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Old 05-09-2009, 02:28 AM   #41
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Somehow it must be possible to program the games so - as in my example with the woodstove - that if an item with the attribute "fire" or "burning" is connected with an item "wood", it will set the wood on fire.
Or an option to bake the cookies later, or find a real recepie so that dad can make them himself.
Or to use a crowbar to open a deskdrawer in an abandoned house, instead of running around to get the water flowing, to rig up a hose in a greenhouse and go outside to find the flushed out key... (scratches).

The problem as I see it is that you can only solve the puzzle (problem) the way the programmer wanted it to be solved, and maybe I don't think the same way?

Althoug, one of my favorite puzzles is code cracking and mechanical problems. But the crystal balls in Myst 3 was awful. That was a walkthrough.
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Old 05-09-2009, 06:44 AM   #42
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Right, I haven't read all the thread, but to me, the puzzle argument often comes down to whether it fits into the game or not. There were a lot of fiddly procedures in the old EA Sherlock Holmes games, but they seemed part and parcel of the world. However, a random sliding tile/codebreaker etc puzzled just slotted randomly into a game often doesnt seem to work as it seems to just be there just to be obstructionist.
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Old 05-09-2009, 07:12 AM   #43
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If you want interactive stories, try the free online game Masq.
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Old 05-09-2009, 08:13 AM   #44
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gonzosports View Post
I am a fan of good games - in ANY GENRE (desite hating genres), and loathe bad games - in ANY GENRE. I feel the same way about movies, I don't give a flying ykw what genre a film is in, as long as it's good and explores its thematic content responsibly.
Hear, hear!

Just wanted to say, Gonzosports, that I agree wholeheartedly with your view. This is how I see it: I love adventure games the most also because they are (usually) more concerned with story than any other genre. BUT, I love games in ANY genre that have excellent stories and gameplay that support them, like Mass Effect (RPG), the Half-Life series (FPS), StarCraft (RTS), Beyond Good & Evil (Action/Adventure), and so on. (And heck, if I find that some elements make my life difficult, like combat, I just put it on easy.)

I recently played the latest Sherlock Holmes game and Dracula: Origin. Everything goes well until they plunge me into a frustrating mess of weight and measuring puzzles. If I wanted to do math, I'd go to work or get another degree. When a puzzle destroys my progression in the story like that, I have no problem reaching for a walkthrough (gasp!).

I think it may be safe to differentiate between "quests" and "puzzles". A QUEST has a goal, requires more information to solve, and has STORY PROGRESSION or A NEW LOCATION as a reward. A PUZZLE is a "mini-game" element such as a slider or a crossword or a bloody weight-measuring bonanza, the reward of which is mostly just the feeling: "Thank goodness it's over." Given these definitions, I love QUESTS, but PUZZLES can take a hike.

Example of a quest: Discover where all the aliens went (The Dig). Example of a puzzle: Slide a bunch of crappy tiles around to open up a stupid keyhole to unlock a ridiculous fireplace (Still Life).

I believe the Telltale games do things right (Sam & Max, Strong Bad, Wallace & Gromit). They focus intensely on story, while still managing to make the games challenging (they don't need to be difficult, just not "click-to-continue" style), very questy, and I have yet to see a ridiculous cookie-baking session using a needlessly cryptic recipe.

However, you also get the other extreme of TOO MANY CUTSCENES instead of a liberal dose of interaction to go with it, which was my gripe with Dreamfall (even though I still think it was an awesome game).

Anyway, there I go talking for hours on end. Just wanted to add my support to the "games can be art" side of this boxing ring

(Oh, and RIVEN ROCKS!!!!!)
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Old 05-09-2009, 09:50 AM   #45
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WeeJee View Post
I recently played the latest Sherlock Holmes game and Dracula: Origin. Everything goes well until they plunge me into a frustrating mess of weight and measuring puzzles.
An example of a small series of puzzles that to me is well executed is in the old EA Sherlock Holmes game Rose Tattoo. Holmes and Watson are invited by Holmes brother, Mycroft to the Diogenes club. The place erupts in an explosion and Mycroft is seriously injured. Holmes locks himself away in his room disconsolate.

