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Is there any old story-exploration games out there?

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As you guys probably know, we have seen a fair share of narrative driven games recently. Example beings What Remains of Eeditch Finch, Firewatch, Detroit: Become Human etc.

I was wondering if games similar to those existed in the old days. What I seek is essentially games that play like an RPG but without any form of combat and puzzle.

I am not looking for visual novels suggestion, but something that allow you to explore a world (controlling a character) while following a story.

So far, my search was not really sucessful. Do you guys know if there is any old games similar to what I am describing out there?
 

Collision

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LSD: Dream Emulator comes to mind. There's not really a story though so it's just an exploration thing. There have also been some attempts to make interactive films like Tender Loving Care. Lots of old adventure games exist that are probably closer to what you would want. Most of these have puzzles though. Some games that come to mind as less puzzle-y and more narrative-y:
I'm not necessarily recommending all of those games. I think all of them are interesting but I wouldn't describe them all as fun. You might find some more if you look through the library of devices like the Phillips CD-i. There were a lot of weird projects on the CD-i despite it mostly being notorious for those awful Zelda games.
 
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manpaint

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LSD: Dream Emulator comes to mind. There's not really a story though so it's just an exploration thing. There have also been some attempts to make interactive films like Tender Loving Care. Lots of old adventure games exist that are probably closer to what you would want. Most of these have puzzles though. Some games that come to mind as less puzzle-y and more narrative-y:
I'm not necessarily recommending all of those games. I think all of them are interesting but I wouldn't describe them all as fun. You might find some more if you look through the library of devices like the Phillips CD-i. There were a lot of weird projects on the CD-i despite it mostly being notorious for those awful Zelda games.
Thanks! I will check out the games you listed.
 

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I have three things that are each, like, one-third of the way to what you're looking for. These aren't recommendations, I've only heard of these or acquired them and have yet to play them.
  1. Cyberswine (IA link) - interactive movie except you get a 3D cyborg pig instead of FMV John Hurt. Far more linear in that you only control Cyberswine at key decision points. Apparently the devs pivoted to develop these for DVD players, if that tells you anything.
  2. Peter Gabriel: Eve (Wikipedia link) - real artsy point-and-click. Hope you like 90s Peter Gabriel, because it's got a lot of content about his music.
  3. Bad Day on the Midway (Wikipedia link) - game by The Residents about a creepy midway. Probably the closest to what you're looking for, as it was made as an interactive experience first and a game second.
 
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jaedaen

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Back in the old days, we didn't realize that you could carry a story entirely with characters and story, so examples of this from the old days are fewer and far between. Planescape: Torment is the closest thing I can think of, though it's not completely without combat (which admittedly kinda sucks). You can avoid combat all but 4 times. The story is excellent. Be prepared to save before a long conversation is to be had.

It's not old, but I recommend playing Disco Elysium, it felt like a spritual successor to Planescape to me. That game is incredible, it's a great story and very well developed characters. You do have to figure out certain things, but failing skill checks actually makes the narrative more interesting. There's no combat. It's maybe not exactly when you were looking for, but I really can't recommend that game enough for people that are in to story and characters.
 
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I have three things that are each, like, one-third of the way to what you're looking for. These aren't recommendations, I've only heard of these or acquired them and have yet to play them.
  1. Cyberswine (IA link) - interactive movie except you get a 3D cyborg pig instead of FMV John Hurt. Far more linear in that you only control Cyberswine at key decision points. Apparently the devs pivoted to develop these for DVD players, if that tells you anything.
  2. Peter Gabriel: Eve (Wikipedia link) - real artsy point-and-click. Hope you like 90s Peter Gabriel, because it's got a lot of content about his music.
  3. Bad Day on the Midway (Wikipedia link) - game by The Residents about a creepy midway. Probably the closest to what you're looking for, as it was made as an interactive experience first and a game second.

Back in the old days, we didn't realize that you could carry a story entirely with characters and story, so examples of this from the old days are fewer and far between. Planescape: Torment is the closest thing I can think of, though it's not completely without combat (which admittedly kinda sucks). You can avoid combat all but 4 times. The story is excellent. Be prepared to save before a long conversation is to be had.

It's not old, but I recommend playing Disco Elysium, it felt like a spritual successor to Planescape to me. That game is incredible, it's a great story and very well developed characters. You do have to figure out certain things, but failing skill checks actually makes the narrative more interesting. There's no combat. It's maybe not exactly when you were looking for, but I really can't recommend that game enough for people that are in to story and characters.
Interesting. I will look into those games.

