In my quest to find a game I can enjoy as much as Dark Souls, I tried a game called 1954 Alcatraz. It’s a point-and-click adventure game set in–guess which year!–1954 and centers around an African American man who is in Alcatraz for a heist he committed. You can control him and his (white, beatnik) wife who is on the outside trying to figure out what happened. It has all the trappings of a point-and-click, both good and bad*, but there was something there that kept me playing. Until I met the landlady, Vivian. She’s Chinese and owned a restaurant. Now, I don’t mind that she owned a restaurant as many Chinese people did back then. What I do mind is that she spoke in that cringe-worthy pidgin English accent that people who don’t speak Chinese attempt when trying to imitate a Chinese person. The minute I heard it, I gritted my teeth and cringed, but I tried to play through it. She gave me a ridiculous request of bringing her winter melon soup, which only increased my dislike of her.
Side note: This is one of the worst mechanisms of point-and-clicks, and I have to describe it to you in full so you can realize how truly terrible it is. I went down to the kitchen and found the soup on the stove. I brought it up to her, and she asked in that horrid accent for some winter melon. I went back down to the kitchen and started clicking on everything in the environment. I found herbs and spices on one side, and when I clicked on it, it told me that it’s in Chinese. Stumped, I started clicking on everything else in the room. Nothing. I went back up to Vivian and suffered through her horrible accent some more but no further information, I went back into the kitchen. Nothing. After a few more minutes, I looked for a walkthrough and found out I had to go into the dining room, pick up a menu, read winter melon in English and Chinese, and receive the Chinese symbol for winter melon. Then, I had to go back to the herbs and spices and place the symbol on the area to receive the winter melon. Then, I had to combine the winter melon and the soup before bringing it up to Vivian.
That’s utter bullshit. If I reach the point in a game where I’m referring to a walkthrough more than I’m actually playing the game, I know it’s not worth my time. For whatever reasons, point-and-clicks revel in their enigmatic puzzle-solving, and it’s my least-favorite part of the genre.