As Watson first off you must search the wreckage of the club to find anything suspicious and bluff your way past a rather snooty Matron at St Barts hospital to try and talk to Mycroft. What you find spurs Holmes to action. The puzzles fit with the goal and aren't too frustrating as well as being fairly logical. That to me is a puzzle in a game done right.
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Old 05-09-2009, 01:38 PM   #46
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Puzzles that are part of the story are fine. Puzzles stopping the story' flow are really bad.
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Old 05-09-2009, 01:59 PM   #47
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I love puzzles!

Most of the time I chose adventure games to experience a story with lots of exploration, preferably a mature fantasy/noir or crime story. Of course I want the puzzles to be well integrated in the story and I want to be absorbed by the whole experience!

But every now and then I want puzzles and I find myself craving games like Sentinel: Not much of a story, but filled with logic puzzles. I love to take notes and watch the hints slowly reveal the solution to something that at first seemed incomprehensible.

Yeah, I love puzzles!
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Old 05-10-2009, 02:51 AM   #48
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I like puzzles. I really don't mind them. I wouldn't say i'm really good at them, but i don't think i suck at them either. I love the feeling you get after solving a clever/well integrated puzzle. That feeling of accomplishment and where you feel smart. But like a lot of people here, i do prefer the puzzles to fit into the story properly and not just have them for the sake of it.
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Old 05-10-2009, 03:44 AM   #49
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Originally Posted by Alucard View Post
I like puzzles. I really don't mind them. I wouldn't say i'm really good at them, but i don't think i suck at them either. I love the feeling you get after solving a clever/well integrated puzzle. That feeling of accomplishment and where you feel smart. But like a lot of people here, i do prefer the puzzles to fit into the story properly and not just have them for the sake of it.
And now for a contrary view. I know I'm the only one here that finds the plot gets in the way of the puzzles.
Give me a quest, or a backstory to sort out (Dark Fall, Rhem, etc), but make it so there are tons of things to work out and have new places open up for exploration. I love puzzles - sliders, mazes, math, logic. Don't side track me with dialogue or people to meet.
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Old 05-10-2009, 04:30 AM   #50
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I had never really thought about it because I like puzzle games such as The 7th Guest, that may sometimes fall into the adventure genre. However, I have to agree that puzzles sometimes are a dirty way to pad out the gameplay although I do prefer them over little arcade segments in adventure games (like playing Whack A Mole in Sam N' Max, which was such a pain before laser tracking on computer mice.)

I think people would be more impressed with games that can progress the story through lateral thinking exercises - even though you can just imagine the difficulty in writing them. It's amazing how, in some really expansive games such as Day of the Tentacle, that there is no possible way to reach a dead end where you would have to restart the game.
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Old 05-10-2009, 05:14 AM   #51
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Gonzosports : "How do I get that raise? Is that an inventory or dialogue-tree puzzle? How do I cook the souffle? (Inventory) How do I live a successful, satisfying life (That's a Riven-level puzzle.)"

Gee, I would love to find the walkthrough for that puzzle!!
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Old 07-30-2009, 02:57 PM   #52
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Without puzzles all we have is a cartoon or CGI movie or, with the oldest games, heavily illustrated novels.

I do agree that a puzzle should be organic to the story and/or environment, though, or it will seem like the developer has been forcing them in when they couldn't find better places to add them. But all to often I look back on a puzzle that seems stupid and I can imagine how the writer in question decided it probably makes sense from the character's [distorted?] point of view or within the world of the game.

Example, many people had a problem with the frog in Discworld
Spoiler:
which was to be used by going back in time and using it on Rincewind's mouth. It might have seemed like a silly thing to do but it explained why it came out of his mouth near the start of the game
. (I suddenly feel compelled to play Discworld......)

