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TimovieMan

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discussion about modernizing/popularizing adventure games

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tomimt - 26 February 2021 03:15 AM
Luhr28 - 25 February 2021 07:30 PM


Can you name a game where choices don’t matter? I can’t.

KQV: If I choose to eat the pie and not save it for the mountains and the yeti, I will die.
Monkey Island: If I choose the wrong insult in swordfighting, I lose the fight.
Zork: If I choose to go on without light, I get eaten by a grue.

All games have choices. All of them “matter”, in the sense you are using the word.

 

Those all are puzzle fail states. They don’t affect how the story continues and there’s only one solution on how to proceed from any of those. To actually have an effect on how the story continues, there should be something else besides the pie Graham could use to proceed. Different item, a different path. All those really state that you’ve failed to solve a puzzle, they don’t provide a path to another possible conclusion.

So you mean - instead of simply dying when you don’t throw the pie at the yeti, you’re saying it would be a better game if there was an extended sequence where the yeti captured you, took you into the cave, you had to go through numerous puzzles about trying to escape from the lair, maybe tricking the yeti, sneaking out.

That would make a better game? Fair enough if you think so. Seems like another 20 minute solo to me. And it strips away the consequence of having eaten the pie earlier.

     
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@TheLongestJourney: I’ve been wondering about multiplayer as well! At this point, I think the game works best with some direction, but I really like what it does.

I think the old cliché about machines/humans is that machines are good at (re)production, structure and memorization, generally: the technical stuff. The human mind needs to be reminded of this, it needs discipline or else it just goes off in whatever direction. But humans have a unique talent: creativity!

My experience is: the AI is actually super-creative, but loses sight of information a human DM would probably write down and re-use. Even when the info seems to register for a while. It’s associations are often clever, but the general structure of a story gets lost in an endless stream of twists and turns. It’s not all random, sometimes a tangent actually stays on point (for a while), it might even make sense to what happened before. But it’s generally unfocused.

edit: here’s another part of the story I thought was really nice. There are some events between these scenes, so this was a case where the AI was surprisingly consistent. introduction, meeting again, regroup!

     
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The advantage of today’s adventure game releases is the cost is pretty low. I usually pay $2.99 - $7.99. In the glory days of physical releases I paid $59.99 easy. True, those were AAA games compared to today’s indies. Also, if you kept those games in mint condition, they could go up in value.

Nelly Cootalot is a prime example, cheap, $2.99 but plays great with a good story. Darkseed on the Amiga was $59.99 and came in a deluxe box with a full color book and had state of the art graphics when released. You needed a clue book for when you got stuck and that was $12.99. But how much would this be worth today?

If you like variance in your game and different plays each time you play it, the typical FMV games released today are for you. It takes many plays to see all the different endings in those.

For your typical indie like Kathy Rain, I see due to cost them staying with linear stories, they Just don’t have the finances for allot of bells and whistles like advanced AI properties to add variance.

Heart

     

I enjoy playing adventure games on handheld systems- PS VITA, Nintendo DS and ipad mini.

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Adv_Lvr - 03 March 2021 11:17 PM

If you like variance in your game and different plays each time you play it, the FMV games are for you. It takes many plays to see all the different endings in those.

That really depends on the game, not technology itself.

Gabriel Knight 2 is FMV, so is Toonstruck (at least partially), neither of them has any different paths in the game.

     
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I must not have played my copy of 7th Guest enough. 100+ playthroughs and I’ve still only seen one ending. How many more do you recommend?

     
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There is a simple reason why classic style point and click adventure games might never be as popular with the ‘Gamer’ demographic as they once were. In the 80’s and into the 90’s, the only way to experience a deep story with a well realized world was via a point and click game or an RPG. Computers and consoles weren’t powerful enough to offer these elements in the context of an action game, and even older RPGs tended not to be as lush as their adventure game contemporary. So you got your action from your action games and your story from your adventure games. Very few games managed to do both. I think somewhere between 1996 and 1999, we started to see a sea change in the industry, where technology was able to blend elements from previously disparate genres together.
I think that had games like Resident Evil, Metal Gear Solid, Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, Tomb Raider, Deus Ex, etc. existed in some capacity in the previous decade, adventure gaming would never have risen to any sort of prominence.

