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Is innovation the death of the genre?

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What games do you consider to be innovative & why?

It’s now half-way through the year & out of the many new releases there’s only a few that appeal to me so is innovation in games to blame? That’s just me so how is it for you?
I’ve included some quotes from the BaSS thread:

Luhr28 - 28 June 2019 07:41 AM

Innovation isn’t very much welcomed in the adventure genre. Sure some of the big ‘hit’ games like The Witness or Obra Dinn get some notice, but the smaller indies who put a lot of thought into innovating are usually ignored in favor of traditional titles that those who were around ‘back in the day’ still crave. It’s why everyone outside the genre sees it as something that died well over 20 years ago.

Everyone outside the genre? Sorry, but of course they’re not interested as they prefer other things so who are they to judge? I myself wouldn’t think of giving an opinion of an action game on a non-adventure game site.

tomimt - 28 June 2019 08:26 AM

In many ways that attitude is the biggest pitfall of the adventure genre, in which many devs fall into. Some of the most vocal fans are bent on making everyone believe that pixel graphics with style copied from Sierra or Lucas is what everyone wants. It has, in many ways, lead to a somewhat stagnant genre.

I’m not a fan of pixel art but can tolerate it in games where that’s the cheapest & most convenient way for a developer to make their game.

Ninth - 28 June 2019 08:48 AM
tomimt - 28 June 2019 08:26 AM

In many ways that attitude is the biggest pitfall of the adventure genre, in which many devs fall into. Some of the most vocal fans are bent on making everyone believe that pixel graphics with style copied from Sierra or Lucas is what everyone wants. It has, in many ways, lead to a somewhat stagnant genre.

This is something I read time and again 15 years ago when Broken Sword 3 was announced, and already it was the modernists vs the reactionnaries. We all know how that turned out.

The genre is not stagnant at all, there’s never been more types of AGs and so many of them.

And pixel art is great, and sells games. Many independant games, no matter the genre, use pixel art. They sell. People like them. And many of them are very innovative.
Celeste, voted by some mainstream newspaper the best game of 2018, is pixel art. Into the breach is pixel arts. Hollow Knight, which is the most impressive game I’ve played in years, is 2D. And there are many more.
This ceaseless claim (come on people, it’s been 15 years !) that people who prefer 2D art are stuck in their ways is groundless and really annoying.
If the only innovation that AG devs can offer is switching their graphics to 3D then that’s sad but in no way the player’s responsability.

Not that anyone listens to what adventure gamers thinks anyway, as we’re a very very small part of the market.

Do gamers buy games because of the pixel art or despite of because the game offers something more interesting?

tomimt - 28 June 2019 09:43 AM

Those pixel art games sell because they are good games, not because they use pixel art. For every top-selling pixel art game, there is a dozen that fails. It isn’t about pixel art, it is about game design and in that, there is very little that has happened when it comes to the adventure genre.

I have nothing against pixel art, but I see it just a lazy attempt at trying to fish in people with nostalgia glasses on. What makes a game good is a way it has been designed, not what graphics it uses. And what comes to game design many adventure designers are still stuck in the ‘90s.

What needs to happen to progress game design?

Luhr28 - 28 June 2019 04:41 PM
Ninth - 28 June 2019 08:20 AM
Luhr28 - 28 June 2019 07:41 AM

but the smaller indies who put a lot of thought into innovating are usually ignored in favor of traditional titles

What games are you referring to ?

The Norwood Suite was completely ignored here, didn’t even get a review. That was one game which, like you say, innovated in story and atmosphere rather than gameplay, and it rivals Twin Peaks in that area and surpasses it in sheer weird.

Others like Eastshade got good reviews but are called ‘boring’. People have been calling out for an open-world adventure game like Skyrim except with puzzles, with crafting, and so on, instead of violence. Well guys, this is it. And it’s wonderful.

When traditional titles like Brassheart or From Matryoshka with Love get all the attention, you suspect that all adventure gamers want is their cartoony 2D graphics and inventory puzzles.


This is the post that prompted me to start the thread. I just want a good story with a beginning middle & end & interesting gameplay that doesn’t include having to master weird & wonderful (innotative? ) ways to play it! 
Brassheart & Matryoshka I suspect are getting “all the attention” because they do have traditional gameplay but there’s not much else at the mo. I do crave for similar with more serious stories & less cartoony graphics.

So to start with why are The Norwood Suite & Eastshade particularly innotative? 

