The adventure genre is filled with some really great games. The problem is, many of the newer ones try too hard to make up for the fact that most of the greatest puzzles, stories, and content have already been done in another game. Two games out of the genre have really stuck out in history, and they define two of the greatest dynasties in gaming: Myst, and Return to Zork.
For the record, an absolutely beautiful game by the name of Syberia would make a close third, but it's frankly too pretty currently to need remastering. Maybe when technology ages a bit...
The Myst series is probably one of the best known names in gaming. Hell, even my mother has heard of it - and that says something. The game's puzzles are certainly a particular type of quirk - many people get it, others just don't. But whether you do or don't, the story of the two brothers that made Cain and Able look like part of the Partridge family is gripping and intriguing. And as you wander through the world(s) of Myst, it's easy to get sucked in.
Back when the game was made in 1993 by Cyan, it was home to some pretty fascinating computer generated (CG) landscapes. By now, however, the quality looks a little less than stellar. Graphics may not have been the be-all and end-all of the game, but they certainly go a long way to maintaining the dream-like world that the game takes place in. It would be great to see this game with the graphics redone on modern systems, with support for widescreen resolutions, too!
Return to Zork
Many of the older generation will know the Zork series all the way back from its text-based days. But the series definitely hit a high note with the chatty (and slightly zany) characters in Return to Zork. It was a witty fantasy game that involved loads of creative inventory-based puzzles, including such greats as stealing a bra to throw in the incinerator so that you could use the underwire to pick a lock.
The well-written dialogue and slowly unwinding story make it one of those titles that can come to mind as an example of good execution. Infocom really had the tongue-in-cheek at full blast as you wound your way through two character driven towns. Unfortunately, the original game was plagued with numerous bugs that made the puzzles much more difficult to solve than they were intended to be. Though a patch to version 1.1 fixed that, it actually made the game inadvertently unbeatable.
When it was originally made back in 1993, its CG graphics and rendering technology were top notch. However, by now they leave a lot to be desired. The fantastic voice and video seemed almost out of place over the top of the crude renderings, but I bet that could look a whole lot better now.