However more people are playing games now than ever before, and more people are looking to get different experiences out of their games now than ever before. There is a *huge* casual market, and I don’t use that term pejoratively, that might be very open to playing adventure games. If the games were presented and marketed in such a way to appeal to this group, adventure games could become bigger than ever. Accomplishing this might involve a little bit of compromise on the part of the developer, to make, perhaps not the perfect stylistic replica of their favorite Lucas Arts or Sierra game, but something that is similar enough to satisfy us old timers, while at the same time contemporary enough to appeal to new players. I think that a product such as There Is No Game: Wrong Dimension could be a popular phenomenon if it were to receive a few shout outs from some popular pop culture people and a marketing push that goes beyond the adventure gaming and gamer-gaming echo chamber.
I actually believe this will happen—that people will eventually start ‘playing their stories’ as opposed to, or as well as, ‘watching their stories.’ And these stories don’t necessarily have to be the dumbed down latter day Tell Tale style games either; people are okay with solving a puzzle and being challenged every now and then.

 

     

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Baron_Blubba - 04 March 2021 03:12 PM

There is a simple reason why classic style point and click adventure games might never be as popular with the ‘Gamer’ demographic as they once were. In the 80’s and into the 90’s, the only way to experience a deep story with a well realized world was via a point and click game or an RPG. Computers and consoles weren’t powerful enough to offer these elements in the context of an action game, and even older RPGs tended not to be as lush as their adventure game contemporary. So you got your action from your action games and your story from your adventure games. Very few games managed to do both. I think somewhere between 1996 and 1999, we started to see a sea change in the industry, where technology was able to blend elements from previously disparate genres together.
I think that had games like Resident Evil, Metal Gear Solid, Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, Tomb Raider, Deus Ex, etc. existed in some capacity in the previous decade, adventure gaming would never have risen to any sort of prominence.

However more people are playing games now than ever before, and more people are looking to get different experiences out of their games now than ever before. There is a *huge* casual market, and I don’t use that term pejoratively, that might be very open to playing adventure games. If the games were presented and marketed in such a way to appeal to this group, adventure games could become bigger than ever. Accomplishing this might involve a little bit of compromise on the part of the developer, to make, perhaps not the perfect stylistic replica of their favorite Lucas Arts or Sierra game, but something that is similar enough to satisfy us old timers, while at the same time contemporary enough to appeal to new players. I think that a product such as There Is No Game: Wrong Dimension could be a popular phenomenon if it were to receive a few shout outs from some popular pop culture people and a marketing push that goes beyond the adventure gaming and gamer-gaming echo chamber.
I actually believe this will happen—that people will eventually start ‘playing their stories’ as opposed to, or as well as, ‘watching their stories.’ And these stories don’t necessarily have to be the dumbed down latter day Tell Tale style games either; people are okay with solving a puzzle and being challenged every now and then.

adventure games without puzzles of some sort just seem lazy to me . bc in this day and age, if the player gets stuck or just doesnt like puzzles, a walkthrough is a quick search away to bypass them. If there is not a complete text walkthrough, than there is a lets play on youtube, or you can find a quick answer on a message board. There are endless ways to bypass puzzles.

     
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JDawg,

I personally don’t enjoy adventure games without puzzles, but I don’t mind that they exist. What I was saying in my post a little ways up is that most people don’t mind puzzles, or obstacles to progression, at all. Just look at how popular hidden picture games were (are they still?). Sure, those aren’t traditional logic puzzles, but they are obstacles which the player must overcome to move the game along. Old style adventure game style puzzles will probably never return to the mainstream, but the lighter style of puzzling that has become prominent in adventure gaming lately could very well catch on. I’ll mention it again: There Is No Game: Wrong Dimension. The puzzles in that game are solvable by anyone, no walk through required, but still make everyone feel smart for having solved them.

