Apologies for my late reply, I've mostly been using my work account for a few weeks, so missed these
codah I'm going to check out both Rendezvous and Fahrenheit 45. Thanks! I missed both of these. I was a bit young for some of these games at the time, so discovered the genre a bit later, in around 1997-1998 with games like Simon the Sorcerer and Monkey Island 3.
You may well be right about I Have No Mouth being relatively average without its superb story. The actions you take in the game are not different to those in other games, although some of the player verbs are. I've since completed the game, and actually, this was one of its weaknesses - often, you wanted to take a simple action such as giving an object to an NPC, however you wouldn't be able to find the right verb to do so.
In contrast, I also recently played the Blackwell series, of a similar genre. This game augmented regular Point and Click adventure mechanics through its use of two characters; one being alive and one being dead, whilst simplifying the "player verbs" to simply "look at" and "action" (appropriate to each individual object or person).
Combine the story of I Have No Mouth with the mechanics of Blackwell, and you'd have a winner
I do have an idea for a game which could work in this format. I spent last summer writing it, but decided to put the project on hold until I had a team to work on it with.
I'd love to make a smaller scale prototype, though. To prove the mechanics, and test whether they would scale up into a full game. I am about to quit my job, so this may be something viable for me to work on full time in a few weeks. Let me know if you really are interested in helping out with the engine side I am quite serious.