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Old 08-07-2009, 03:40 AM   #81
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Originally Posted by DeadWolf View Post
Okay, it took me two hours this evening to do the Slider Puzzle from Hell™ in Art of Murder 2. I HATE the Slider Puzzle from Hell!™ In fact, I can't think of anything I hate more. Why does it even exist?! What a lazy excuse for a puzzle it is!

Come on, game designers! Can't you come up with something else than that 4x4 grid sent from the bowels of the Devil's homeland?! I swear, that was the last time I dealt with its damned sliding nightmare and the resulting headache that ensues.

I also hate slider puzzles, mostly because I just can't do them! Something in my brain seems to prevent me from working out which direction to go to line them up. I end up going round and round until I accidentally fix it. And since Nancy Drew unfortunately seems to love sliders, I see a lot of them. I did find something that helps though...(gotta love google) Apparently the best way to tackle sliders is to start from the top left corner. Set that piece correctly, then the three around it (so the 4 squares in the top left corner are correct). Then continue the blocks around the square until you are done. I don't really know how this works, but it's cut my slider puzzling time in half...
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Old 08-08-2009, 10:39 PM   #82
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Originally Posted by Intrepid Homoludens View Post

The upcoming Heavy Rain proves that adventure games can go beyond the typical solve-puzzle-get-cutscene shtick.



I'm thinking your sentiments definitely applied several years ago. However, a lot has changed since then in other types of games in terms of how narrative is presented to the player. First person shooters, RPGs, and action adventures have since progressed a lot since 2000.
First let me clarify that I own both Xbox360 and PS3 and spend most of my free time playing with those consoles . So I am definitely aware of the top quality of many modern games such as Mass Effect and Metal Gear Solid 4 and so on and the changes that are made to improve those games and gaming in general .

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What's interesting is that the adventure game type itself has fundamentally remained the same. It has not evolved like some other game types.
Unfortunately I can not totally agree with you because we have seen insignificant yet notable differences and improvements in some of the more recent adventure games .Tendency towards faster pace , new mini-games , better use of 3D models , hint systems and hotspot revealers are among those little differences that some may forget to mention .


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One amusing definition I keep in mind is that adventure games are typical puzzle games using stories as an excuse. At least, that's my funny take on it from a superficial top down perspective. But of course it's more complex than that.
Your statement applies to some adventure games , mostly from the more traditional companies such as Kheops Studio , but not all adventure games are in this category . For the records , I hate such adventure games myself .


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Could you please elaborate? What are those details? And how are they ultimately special compared to the details of other game types?
When you hear Guybrush's comment regarding something as simple as a bowl or interact with the dark environment looking for a clue in Still Life 1 or see Walker wandering in this wonderland of Syberia...... you know that adventure genre has something that no other genre can present .
Can you ever inspect a room looking for a trace of blood or talk to witnesses and interrogate them or make a game like Overclocked an action game ?

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Please define "better".
Better here depicts , deeper , in more detail and from different and sometimes radical angles .


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But haven't other game types like RPGs and first person shooters been featuring a high level interaction in their game worlds for years now? I remember in Deus Ex (Eidos, 2000) you could pick up most anything remotely useful to your character, if not the game world. In Half-Life 2 you were able to stack several objects to make your way safely through an environment using the physical properties of the objects (video; though the main challenges involved action skills). In Mass Effect you could avoid violence and talk your way out of touchy situations, all in real time.



In System Shock 2 (first person RPG, 1999) most of the story was revealed in logs by dead crew members, or in other ways. In Bioshock the story details were enriched by voice recordings of the once alive inhabitants of the vast undersea city, and it's up to you to piece them all together to get an understanding of the story in all its tragedy. Mass Effect offered all the above, including real time playable in-game cutscenes where you, the player, steered the dialog and whatever action followed.



Watch this seductive, lush opening cutscene of Bioshock to see how a non-adventure game tells a story.
Well, well . If you take a good look at my previous post you'll realize that I said WITH THE EXCEPTION OF RPGs and that is because RPGs like for example Fallout 3 (My favorite) manage to approach the situation a bit different than say Call of Duty 4 ! and force the player into engaging in dialogs and story elements .

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You could say the same about many other non-adventure type games (that is, based on the accepted definition of adventures by sites like AG). All the elements are there.
Can you ever make a game like Darkness Within in any genre other than adventure ? While some of the famous elements such as dialog trees and puzzles could be found in other genres but the essence of an adventure game is the way it approaches each situation , is the type of stories it focuses on . You talk a lot about other genres , lets scrutinize them a bit shall we ?
First Person Shooters more often than not are about fighting terrorists or replica soldiers or deadly monsters . There are some amazing game like Bioshock that while look more like a FPS are truly an adventure game with a a focus on combat which I consider as rare exceptions .
Action games as the name suggests are all about moving and running and dodging and shooting and so on . Action-Adventure games like Resident Evil franchise try to combine the action with some puzzle solving and item usage but they are really nothing more than an action game . Role Playing which is the closest to adventure genre while employ dialog trees and item finding is mostly about saving the world or fulfilling something rather cliche towards the end . So I think what makes Adventure genre so special is its uniqueness when it comes to choosing which story to tell and how .