     

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Baron_Blubba - 04 March 2021 03:12 PM

In the 80’s and into the 90’s, the only way to experience a deep story with a well realized world was via a point and click game or an RPG. Computers and consoles weren’t powerful enough to offer these elements in the context of an action game, and even older RPGs tended not to be as lush as their adventure game contemporary. So you got your action from your action games and your story from your adventure games. Very few games managed to do both. I think somewhere between 1996 and 1999, we started to see a sea change in the industry, where technology was able to blend elements from previously disparate genres together.
I think that had games like Resident Evil, Metal Gear Solid, Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, Tomb Raider, Deus Ex, etc. existed in some capacity in the previous decade, adventure gaming would never have risen to any sort of prominence.

I think Jordan Mechner, Eric Chahi, Paul Cuisset made very good attempts at mixing hardboiled action and elements of storytelling/puzzle solving with their early cinematic platformers Prince of Persia, Another World, Flashback. Frederick Raynal invented the survival horror genre with Alone in the Dark some good 5 years before Resident Evil, then went on to make Little Big Adventure. Looking Glass also explored the territory of 1st person action-adventure games since the early 1990s, and System Shock was well-written and intelligent in comparison to Doom, etc. (just not all that fun to play Cool ). But yeah, something changed during the second half of the 1990s and suddenly everyone wanted to become a storyteller. I wish they didn’t, action genre used to be so much better without the story-driven gameplay and lame “puzzle” elements (with few exceptions), not to mention QTE which harmed both genres a lot.

     

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The 90s were full of FMV games. I have a 3DO and still have huge numbers of them. They were like regular adventure games just with FMV.

If you like variance in your game and different plays each time you play it, the typical FMV games released today are for you. It takes many plays to see all the different endings in those.

I revised this text to reflect today’s FMV games. Today’s FMV games are quite different, but very fun. I buy them constantly and they come out quite often. My favorite is the Shapeshifting Detective. True, they are puzzle light, but all the optional endings are quite fun to watch.

I still say, there is nothing wrong with today’s market for adventure games, true, it’s full of indies, but the indies are quite fun and for the money play great.

The one AAA games we got recently sold in millions of copies and that developer will be making more. The AA games we do get sell well too, no bombs.

The bottom line is if the games sells well, we’ll get more of them. Adventure games in North America took a dive years ago because sales tanked.

Indies will always be a gamble, just like indie movies, we will see a few sell well, but many won’t. One thing we have today is VR Games. If you find the right VR adventure game, you’ll have a great time, and simply put these games didn’t exist in the early days of adventure gaming.

To me, I would not change a thing, I’ve never had so much fun.

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I enjoy playing adventure games on handheld systems- PS VITA, Nintendo DS and ipad mini.

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Baron_Blubba - 04 March 2021 03:12 PM

I think that had games like Resident Evil, Metal Gear Solid, Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, Tomb Raider, Deus Ex, etc. existed in some capacity in the previous decade, adventure gaming would never have risen to any sort of prominence.

I doubt that’s true. If back in the 80s I’m looking for an experience like The Lurking Horror, with a fully interactive world, then a game like Resident evil where all I can do is run and fight monsters would never have scratched that itch. And the Tomb Raider series has yet to produce a rich an experience as Fate of Atlantis. Why is that?

     
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Luhr28 - 04 March 2021 09:25 PM
Baron_Blubba - 04 March 2021 03:12 PM

I think that had games like Resident Evil, Metal Gear Solid, Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, Tomb Raider, Deus Ex, etc. existed in some capacity in the previous decade, adventure gaming would never have risen to any sort of prominence.

I doubt that’s true. If back in the 80s I’m looking for an experience like The Lurking Horror, with a fully interactive world, then a game like Resident evil where all I can do is run and fight monsters would never have scratched that itch. And the Tomb Raider series has yet to produce a rich an experience as Fate of oAtlantis. Why is that?


