5. Indigo Prophecy
The game: Indigo Prophecy's deep, immersive story demonstrates a sobriety rarely seen in games: it earns its mature-rated chops with genuinely adult-oriented content, as opposed to the usual titties-'n'-headshots fare. Lucky, because the whole thing's basically a ten-hour QTE.
Above: Prepare for a shock - Indigo Prophecy does not have a “mop blood” button
What could you do? Walk around to your heart's content. Oh, the walking you could do! Also, context-sensitivity. Remember that? Allow Indigo Prophecy to refresh your memory...
What did the game do for you? Walk up to an object and Indigo Prophecy would flash a big message telling you what thumbstick to prod next. Direction safely jabbed, the game would take over until the next time you needed the illusion of being in control of anything more important than telling your guy where to mosey to next.
Seriously, this is less interactive than... Actually, Indigo Prophecy remains an engaging experience. The game's “interactivity” is in the way it talks to you like a grown-up, asking you to become involved in characters' journeys and rewarding you with a deep story and intriguing puzzles. Sure, you could get the same thing from reading an airport novel, but Indigo Prophecy has better writing.
4. The X-Files Game
Above: “It's just like an episode of the show (with worse compression)!” we effused tentatively
The game: In 1999, few things were hotter than The X-Files. Well, that's not quite true. In 1996, few things were hotter than The X-Files, but games don't just make themselves overnight, you know. Anyway, know how sometimes developers can't afford to make playable characters out of every cast member of a licensed property, so they conjure up a “beloved franchise icon X has been kidnapped” plot? Well...
Above: Field Agent Willmore (that's you) enjoys a fleeting moment of being canonical
What could you do? Find Mulder and Scully! They've been kidnapped! Are you ready to assume the role of Field Agent Craig Willmore, pick up your BlackBerry and crack the case?
Above: They didn't have BlackBerry in 1999. Just take your PDA and go
What did the game do for you? Presented you with several hours of video footage that looked like an episode of the show (if that episode took place largely in first-person and didn't have much of David Duchovny or Gillian Anderson). Gave you static, sparse areas to move a cursor about. Asked you to choose the order in which your character asked obvious questions of real actors, who almost managed to use their real acting skills to convey the illusion of caring.
Above (right): Big break
Above (left): Paycheck
Seriously, this is less interactive than... Watching an episode of The X-Files and having a non-scripted conversation with a friend during the ad breaks.