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Computer Role-Playing/Adventure Games for Teenagers


This section of my site is less detailed than the children's computer games section, simply because my own children are not yet teenagers. :-) Nonetheless, based on my ample memories of my own game-playing youth, here are some recommendations for classic computer games worth passing on to teens, and more recent games that make good presents for them.



Baldur's Gate II:
Shadows of Amn


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This is one of the best games ever made, but it does have a dark theme with a disturbing villain, a few permanent NPC deaths, and a small amount of non-graphic sex, so it's really not appropriate for a younger kid. Teenagers, though, should have a blast with this.

Planescape Torment

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I'd be thinking about this one for an older teen, mostly--there's a lot of unsettling violence in this game, a lot of Gothic brooding, and a lot of philosophical verbiage. Basically, if a kid is allowed to go see "The Matrix," this will be a good game for him or her.

Wizardry 8

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This game isn't as innovative or interesting as the previous two, but the graphics and combat sequences are better and it's a little faster-paced. The puzzles are challenging but not too difficult, and there aren't a lot of bugs to be navigated. There is one non-graphic sex scene near the end of the game.

Might and Magic IX

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Personally, I didn't really like this game. I thought it was rather dull, and I didn't like the interface. However, that doesn't mean your teenager couldn't have a lot of fun playing it--MM9 certainly does have lots of quests, puzzles, and fun character development, and the graphics are pretty good. And really, it's better than Might and Magic II, which I played for hours on end when I was a teenager. So I'm ignoring my own bias against it and including it here. (-:

The Longest Journey

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This is an absorbing graphic-adventure game with a real sense of wonder about it; the protagonist is a tough and extremely realistic young woman, and the story is wonderfully original. The language and urban environment are gritty (this game uses just about every rude or obscene word in the English language) but otherwise there's nothing objectionable about it. Like any graphic adventure game, it is a bit slow-paced and light on action, but any teen who already likes CRPGs and adventure games should enjoy this. I sure wish we'd had games like this when I was a teenager.

Physikus

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Physikus Walkthrough
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Purely on its merits as an adventure game, Physikus is adequate but not especially exciting. This game comes with an intriguing twist, however: it's educational. Aimed at kids 10-15, Physikus teaches real-world physics through a series of science-fiction puzzles. If you have a teenager who loves science--or one who struggles in science and could use a little extra help in a format that may not seem as hopelessly dorky as most educational software----this could be just the game for you.

Chemicus

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Chemicus Walkthrough
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The sequel to Physicus, Chemicus is in the same mold, though its in-game science tutorial isn't quite as excellent as the one in Physicus. A kid who enjoys one of these games is likely to also enjoy the other, and hey, they're educational. If your teenager enjoys science, math puzzles, or the graphic-adventure genre in general, this game might make a good present.

If you're wondering whether another popular game might be suitable for your teenager, please feel free to check out my CRPG and adventure game pages for more reviews--I've written age-appropriateness blurbs for each of the games reviewed there. To save you some time, though, here is a list of all the games I've reviewed that I didn't consider good recommendations for unsupervised kids this age, and the reasons why:

7th Guest (too buggy and dated, unless the teenager is already a fan of classic games)
Arcanum (extreme sexual content)
The Black Mirror (extreme horror and gore, suicide)
Daggerfall (too buggy and dated, also some pornographic passages)
Gabriel Knight 3 (horror and gore, plus Jesus is a vampire in this gameworld)
Phantasmagoria (extreme horror and gore, abusive sex)
Sanitarium (some horror and gore, probably OK for an older teen)

As always, use your own best judgment, of course. (-: Happy gaming!



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Laura Redish
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