As the thread moved in a different direction, I didn't want to comment. Now that it is back to the original, I'll comment now.
I'm a new adventure gamer (Myst and beyond), so I didn't play the older games. I love the new adventure games. I like how they look, I like the puzzles (as much as I like any puzzles), I like how they sound, and I like the experience of playing them. For me, a game has to have that "special something". There have been many threads written about that here, so I won't go into it. All games don't have to be "hard", whatever that could possibly mean, to be enjoyable.
If we want to keep the adventure game genre alive, we had better not keep looking back to the old days. Hey, I'm 50, I'm a boomer, I love some of the old games (Myst and later, that's old for me), but I hate nostalgia with a passion. If it takes using every little bit of the new technology out there to make the games appealing to new adventure gamers, so be it. Newbies don't want to look at outdated graphics and sounds. If it takes easier puzzles, so be it. I'm an adventure gamer, and I love easy games! If it takes better and better cut scenes, to be it. If it takes putting the games on consoles, so be it. An aside here, Tim Schaefer's (the creator of Grim Fandango) latest game is going to be out on the xbox. If it take supporting both independent "slide show" games, (beautifull graphics, simpler technology, no 3D engines, perfect for an independent developer), and the 3D engines, other goodies of the big budget games, I'm OK with that too. I'm also OK with multiplayer games. I'm going to give Myst Online a chance when it comes out. I prefer no action in an adventure game, but if you have to have a little bit of action to keep the genre alive, heck, I'll try to go with that too.
You know, I suspect that the difficulty of adventure games (puzzles and dialogue) had something to do with the technology of the times. Sometimes I think it was an accident. Games were expensive, so you had to make them last a long, long time. There was only so much you could do with the processors, memory, graphics cards and sound systems of the day. So, hey, hard puzzles and complicated dialogue trees! Now, I know this is an oversimplification, and I haven't done a single bit of research on this, so I could be all wrong. It's just a thought.