If these organic puzzles can be added AND really help the drive the narrative while keeping you involved with the story then the game deserves an award.
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No, it's the immersion, the ability to think non-linearly, and the ability to offer players choices they don't have in a novel or movie.
Once upon a time only adventures offered immersion into the story. Now there are quite a lot from competing genres; GTA, assassin's creed, silent hill (haven't played that last one). I'd have to say that yes; it is the type of puzzles that make an adventure game unique.
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Sorry.I have to ask what is an interactive movie? Can you name one? Because if there was a format where you could actually determine actions,events, or motivations of main characters that affect the story, I would think that would be awesome.
I think Lou meant interactive novels. I've never played one but I understand they're popular in Japan. I understand that "Flower, Sun, and Rain" and "Lux-Pain" (both for the N: DS) both fall into thie category (I haven't played either, but I intend to when I can afford to).

I really don't understand quite what you're looking for. Something like 'Dragon's Lair' perhaps? (Another game I never played so I can't really judge it but I haven't liked what I heard)

Have you seen this, btw? From what I understand there's little or no combat except from pressing the right button at the right time. Refusing to press that button, or not pressing it immediately, changes the course of the game which has multiple endings. The preview does a better job of explaining it. (I deeply covet this game).
Quote:
I've already mentioned a couple that don't work for me:

TLJ
Broken Sword 1
I don't actually know what 'TLJ' is But BS1? I'm a little surprised. I had some of the problems you've mentioned with BS2 (I'm not even going to start another discussion about BS3 and the evil of BS4) but BS1's puzzles seemed quite sensible, to me.
Quote:
Then why play an adventure game, or why play a computer game at all? Sudoku, crossword puzzles, 3D maps are much cheaper. Or if it has to be on computer, why not play Shanghai? Or a pixel hunting game?

Are you seriously suggesting that the adventure game genre is not based around a story as its focal point?
That isn't what Lou said at all. The puzzles in AGs are like the puzzles you'll find nowhere else except for written or verbal lateral thinking exercises which suck because they withhold far too much information that we shouldn't be expected to workout for ourselves.

I've already said what you'd be left without puzzles.
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wow and yet you manage to sound completely condescending.
She is right, you are condescending. You seem to shout down everybody who disagrees rather than try to clarify your arguments to make people understand.
Quote:
Originally Posted by WeeJee View Post
I believe the Telltale games do things right (Sam & Max, Strong Bad, Wallace & Gromit). They focus intensely on story, while still managing to make the games challenging (they don't need to be difficult, just not "click-to-continue" style), very questy, and I have yet to see a ridiculous cookie-baking session using a needlessly cryptic recipe.
I was worried that nobody would mention TTG. One of their strategies has been to focus on puzzles that make sense and don't break the narrative flow. They also have 'hint' systems to prompt you along if you get stuck every 5 or 10 minutes or so (the rate at which they're interspersed can be altered or entirely switched off).

I'd also like to recommend Discworld Noir; to date my favourite AG for puzzles and their relation to the story. While it still depends on an inventory and using items in a tradition Adventure Game way much of this has been replaced by the protagonist's Notepad, where clues can be used with other clues, items or people in the same kind of way something from your inventory would be.
Spoiler:
(Further on in the game he becomes a werewolf and you have to collect 'scents' to follow which are stored in a kind of inventory These can be used on other scents or even items, people or clues for the protagonist to make connections between them which advance the story, so I actually liked the system).
I've mentioned this game before and would desperate to see more games use this kind of system as it is a brilliant way to use puzzles to draw the player into the story and keep propelling the story as you play. (I'm told "The Shivah" implements a system somewhat like this and is next on my 'games to play' list).

