Today, and for the first time, I played Dave Gilbert’s The Blackwell Legacy.
There are many games that I wish I liked, and I wish I played. The Blackwell games fit into this mould very well. I fell out of love with point-and-click adventure games a long time ago due to the gameplay contrivences. Meanwhile, I had a lot of respect for the tone and approach of the Blackwell games that seemed as though they were games for people, and not just games for ‘fans of point-and-click games’.
I bought it several years ago when he was selling all the games in a bundle. At that time I had only played the Blackwell Unbound demo, but I was thoroughly impressed with the puzzle design, gameplay and writing.
Today, however, I got stuck on the very first puzzle. The game starts with an awful contrivence, the worst of point-and-click adventures, in the form of a person that won’t let you into the building because he doesn’t recognise you. I assume this is some sort of joke or reference to the genre itself, but I worked through the dialogue options and headed to the area that opened up.
I was then faced with a puzzle in which I simply didn’t know what to do. I had to talk to a woman playing a flute, so I needed to distract the crowd from watching her. I tried clicking on the nearby objects (a dog, a bin, no response). I tried clicking on all the interactive objects in the previous room, nothing. I checked my inventory, nothing.
Meanwhile, the tiny glimpses of gameplay and character that I’ve been exposed to have been excellent. I love that there aren’t dozens of redundent objects cluttering the scene, and I didn’t feel like I was ‘pixel hunting’ amongst clutter. The character’s anxiety about drawing attention to herself was charming and believable.
So, I’m faced with stopping playing. Disappointing, but I’ll try the game again when I’m willing to find an FAQ.
For now, Blackwell remains a title in my idiom, and I intend to download FAQs for all of the games before I play them further. Either that, or I’ll be wreckless and jump to the latest game; Blackwell Deception! Importantly, the game has always endeared me enough that I identify with the title, without even having played it. Much like any sort of art or fiction, if you can engage your audience on first sight it often doesn’t matter how strained the relationship can be.