List of adventure games where you can't die

Whether the verbs are text or icons seems not that important to me. I’d rather see a list of games where you can’t die or don’t need to rely on loading saved games.


Seems like it might be an interesting discussion topic. Can you think of any examples?

Simon the Sorcerer 2 is such an example (it’s like StS1 but with icons instead of written verbs in the [always visible] verb area).

On the examples, I was referring to:

Both Simon games match these criteria. The question is: Can we put MI1 on this list?

Maybe we should start a new thread for collecting such games. Seems a good point to me.

If we only count permanent death, my Ultimate Talkie Edition does count, as I added a retry button in that one particular scene.
On the other hand, if any non game over death counts, Monkey Island 2 and CMI would be out too, as there is that acid pit scene in MI2 and the story even requires you to die in CMI.

I would also include dead ends to such a list, as those are even worse than dying, imho. So I would define the requirements for such a list:

  • No deaths resulting in a game over. (A “retry” button bringing you back to the point just before you died, fulfills this requirement.)
  • No dead ends.
  • No save scamming required by design, ie. gambling elements required to win with the odds against you.
1 Like

instead of listing games where you can’t die, for me it would be more interesting to list games with unfair puzzles and games with fair puzzles.

knowing I can’t die is not very useful: if I can’t die but the puzzles are unfair, I don’t want to play that game.

And if puzzles are fair, I don’t care if I can die or not. :slight_smile:

1 Like

Puzzle fairness is highly subjective. That would be a very controversial list.

1 Like

Yes, that’s a bonus :slight_smile: We would have fun discussing whether a puzzle is really fair.

1 Like

(when I say the word “discussing”, I imagine horses whining as in “Frau Blucher”)

This is very relevant. The platformer VVVVVV is probably one of the least frustrating platformers I’ve played, even if it’s extremely unforgiving and you die constantly.

It’s quite different from Super Meat Boy, one of the more frustrating platformers I’ve (partially) played.

The Cave springs to mind. I liked knowing I couldn’t die or hit a dead end in that. Even with the glitch I encountered you could just hit the respawn shortcut.

Flight Of The Amazon Queen


The most unfair puzzles are dead ends without informing the player that he is stuck. Some of the Sierra games did this quite a few times. That’s why I suggested to add dead ends to the criteria list.

Other than that, fairness is very subjective. I doubt that we could make a list everyone is agreeing with it.

If you like a platformer where dying is a requirement, I suggest Life Goes On:

But you can die. The game is even mocking at you for dying all the time. The point is, dying doesn’t force a game over in The Cave.

That’s what I meant by ‘dying’ in that context. It fits the criteria of the OP in that it doesn’t end the game, as you say.

This would be a useful list, I much prefer to play games with no game over or dead ends…

Broken Age
Machinarium (if we count it as an adventure game)
Pretty much all the LucasArts ones after a certain point?

You can die a couple of times in Beneath a Steel Sky, but I’d still put it on the “can’t die” list, because it’s so rare and they give you a lot of warning as far as I remember.

1 Like

This list leads us to discard some games because they are obsolete by today’s standards.

(Maybe because you can die, or because they have unfair puzzles, or because they have dead ends, or because they have mazes, or because they require us to take maps, or because they require to save and restore, or because they require a dedication from the player that today is inacceptable.)

The end result is that we will discard those games, and never play them.

But this way we will never enjoy the good parts of those games.

What I think would be better is a guide that makes these games enjoyable by today’s standards. So we can play them, skipping the parts that are no more acceptable by today’s standards.

For example:

  1. in space quest 2, be sure not to trade this for this, or you will have a dead end, and you had no way to know you should not have traded this item.

  2. In cruise for a corpse, be sure to look in the porthole every time , because eventually you will see something, and you have no way to know it’s the right time to look in the porthole. And look in this drawer every time , because eventualy you will find something.

and so on. we should build a guide like this, for each game, so it allows to enjoy that game skipping the boring parts.

1 Like

Mhmm… Golf PGA Tour?

1 Like

It is a bit hard to decide indeed.
One important consideration in those old games is the fairness of their design. While you can die or navigate youself into a dead end in Zak McKracken, I think it has a very fair design nevertheless. Dead ends are really obvious in that game, so you know when you should load a savegame. And deaths are also rare and rather predictable. Larry 2 on the other hand is quite the opposite. I consider that among the most unfair adventure games there is.

Maybe we should state, that the game must be an adventure game. The list would become pretty pointless with some genres, I guess. Although there are actually even sport simulations where you can die.

I’m pretty sure that’s what Matt meant with not dying / not relying on reloading (except when a game automatically makes an autosave before making you die, this should be fine).

Really? I’ve never noticed that! (or maybe I have never played this scene with this version)

Oh we have already, implicitly, since we are in the Adventure category.