 

     
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Interesting thread. From a dev’s perspective, I can tell you that making your first adventure game is a very tricky proposition. In our case, we really wanted to make sure that we delivered an engaging experience, with a solid story and characters you’ll hopefully fall in love with, and so going for tried and true mechanics made sense. You know they work; people are familiar with them, and you can focus on your strength, add polish, and also add quality of life features so that playing your game doesn’t feel as clunky as, let’s face it, some 90s games do in 2019.

I’m personally not against innovation, and if we ever get to make another game, depending on how this first one does, I am excited to try my hand at it, but admittedly in a very careful and tested manner.

To sum up, we went for a classic approach with our first effort; however, more than 4 years have passed since we started the game (woah! That’s a lot), and games have surfaced in the meantime that proved that you absolutely can come up with fresh ideas and not alienate classic adventure gamers at the same time.

Interested to see what everyone thinks!

[Also, before someone chides us for not being so communicative lately, big update coming next week Innocent ]

     
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chrissie - 29 June 2019 06:55 AM

This is the post that prompted me to start the thread. I just want a good story with a beginning middle & end & interesting gameplay that doesn’t include having to master weird & wonderful (innotative? ) ways to play it! 
Brassheart & Matryoshka I suspect are getting “all the attention” because they do have traditional gameplay but there’s not much else at the mo. I do crave for similar with more serious stories & less cartoony graphics.

You say you have not found anything this year for you. May I ask what you didn’t find appealing about Lorelei, Trüberbrook, Detective Di & The Silk Rose Murders, Sumatra: Fate of Yandi, Bury me, my Love, Rainswept and Whispers of a Machine? They are all good serious stories with a beginning, middle and end. Maybe there are more games out there for you than you think. Just a thought.

     
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Mr Underhill - 29 June 2019 07:42 AM

....In our case, we really wanted to make sure that we delivered an engaging experience, with a solid story and characters you’ll hopefully fall in love with, and so going for tried and true mechanics made sense. You know they work; people are familiar with them, and you can focus on your strength, add polish, and also add quality of life features so that playing your game doesn’t feel as clunky as, let’s face it, some 90s games do in 2019.

Thank you Mr Underhill - that’s exactly what works for me!  Thumbs Up

I’m personally not against innovation, and if we ever get to make another game, depending on how this first one does, I am excited to try my hand at it, but admittedly in a very careful and tested manner.

What would you do in the future to make your game more innovative?  Smile

     
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Donuts McGee - 29 June 2019 07:51 AM
chrissie - 29 June 2019 06:55 AM

This is the post that prompted me to start the thread. I just want a good story with a beginning middle & end & interesting gameplay that doesn’t include having to master weird & wonderful (innotative? ) ways to play it! 
Brassheart & Matryoshka I suspect are getting “all the attention” because they do have traditional gameplay but there’s not much else at the mo. I do crave for similar with more serious stories & less cartoony graphics.

May I ask what you didn’t find appealing about Lorelei, Trüberbrook, Detective Di & The Silk Rose Murders, Sumatra: Fate of Yandi, Bury me, my Love, Rainswept and Whispers of a Machine? They are all good serious stories with a beginning, middle and end. Maybe there are more games out there for you than you think. Just a thought.

Apart from Truberbrook I’ve played all of the games you’ve mentioned except for Bury me, my Love as it’s a 2017 game.

That’s just 5 games! All great games but it’s the end of June & there’s just 5!

You say you have not found anything this year for you.

No, I never said that! Please read posts properly.  Smile 
If there are other games out there that may interest please enlighten me & tell me why. 
  Smile

I should add that I’ve got Guard Duty & the English subtitled version of Clever
& Smart yet to play - another 2 comedy titles.

     

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Just five? Already five. There were times when we got less than that a year, and there are more adventures to come this year. The only Genre that gets more is action. There are less RPGs, less real time strategie, less townbuilding sims etc.

     
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If you think about it, without innovation a lot of the games considered classics or influential would not exist. When Adventure came out, devs were more than happy to churn out more text adventures like it, most of which have been almost completely forgotten, before Roberta and Ken Williams thought to add interactive graphics to the mix.

They weren’t happy just doing the same, they pushed things forward to make King’s Quest, which more or less changed the nature and the presentation of the whole genre. Similar leap was the use of a mouse-driven interface, whomever that can be contributed to.

Sierra on the other kept pushing technological evolution and innovation with their games, from popularizing sound cards to full-scale voice acting. 

