hulk Handsome says:

          That’s a shame, Riven is a better game in almost every way. It is much harder though, yes. Myst was much more manageable since it was broken up into little worlds, whereas Riven is one giant puzzle.

      • AraxisHT says:

        No, Myst was one of the greatest games of it’s time.

      • Faxmachinen says:

        This is sarcasm, right? Because the Myst series is the only one I know about where all the puzzles are entirely logical.

    • Dervish says:

      The 7th Guest deserves the thrashing, but by comparison it shows all the things Myst did right: fast transitions, limited acting, puzzles mostly sensibly integrated into the environments. Lumping them together is like lumping together Sierra and LucasArts.

  2. Commander Gun says:

    Funny how the brain works. I read “7th guest” and the 1st association i apparently make: Shy gypsy slyly, spryly, tryst by my crypt.

    • Premium User Badge Jackablade says:

      The sky is ruddy. Your fate is bloody.

      • icemann says:

        “There is no possible way”

        And the 7th Guest is one of my favorite games of all time. If that makes me a “forgetful” “wasp” then so be it.. 7th Guest is awesome.

        The end.

  3. The Visible Man says:

    Shy gypsy, slyly, spryly, tryst by my crypt.

    • Commander Gun says:

      Apparently i’m not the only one then. I beat you to it :)

      • The Visible Man says:

        That’s two utterances of it… three more and Stauf will crawl through our monitors and consume us.

  4. Rhuhuhuhu says:

    See it the other way around: Only a deity that loves mankind unconditionally could let such games pass.

    I played it and thought it was ok but nothing truly offensive. Although I might have become more cynical over the years because of other games, I would not consider it one of the worst ever made.

    • Phantoon says:

      THAT FUCKER MADE THE CONDITIONS!

      I DON’T BELIEVE THERE IS NO GOD, I BELIEVE THAT WE SHOULD KILL IT FOR THIS!

      • The Random One says:

        God, please release the SDK for the universe already, amen

        • scatterlogical says:

          SDK, are you kidding? Who the hell is gonna write the documentation for all that?

  5. Premium User Badge Jackablade says:

    I couldn’t bring myself to hate The 7th Guest. It’s the video game equivalent of an Asylum Film – kind of terrible on pretty much every level, but amusing in its awfulness.

    It did have some great music though. If they get The Fat Man to do the soundtrack again, I mght feel compelled to throw some money down.

  6. abandonhope says:

    Both are on sale now as part of the DotEmu pack on Amazon. Buy it for John.

  7. Cypreana says:

    LIES! 7th guest and its sequel were fantastis. And the bad acting was one of the strong points. I miss real “actors” in games. Cheap costumes, doing their things awkward, but it was still way better then having a voice come from some polygons. Same with civ2, having real people bickering away is way better then what they are doing in the new ones.

    by the way, It’s a fact that people that hate 7th guest, never got past the first puzzle, due to lack of brain.

    • John Walker says:

      Well, I finished it when I was 15, so I’ll overrule you there. Although as a result I may now lack a brain.

      • UmmonTL says:

        I still have fond memories of this game and its box sits proudly on my shelf (It’s a dual game box with 7th guest and Dune). I played it together with my brother because I was too young to comprehend any of the puzzles though I think I somehow solved the telescope and the cans in the kitchen. To me it was like Myst but with more interesting stuff happening when I clicked random stuff. So I guess I’m in category 2 because let’s face it , all kids are idiots.

      • Maxheadroom says:

        I remember playing (and finishing) 7th Guest one weekend in my first flat with a CDi I’d borrowed from the computer shop I was working in at the time.

        Maybe it was because I was single or because it was the 90′s but I remember really enjoying it and being quite chuffed with myself when I finished it

        Or maybe i just fall into the ‘mad wasp’ catagory

        • C0llic says:

          The main thing I remember about that game was that there was a hot spot on a bed you could click that induced (very terrible and hammy of course) orgasmic moaning. As a kid of about 12 or 13 it was the most enjoyable part of the experience.

          I also remember struggling through some of the puzzles through trial and error (the cake one sticks in my mind for some reason) before giving up, only to try and finish it much later by looking up the solutions on my blisteringly fast 28k modem to see if anything interesting happened. It didn’t.

          Now. Wing Commander IV THAT was a game.

    • PearlChoco says:

      I have very fond memories of this game. Partly thanks to this game, I could convince my father to buy us our first PC (a 486 DX2 with 2xCDROM!).

      I really liked this game. And it has the best original soundtrack of any game in history. That’s a fact, I checked it.

