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Gameplay: Text adventure vs Graphical adventure

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Lucien21 - 04 August 2012 03:40 PM

Games like Zork, Planetfall, Mind forever Voyaging, Wonderland, Hitchhikers Guide (damn Bablefish puzzle), etc etc.

Regardless of how good they were in other aspects, the games you mention had very limited amount of custom-made responses to actions - and except for AMFV - were really unforgiving, often in terms of which words did the player needed to use. So Lost Pig might be actually a lot more fun to people who hated those particular characteristics of old-school text adventures.

     

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Ascovel - 04 August 2012 07:56 PM
Lucien21 - 04 August 2012 03:40 PM

Games like Zork, Planetfall, Mind forever Voyaging, Wonderland, Hitchhikers Guide (damn Bablefish puzzle), etc etc.

Regardless of how good they were in other aspects, the games you mention had very limited amount of custom-made responses to actions - and except for AMFV - were really unforgiving, often in terms of which words did the player use. So Lost Pig might be actually a lot more fun to people who hated those particular characteristics of old-school text adventures.

The term unforgiving in connection with text adventures has a specific meaning which has nothing to do with the parser. It means that players can make a wrong move and the game won’t tell them until much later, sometimes near the end.

My advice to people who dislike unforgiving games and dumb parsers is to play the great TimeQuest by Legend Entertainment. It’s a text adventure with graphics. You can die, but the game is NOT unforgiving and parser problems are a thing of the past.

     

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Text adventures made us feel like we were in complete control because so much was left to our imagination. Even if the actual solution was restricted to just a few possible entries or just one, the path taken to reach it was just as important. Of course this could be frustrating at times, retyping combinations of the same thing you were trying to convey over and over.

     
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Fien - 04 August 2012 08:19 PM

My advice to people who dislike unforgiving games and dumb parsers is to play the great TimeQuest by Legend Entertainment. It’s a text adventure with graphics. You can die, but the game is NOT unforgiving and parser problems are a thing of the past.

I would say it is fairly unforgiving. In many of the puzzles you get one chance to perform a series of actions which you need a lot of time and experimentation to figure out. The sultan’s harem for example - it’s impossible to know which girl to pick so you have to exhaust all the possible things you can do for all 6 girls which could lead to solving the puzzle, and do it in the very few moves they give you. There are many ways to make the game unwinnable without knowing it.

     
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Oscar - 05 August 2012 05:29 AM
Fien - 04 August 2012 08:19 PM

My advice to people who dislike unforgiving games and dumb parsers is to play the great TimeQuest by Legend Entertainment. It’s a text adventure with graphics. You can die, but the game is NOT unforgiving and parser problems are a thing of the past.

I would say it is fairly unforgiving. In many of the puzzles you get one chance to perform a series of actions which you need a lot of time and experimentation to figure out.

Time limits or trial-and-error don’t make puzzles unforgiving, just harder and less relaxed. If there’s a bomb which may go off any minute and you have to find a way to disarm it, you may have to restore the game many times before you find the solution.

The sultan’s harem for example - it’s impossible to know which girl to pick so you have to exhaust all the possible things you can do for all 6 girls which could lead to solving the puzzle, and do it in the very few moves they give you.

I’ll repeat that unforgiving means that the game lets you continue your adventure when you’re unaware that you have failed to solve a puzzle and will face a dead end much later. One mistake that you don’t even recognize as such is crucial to the final outcome. In your example of a contained puzzle your goal is clear: find the girl who is unfaithful to the sultan. You know whether you are succesful or not. Whether you like this type of puzzle or not, the term unforgiving doesn’t apply. TimeQuest has no dead ends.

 

 

     

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Well okay, if that’s what you mean by unforgiving but no dead ends? What about when your wristlet flashes? The other thing you can do is leave a place with 2 minutes left until an important event happens, then finish everything else in all the other places in the game, and then return to find you can’t do what you need to in that time. For me that would be enough to throw the game out the window, if I didn’t know better to ‘wait’ a couple of times before leaving each place.

     
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Oscar - 05 August 2012 07:32 AM

Well okay, if that’s what you mean by unforgiving

That’s the way the term is used, it’s certainly not something I thought up. Go play one of the old Magnetic Scrolls games and you won’t complain about Timequest anymore. Smile

but no dead ends? What about when your wristlet flashes? The other thing you can do is leave a place with 2 minutes left until an important event happens, then finish everything else in all the other places in the game, and then return to find you can’t do what you need to in that time. For me that would be enough to throw the game out the window, if I didn’t know better to ‘wait’ a couple of times before leaving each place.

