The annual AGS Awards are open for voting for a couple more weeks. That is, the awards for the best games of 2012 made using Chris Jones' enormously popular engine. As the adventure genre enjoys a return to the spotlight, what better time to delve into highlights of the last year? NO BETTER TIME. That's what.
With the Earth's population finally abandoning their embracing of idiocy and once more welcoming adventure gaming into their hearts and hard drives, AGS ever more proves a great source of both free and commercially successful projects. The likes of Dave Gilbert's Wadjet Eye games, and the recent Richard & Alice from Denby Raze, show the potential the engine offers. As do the very many other games you've likely not heard of, because you don't spend enough time trawling AGS's utterly abysmal forum-site splurge. So the annual awards are a great chance to pick through what's risen to the surface.
Dominating the nominations this year, not surprisingly, is Xii Games' Resonance, which Richard very much enjoyed. I did too - it's really very good. It's up for Best Game, Best Gameplay (whatever that is), Best Dialogue Writing, Best Original Story, Best Puzzles, Best Player Character, Best Non-Player Character, Best Background Art, Best Animation, Best Character Art, Best Programming, Best Sound Effects, Best Voice Work and Best Music. Good grief. Is this like the Oscars, where the noms for Best Picture and Director inexplicably get nominated for Best Hair Cuts and Best Use Of Focus Pulling too? Actually, no - the game really does excel in all these areas (within the rather specific caveat of being a pixel-based AGS game, it should be stressed).
Also appearing a lot of times is Ben Jordan Paranormal Investigator Case 8: Relics of the Past, which I haven't played but can inform you that the opening titles go on FOREVER, and aren't very interesting to look at. The Cat Lady, which people keep telling me I should but actually I really hated, is up for a collection too.
Ben Chandler's very splendid ^_^ is nominated for a Best Short, and is well deserving, even if he is infuriatingly trying to make a game for every obscure bit of punctuation on the keyboard. It's the number one game for making you want to shout "HEADBUTT OF THE AWAKENINGS!" While the lovely-looking Anna's Quest Vol.1 gets very deserved entry in Best Animation and Best Character Art (although should also be nominated in the OH GOOD GRIEF JUST SHUT UP AND START Prize category for interminable self-indulgent intros).
Space Quest: Incinerations is a fan-made sequel to the series, and Space Quest II VGA is a remake of the dreadful original Sierra game. Richard's written about both of them here, observing that the first is a great reinvention of the series, while the latter is a far more bearable version of the terrible original.
Go pick through it all for yourself. Where they're not free, there will be a demo instead. And you could even give money to people for the good ones!