Easy Joe

Mainstream, old-school adventure gaming passed from this earth many years ago before returning from the dead with Telltale Games. There are many obvious reasons for this downfall, such as cat-hair mustaches; however, as much as I love adventure gaming, one of my latent criticisms of the genre has always that they've never been much of a game.

Lucasarts adventure games have frequently bragged about the fact that there is no way to die in their games, for instance. If the only thing that is standing between you and success is clicking on everything on every screen in every combination, is that even a game? Easy Joe is perhaps a reductio ad absurdem of that philosophy.

Easy Joe is a fun little Flash diversion that follows a neon-green rabbity-thing who's trying to get from one screen to the next. Your only goal is presented as "Joe wants to see the world!" In order to get to the next screen, you must work through the logic of the scene, determining in what order to click on the objects in order to proceed. In other words, the only thing keeping you from completing the game is clicking on every thing on the screen in every order. In Easy Joe, this is even easier than it sounds, as you can only go one screen at a time.

The art direction is certainly the standout here, Easy Joe's world of neon colors and simple lines gives the game a fun but an oddly '70s cartoon style. The music loops but isn't repetitive or grating—it fits the fun and not-too-serious feel of the game. It's easy going with Easy Joe, which makes for a fun ride.

But is it a game? I'm not really sure. If there's no challenge whatsoever, what is so engaging? Certainly, I played through all 15 minutes of the game, and even had fun! I'm just not sure why.

Why You Should Check This Out: Easy Joe is a fun, 15-minute diversion to relax and enjoy a silly little neon-green thing with ears moving through improbable situations to his goal. No story, cutscenes or convoluted plot to keep track of allows Easy Joe to stay lean and mean while managing to be fun due to the silly scenes, memorable art and a lighthearted soundtrack.

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Comments

I offer this definition of a game: a set of rules and a magic circle that delineates the mental and physical "space" of the game from reality.

What are the special rules in this case?

Reminded me a bit of Little Wheel, only not quite as atmospheric or engaging. I find that these "gameplay-lite" titles that really just want me to click on stuff until something works have to have a very strong aesthetic hook, or I get bored with them very quickly.

PyromanFO wrote:

What are the special rules in this case?

Rules don't have to be special. In this case, some of the main rules are:
- Click objects to interact.
- Interacting in the correct order will advance Joe to the next screen.

y didant th achevement com up for bowling up the ship

Maybe this is the reason for the genre's demise.

Played it after the RPS link.
Its a good time.

Ah yes, and there-in lies my problem with adventure games. Sure, your character doesn't die. You die of boredom because you didn't click on the hidden pixel two screens back and therefore cannot proceed any further in the game. So you just sit there, frustrated, until you get angry and furiously click everything you see and then rage quit.

Kojiro wrote:

Ah yes, and there-in lies my problem with adventure games. Sure, your character doesn't die. You die of boredom because you didn't click on the hidden pixel two screens back and therefore cannot proceed any further in the game. So you just sit there, frustrated, until you get angry and furiously click everything you see and then rage quit.

You didn't play this game, did you.

Ha! You beat it in 15 minutes? I did 1:58. You're a such a noob, Pyro.

I do have a hard time calling this a game though. I suppose it's a game in the same way the old Highlights magazine picture finder things were a game. Though this is arguably less fun.

Edit: 1:54. Beat that, [size=6]bitches[/size].

But is it a game? I'm not really sure. If there's no challenge whatsoever, what is so engaging?

To see what happens next? That's what did it for me.

Certainly, I played through all 15 minutes of the game, and even had fun! I'm just not sure why.

Me too.

I enjoy a good adventure game every now and then. For me its sort of a breather between some random fps.

Easy Joe is as its tittle states easy and simple. I frankly enjoyed it since I was able to complete it without the necessity of a walk-through. Furthermore I agree with Polliwog in that part of what makes adventure games engaging is finding out what happens next. While it lacked a bit of atmosphere, it was compelling enough.

I believe adventure games are still games because they present the user with a level of interactiveness to make choices, even if linear choices. However they are in mind similar to that of an interactive storybook puzzle that has you put the pieces in at a particular order. But my enjoyment comes from an engaging and enjoyable story that may be filled with humor, suspense, mystery or something that makes stories interesting. With engaging stories I want to know what happens next, as result I keep playing to I reach a conclusion that often gives me the satisfaction of finishing a story.

However the downside of adventure games at times are the mechanics and structure of it. As mentioned in the linked article, some adventure games have ridiculous and stupid things you need to do in order to proceed. It's like reading a book and before you turn to the next page, you must find a sandwich filled with jelly and anchovies to lure your neighbor outside his house so you can climb through the second floor window so you steal his car keys hidden inside a coffee can to open his car trunk and take his his prized of pair leather gloves, then you can turn the page without fear of a papercut, afterwards you do some other stupid stunt involving a lama, a pink sweatshirt, a hot dog and so on to turn the next page. The other issue is what Kojiro stated, sometimes you can't find that damn thing you need to click. Frustrating enough to rage quit or have to consult...a walk through. Another minor issue may be wonky controls that might not work as you want them too.

Frankly I think Telltale games does a pretty good job. There produce compelling enough stories sprinkled with a bit humor. Generally preceding in their games is not a complicated process, and with a built in hint system some issues can be dealt with. But their games are not immune to the common issues found in adventure games. Recently playing Sam and Max 302, I got stuck because I apparently missed clicking an item was slightly obscured, after I forcibly clicked around until I angrily gave up and went to read... a walk-through. The hint system does not always work, as the hints may not always be geared toward the right situation. In addition the new control scheme, mouse drag to move or wasd to move, no longer click to move annoys me a bit, but works enough to play.

Jeeze didn't know I was going to write so much.

TL;DR
I like adventure games. Easy Joe is a short sweet and simple adventure game. Adventure games mechanics can be problematic. Telltale games makes great adventure games that are not immune to problematic game mechanics.

Hey Pyroman,

This looks like something you'd enjoy:

http://www.playedonline.com/game/598...