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Old 05-07-2009, 12:27 PM   #1
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Join Date: May 2006
Location: San Francisco
Posts: 199
Default I hate puzzles.

I have been playing video games for a long time, since that snowy, wonderful Christmas in Wisconsin when I unwrapped an Atari 2600 and played Space Invaders until 4 a.m.

I am an ardent fan of games, and in particular, as I've gotten older on their ability to tell, and draw people into, narratives. My favorite games have always been the ones which try to tell a unique, and engaging story - even if, especially in the days of the classics, we had to fill in a lot of that story ourselves.

From the room descriptions in The Temple of Apshai to the moral decisions in Ultima IV, to the mundance police procedures of Police Quest 1 to the deep mysteries of Infocom's Suspect, i have always been enthralled with the computer as a story-telling medium. It's why I count myself as a fan of the adventure genre, a genre specifically dedicated to telling stories.

I think when a game does succeed at this task, even if the overall goal is simply entertainment, that games can achieve the level of "art." I believe Riven is the best computer game in any genre, and one of a few games I classify as art, and recommend to every/anyone whether they view gaming as an essential part of life, or a hobby for adolescents.

That being said - the one thing I find absurd about Adventure games is the reliance on puzzles, and the continuing need to include them so as to identify what "genre" they belong in. I am being half-facetious in the title, there have often been times where the puzzle, often well-integrated, resulted in a very gratifying moment where I solved part of the story.

The thing is, i am more fascinated by developers creating unique worlds to explore - if the puzzles are integrated into that framework and make sense (a la Riven and Myst 3), then I'm fine with it - but using puzzles as a manufactured tool just to prolong game time, get us to get invested in the game (I have to find out what happens, i spent so much time on this!), or to simply put in an exercise to keep it a "game"...well, i hate that.

I do like TLJ, and more of that game is right than wrong, but in the end, it remains the most egregious game in this instance. I am not ever going to forgive it for the nonsensical way I retrieve a key from a railway power line.

I just hate how puzzles MUST be in an adventure game. I don't find them necessary but often distracting, and quite frankly often the first thing to break my suspension of disbelief. The world, and the story, must be the most important thing - immersion is key as well, but don't think you must create half-assed logic puzzles as a lazy measure to artificially create immersion.

/longwindedrantthathasbeeninmyheadforabout5yearsnow .
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