Jones and his Desktop Adventures
Release date: April 30, 1996
Story by: Hal
Barwood, Wayne Cline
Game Design by:
Hal Barwood, Paul D. LeFevre, Tom Payne, Wayne
Paul D. LeFevre
Music & Sound Effects
by: Clint Bajakian
It is hard nowadays
to recall a time when most computers still ran
DOS and Microsoft Windows was merely a front end.
Twelve years ago, Windows 95 was only a year old
and people were just getting used to the idea
that they would not have to type "C:\win"
anymore to get to Windows. DOS was on its way
out and the Microsoft revolution was in full swing,
complete with cute little graphics of folders
and "Recycle Bins" to make the PC friendly
for computer users of every skill level (and bury
the Apple Macintosh at the same time).
Many companies jumped on the Windows
95 revolution and started flooding the software
market with programs and applications software
for the new operating system. All manners of spreadsheet
programs, art and photography graphics editors,
and the famous Quicken accounting software piled
up on the shelves. LucasArts, now one of the top
gaming companies in the business, decided to tap
into a niche of Windows that was not so heavily
trafficked by other software developers. Already
riding high off of a whole slew of now classic
games including Indiana
Jones and the Fate of Atlantis and Rebel
Assault, the LucasArts crew decided to
develop a new game to target a new audience.
The popularity of Windows' stock
has never waned. At the time, LucasArts attempted
to target the Solitaire
player with a product that would install right
up next to it and its little brother, Minesweeper.
They designed it to be just as light, fun, and
easily played as the aforementioned games for
people while they were at the office, on a business
flight, etc. The only difference between Microsoft's
games and the LucasArts game would be that the
latter's would star Indiana Jones. The game was
named Indiana Jones and
His Desktop Adventures and it played in
a window the same size as Minesweeper.
Story and Gameplay
The game was budget software from
the onset, always designed to target the Solitaire
player and not the hardcore video gamer. As a
result, Indy fans waiting for a knock down, drag
out sequel to the blockbuster Fate
of Atlantis were quickly disappointed. This
game was certainly not for them. The game structure
was extremely simple and almost juvenile. The
entire game plays out in a window approximately
two thirds the size of an average postcard. Players
control Indy completely with the mouse and the
game is seen from a "Legend of Zeldaesque"
perspective with the view directly overhead and
Indiana and all of the people he interacts with
looking like those stumpy little people that come
with Fisher-Price pre-school toys.
The game is intended to provide
brief, but fun entertainment. The game randomly
generates a quest for Indy and, depending on what
settings you have chosen, each game takes approximately
thirty minutes to complete. The games are like
"mini-Zeldas" where Indy must talk to
people, possibly help them, collect items for
his quest, fight off some baddies, and retrieve
the idol or what have you. There are only fifteen
different quests, but the gimmick to the program
is that it utilizes a "world generator"
that can create countless maps. So even though
the quest might be the same, the world Indy must
traverse and the subplots to the end goal could
be completely different.
a Mexican town, interior of a house &
trading with locals.
Adventures is literally "Indy gaming
on the go". It is a very nice companion to
have on the laptop on a long flight to Cairo,
but if you want an epic Indiana Jones adventure,
look elsewhere. I enjoy the game in this context,
but for long spells of playing at home, I must
recommend something else. While the game boasts
"billions of possibilities" the subplots
start to repeat quickly and it becomes tiresome
to have to go looking for the "ladder"
every other level. It also becomes very fatiguing
to have the same conversations with the same people
over and over again every level. The small playing
window is frustrating (especially when running
a 1024x768 resolution) because the cursor often
slips off the window and one click after that
hides the game screen under whatever folder is
open beneath it. The game holds my attention for
only a few minutes at a stretch, perfect for travel
and random leisure time (like a break at the office)
but lousy otherwise.
Overall, it is a very slick little
desktop accessory and a nice alternative to Mindsweeper
Keep in mind to reserve it purely for travel and
moments of pure boredom. If you find that you
really enjoy the style of the game, but tire of
the scenarios, I recommend that you go get the
Stories, which is Desktop
Adventures in the Star
Wars universe. Remember there is no way
to "beat" this kind of game, so "if
you want facts Indy, I've none to give you."