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Return To Monkey Island - MI2 sequel from Ron Gilbert

Blackthorne

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Codex 2014 Divinity: Original Sin 2
Side note, I'm convinced that the worst thing to ever happen to adventure games was Ron's "hurr durr adventure games suck" essay being held up as some kind of de facto design bible for the genre.

He made good points but over the years people distilled the whole thing down to oversimplifications such as "death is bad". Death in adventure games is fine. Unwinnable situations and dead ends... not good.

Finding the many amusing deaths in a series like Space Quest was half the fun, and it made sense for those games' tone. It would be stupid for a game like Broken Sword or The Last Express to not have deaths from which the player learns how to advance. If you're smart enough to figure it out the first time, good for you.

I'm just of the mindset that asking the player to save their game regularly and be ready to die and restore isn't such a monumental request that ruins the experience.

I'll take an old-school Sierra game over a Ron Gilbert game any day of the week.
As a designer, I had a lot of fun finding and planning ways to kill the player in Quest for Infamy - I wanted to try to make the deaths part of the experience, not just an annoyance. It's a line, but I think having consequence in an adventure game ups the stakes and makes for a more interesting game. With the ability to save games AND the ability to make auto-saves, I don't think it's as much as an annoyance as it may have once been. But that's me.
 

Morpheus Kitami

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Most Sierra's games are full of examples of bad designs and player's death is one of them.
In fact they reminded me the deaths in those old gamebooks where the player arrived at a crossroad.
The player had no info whatsoever about the correct path and must choose between 2 paths one of which kill him instantly and the other let him continue on his quest.
Many Sierra's games have plenty of similar deaths.
One of the reasons that most Sierra's games are pretty much unplayable now while many of LucasArts are perfectly playable.

Just because Gilbert does and say plenty of stupid things doesn't mean that some ideas of his didn't actually improved the genre.
That why (at least for me) his "betrayal" hurt that much. He actually could further improve the genre but instead choose to do damage.
Maybe I've just never played the Sierra games you're complaining about, but I've never seen Sierra have you pick a path and die if you picked the wrong one. Oh, there were adventure games that did that, especially in the horror genre, but that wasn't Sierra's problem. Unless you're talking about things like walking into the moat? Surely you wouldn't be taking a joke as some kind of serious design flaw...? Sierra's problem, after the early days when they were basically the only game in town, was that sometimes they made games that were designed to sell hint books. King's Quest V is the worst of it. Of course, people often forget that Sierra's games had alternative solutions and some of the more annoying puzzles were entirely optional. Sierra was a bit ahead of the curve in that regard.
I thought, that Deadly Premonition had a real (and also very long) ending.
Yes, it is kind of strange in many ways - but so is the whole game. And this is part of its charm IMO.
How is Deadly Premonition overall? On the surface it seems like something that I would like. I was inclined to give it a spin some years back but the reviews about bugs and crashes were quite vocal.
Are there any fan paches to fix shit?
Speaking as someone who was interested in it once upon a time, it is an absolute pain to get running. And by pain, I meant that back when I tried playing it the game just wouldn't run.
 

Boleskine

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Most Sierra's games are full of examples of bad designs and player's death is one of them.
In fact they reminded me the deaths in those old gamebooks where the player arrived at a crossroad.
The player had no info whatsoever about the correct path and must choose between 2 paths one of which kill him instantly and the other let him continue on his quest.
Many Sierra's games have plenty of similar deaths.
One of the reasons that most Sierra's games are pretty much unplayable now while many of LucasArts are perfectly playable.

Just because Gilbert does and say plenty of stupid things doesn't mean that some ideas of his didn't actually improved the genre.
That why (at least for me) his "betrayal" hurt that much. He actually could further improve the genre but instead choose to do damage.

I did write Ron's article had many good points and wasn't really faulting him for having his own personal design philosophy. I was moreso talking about how that personal design philosophy apparently became a widespread or universal design philosophy, or at least has been largely perceived as one. What works well for Ron may not work well for others, depending on the type of game they are making.

The phenomenon of Ron's article becoming gospel-like is similar to the Old Man Murray article about the cat mustache puzzle in Gabriel Knight 3. Yes, it's not a very good puzzle, and the OMM article is an entertaining deconstruction of why that is. Yet somehow over the years general audiences who have not played GK3 or even any adventure games would cite the cat mustache puzzle as the death of the genre because, well, that one article that everyone else references said so.

"Death in adventure games bad. Monkey Island guy said so."