I don’t remember any wristlet dead ends. Are you sure? I don’t have a clue what important events you’re talking about, but leaving a place without finding out what happens next doesn’t sound like a good strategy. Just like saving your attempt to disarm a bomb 2 turns before the bomb goes off isn’t the best of ideas, because 2 turns may not be enough to do what you need to do. And finally, the command “wait” is very important in most text adventures, so this doesn’t sound like a dead end to me.

 

     

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So what’s a dead end then? I mean theoretically King’s Quest doesn’t have any dead ends because just like in Timequest, I should know what events will kill me and what items I need ahead of time by running through the game a couple of times, and since I can restore it’s no problem.

     
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Yeah, I guess I see your point. Dying is one particular form dead ends can take. In Timequest you can be around Arthur just one turn because he’ll kill you the next one. But for me, a dead end is being stuck without the option of going back and finding a much needed item, code, whatever. Timequest has no dead ends because you can always travel back and forth in time.

So when all is said, I stand by my original statement: You can die in TimeQuest, but the game is NOT unforgiving and parser problems are a thing of the past.

     

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Fien - 05 August 2012 12:40 PM

Timequest has no dead ends because you can always travel back and forth in time.

But you can’t. Unless I missed something, once you failed to save Caesar from the lions or stop Napoleon invading England you can’t jump in your interkron and have another go. Which I found pretty stupid, since it IS a time machine.

Anyway my point was really just that I think Gateway is a better starting point, mostly due to its linearity.

     
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Text game are what made me more patient. Today’s game maybe more friendly in the eye’s but not the mind.

     

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@Oscar. Preventing the murder of Caesar is a self-contained puzzle, where you have to do things in a specific order. (I guess that 98 percent of all puzzles are about doing things in a specific order. Smile) So what you’re saying is that a self-contained puzzle with several less-than-optimal solutions has dead ends! I don’t think that’s a useful definition of a dead end and it will never be mine. Besides, I don’t want only the LucasArts type of puzzle where you can’t fuck up.

I really don’t understand you. I have noticed, and not for the first time either, that you often contradict yourself. A couple of threads ago you didn’t regard the Legend games as text adventures, now you do and you even use them as an example. In your thread about death you defended the position that the possibility of dying made adventures more interesting, now you’re saying TimeQuest should hold your hand and make sure you never have to save and restore. So in your opinion the game should give you two options: time-travel to where Vettenmeyer left off or time-travel to where you left off. Not for me, thanks.

BTW, there are also “dead ends” by your definition in Gateway.

     

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Actually probably the real reason is when I played TQ there was a bug where the horse people never came to attach horses to the chariots in Rome 44BC, so I went for aeons trying to figure out where I went wrong. I haven’t even finished it for that reason. So I always considered TQ to be ‘expert’ on the Infocom scale, while Gateway was a breeze. But I’m not saying they should be anything other than what they are, just giving my experience.

     
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Giant Bomb has an article on Text adventures today.

http://www.giantbomb.com/news/the-text-adventure-isnt-dead/4316/

Enjoy, but do what he says and play Warbler’s Nest before reading the rest of the article as he spoils the surprise in the story.

     

An adventure game is nothing more than a good story set with engaging puzzles that fit seamlessly in with the story and the characters, and looks and sounds beautiful.
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Fien - 05 August 2012 06:28 AM

I’ll repeat that unforgiving means that the game lets you continue your adventure when you’re unaware that you have failed to solve a puzzle and will face a dead end much later. One mistake that you don’t even recognize as such is crucial to the final outcome. In your example of a contained puzzle your goal is clear: find the girl who is unfaithful to the sultan. You know whether you are succesful or not. Whether you like this type of puzzle or not, the term unforgiving doesn’t apply. TimeQuest has no dead ends.

 

Based on this thread, I’ve decided to give TimeQuest a try and I think I’ve hit a dead-end. I tried to take the lighter too early from Churchill and he snatched it back and left… Now I need the lighter but I can’t find any way of getting it (according to the walkthrough I’ve just checked I should have waited for Churchill to leave before taking the lighter)

Apart from that, while I find it interesting, I don’t really find that the game gives more freedom of gameplay thanks to the parser… In particular dialogue trees are much more succinct than in most adventure games…

And for example with the powder the player gets from cleopatra, there’s no way to tell the game to take the powder carefully…

     

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