Later on, Tomb Raider showed how to do action and environmental puzzles in 3D. Interestingly enough, I do think a good many of modern action/adventure and RPG titles utilize adventure game elements better than a lot of 3D adventure games have managed to do. You got environment puzzles, inventory puzzles, narrative puzzles, which are pretty commonly used in them. It seems to me, that the developers in those genres are more than happy to utilize elements they see as good in their games whereas adventure games seem to have gotten a bit stuck.

Of course, it is a bit of a hyperbole, as some devs do try other things. For example, I thought I would have hated the QTE moments in the new King’s Quest, but I didn’t mind them at all, in the end. And I think I’ve praised Obra Dinn here before as well.

This all isn’t to say I’d dislike traditional P&C games. One of my recent favourites is Thimbleweed Park, but that felt like a perfect storm, where all the stars aligned. The design also avoided a good many of the more annoying “traditional adventure” elements.

     

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Innovation is a way to keep a genre alive, because if all games stayed the same, most fans would mostly grow tired and seek their gaming pleasure elsewhere.

On the other hand, it’s also very important to me that a part of the AGs developpers keep striving to make the most of the existing formula.

In the last few years I feel like we’ve have a perfect balance of old fashioned and innovative games.
And 5 good classic games this year is quite a lot, if you’ve been playing AG in the Runaway area, you’ll know what I mean Meh

Now when developpers which are very talented at producing quality classic games decide to change the formula radically, it kind of worries me because there aren’t that many of those and damnit I need my fix.

     
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chrissie - 29 June 2019 08:10 AM

What would you do in the future to make your game more innovative?  Smile

To be honest, I’ve been way too busy finishing this game, but I can’t wait to have a bit of time and mull things over Smile

     
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I wouldn’t call most graphical styles innovation. The use of pixel art is a stylistic and budget choice but it doesn’t necessarily affect gameplay that much (although 3d does allow games to be more open-world)

There’s different kind of innovations, there’s games like Whisper of a Machine or Unavowed that have a traditional point and click adventure game base but with one innovating mechanic (powers given to you depending on how you interact with people and solve puzzle in Whisper of a Machine, party mechanics in Unavowed). This create fun traditional adventure games with a bit of new fresh air. But I do think that those innovations tend to be small and maybe a bit gimmicky in that it doesn’t really advance the genre all that much.

There are a few more innovative games, that are very interesting and fun to play but I do feel they are more rare and unfortunately in a lot of cases it seems to me that the innovation is to the detriment of puzzles which I find a bit frustrating.
For example, I really loved the first chapter of Dreamfall Chapters (before it was redone to remove a lot of puzzle and “streamline” the game play) and I loved the new King’s Quest. The new King’s Quest in particular felt fresh and interesting because each chapter was a slightly different (but likewise I preferred the puzzle heavy first chapter). Hero U would also be listed there with the Visual Novel/Dating Sim/Time management element added to the more typical Quest of Glory experience.

And then, you have games that are just purely a new genre and most unclassifiable but with Adventure game elements like Return to the Obra Dinn, Papers please, the Witness, Portal, The Talos Principle, a tale of Two Brothers. 

Last category are the walking simulators, multiple choice games with no puzzle elements at all that I would not classify as adventure games (but I’ve been back and forth on that). Those are the telltale games post Walking Dead, games like Firewatch, Gone Home, Tacoma, .... That was a new and innovative genre when it came out but seems a bit stale nowadays…

     
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i couldn’t read all the previous post, dialogues, and quotes, but seriously on the thread title subject all i can say you know about how to destroy and country by diving it?!, its absolutely what is going on with genre and all those innovations from Interactive adventure, side scrolling, escape the room, puzzles games ..and what happened to the classic formula? it becomes rare!, how many adventures like Iron Curtains and Truberbrook come every month?

but anyways they all must suit different consoles and interfaces than the old PC (gamers), that i understand, but i cant stop to complain.

     
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Advie - 02 July 2019 04:11 PM

i couldn’t read all the previous post, dialogues, and quotes, but seriously on the thread title subject all i can say you know about how to destroy and country by diving it?!, its absolutely what is going on with genre and all those innovations from Interactive adventure, side scrolling, escape the room, puzzles games ..and what happened to the classic formula? it becomes rare!, how many adventures like Iron Curtains and Truberbrook come every month?