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Yeah, that's pretty much the gist of this thread - stupidly designed puzzles that look and feel like they've been shoved in at the last minute by incredibly lazy or inept designers. It's as if they couldn't be bothered. How unfortunate.
God I loathe such puzzles .


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Well, you could also write to the developers and publishers guilty of this. Tell them exactly what you stated here. If enough people do that they may finally listen. But if enough people stop buying their games precisely for stated reasons, then they have no choice BUT to listen.
I think they are already aware of this matter and that is why I find myself less frustrated while playing more recent adventure games .


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I think part of this is that those companies are finally getting smart and trying, however half-arsed, to reach out and get new people interested in their products. Another is that they've finally gotten it into their thick skulls that many veteran gamers are sick of their crap. Let's hope it all signals towards a sustained effort to improve the games. Of course, it does largely depend on you and other gamers here to let these companies know their products are not acceptable and that you cannot give them your money til they improve it. The economy is too tough for gamers to part with their coin, and it's certainly too tough for game companies to just ignore that reality.
Like you said , let's hope that developers hit the message boards more often and improve their games based on opinions of their fans .

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Old 08-09-2009, 07:35 AM   #83
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Originally Posted by daniel_beck_90 View Post
Unfortunately I can not totally agree with you because we have seen insignificant yet notable differences and improvements in some of the more recent adventure games. Tendency towards faster pace , new mini-games , better use of 3D models , hint systems and hotspot revealers are among those little differences that some may forget to mention .
I think the perceived faster pace is because a lot of hints have been removed, many even ‘dumbed down’ also because of the hints you mention.

I haven't noticed many mini games but I'd agree that it's an insignificant change. I don't particularly like it when certain mini games become mandatory to the game you're playing, like the surfing game in Sam & Max: Moai Better Blues. (I didn't mind the game itself, I just wanted to be solving the puzzles instead).

Many adventure game fans still don't like the introduction of 3D. (Personally I don't mind, I like both the 2D/hand drawn models as well as most of the 3D ones). I don't see why you're counting this in a list of things that have improved in Adventure Games because almost all games use 3D modelling so they've only come as far, in this sense, as any other games that use it. I'm sure a lot of people might even say that AGs haven't come quite as far as other games in terms this.

The hint systems are hit and miss. Some of them just give far too much away. I like the hints from TMI because they gave just enough away, I didn't like the ones in SMI: SE because if you needed to see a hint again you wouldn't get it, you'd get another hint (more clearer) and hitting it a third time just tells you what to do. (If I needed to be told what to do I'd admit defeat and look for a walkthrough, I don't need the game to tell me I'm stupid before I even get there!)

Hot Spot revealers have been around since Simon the Sorcerer 1 (or at least in the version I downloaded, somebody may have added this feature onto the original game).

The biggest differences I can think of has been that certain games have made use of direct control, which some people (not including myself) don't like and episodic distribution (which I do like but isn't unique to AGs. It is, however, the only genre that seems to have had much success with episodic games to my knowledge).

Aside from those the concept of the way we interact with the characters' environment, the objects within it and the people encountered and the puzzles affected by what we gain from these items has remained pretty static. I don't think this is necessarily a bad thing, though.

I think that many of the changes perceived in other games aren't really as big as most people think they are. Racing games haven't changed much (or at all?), 'Beat 'em ups’ (tournament style) have mostly benefitted from changing (and custom) camera angels (they did make changes to the special moves, gradually making the combos necessary longer and longer until they made them far too longer and had to significantly trim them down). RTSs have made few or no innovative changes except for a subtle amalgamation with RTTs, basically taking emphasis from resource management to tactical game play (unless you count multi layered maps). (It'll go back to resource management if there's ever a Warcraft 4 ) (The only really huge change in the RTS has been in the evolution of the micromanagement sub-genre, specifically with the sims and second life, both of which have a huge creative dimension. Well, I assume this is the case with second life, I've never played it). Apparently FPSs have only recently added the option to destroy obstacles behind which opponents might be hiding which... seemed kind of late coming, to me.

I'm not saying that innovations in these games are any less innovative, just that they haven't come as far as some people might think.

I'm also not saying that AGs don't need to move with the times, I'm just suggesting that they don't have to 'catch up' as some people might think they do.
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Old 08-09-2009, 06:30 PM   #84
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I like Lucas Arts style easy "use one item with another" puzzles. But I hate the puzzles where you have to use your brain: It's like I'm trying to solve a math problem, it feels like a job. I call them "screen puzzles" because they take up the entire screen. Not a fan.