See that is an opinion, personally i think fate of Atlantis is overrated. It is fun, but the puzzles are sort of dumbed down, bc the option of choice on how to play the game. Certain aspects are not fully fleshed out. I think some simply give it more credit than it deserves bc it is an indiana jones title. I think broken sword is a far superior version of the indiana jones formula but once again that is just my opinion not a provable fact.

     
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Jdawg445 - 05 March 2021 05:09 AM

See that is an opinion, personally i think fate of Atlantis is overrated. It is fun, but the puzzles are sort of dumbed down, bc the option of choice on how to play the game. Certain aspects are not fully fleshed out. I think some simply give it more credit than it deserves bc it is an indiana jones title. I think broken sword is a far superior version of the indiana jones formula but once again that is just my opinion not a provable fact.

Absolutely, right on.
FoA was almost oudated already at launch, because it was just offering more of the same from the previous Indy game, and all bigger changes to the adventure game concept, user interface and others, happened after FoA. Three different ways to approach some parts of the game was an interesting and somewhat new idea too, but like you said, didn’t work quite that well. Too bad later games never really refined that idea, as it’s unlikely to get that to perfection on the first attempt.

FoA did prove something else though. It showed that adventure games based on films or other licensed things can stand on their own, even if the story is not directly based on any particular work. Telltale later took that concept and ran with it.

Broken Sword really was great. In all honesty, it did dumb down some parts of the gameplay, like that context sensitive cursor which really took away some of the thinking process. (Of course some of that was always unnecessary, like do you “use door” or “open door” to advance further.) But the balance between crime story and comedy, puzzles and risk of death, everything else, was very close to perfection in the original Broken Sword. So much so that none of the sequels or remasters did it better, or even reached the same level.

Anyway, what I would like to know is if there are any games that looked promising and with some fresh ideas, but then for whatever reason never got made? Anyone have any good candidates?

I recently read an article about The Devil’s Men by Daedalic, that was supposed to be released in 2015, but has obviously gotten cancelled with no attempts to release it through other publishers or anything.

If what the article wrote was correct, that would have been a very interesting attempt to change the genre somewhat. Maybe nothing to attract big masses, but a cartoon-style steampunk point-and-click with some alternative ways to play it… there really isn’t any game that has attempted that concept, is there?

 

     
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I’ll put in my 2 cents in support of the very small population of members who prefer a puzzle laden exploratory type game - yes , the same old Myst -like, etc.
I’m not going to apologise for what I like. I am willing to spend money on these games and back these games at Kickstarter. Currently I’m waiting for Firmament.
These games are almost impossible to find now. I recently upgraded my computer from a WIN7, and was finally able to play Obduction and Quern. I thought there should be a huge backlog of PC games waiting for me. No such luck. I caught up with the Black Cube games, Prominence, and Haven Moon. I’ve got Cutish, Zof and Call of the Sea waiting. The last PC games I played since 2015 were The Witness and Roon Sehv. 
I’ve been playing a lot of escape games, casual games, and iOS Adventures (Glitch games, Rusty Lake, Isoland) to fill the gap. They are fun, but they are not the same experience. What I miss are the big worlds to explore and the layers of complex puzzles that make you think about connections and putting the pieces together.
With regards to modernising games, I found that some games recommended to me - Talos Principle and Xing - were changed enough that, as much as I wanted to play them, I couldn’t get past the ‘action’ (for lack of a better term). Talos had you shooting those killer floating balls, and Xing made you jump onto footprints. It seems that modernising to appeal to a broader audience inevitably puts some kind of stealth, action, timed elements in them.
So, for those of you who have enough of the old style games that you crave something new, I envy you.
I have not yet had enough of the my old favourite genre, and it appears to be dying out.

     

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Colpet, have you played Eyes of Ara? It’s a Mystian game. You could also check out The Initiate and its sequel, not sure if you’d like them.

PS: I’m a bit surprised you didn’t enjoy Xing, it has great puzzles.

PPS: More recommendations: The Room series. Not what you’re looking for, but nice puzzle games.

     

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