Last edited by Marduk; 07-30-2009 at 04:07 PM.
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Old 07-30-2009, 03:29 PM   #53
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I'm not good at puzzles, so I usually don't like them. I do like them sometimes, though, especially when you hardly notice them, and they don't stop the story. The story is the most important thing for me, along with character interaction.
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Old 07-30-2009, 04:51 PM   #54
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I like puzzles, but only when they are closely connected with the story and the narrative, like in the Gabriel Knight games (with a few exceptions) , some of them even spread through several chapters. Ayway, dont mind a few obscure puzzles, just to feel good after i beat them
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Old 07-30-2009, 04:59 PM   #55
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Originally Posted by Marduk View Post
I'd also like to recommend Discworld Noir; to date my favourite AG for puzzles and their relation to the story. While it still depends on an inventory and using items in a tradition Adventure Game way much of this has been replaced by the protagonist's Notepad, where clues can be used with other clues, items or people in the same kind of way something from your inventory would be.
Discworld Noir is a fantastic example of clever puzzle design. By using thoughts as individual properties that could manipulate and combine, they avoided many of the problems that physical inventory items create.

In AG's you're generally surrounded by many non-interactive physical objects, that would work just as well as - if not better than - the one item the designers have decided you need to use.

The first Blackwell Game also uses the system - sadly, the later titles in the series don't - but beyond that and the Shivah, I don't think it's been used since. I've no idea why it wasn't embraced by developers.

Last edited by noknowncure; 07-31-2009 at 05:21 AM.
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Old 07-30-2009, 05:48 PM   #56
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I don't really mind puzzles as long as they make sense (as in fit into the story). Can't really name too many as the only Adventures games i've played so far are

Culpa Innata (Thought the puzzles were pretty good, though some had a "fake difficulty" as they were easy if you knew what you had to do.)
Indigo (Not really puzzles other then the constant simon says which i really liked)
Myst (Wayyyy too young when i played it so it made no sense to me)
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Old 07-31-2009, 12:30 PM   #57
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Discworld Noir is a fantastic example of clever puzzle design. By using thoughts as individual properties that could manipulate and combine, they avoided many of the problems that physical inventory items create.
That's exactly what I loved about it. Although the normal kind of inventory item is still present the emphasis is removed. You didn't have moronic situations where you had to find a specific item when there are already several that will do the same job there already just waiting to be used.

It also helped the story moved on because the clues you were using were directly related to the motivations of each of the characters you encounter and the mystery that needs to be solved.

There are no useless clues as there might be with items you could find in other games but some can mislead you until you look at them in the right light as they would a genuine detective on a case.
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Old 07-31-2009, 03:41 PM   #58
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And now for a contrary view. I know I'm the only one here that finds the plot gets in the way of the puzzles.
No you're not. But I think it depends on the type of game. Obsidian would not have been helped by more conversation. But I don't know that Syberia would have been helped by more puzzles.
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Give me a quest, or a backstory to sort out (Dark Fall, Rhem, etc), but make it so there are tons of things to work out and have new places open up for exploration. I love puzzles - sliders, mazes, math, logic. Don't side track me with dialogue or people to meet.
In many games, the dialogue is so tedious I'd just as soon do without it. It's a rare game where I actually enjoy the voices and dialogue. And puzzles that are "integrated with the story" tend to not be fun. Puzzles that are "integrated with the gameworld," as in RHEM or Myst, are more enjoyable. But I'm perfectly happy with puzzles that crop up without any excuse at all -- as long as they're fun to do. I'm more tolerant of silly puzzles than silly conversation.
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Old 07-31-2009, 04:03 PM   #59
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Gonzosports, ever play "Gadget". That is the closest to an interactive movie that I've played. I was disappointed with it as a "game". It does however have a certain "atmosphere". Only one puzzle in the entire game.
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Old 08-01-2009, 02:14 AM   #60
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I'm always glad to read other people commenting on the brilliance of Discworld Noir's notepad system. I too add myself to the list of people unsure as to why it hasn't been used more often.

That's what a truly great adventure game is in my opinion. A game that firstly gets the story and atmosphere right, but then also makes the player feel like they're actually solving the plot (ala Discworld Noir), rather than purely solving mostly nonsensical puzzles to progress the story as in Secret Files Tunguska.
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