      • Damn Skippy says:

        I’m in the same boat as you, PearlChoco, really fond memories of getting it for my “first” PC (486 SX Cyrix proc, 8 MB (!) RAM, SB16, 2X CDROM, and though my parents had an older IBM PC compatible in the 80s when they ran a business out of the basement, but that was strictly a number-crunching/word-processing machine). I distinctly remember being 13 or so, eating at a now defunct Red Lobster, and poring through the box and manuals at the table aching to get home to play it.

        And the music was truly great, still one of my favorite soundtracks (along with the first Gabriel Knight which was around the same time). I bought it on GOG and started replaying it, and while all the faults John states are present, just hearing the music puts me back 20 years ago right as i was getting into this hobby, kicking my nostalgia centers straight in the taint. I think of all the other stuff I played at that time like Tie Fighter, Aces of the Pacific, Sam and Max, DOTT, the aforementioned Gabriel Knight, and it still feels great. Those others I listed probably hold up better (okay, not probably, definitely), but it’s still a formative game for me.

      • Phantoon says:

        Did you check that fact on “I dunno what music is”.com?

    • benkc says:

      Oh man, the councilors in Civ 2 were the best part of the game. Or at least, that’s what much-younger-me thought.

  8. Daniel Klein says:

    We need an anti Kickstarter. “If this anti-Kickstarter reaches $200,000, we won’t make the game.” A Kickstopper perhaps.

  9. Vorphalack says:

    I got into gaming mere years after the original 7th guest was released, so thankfully missed out. I got about as close as I ever want to get to this……thing……in Richard Cobbetts Saturday Crap Shoot over on PC Gamer. Worth googling if you haven’t read it, the only writer that still gives me a reason to visit that site.

    • Lukaspz says:

      I agree! those crap shoots are one of the best things i read recently, christopher livingston and his sim-plicity articles are really good too!

  10. scatterlogical says:

    I think I’ll go spend my money on some rotten tomatoes to go throw in a community theatre. Money better spent and better acting.

  11. Iskhiaro says:

    Personally I remember it farly fondly, but I played it when i was 7-10, and I loved any game back then. I really enjoyed Power Rangers Zeo vs. the Machine Empire.

  12. SurprisedMan says:

    I actually liked the terrible acting. I don’t know why, but I think it worked for the game. I think it’s because all the characters were ghosts, and at the time I played with it, the weird melodramatic way they performed everything lent it a creepy quality.

  13. Zarunil says:

    I must confess, I bought the iPhone version. Please, forgive my sins.

  14. Hulk Handsome says:

    Sheesh, John, that rod up your bottom must have a rod up its bottom! The 7th Guest was good, campy fun. Had a great time playing it with my dad.

    So there.

    • Reapy says:

      Yup, John looks to be on an angry downward spiral, for what it was at its time it was a fun game and a true tech marvel in my 13 year old mind.

      Of coarse it doesn’t hold up now, but at the time I found it quite amazing. I will at least allow that the 11th guest was pretty bad though, the puzzles were horribly obtuse.

      Still the fmv erra was intersting, Gabriel knight, phantasmagoria, even ms encarta showed us what pcs were starting to be capable of, and it was glorious.

      • DrGonzo says:

        No, it was terrible then, its terrible now. Its quite the awful game. If i was making a list of worst games, this would probably be in it. Its shit.

        • Hulk Handsome says:

          Pft! Then you must not have played many games! It’s not a great game, but there are far worse out there. It’s a bit of silly fun, like exploring a ghost house at a fair with puzzles thrown in.

          The acting is entertainingly bad, the little interactions with the environment are cute and sometimes surprising, the music is great, and while the puzzles tend to be on the easy side, for the most part they’re entertaining (minus the dull maze and terrible can puzzle).

          As I said, it’s a good bit of campy fun.

          Also, “it’s shit” is not a very good argument. Why do you think it’s shit?

    • Phantoon says:

      Do you think you would’ve enjoyed it nearly as much if you did not play it with your father?

      • Hulk Handsome says:

        Probably, yes, especially since I tended to play it without him and then pretended I didn’t know what was coming next when we resumed our session. I’m a terrible son.

  15. sophof says:

    Both games were played with our entire family, as well as Myst. maybe that’s why I remember it so fondly, but we all really enjoyed it at the time. I think it is a bit silly to make fun of what they did back then, gaming has come a long way, the games you DO remember fondly were also shit from today’s perspective, trust me.

    • DrGonzo says:

      Except Myst and 7th Guest had quite the reputation for being shit, when they were released.