I almost always cheat on those particular puzzles after about half an hour or less.
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Old 08-10-2009, 12:44 PM   #85
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I like Lucas Arts style easy "use one item with another" puzzles. But I hate the puzzles where you have to use your brain: It's like I'm trying to solve a math problem, it feels like a job. I call them "screen puzzles" because they take up the entire screen. Not a fan.

I almost always cheat on those particular puzzles after about half an hour or less.
I just love the logical / math puzzles, like Safe Cracker, Nancy Drew, Sherlock Holmes. I do hate the try-all-combinations puzzles - Tunguska for instance. There must be some logic otherwise it feals just like, uh, work...
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Old 08-10-2009, 02:40 PM   #86
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I hate puzzles that don't make any sense, why certain things would go together, or how a certain puzzle works.
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Old 08-10-2009, 04:13 PM   #87
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Originally Posted by Fantasysci5 View Post
I hate puzzles that don't make any sense, why certain things would go together, or how a certain puzzle works.
I thought you usually don't like them at all
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Old 08-10-2009, 06:31 PM   #88
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Well, I don't like them, but I dislike them a lot more when they don't make sense. At least if I can see how I was supposed to do something, I can see that the puzzle was a good one, even if I can't figure it out.
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Old 08-10-2009, 10:37 PM   #89
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First of all (although I believe it has already been mentioned in this thread), games are suppose to be interactive. If storytelling is all that you're after then reading a book or watching a movie is much better.

I agree with the threadstarter in that there are a lot of adventuregames where the puzzles feel less engaging and more like filling. But that isn't something that is unique for adventures IMO. The same qualities in regards of characters and stories can be found in other genres (which has also been mentioned already). I think that the same flaws can also be found elsewhere. There are equal amounts (if not more) of RPGs, FPSs etc. where you do the same things way to many times for it to feel meaningful (and fun).

In other words, games are suppose to give us many hours of entertainment and as a result there are very few that succeds all the way through. That goes for all genres and types of gameplay.

I believe that the best games in the future will be the ones that aren't bound to the rules of a certain genre and can have different types of gameplay depending on the situation in the story.
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Old 08-14-2009, 10:41 AM   #90
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I like puzzles. I agree with a lot of the comments of regarding puzzles from both sides of this debate.

But I still like to be challenged by them. I feel a sense of satisfaction when I've worked out what I'm supposed to do and the more taxing the puzzle at hand has been the more satisfied I feel when I get it.

I feel considerably less satisfied when the puzzle didn't make sense. When the characters’ must do something that nobody in reality would dream of doing to achieve their goals or when a simpler (or at least far more obvious) solution was already available to them.

If, however, I have tried everything and resort to looking up a walkthrough or hints guide (etc) only to find the answer was something I should have thought of, that would make me think "Ah, why didn't I think of that?" or "Well at least that made sense" I feel it's still been a good puzzle and the only problem with it is the fact that I either gave up on it before I got it or that I simply wasn't up to the task. I'd feel slightly let down but I'd have plenty of respect for the game and its developers.

It's only the ones that make me think (or, as the case might be, shout loudly); "That makes No sense!" or "How the F--- was I supposed to get that?" or even "oh COME ON, why couldn't I just use the damn CANDLE??" that get to me.

Naturally those puzzles bother everybody else.

I'm extremely worried that developers are really going to cut out too many puzzles altogether.
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Old 08-15-2009, 10:55 AM   #91
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Originally Posted by Gonzosports View Post
Although my title was probably a bit provoking, I was hoping we could chat about games where puzzles were unnecessary and did detract and/or games where they were seamlessly integrated into the narrative.

I've already mentioned a couple that don't work for me:

TLJ
Broken Sword 1

...and a few that do:

Riven
Myst 3
Loom
Police Quest
I don't mind puzzles if they're well integrated into the plot. I generally accepted Myst III's as logical to the story (Atrus teaching his sons the lessons of balance, etc) although I'll admit I didn't know what the heck I was doing during the 2nd half of Edanna (when you're just randomly tapping on plants so that the insects bugger off).

Whilst not a fan of item based puzzles, Sanitarium worked for me, as there wasn't a single one I couldn't solve logically hence they never slowed me down.

But that's the problem. Puzzles in most adventures are there simply to temporarily halt the player's progression. Not only does it destroy the suspension of disbelief but it also the pacing.

A fantastic example is Still Life. If you play that through whilst solving the puzzles immediately from being introduced to them the game runs through as smooth as clockwork.

Problem was, there was a sever lack of puzzles in that game, and to make up for it they were obnoxiously hard and nonsensical, so I would spend 30 minutes to an hour happily strolling through one scene to the next when suddenly faced with a puzzle that stops me dead in my tracks for hours, days, weeks!

Now I enjoy a challenge, but first you need to be motivated to solving the puzzle i.e. it needs to be enjoyable, and you need to feel they're not so much a puzzle but a way of the story interacting with the player by making them think.

I think Broken Sword's puzzles worked for the majority. I just wish George gave a little more clarity.
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