Larry 6 even had a button that let you restart on the same screen after death. Just undo the action that killed you. Simple.
And most of the deaths were so hilarious you'd often deliberately trigger them just to see the funny death sequence.

I don't see how this is bad in any way. Functionally, due to the handy little undo button, it's as if death doesn't really exist anyway. But removing the scenes entirely would be detrimental to the game's humor.

Designers who go by a "bible" that clearly spells out what you can or cannot do force themselves into a creative straitjacket that prevents thinking outside the box.

Yes exactly, I'd rather see people do what they want rather than do what makes Ron Gilbert happy.

I mentioned Broken Sword, so I'd like to use the puzzle regarding the manuscript at the hotel as an example. I think that scene works well in that when you leave with the manuscript, the two thugs search George, and toss him into the river in a burlap sack. Now the player knows the stakes and has essentially received a fail clue AFTER making a mistake.

If there was no death, then George would probably say something like, "Hmm, I don't think I should leave just yet." Or, "I can't leave with the manuscript. Those guys will search me for it. I need to find a way to get it past them." Instead of seeing through the consequence of making a particular mistake, the game prevents you from doing so and gives you a hint BEFORE you make said mistake. Now you don't really know if those thugs would really kill George. Preventing death limits how much the game can communicate the threat of danger from antagonists.

It's a personal preference but in most cases I'd prefer the former option (death, retry) over the latter option (no death, game railroads you). Of course it depends on the tone and style of the game. The "no deaths" philosophy works well for Monkey Island's tone. It wouldn't work for Police Quest.

Yes, older games could be unforgiving and frustrating, but that was bad design and inexperience rather than a fundamental flaw of having death as part of the gameplay.

As a designer, I had a lot of fun finding and planning ways to kill the player in Quest for Infamy - I wanted to try to make the deaths part of the experience, not just an annoyance. It's a line, but I think having consequence in an adventure game ups the stakes and makes for a more interesting game. With the ability to save games AND the ability to make auto-saves, I don't think it's as much as an annoyance as it may have once been. But that's me.

I have the same opinion, that game-ending consequence need not be an annoyance or impediment to enjoying the game. Nowadays, and for probably over two decades, death in adventure games has been little more than a minor nuisance. It doesn't have to be limited to timing/action puzzles, either.

Maybe I've just never played the Sierra games you're complaining about, but I've never seen Sierra have you pick a path and die if you picked the wrong one. Oh, there were adventure games that did that, especially in the horror genre, but that wasn't Sierra's problem. Unless you're talking about things like walking into the moat? Surely you wouldn't be taking a joke as some kind of serious design flaw...? Sierra's problem, after the early days when they were basically the only game in town, was that sometimes they made games that were designed to sell hint books. King's Quest V is the worst of it. Of course, people often forget that Sierra's games had alternative solutions and some of the more annoying puzzles were entirely optional. Sierra was a bit ahead of the curve in that regard.

One early example could be the bridge in King's Quest 2. I think the game warns you that the bridge looks unsafe but you otherwise don't really get any feedback that you can only cross a limited number of times before you die and potentially have to replay most of the game. That's a bad design by modern standards, not because of being able to die but because the player can unknowingly progress to a dead end or unwinnable state.
 
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negator2vc

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Most Sierra's games are full of examples of bad designs and player's death is one of them.
In fact they reminded me the deaths in those old gamebooks where the player arrived at a crossroad.
The player had no info whatsoever about the correct path and must choose between 2 paths one of which kill him instantly and the other let him continue on his quest.
Many Sierra's games have plenty of similar deaths.
One of the reasons that most Sierra's games are pretty much unplayable now while many of LucasArts are perfectly playable.

Just because Gilbert does and say plenty of stupid things doesn't mean that some ideas of his didn't actually improved the genre.
That why (at least for me) his "betrayal" hurt that much. He actually could further improve the genre but instead choose to do damage.
Maybe I've just never played the Sierra games you're complaining about, but I've never seen Sierra have you pick a path and die if you picked the wrong one. Oh, there were adventure games that did that, especially in the horror genre, but that wasn't Sierra's problem. Unless you're talking about things like walking into the moat? Surely you wouldn't be taking a joke as some kind of serious design flaw...? Sierra's problem, after the early days when they were basically the only game in town, was that sometimes they made games that were designed to sell hint books. King's Quest V is the worst of it. Of course, people often forget that Sierra's games had alternative solutions and some of the more annoying puzzles were entirely optional. Sierra was a bit ahead of the curve in that regard.
Maybe I didn't explain it right. I am not against player's death if the player is properly warned about consequences to their actions and the game don't force the player to lose vast amount of progress.
What I was talking before is about sudden deaths without any warning in Sierra's games where you didn't know whether your next action will kill you or not.
That's why I put the example with the gamebook not as a literal "path" example.
 