      • GreatGreyBeast says:

        They had their detractors, especially among existing adventure game fans, but that was hardly majority opinion. Myst was so popular it pushed hardware sales, which puts it in a pretty exclusive club among PC games, at least until the video card wars.

  16. derella says:

    I remember it from my childhood. My brother had just gotten a CD-ROM drive, and we were so excited to play all of the new games that were possible.

    7th Guest was one of them — we tried to play it, but never really got far. I remember my brother’s girlfriend thought it was amazing, and always insisted that we play it.

    At the same time, we also had Dracula Unleashed and Sherlock Holmes: Consulting Detective.

    I’m so glad FMV didn’t last very long in videogames.

  17. DiFiasco says:

    This sounds like a good project for Gearbox.

  18. Culby says:

    7th Guest was great up until you got to puzzles that took way too long (the Knights) or never made any sense (the lights in the dollhouse). And the storyline was… at least interesting considering the state of storytelling in games at the time.

    Also, I’m not ashamed to say I bought the 7/11 Soundtrack. I wish I still had it, it was awesome hearing those songs with full instrumentation.

  19. Chris D says:

    That nice Mr Cobbett had some thoughts on this over on his crapshoot column over on PC gamer. It’s been a while since I read it but I imagine he reminisces fondly about it, or something.

    • Premium User Badge Lord Custard Smingleigh says:

      That nice Mr. Cobbett reminisces fondly over everything. He comes across as such a happy and optimistic chap that it’s hard not to enthuse along with him when he’s fondly relating some anecdote about the time he managed to wring a single drop of enjoyment out of Rise of the Robots or something.

      Also, I have just noticed that I’ve misfiled him in my brain and I am no longer sure where he ends and David Mitchell begins.

  20. Sparkasaurusmex says:

    I always hated this game along with Myst and the 11th hour.
    My mom loved them, but to me they were ruining the adventure game. Of course I was right (temporarily).

  21. mendel says:

    The 7th guest had no merit as a horror game or adventure, but shone as a collection of puzzles (if you’re into that sort of thing), and had excellent MIDI music if your sound card was up to it. Seeing the trailer, its marketing must have created expectations the game couldn’t fulfil, but that doesn’t make the game bad for what it actually did.

  22. Tacroy says:

    It had great co-op though –

    “Go there you fool! No, oh my god, give me the mouse, the solution is so obvious oh god stop clicking everywhere you’ve ruined everything forever

    is what my father would say, while watching me play the game.

    • Premium User Badge Lord Custard Smingleigh says:

      Another single-player game sacrificed on the altar of co-op. When will we see true single-player games?

      • Sparkasaurusmex says:

        I play RPS comments like a true single player game

        • piesmagicos says:

          I generally play the comments as a drinking game….for every snark and hate filled diatribe i take a drink. I have yet to make it past page 1. Seriously…when did gamers become some uncompromising prima donna’s and all around cynical bastards.

          And another drink for my comment.

  23. Squidlyz says:

    While I would not defend the game or purport that it was a quality title, I do harbor some rather fond memories of both 7th Guest and Myst. I was but a wee lad when these games came out, me and my father played them together. Certainly it does not occupy the same space in my mind as Doom or LucasArts adventures, but I do remember enjoying the atmosphere of both. They were very interesting worlds to me at that age. Myst for it’s alien landscapes and cryptic secrets, and 7th Guest for its overtly cheesy horror atmosphere. Perhaps 7th Guest was part of the reason that I have grown quite an obsession with rather cornball horror.

    While probably complete shit (I refuse to check it out now) It maintains a strange but special place in the cold black pit of my heart.

  24. Kodo says:

    I can vouch for the fact that the 7th guest was terrifying for a 5 year old. Now I can’t believe I found terrible dinner-theater acting to be scary at all.

  25. Keyrock says:

    Blasphemy! The 7th Guest was awesome in all its cheese-tastic FMV glory.

  26. mwoody says:

    Wait, there are people out there who didn’t enjoy The Seventh Guest? Walking around like normal people among us!?

  27. MadTinkerer says:

    The 7th Guest was a fantastic NOVELTY game. In a brief era where you could mix FMV and CG and it didn’t look like crap (because everything was low res (see also Lands of Lore 2 for an even better example)), The 7th Guest was at the forefront.

    At the time, insecure marketing executives thought that “multimedia” was going to be an exciting thing, as if we didn’t have machines that did each multimedia thing separately. (Incidentally, if you don’t know what “multimedia” is: take out your phone, try to remember how limited your phone was ten years ago, and put all the things not available ten years ago into a mental box marked “multimedia”.) Microsoft Encarta was even neat. And then there’s a game that comes along and mixes several multimedias together! It looks so much neater than sprites!

