In my last post I made sneery gestures at the term "point-and-click game". It is, of course, a meaningless term when applied to computer games, and has been since the mouse was popularized: nearly every game since 1990 has involved pointing and clicking. (I guess the ones before that were "hunt-and-peck games"?)
But, equally of course, genre terms have never made any sense on the literal level. "Science fiction" is broader than fiction about science; "fantasy" is more specific than made-up stories; and, closer to home, "adventure game" does not denote every game about people having adventures.
No, my real beef with "point and click" is that I have no clear idea what it means. What games are point-and-clicks? I have theories. Guesses. I don't know if they match up with anybody else's theories. When someone says "point and click" I have to go look at screenshots to figure out what kind of game it really is.
I never hesitate to blather about genre definitions but in this case it will be more fun to run a poll. Yes, one of those ridiculous Internet polls. Only The Gameshelf doesn't have a poll widget and I'm not energized enough to... well, to ask Jmac to install one... so I'll just post a list and you-all can comment. Comment! I know you're out there. I can hear you breathing.
Which of the following games are "point and click"?
- Viridian Room
- Hoshi Saga Ringo
- Mystery Case Files: Ravenhearst
- Sam and Max (the episodic series)
- Zork: The Cavern of Doom (a choose-your-own-adventure book -- link is to HTML version, so yes, you will click your mouse)
- Quake (Flash version -- you heard me -- hit cmd or ctrl to fire)
Note that the question is not "which of these are good games?" or "which games did I enjoy?". This is pinning down the boundaries of a category.
If you want to say why a given game is or is not in the category, that's cool too.