negator2vc

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Most Sierra's games are full of examples of bad designs and player's death is one of them.
In fact they reminded me the deaths in those old gamebooks where the player arrived at a crossroad.
The player had no info whatsoever about the correct path and must choose between 2 paths one of which kill him instantly and the other let him continue on his quest.
Many Sierra's games have plenty of similar deaths.
One of the reasons that most Sierra's games are pretty much unplayable now while many of LucasArts are perfectly playable.

Just because Gilbert does and say plenty of stupid things doesn't mean that some ideas of his didn't actually improved the genre.
That why (at least for me) his "betrayal" hurt that much. He actually could further improve the genre but instead choose to do damage.

I did write Ron's article had many good points and wasn't really faulting him for having his own personal design philosophy. I was moreso talking about how that personal design philosophy apparently became a widespread or universal design philosophy, or at least has been largely perceived as one. What works well for Ron may not work well for others, depending on the type of game they are making.

The phenomenon of Ron's article becoming gospel-like is similar to the Old Man Murray article about the cat mustache puzzle in Gabriel Knight 3. Yes, it's not a very good puzzle, and the OMM article is an entertaining deconstruction of why that is. Yet somehow over the years general audiences who have not played GK3 or even any adventure games would cite the cat mustache puzzle as the death of the genre because, well, that one article that everyone else references said so.

"Death in adventure games bad. Monkey Island guy said so."
I am not against player's death but against sudden death without warning.
And if I have to choose between no deaths (the lucasarts way) and deaths (Sierra way) I will definitively choose the Lucasarts one.
I love Sierra games but it's one the reasons that these days when I replay old games I tend to avoid them.
 

Boleskine

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Most Sierra's games are full of examples of bad designs and player's death is one of them.
In fact they reminded me the deaths in those old gamebooks where the player arrived at a crossroad.
The player had no info whatsoever about the correct path and must choose between 2 paths one of which kill him instantly and the other let him continue on his quest.
Many Sierra's games have plenty of similar deaths.
One of the reasons that most Sierra's games are pretty much unplayable now while many of LucasArts are perfectly playable.

Just because Gilbert does and say plenty of stupid things doesn't mean that some ideas of his didn't actually improved the genre.
That why (at least for me) his "betrayal" hurt that much. He actually could further improve the genre but instead choose to do damage.

I did write Ron's article had many good points and wasn't really faulting him for having his own personal design philosophy. I was moreso talking about how that personal design philosophy apparently became a widespread or universal design philosophy, or at least has been largely perceived as one. What works well for Ron may not work well for others, depending on the type of game they are making.

The phenomenon of Ron's article becoming gospel-like is similar to the Old Man Murray article about the cat mustache puzzle in Gabriel Knight 3. Yes, it's not a very good puzzle, and the OMM article is an entertaining deconstruction of why that is. Yet somehow over the years general audiences who have not played GK3 or even any adventure games would cite the cat mustache puzzle as the death of the genre because, well, that one article that everyone else references said so.

"Death in adventure games bad. Monkey Island guy said so."
I am not against player's death but against sudden death without warning.
And if I have to choose between no deaths (the lucasarts way) and deaths (Sierra way) I will definitively choose the Lucasarts one.
I love Sierra games but it's one the reasons that these days when I replay old games I tend to avoid them.

But what defines a "sudden death without warning"?

If the player, say, walks off a platform into a moat filled with alligators, should the character not die? Does the player need to be warned in advance that this is a dangerous action? Should there be an invisible barrier that prevents the player from walking off said platform? If so, wouldn't some players be upset that the game isn't letting them do what they want? Or what about entering the dragon's cave? Should the game tell the player that the dragon breathing fire is, in fact, dangerous and could kill Graham if he gets too close to the dragon? Shouldn't that be obvious to the player?

What about some of the stealth sequences in the Tex Murphy games? Should the player be warned in advanced that being seen by a security drone will result in death? Shouldn't the player be able to deduce that getting caught could result in death when Tex is sneaking around a heavily guarded building without permission?