Sometimes one, sometimes two. Sometimes none. Sometimes more. But it has always been like that. Those are high-end productions taking a lot of time and resources. Was there ever a time when there were more than a few per month? If you look at the month of May 2019 there were many high-quality classic games. I don’t think even in the “golden age” early 90s they were any less rare.

     
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chrissie - 29 June 2019 06:55 AM
Luhr28 - 28 June 2019 04:41 PM
Ninth - 28 June 2019 08:20 AM
Luhr28 - 28 June 2019 07:41 AM

but the smaller indies who put a lot of thought into innovating are usually ignored in favor of traditional titles

What games are you referring to ?

The Norwood Suite was completely ignored here, didn’t even get a review. That was one game which, like you say, innovated in story and atmosphere rather than gameplay, and it rivals Twin Peaks in that area and surpasses it in sheer weird.

Others like Eastshade got good reviews but are called ‘boring’. People have been calling out for an open-world adventure game like Skyrim except with puzzles, with crafting, and so on, instead of violence. Well guys, this is it. And it’s wonderful.

When traditional titles like Brassheart or From Matryoshka with Love get all the attention, you suspect that all adventure gamers want is their cartoony 2D graphics and inventory puzzles.


This is the post that prompted me to start the thread. I just want a good story with a beginning middle & end & interesting gameplay that doesn’t include having to master weird & wonderful (innotative? ) ways to play it! 
Brassheart & Matryoshka I suspect are getting “all the attention” because they do have traditional gameplay but there’s not much else at the mo. I do crave for similar with more serious stories & less cartoony graphics.

So to start with why are The Norwood Suite & Eastshade particularly innotative?

I’m not really sure what you want me to say. You quoted me with exactly the answers you ask me for.

And then later in the thread you tell someone else to please read your post, which it seems you have not done with mine.

I think it’s fairly obvious, as was the case with rtrooney and the Saffron Affair in the recent CPT, you have made up your mind already and are not willing to listen to reason.

Maybe you just like classic games and want more of them, and that’s fine. Blaming your non-preferred style of game for their so-called ‘death’ is not going to help you there.

     
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Donuts McGee - 02 July 2019 07:13 PM
Advie - 02 July 2019 04:11 PM

i couldn’t read all the previous post, dialogues, and quotes, but seriously on the thread title subject all i can say you know about how to destroy and country by diving it?!, its absolutely what is going on with genre and all those innovations from Interactive adventure, side scrolling, escape the room, puzzles games ..and what happened to the classic formula? it becomes rare!, how many adventures like Iron Curtains and Truberbrook come every month?

I don’t think even in the “golden age” early 90s they were any less rare.

you are wrong my friend, there wasn’t any rareness to that then.

 

     
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Luhr28 - 03 July 2019 09:39 AM
chrissie - 29 June 2019 06:55 AM
Luhr28 - 28 June 2019 04:41 PM
Ninth - 28 June 2019 08:20 AM
Luhr28 - 28 June 2019 07:41 AM

but the smaller indies who put a lot of thought into innovating are usually ignored in favor of traditional titles

What games are you referring to ?

The Norwood Suite was completely ignored here, didn’t even get a review. That was one game which, like you say, innovated in story and atmosphere rather than gameplay, and it rivals Twin Peaks in that area and surpasses it in sheer weird.

Others like Eastshade got good reviews but are called ‘boring’. People have been calling out for an open-world adventure game like Skyrim except with puzzles, with crafting, and so on, instead of violence…....


So to start with why are The Norwood Suite & Eastshade particularly innotative?

I’m not really sure what you want me to say. You quoted me with exactly the answers you ask me for.

Yes, I quoted you but your answers are not what I asked you for - they’re lazy & unsatisfying.

Answer now:
In what way does The Norwood Suite innovate in story? In what way does it innovate in atmosphere?
Rivalling/surpassing Twin Peaks in story/atmosphere & sheer weird is not innovative as Twin Peaks has already done it & there are just too many ‘arty/atmospheric/sheer weird’ games that skimp on interesting story & gameplay. I haven’t been able to play too much of TNS due to needing a better graphics card but I think its strength lies in its 3D rendition of quite impressive surroundings more suitable to be played in VR mode I would think.

Eastshade for sure got a good review but you haven’t really hit the nail on the head as to why it’s innotative?

Luhr28 - 03 July 2019 09:39 AM

I think it’s fairly obvious, as was the case with rtrooney and the Saffron Affair in the recent CPT, you have made up your mind already and are not willing to listen to reason

Maybe you just like classic games and want more of them, and that’s fine. Blaming your non-preferred style of game for their so-called ‘death’ is not going to help you there.