I would be interested to try Disco Elysium, but I am not sure if my PC can run it. The games do not look like demanding on the surface, but I think the underlying engine might possible drag me down in term of performance.
 

elia925-6

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Not old but you should try
* Kentucky Route Zero
* Maquette(It has average to good critics but the Matryoshka style environment is unique and carries the Zelda vibe in its puzzles).
* Oxenfree(Some people say the dialogues are cheesy and ripoff of stranger things aesthetic even though it was in development before the show come out but i loved the game. Reminds me of Philadelphia experiment).
* Professor Layton series. The first six entries are good. But avoid the awful spinoff Layton's mystery journey. It feels like a kid game with all those not well crafted puzzles and cheesy stories.
* The Room series.
 
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A lot of the old lucasarts point and click adventure games satisfy your criteria. Indiana jones and the fate of atlantis, sam and max hit the road, loom, zack mckraken and the alien mindbenders, indiana jones and the last crusade, day of the tentacle, monkey island are all very fun games i played and beat.
 
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manpaint

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A lot of the old lucasarts point and click adventure games satisfy your criteria. Indiana jones and the fate of atlantis, sam and max hit the road, loom, zack mckraken and the alien mindbenders, indiana jones and the last crusade, day of the tentacle, monkey island are all very fun games i played and beat.
Hmm I should check those game. Thanks for the reccomendations!
 

Sketch Relics

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The walking sim genre is a more recent development, but I am aware of a few older prototypical examples

-Myst and it's sequels, primarily Riven
Environmental puzzle/ point and click games, Riven in particular is structured similarly to walking sims, being largely about exploration and solving a whopping 2 puzzles, can be purchased off GOG.

-Spaceship Warlock
A game that actually billed itself as an interactive movie, it's about one step off being a walking sim. It's also cheesy as hell so bring chips. Can be found here https://classicreload.com/win3x-spaceship-warlock.html

-The Journeyman Project and it's sequels
Similar to Myst, but with time travel instead of reality travel. Can be found on GOG... I think

-Stay Tooned
A city apartment tower gets zapped into a cartoon and it's up to you to fix it. A game focused on exploration and character interaction with some light minigames, you can actually play this one for free online here https://classicreload.com/win3x-stay-tooned.html

-The Puppet Motel
Quite possibly the first example of something that could be called a walking sim and not actually billed as a video game at the time of release. This obscure nonsense was released as a tie in promotion with a singers album release and shares it's name with one of her songs. You can find a re-release of it here https://archive.org/details/puppet-motel-1998, you will probably need to emulate an older version of windows in order to play it.
 

manpaint

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The walking sim genre is a more recent development, but I am aware of a few older prototypical examples

-Myst and it's sequels, primarily Riven
Environmental puzzle/ point and click games, Riven in particular is structured similarly to walking sims, being largely about exploration and solving a whopping 2 puzzles, can be purchased off GOG.

-Spaceship Warlock
A game that actually billed itself as an interactive movie, it's about one step off being a walking sim. It's also cheesy as hell so bring chips. Can be found here https://classicreload.com/win3x-spaceship-warlock.html

-The Journeyman Project and it's sequels
Similar to Myst, but with time travel instead of reality travel. Can be found on GOG... I think

-Stay Tooned
A city apartment tower gets zapped into a cartoon and it's up to you to fix it. A game focused on exploration and character interaction with some light minigames, you can actually play this one for free online here http://www.abandonia.com/en/games/24206/Stay+Tooned!.html

-The Puppet Motel
Quite possibly the first example of something that could be called a walking sim and not actually billed as a video game at the time of release. This obscure nonsense was released as a tie in promotion with a singers album release and shares it's name with one of her songs. You can find a re-release of it here https://archive.org/details/puppet-motel-1998, you will probably need to emulate an older version of windows in order to play it.
Thanks for the suggestion. I will look into those games.
 

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There were TONS of graphic adventure games back then (and more still being made now) with really in-depth characters and story like this. I was never much for this genre because of all the puzzles that could only be solved by getting as high as humanly possible, but I'll list off some of the ones Ross Scott's talked about

Eternam
(takes place on a vacation planet where each region of it has been made to resemble an era from human history, but the games villain has removed all the safety features, making the attractions actually dangerous)

Uncanny Valley
(You play as a security guard on a long shift and uncover unspeakable horrors in the facility you work at)

Still Life
(You play as a detective trying to solve a murder case, only to find a journal written by your grandfather which says that he was working on a murder case in Czechoslovakia 100 years ago which was exactly like this)

Puzzle Agent
(A factory making custom pencils for the White House has mysteriously shut down, and you, an FBI agent, are sent in to find out why)

The Legend of Kyrandia
(A jester from a kingdom on a tiny island in the middle of a vast ocean has escaped from prison, where he was being held for regicide, and is now seeking revenge on the council of mages who sentenced him)

Maabus
(Under orders from an admiral from "your country", you pilot a drone to an island in the middle of the pacific which doesn't appear on any maps, to contain an alien presence within.)