Death in early Sierra games was not the problem. Dead ends and unwinnable situations - flawed design - were the problem. The solution to that was not and is not hand-holding and preventing the player from making mistakes or taking certain risks.

Death may not suit the types of games Ron makes very well. That doesn't mean adventure games can't successfully use death as a mechanic for feedback and enjoyable part of the overall experience.
 
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Tramboi

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It's dishonest to conflate death with dead-ends and bad design.
Sierra games issues were not the deaths, it's a bit disingenuous to play them with a walkthrough now and ignore the dead-ends.
At the time, you could be stuck eternally for missing an object in an early scene.
And saving/loading on floppy discs was not pleasant.
 
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negator2vc

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Most Sierra's games are full of examples of bad designs and player's death is one of them.
In fact they reminded me the deaths in those old gamebooks where the player arrived at a crossroad.
The player had no info whatsoever about the correct path and must choose between 2 paths one of which kill him instantly and the other let him continue on his quest.
Many Sierra's games have plenty of similar deaths.
One of the reasons that most Sierra's games are pretty much unplayable now while many of LucasArts are perfectly playable.

Just because Gilbert does and say plenty of stupid things doesn't mean that some ideas of his didn't actually improved the genre.
That why (at least for me) his "betrayal" hurt that much. He actually could further improve the genre but instead choose to do damage.

I did write Ron's article had many good points and wasn't really faulting him for having his own personal design philosophy. I was moreso talking about how that personal design philosophy apparently became a widespread or universal design philosophy, or at least has been largely perceived as one. What works well for Ron may not work well for others, depending on the type of game they are making.

The phenomenon of Ron's article becoming gospel-like is similar to the Old Man Murray article about the cat mustache puzzle in Gabriel Knight 3. Yes, it's not a very good puzzle, and the OMM article is an entertaining deconstruction of why that is. Yet somehow over the years general audiences who have not played GK3 or even any adventure games would cite the cat mustache puzzle as the death of the genre because, well, that one article that everyone else references said so.

"Death in adventure games bad. Monkey Island guy said so."
I am not against player's death but against sudden death without warning.
And if I have to choose between no deaths (the lucasarts way) and deaths (Sierra way) I will definitively choose the Lucasarts one.
I love Sierra games but it's one the reasons that these days when I replay old games I tend to avoid them.

But what defines a "sudden death without warning"?

If the player, say, walks off a platform into a moat filled with alligators, should the character not die? Does the player need to be warned in advance that this is a dangerous action? Should there be an invisible barrier that prevents the player from walking off said platform? If so, wouldn't some players be upset that the game isn't letting them do what they want? Or what about entering the dragon's cave? Should the game tell the player that the dragon breathing fire is, in fact, dangerous and could kill Graham if he gets too close to the dragon? Shouldn't that be obvious to the player?

What about some of the stealth sequences in the Tex Murphy games? Should the player be warned in advanced that being seen by a security drone will result in death? Shouldn't the player be able to deduce that getting caught could result in death when Tex is sneaking around a heavily guarded building without permission?

Death in early Sierra games was not the problem. Dead ends and unwinnable situations - flawed design - were the problem. The solution to that was not and is not hand-holding and preventing the player from making mistakes or taking certain risks.

Death may not suit the types of games Ron makes very well. That doesn't mean adventure games can't successfully use death as a mechanic for feedback and enjoyable part of the overall experience.
I will use your own examples to show you what I mean

In the alligator case obviously no warning is needed. Everyone know about the creature and what will happen to its prey. So the player know to avoid them. Same thing about other obvious dangerous situations like the dragon. Everyone know about its deadliness.

In the Tex Murphy example on the other hand a warning is warranted. Why the player must assume that the drones are deadly? They could easily inform the authorities about the intrusion (I don't recall the encounters so I just using it as example).
But if an npc has told the player that the drones are deadly or there is a sign on the building door meant for employees warning them (and indirectly the player) about the deadliness of the drones then no problem.

Unfair deaths, which were very common in older games, are the problem not all deaths.
 

negator2vc

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It's dishonest to conflate death with dead-ends and bad design.
Sierra games issues were not the deaths, it's a bit disingenuous to play them with a walkthrough now and ignore the dead-ends.
At the time, you could be stuck eternally for missing an object in an early scene.
And saving/loading on floppy discs was not pleasant.
Unfair deaths are also bad design even if the game autosave (which prevent progress loss).
Of course dead-ends are the worst and the number one reason that quite a few old games are no longer playable (unless you use a walkthrough ;-) )
 

Alex

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Not only I would defend deaths in older adventure games, I would also defend dead ends.