    The 7th Guest may not be great in the harsh light of high resolution games with actual decent acting, and The 11th hour somehow just went wrong, but at the time they were cutting edge examples of the sort of graphic fidelity, obsession with cutscenes, bland gameplay, and AWFUL LINEARITY that we would soon get from big budget games all the time. The second game even had a few different “moral choice”-based endings!

    Let’s face it: these games are not just classics of shlock in their own right, deep in the so-bad-they’re-goodentertaining territory, but they predicted so many trends still going on to this day. For that, they deserve respect in a historical sense.

  28. Frankenchokey says:

    Whether you like or dislike the games, there has to be some merit to a series that included such an excellent soundtrack by The Fat Man.

    • jorygriffis says:

      Yeah. There are a lot of things about 7th Guest I only like ironically, but the soundtrack is absolute gold.

  29. LionsPhil says:

    That microscope puzzle with the green and blue blobs.

    You know the one.

    (Also: COME BAAAAACK!)

  30. Risingson says:

    There are a few things that make The 7Th Guest quite much better than you say, and much better than Professor Layton:

    - The puzzles were either original or integrated in the graphical mood of the game, something that does not happen with many other games, like Professor Layton, that just throws you the old sheep and wolf puzzle without any effort of integrating it somehow.

    - The graphics were fantastic and still are. The animations can be now seen as slow, but back then were quite much better than the screen steps from Myst.

    - It had sense of humor, something that Myst lacks in all its 6 games.

    - The music, which is fantastic.

    EOF.

  31. jorygriffis says:

    No love at all for the soundtrack, John?

    7th Guest might be the only thing on Earth I am nostalgic for. I know it’s garbage, but I just can’t hate it. On a lark I spun it up in SCUMMvm a few weeks ago and actually had some fun with it until the puzzles became so tedious I couldn’t continue (other people in this thread have mentioned the Knights/Bishops Switch Places puzzles, and they are right to do it.) Robert Hirschboeck gives a pretty sincerely fun performance as Stauf.

    No love here for the 11th Hour though, which even people involved with (Mr. Hirschboeck, Grame Devine) don’t care for.

  32. Menshai2013 says:

    I remember the 7th Guest. I remember being terrified the first time you see the woman in white pass between doors and along the corridor on the first floor. Also those hands, trying to push their way out of the picture frame! :s

    “I heard singing upstairs.. like some, mad choir.”

    I came back a few years later, old and less easily scared and loved every second of it. Got stuck for ages though; I’d seemingly completed all of the puzzles yet there was nothing more to do. Eventually found that another room had opened up at the bottom of the main stairwell (you look down at the mosaic on the floor and in a suitably trippy sequence the world spirals around you and emerge somewhere else!)

    I’m trying to think what puzzles were my favourite… The one down in the science lab with the blobs, where you have to take over as much of the board as you can. The knights one was just fiendish. And the memory puzzle on the piano… well, I always had a fondness for memory puzzles. Which is odd given that my memory is terrible now… Maybe I shouldn’t have stopped playing it..

    “Oh no! THE DOLLS!”

    God! I actually really loved that game. I even have the soundtrack cd somewhere. That was some creepy music..

    There is of course, the little truth about the 7th guest that, maybe as a newbie I shouldn’t admit on a highly PC oriented website but….

    I never played 7th Guest on the PC…

    I played it on the Philips CDi!

  33. ScorpionWasp says:

    This is going to sound absolutely crazy and pompous as all hell, but this game actually taught me, in a visceral, memorable way, a few important principles of mathematics. Several of its puzzles are built on the same principle: you have to reach a point of absolute maximum in a solution-scape, and your intuitive self tries to go with heuristics. I.E, if your goal is to reach the top of the Everest, then whenever I’m going up I’m getting closer to my goal, and whenever I’m going down, I’m getting further away. In their solution-scapes, however, this approach always leads to you getting stuck in points of relative maximum, because the only path to the Everest goes right through the Mariana abyssal marine trench. It forces you to reconsider the assumptions and innate biases of your human brain, and teaches you something fundamentally true and beautiful about the nature of the universe (I’m saying this without a shred of sarcasm). For that, all its numerous flaws aside, It’s a game I’d like immortalized.

  34. essentialatom says:

    I have no idea what this is but the name reminded me of 7th Level, who made the awesome Monty Python’s Complete Waste of Time, which I was just slightly too young to understand fully. Though in part that was because I hadn’t seen some of the sketches the game referenced.

    Now I want to play it again. To ebay!