I dunked hard on Interplay’s ADVENT 2 (goofy, screen-hogging, do-little GUI) in a Tass Times In Tonetown writeup. My reaction surprised me. I guess I hadn’t thought about it for a while.
I know that pressure to add GUI elements came from a lot of corners (wanting to make those early Mac and Amiga adopters feel like their mice were useful, general us-too trend-following, etc.) and I know it survived well into the 1990s, but the click-aided parser never felt like anything but window dressing to me, then or now*.
And then I remembered the moment in Labyrinth (notably released the same year as Tass Times!) where the game goes from text parser to all-graphics. The game was a bit of a false start, most significant now as the table-setter for Maniac Mansion and later SCUMM titles. But it was a very clear statement: “pick a side.” And I think it’s very notable that the “pick-a-side” approach even won over Sierra, who had done a lot to shift the what-does-an-adventure-game-look-like conversation with the clunky-in-a-different-way AGI. Even they eventually had to agree that trying to live in both worlds did no one any favors.
*- Am I forgetting some shining example from the late 80s or early 90s of a really great use of one of these hybrids?