Dead ends aren't a problem in themselves. Ideally, you want to give the player some feedback so they can eventually figure out what they might have missed or done wrong, so that even if they get to such a state, they walk away with a clearer idea of how what they missed fits in with the puzzles. Sure, I wouldn't advocate for you to put dead ends on purpose like Sierra did with its funny deaths. But for games where the puzzles are more "open ended", that is, where you have various parts that each may have various states, it might naturally be the case that you might set some of these parts in a way that ends your chances at winning. An example of this kind of puzzle is getting the meteor police to arrest the meteor in Maniac Mansion. I am not sure whether you can get into a dead end in that game, but when you have puzzles that have various "moving parts" like that, it might make sense that you could.

Dead ends aren't even that much of a pain if the game isn't slowed down by animations and whatnot. A text based game for instance can be quickly brought to a previous state simply by inputting a few dozen commands. These commands are processed almost instantly (at least in a modern machine) and as long as you were taking notes/making a map, you should know what to input without much issue.

The bigger pain is when you have no idea that something you did (or maybe didn't do) put you in a dead state. Making sure the game gives you some feedback about that is crucial, since otherwise you may try dozens of things in your game without realising that you need to take a step back.
 

Morpheus Kitami

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One early example could be the bridge in King's Quest 2. I think the game warns you that the bridge looks unsafe but you otherwise don't really get any feedback that you can only cross a limited number of times before you die and potentially have to replay most of the game. That's a bad design by modern standards, not because of being able to die but because the player can unknowingly progress to a dead end or unwinnable state.
Now see, i get where you're coming from on this one, but it does warn you, doesn't it? I think the problem is so many games tell you a bridge is unsafe but never penalize you for crossing it. And of course that you don't know what you need on the other side of the bridge until you've extensively checked.
Maybe I didn't explain it right. I am not against player's death if the player is properly warned about consequences to their actions and the game don't force the player to lose vast amount of progress.
What I was talking before is about sudden deaths without any warning in Sierra's games where you didn't know whether your next action will kill you or not.
That's why I put the example with the gamebook not as a literal "path" example.
Fair enough on the literal path, but I still think what I said applies. Sierra's problem was never "you open a door and a guy shoots you". Sierra's problem was "you open a door, and a guy with a gun jumps out. Because you didn't pick up a water gun filled with acid thirty rooms ago you can't do anything, and he shoots you." The Police Quest series, which were all about being a police officer and doing exactly what a police officer should do, warned you. Even if it was "Oh, you didn't check all four tires on your vehicle, there's someone in your backseat and he shoots you." Or Gold Rush, which was basically the most bullshit of Sierra's titles, was quite upfront that the game was going to be bullshit.
In the Tex Murphy example on the other hand a warning is warranted. Why the player must assume that the drones are deadly? They could easily inform the authorities about the intrusion (I don't recall the encounters so I just using it as example).
But if an npc has told the player that the drones are deadly or there is a sign on the building door meant for employees warning them (and indirectly the player) about the deadliness of the drones then no problem.

Unfair deaths, which were very common in older games, are the problem not all deaths.
Why wouldn't you assume the drones would do something deadly or at least cause the game to end? The drones are there to stop unwanted guests so even if they're just going to tell the authorities you've at best ended the game there or at worst created a walking dead situation, where the cops will arrest you later.
Not only I would defend deaths in older adventure games, I would also defend dead ends.

Dead ends aren't a problem in themselves. Ideally, you want to give the player some feedback so they can eventually figure out what they might have missed or done wrong, so that even if they get to such a state, they walk away with a clearer idea of how what they missed fits in with the puzzles. Sure, I wouldn't advocate for you to put dead ends on purpose like Sierra did with its funny deaths. But for games where the puzzles are more "open ended", that is, where you have various parts that each may have various states, it might naturally be the case that you might set some of these parts in a way that ends your chances at winning. An example of this kind of puzzle is getting the meteor police to arrest the meteor in Maniac Mansion. I am not sure whether you can get into a dead end in that game, but when you have puzzles that have various "moving parts" like that, it might make sense that you could.

Dead ends aren't even that much of a pain if the game isn't slowed down by animations and whatnot. A text based game for instance can be quickly brought to a previous state simply by inputting a few dozen commands. These commands are processed almost instantly (at least in a modern machine) and as long as you were taking notes/making a map, you should know what to input without much issue.