Armed and Delirious
(You play as a grandmother with dementia. Do not play this game if you value your sanity. I mean it.)

Life is Strange
(You play as Max, an incredibly pretentious high school girl, who discovers she has time manipulation abilities and uses them to prevent a murder, but gradually realizes that maybe she shouldn't have. This game sucks tbh, but it has a lot of cool moments)

The Black Mirror
(You're from nobility and have to break your family's curse before it destroys your bloodline)

A New Beginning
(500 years into the future, a solar flare threatens to wipe out all life on earth, so a woman travels back in time to forewarn humanity and give them time to develop a way to mitigate its effects. This is an environmentalist game and it's incredibly preachy, but otherwise pretty good, even if the science in it is pure fantasy.)

The Cave World Saga
(A german game about a space trucker who descends into an underground world of dinosaurs ruled by lizard people where humans are enslaved to rescue his girlfriend. Based on a book series I've never read)

Veil of Darkness
(A vampire shoots down your plane because he was bored and traps you in a hidden valley he has absolute control over)

Phantasmagoria 2
(A cult classic FMV horror game with an almost indescribable plotline)

Aida's Strange Christmas
(Made by one guy as a present for his girlfriend. Clumsy but fun. I like the mix of santa claus with scandinavian myth.)

The Journeyman Project
(You're a time traveller from the future where man has achieved utopia, and it's your job to preserve the timeline)

Gothos
(You're a vampire who goes to a city infested by vampires to find a series of ancient scrolls.)
 
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manpaint

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There were TONS of graphic adventure games back then (and more still being made now) with really in-depth characters and story like this. I was never much for this genre because of all the puzzles that could only be solved by getting as high as humanly possible, but I'll list off some of the ones Ross Scott's talked about
Thanks for those reccomendation. I will look into those games when I will have the time to.
 

RisingThumb

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As you guys probably know, we have seen a fair share of narrative driven games recently. Example beings What Remains of Eeditch Finch, Firewatch, Detroit: Become Human etc.

I was wondering if games similar to those existed in the old days. What I seek is essentially games that play like an RPG but without any form of combat and puzzle.

I am not looking for visual novels suggestion, but something that allow you to explore a world (controlling a character) while following a story.

So far, my search was not really sucessful. Do you guys know if there is any old games similar to what I am describing out there?
2 Games:
The Forgotten City- Really really good time loop game, that I last played on Christmas last year.
Myst- Really really good puzzle game, that you should play. It gets mocked, but it's brilliant(I'd suggest playing the Myst remake on steam, the FPS one).
 
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manpaint

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2 Games:
The Forgotten City- Really really good time loop game, that I last played on Christmas last year.
Myst- Really really good puzzle game, that you should play. It gets mocked, but it's brilliant(I'd suggest playing the Myst remake on steam, the FPS one).
Thanks for the info. I added them to the list of games to look into.
 

count.dijkstra

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2 Games:
The Forgotten City- Really really good time loop game, that I last played on Christmas last year.
Myst- Really really good puzzle game, that you should play. It gets mocked, but it's brilliant(I'd suggest playing the Myst remake on steam, the FPS one).
The Forgotten City was a Skyrim mod, originally, very good. The spiritual sequel to Myst is Obduction, IIRC.
 
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Hadrian Hardrada Cicero

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A lot of the old lucasarts point and click adventure games satisfy your criteria. Indiana jones and the fate of atlantis, sam and max hit the road, loom, zack mckraken and the alien mindbenders, indiana jones and the last crusade, day of the tentacle, monkey island are all very fun games i played and beat.
what of old sierra games? space quest was pretty much all exploration back when video games were more like interactive chose your own adventure type thingies. sierra games are like the great grandpa of the genre starting in 1986

 
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manpaint

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what of old sierra games? space quest was pretty much all exploration back when video games were more like interactive chose your own adventure type thingies. sierra games are like the great grandpa of the genre starting in 1986
I will look into those games.
 

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I think Shadowgate 64 is along the lines of what you're looking for.

Also don't be afraid of old Text-Based games like Zork. Even though there are no graphics, you still control a character and get to explore the world, you just control your character by typing directions. They're the precursor to the Sierra games like Space Quest and King's Quest mentioned earlier.
 
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