I have got absolutely no idea what rtrooney & the Saffron Affair have got to do with this thread?

Yes, I do like classic games but am open to evolvement/improvement of the core elements that constitute them.
What reason am I not not willing to listen to?

Thanks all for your very interesting posts on this thread. The one that sums it all up for me is this one:

Advie - 02 July 2019 04:11 PM

i couldn’t read all the previous post, dialogues, and quotes, but seriously on the thread title subject all i can say you know about how to destroy and country by diving it?!, its absolutely what is going on with genre and all those innovations from Interactive adventure, side scrolling, escape the room, puzzles games ..and what happened to the classic formula? it becomes rare!, how many adventures like Iron Curtains and Truberbrook come every month?

but anyways they all must suit different consoles and interfaces than the old PC (gamers), that i understand, but i cant stop to complain.

I wonder if the answer is to better categorise the games?

     
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chrissie - 03 July 2019 11:07 AM
Luhr28 - 03 July 2019 09:39 AM
chrissie - 29 June 2019 06:55 AM
Luhr28 - 28 June 2019 04:41 PM
Ninth - 28 June 2019 08:20 AM
Luhr28 - 28 June 2019 07:41 AM

but the smaller indies who put a lot of thought into innovating are usually ignored in favor of traditional titles

What games are you referring to ?

The Norwood Suite was completely ignored here, didn’t even get a review. That was one game which, like you say, innovated in story and atmosphere rather than gameplay, and it rivals Twin Peaks in that area and surpasses it in sheer weird.

Others like Eastshade got good reviews but are called ‘boring’. People have been calling out for an open-world adventure game like Skyrim except with puzzles, with crafting, and so on, instead of violence…....


So to start with why are The Norwood Suite & Eastshade particularly innotative?

I’m not really sure what you want me to say. You quoted me with exactly the answers you ask me for.

Yes, I quoted you but your answers are not what I asked you for - they’re lazy & unsatisfying.

Answer now:
In what way does The Norwood Suite innovate in story? In what way does it innovate in atmosphere?
Rivalling/surpassing Twin Peaks in story/atmosphere & sheer weird is not innovative as Twin Peaks has already done it & there are just too many ‘arty/atmospheric/sheer weird’ games that skimp on interesting story & gameplay. I haven’t been able to play too much of TNS due to needing a better graphics card but I think its strength lies in its 3D rendition of quite impressive surroundings more suitable to be played in VR mode I would think.

I feel somewhat bad for writing this because it kind of ruins the surprise of discovering these elements for yourself,  so if you (yes you, not chrissie) are reading this and planning to play the game, please skip this part.
-The character dialogues are heard with musical instruments, each unique to each character and adapted to their personality. Since the theme of the game is at least in part about music, this has the effect of informing you about that character’s role in a different way than would vocal expression, similar to the role of an instrument in an orchestra.
-The story is not revealed in a linear or orderly way but depends on your involvement, listening, watching, observing is crucial in piecing things together. I found this to be a level of interactivity far above the passivity of most adventure games, and really motivated me to take an active role and pay attention.
-You are right about weird being common, but here everything you come across means something. You just don’t get that level of thought in games at all.

Eastshade for sure got a good review but you haven’t really hit the nail on the head as to why it’s innotative?

Have you played another adventure game where you’re free to wander, explore miles of interesting, beautiful, unbroken scenery? Coming across characters on the way who give you tasks and puzzles? Where your character’s key function is an in-built skill which is interactive with the environment? I have not.

Luhr28 - 03 July 2019 09:39 AM

I think it’s fairly obvious, as was the case with rtrooney and the Saffron Affair in the recent CPT, you have made up your mind already and are not willing to listen to reason

Maybe you just like classic games and want more of them, and that’s fine. Blaming your non-preferred style of game for their so-called ‘death’ is not going to help you there.

I have got absolutely no idea what rtrooney & the Saffron Affair have got to do with this thread?

Yes, I do like classic games but am open to evolvement/improvement of the core elements that constitute them.
What reason is it that you I’m not willing to listen to?

If you look at your replies, you haven’t responded to every argument equally. A number of people have posted evidence that your classic games are not under threat. Why innovation spurs growth, not death. The reason you won’t listen is, I suspect, because it was never why you were upset. Thus reason becomes irrelevant and secondary to finding witnesses to your grievances.

     

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