The bigger pain is when you have no idea that something you did (or maybe didn't do) put you in a dead state. Making sure the game gives you some feedback about that is crucial, since otherwise you may try dozens of things in your game without realising that you need to take a step back.
I feel like you make a very good point, especially with the more open-ended games. This reminds me of Personal Nightmare, by Horrorsoft, which is a really hard adventure game that engages in a lot of classic adventure bad game design. You can die in so many ways, you can get screwed over in so many ways and you're always on a timer, because the whole game takes place over four days in semi-real time. But you know that going in, especially now since the first review on every storefront is someone complaining about how hard it is and how they could never beat it without a walkthrough. Now, I didn't beat it without a walkthrough either, but I'm not V_K, so that isn't surprising. But I did play get a lot of the game's puzzles on my own. Once you get past the so hard its impossible mindset you can solve quite a bit of it. Its a fairly reasonable game once you get past the mindset you get that its so hard to be unsolvable, and I think that's part of the problem adventure games have, mindset.
 

Alex

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One early example could be the bridge in King's Quest 2. I think the game warns you that the bridge looks unsafe but you otherwise don't really get any feedback that you can only cross a limited number of times before you die and potentially have to replay most of the game. That's a bad design by modern standards, not because of being able to die but because the player can unknowingly progress to a dead end or unwinnable state.
Now see, i get where you're coming from on this one, but it does warn you, doesn't it? I think the problem is so many games tell you a bridge is unsafe but never penalize you for crossing it. And of course that you don't know what you need on the other side of the bridge until you've extensively checked.
(snip...)

I don't remember that specific example, but, maybe it would be more fair if the game gave you some feedback that it is the number of crossings that is limited? If I was playing the game and the bridge that seemed unsafe broke down, I would think of various possibilities:
  1. There is a maximum amount of items I can carry with me before the bridge breaks.
  2. I stepped right on a bad spot this time and I have to avoid it to avoid having the bridge fall.
  3. There is a random chance every time I cross the bridge it will collapse (this is kinda stupid as a puzzle, but could be a possibility).
And probably other possibilities that just don't come to me right now. On the other hand, if the description of the bridge got progressively worse, with maybe some graphical indication that some thing was going on, it would be possible to guess the developer's intent better. Which is my point about feedback.
 

The BRM

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This discussion reminds me of why Gabriel Knight 1 is one of my all time favorite adventure games. No dead ends, great puzzles, dialog trees, and death is still a danger, but not an ever-present one and thus only in scenes where it makes sense.
 

Boleskine

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It's dishonest to conflate death with dead-ends and bad design.
Sierra games issues were not the deaths, it's a bit disingenuous to play them with a walkthrough now and ignore the dead-ends.
At the time, you could be stuck eternally for missing an object in an early scene.
And saving/loading on floppy discs was not pleasant.
?
I didn't conflate death with dead-ends. I started by saying it was a shame that most people did just that... a result of oversimplifying Ron's "why adventure games suck" article. I've gone out of my way to say in each post that death/failure/game-over is not the issue, bad design that puts the player in unwinnable states or dead ends is.

In the Tex Murphy example on the other hand a warning is warranted. Why the player must assume that the drones are deadly? They could easily inform the authorities about the intrusion (I don't recall the encounters so I just using it as example).
But if an npc has told the player that the drones are deadly or there is a sign on the building door meant for employees warning them (and indirectly the player) about the deadliness of the drones then no problem.
If the security drones' function was to alert authorities if the player is spotted, then what's the difference between "Game over, Tex is dead" or "Game over, Tex is captured"? They are both 'deaths' in the sense of the player's progress halting and needing to restore or retry.

I haven't played the Tex games for many years but I simply don't recall being surprised when doing one of those stealth sections that detection led to 'death'.

Unfair deaths, which were very common in older games, are the problem not all deaths.
Sure, but like I said above this discussion started with me lamenting how over the years people have given too much weight to Ron's "no deaths" mantra and generalized older games like Sierra's being unfair because of the inclusion of any death, rather than some of those games being unfair for certain badly designed deaths or 'dead man walking' scenarios. Many of them used death to effective and humorous lengths. If you save every now and then, an unexpected death is not a big deal and now you may know what to do or not do in that particular scene.

However, people will vary in their opinions of what is fair or unfair.

Fair enough on the literal path, but I still think what I said applies. Sierra's problem was never "you open a door and a guy shoots you". Sierra's problem was "you open a door, and a guy with a gun jumps out. Because you didn't pick up a water gun filled with acid thirty rooms ago you can't do anything, and he shoots you." The Police Quest series, which were all about being a police officer and doing exactly what a police officer should do, warned you. Even if it was "Oh, you didn't check all four tires on your vehicle, there's someone in your backseat and he shoots you." Or Gold Rush, which was basically the most bullshit of Sierra's titles, was quite upfront that the game was going to be bullshit.
That's a great way of putting it.

One early example could be the bridge in King's Quest 2. I think the game warns you that the bridge looks unsafe but you otherwise don't really get any feedback that you can only cross a limited number of times before you die and potentially have to replay most of the game. That's a bad design by modern standards, not because of being able to die but because the player can unknowingly progress to a dead end or unwinnable state.
Now see, i get where you're coming from on this one, but it does warn you, doesn't it? I think the problem is so many games tell you a bridge is unsafe but never penalize you for crossing it. And of course that you don't know what you need on the other side of the bridge until you've extensively checked.
(snip...)

I don't remember that specific example, but, maybe it would be more fair if the game gave you some feedback that it is the number of crossings that is limited? If I was playing the game and the bridge that seemed unsafe broke down, I would think of various possibilities:
  1. There is a maximum amount of items I can carry with me before the bridge breaks.
  2. I stepped right on a bad spot this time and I have to avoid it to avoid having the bridge fall.
  3. There is a random chance every time I cross the bridge it will collapse (this is kinda stupid as a puzzle, but could be a possibility).
And probably other possibilities that just don't come to me right now. On the other hand, if the description of the bridge got progressively worse, with maybe some graphical indication that some thing was going on, it would be possible to guess the developer's intent better. Which is my point about feedback.
IIRC the game just tells you that crossing the bridge is dangerous but you don't really know it has a limited number of crossings until reaching that limit.

This discussion reminds me of why Gabriel Knight 1 is one of my all time favorite adventure games. No dead ends, great puzzles, dialog trees, and death is still a danger, but not an ever-present one and thus only in scenes where it makes sense.
Funny you mention that as I was going to bring up GK1, since it has at least one situation that could be considered a 'dead end' but it's in the last chapter. If you don't leave the tracker and snake rod for Mosely under the bench in the confessional elevator, he won't show up before the ceremony and you'll die/lose in that last scene.

That could be considered a 'bad ending', but you do have to replay most of the last chapter to reach the proper ending (which has its own good and bad endings based on the epilogue).
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Darkozric

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This discussion is cute but kinda pointless. I mean this kind of discussions could have had a meaning if they were about to be taken into consideration by modern devs.
Although Modern devs don't give a flying fuck about deaths, dead ends, hard puzzles and feedback. It's like as if all of you entered in a time capsule and "fighting" each other about your fav adventure/mechanical tropes.
It could be useful for adventure codex devs but they are few here.

What's the point of all of this when you will likely get casual boring short shit and 69 Visual novels per year. Sporadic exceptions exist but they're not enough to justify incline. A quick tour in the random adventure games will convince you.

Also this discussion proves once again why Riven is the superior adventure above all. No cringe characters with boring dialogue trees, no dead ends. Just you, the ambiance, and your wits.
A superior adventure for superior organisms.
 

Tramboi

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It's dishonest to conflate death with dead-ends and bad design.
Sierra games issues were not the deaths, it's a bit disingenuous to play them with a walkthrough now and ignore the dead-ends.
At the time, you could be stuck eternally for missing an object in an early scene.
And saving/loading on floppy discs was not pleasant.
?
I didn't conflate death with dead-ends. I started by saying it was a shame that most people did just that... a result of oversimplifying Ron's "why adventure games suck" article. I've gone out of my way to say in each post that death/failure/game-over is not the issue, bad design that puts the player in unwinnable states or dead ends is.
Not talking specifically about you :)
Ron did it, some people here did it, lots of people of the internet did it.
 

Darkozric

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Speaking as someone who was interested in it once upon a time, it is an absolute pain to get running. And by pain, I meant that back when I tried playing it the game just wouldn't run.
I downloaded the GOG version and this thing is hilariously unacceptable. I'm on W7 and the game crashes after the intro. I tried everything, all the compatibilities and even the 4G memory patch.

Every time it crashes I laugh like a maniac while wondering why the fuck are they selling this shit! Would you buy a TV if it was only capable to show a black screen?

Even if I manage to find a solution, I'm pretty sure it will fuck me later. It reminded me of Prelude to Darkness, but at least with that game I was able to play a few hours before I gave up.

Anyway, nuke it from orbit.
 
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Tramboi

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Speaking as someone who was interested in it once upon a time, it is an absolute pain to get running. And by pain, I meant that back when I tried playing it the game just wouldn't run.

Even if I manage to find a solution, I'm pretty sure it will fuck me later. It reminded me of Prelude to Darkness, but at least with that game I was able to play a few hours before I gave up.
Unrelated but PtD is now playable : https://gitlab.com/ptd3/ptd-1/-/releases
 

Alex

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This discussion is cute but kinda pointless. I mean this kind of discussions could have had a meaning if they were about to be taken into consideration by modern devs.
Although Modern devs don't give a flying fuck about deaths, dead ends, hard puzzles and feedback. It's like as if all of you entered in a time capsule and "fighting" each other about your fav adventure/mechanical tropes.
It could be useful for adventure codex devs but they are few here.

What's the point of all of this when you will likely get casual boring short shit and 69 Visual novels per year. Sporadic exceptions exist but they're not enough to justify incline. A quick tour in the random adventure games will convince you.

Also this discussion proves once again why Riven is the superior adventure above all. No cringe characters with boring dialogue trees, no dead ends. Just you, the ambiance, and your wits.
A superior adventure for superior organisms.
Discussing game design is fun in itself.
 

The BRM

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I thought, that Deadly Premonition had a real (and also very long) ending.
Yes, it is kind of strange in many ways - but so is the whole game. And this is part of its charm IMO.
How is Deadly Premonition overall? On the surface it seems like something that I would like. I was inclined to give it a spin some years back but the reviews about bugs and crashes were quite vocal.
Are there any fan paches to fix shit?
Speaking as someone who was interested in it once upon a time, it is an absolute pain to get running. And by pain, I meant that back when I tried playing it the game just wouldn't run.
Just rebought it on GoG for 5 dollars because I heard it worked better than the steam one. Well that was a fucking lie.

Tried RPCS3 with the PS3 version, and got some weird stuff like the rain not working, and these new scenes seem like shit.

So finally decided to finally beat the mother fucker on my Series X, gotta love back compact. Best version of the game, and it runs like butter, well 30fps butter but compared to every other version, that shit is amazing. We'll see if I can finish Shenmue meets twin peaks this time.
 

Darkozric

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Rt-LCI-Sierra.jpg
 
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Divinity: Original Sin Torment: Tides of Numenera Pathfinder: Kingmaker Pathfinder: Wrath
I finished the game. Someone in the thread said the fourth act was the best part of the game. I agree with that.

Overall, the game is not horrible. But I can't call it good either. Not very funny, not very pretty, not very clever, not very challenging. Not a good game, on the whole.

Often authors who are asked to write a sequel say they will only do it if they have a really good idea. I don't think there is such an idea behind this game.

In the secret letter at the end of the game, Ron writes that such an idea was a desire to reflect on the theme of being a has-been, on nostalgia, on trying to relive the past, etc. That sounds promising. And some hints of this theme are evident in the course of the game. But what's the message? Should we stop trying to relive the past? Stop being nostalgic? Why make this game at all then? It's literally parasitic on nostalgia. Moreover, it doesn't feel like Guybrush is really letting go of his past at the end. Maybe it's a game about the inability to let go of the past? A tragicomedy? But does it work as a tragicomedy? It didn't feel that way to me.

I also didn't like the collapse of the game into allegorical nonsense by the finale. In fact, it's about time someone declared that the allegories are overrated. At least pure allegories that completely ruin the entire narrative. You want an allegory, first make your story work on a basic level. Make sure it's coherent and interesting, with a normal ending. And then on top of that, create an allegorical level of interpretation. Now that's a work of art.

RtMI begins as a normal (comical and not very serious, of course) story, but then it rolls into pure allegory at the end and completely stops working as a normal narrative. It's worse than the hated MI2 ending. At least there was a final fight first, and the mindfuck ending had some intrigue and humor. Here there is no final confrontation, no intrigue, just the artsy-fartsy show-off. What was LeChuck's arc all about? At first we are hinted that he is a mirror of Guybrush. But where does he end up? Are his choices different? Was he unable to let go of the past and his obsession (the secret of Monkey Island? his love for Elaine? his revenge on Guybrush)? What is the point of this scene with the attraction turning off at the end? Is Guybrush symbolically letting go of his past?

Fuck this game.
 

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