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Why has the reputation/legacy of LucasArts fared better than Sierra?

Discussion in 'Adventure Gaming' started by Korgoth of Barbaria, Mar 24, 2018.

  1. Sceptic Prestigious Gentleman Arcane Patron

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    One of my biggest pet peeves with accusations of unfairness and walking dead in Sierra games is that a lot of them are simply not true. Failing to save the mouse? absolutely. Missing the boot? nope. You cannot miss the boot. If you don't get it the first time through the desert, you can go back and map the desert properly to see if you missed anything. The cat-chasing-mouse event does not trigger until you have the boot in your inventory. As for not saving the mouse, I don't consider it an unfair scenario. You can criticize it if you consider dead ends bad out of general principle (a sentiment I'm ambivalent about actually) but the reason I don't consider it unfair is that it doesn't happen behind the scenes without you being aware; something happens right in front of you, the cursor takes an appearance that you ONLY see in these scenarios, and there is a clear, visible, telegraphed consequence to not doing anything. I don't know how a modern gamer would approach the situation, but back then nobody simply considered this an acceptable outcome and carried on. And again, if this was time-based and happened even if you didn't have the boot it would still be unfair; but it doesn't. I don't think it's even semi-unfair for these reasons, though I get what you're saying and don't particularly mind if these kinds of dead ends are removed.

    The bridle from KQ2 is much worse because there's no indication you need it, you can go past the snake by simply killing it, and although it doesn't put you in a strict dead end you'll then spend hours trying to navigate the maze and pulling your hair out without ever knowing there was an alternative solution.
     
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  2. Aeschylus Prestigious Gentleman Swindler Patron

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    Untrue. I just recently replayed KQ5, and the cat-chasing-the-mouse scene happened before I had ever set foot in the desert, and never happened again after I went and got the boot. TBF I was playing it in ScummVM, not the original interpreter so there's some chance that there's a bug, but this is based on my very recent experience, not poor memory.
     
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  3. Korgoth of Barbaria Cipher

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    Dead ends never bothered me so much as the goddamn manual copy-protection bullshit.
     
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  4. SerratedBiz Arcane

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    Half the fun for me was recreating copy protection wheels or punch cards in cardboard.
     
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  5. Tramboi Prophet Patron

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    KQ3's one was pretty cool, wasn't it ?
     
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  6. Aeschylus Prestigious Gentleman Swindler Patron

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    I actually think the KQ6 manual copy protection sequence was one of the better puzzles in the entire series, aside from the finicky step-by-step walk up the cliffs.
     
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  7. Nagling Educated

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    If I remember correctly Lucas Arts was preferred by the cool geeks back in the day, maybe that still holds true.
     
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  8. taxalot I'm a spicy fellow. Patron

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    The cool geeks liked Lucas Arts better because they made better games.
     
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  9. ghostdog Prestigious Gentleman Arcane Patron

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    Sierra adventure games were more ambitious and innovative, they introduced rpg elements, multiple solutions, police procedural simulation, they made killing you a game in itself, they had more varied, adult themes, they had more bugs, they were more clunky, they had more crappy puzzles, they constantly tried to kill you.

    Lucasarts was playing it safe, with a much more straightforward, streamlined experience, making games less complex as time passed. But with incredible production quality on all aspects of the game, with top notch writers, artists and musicians.

    Even back then Lucasarts had a better reputation because it was a given that every product from them, and especially an adventure game, was going to be top class. And also as a company they were much more powerful, since they belonged to a larger, hugely successful movie corporation, whose franchises they could use in their games. Who could compete with an excellent adventure game that also had the name "Indiana Jones" slapped on the cover? Or with a great flight sim that took place in the Star Wars universe?
     
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  10. Korgoth of Barbaria Cipher

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    It's something I feel that was archaic by the 90s. The concept of the sequence is really cool, the puzzles, but I think a better way to do it would've been with in-game hints/clues to solve them rather than having to go grab your manual. What made it easier, when I first played the games as a kid in the 90s, was that we had the KQ Companion, which made it cool. The conceit of the Guidebook to the Land of the Green Isles mitigates the copy protection aspect somewhat. But in games like SQ4 or the SQ1 remake, it's very on the nose.
     
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  11. Korgoth of Barbaria Cipher

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    Sierra outsold LucasArts games though, at the time both were active, in the States from what I understand; LA was more popular in Europe.
     
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  12. Unkillable Cat Prestigious Gentleman LEST WE FORGET Patron

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    During Sierra's peak moment (start of 1996) they had a 28% market share of the home computer market.

    Think about that. 28%.

    That's a number that companies like EA and Activision can only dream of, even in today's market.

    IIRC, Full Throttle was the first LucasArts game to sell a million copies.
     
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  13. Korgoth of Barbaria Cipher

    Korgoth of Barbaria
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    Yes and Phantasmagoria was the first Sierra game to sell a million. KQ5 was the first adventure game to break over 500k and became the best selling computer game of all time until 1995, when Myst dethroned it IIRC.
     
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  14. madrigal Scholar

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    A bit of a stretch calling Phantasmagoria a game.
     
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  15. Korgoth of Barbaria Cipher

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    It's a game. It isn't really even so much an interactive movie until the end of it. It's much less cinematic than Gabriel Knight 2 is. Most of the game is going around doing puzzles and shit, just with a motion captured actress rather than a sprite.
     
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  16. madrigal Scholar

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    I guess I felt overly constrained and thought it lacked exploration given the hotspots and lack of multi function cursor, felt like just clicking until the next scene played.
     
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  17. Darth Slaughter Arcane Patron

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    One thing I really liked about lucas arts was that they actually made perfected clones of successful games and genres. and they all made their games with in-house technology. They made their own IPs but when they were blatantly cloning, they would slap Star wars or indiana jones. And it never was made as a cash grab: Indy was perfect for an adventure game, and Star wars was perfect for space simulation. The adventure games were improved clones of sierra adventures. X-wing series were improved versions of wing commander. And Dark Forces was a doom clone that was arguably better than doom itself: It had story, objectives, levels that actually looked like what they were meant to be, you could jump, crouch, look up and down (not a novelty, but it was the first action FPS to do so). They made a simcity 2000 clone, afterlife (though it was not successful). And indiana jones and infernal machine, which was a Tomb Raider 1-5 clone. Even if these cloned games were not successful or really good, they at least were on par to what they copied.

    They even made a lot of fun obscure console games, and they always managed to balance the SW/indy with new IPs.

    Lucasarts started it's decline when they started giving development to third parties and focus exclusively on star Wars franchise, including a lot of movie tie-ins and cash grabs. This happened around 1999, when the cancelled SW: jedi knight 3: obi wan, which would be a thief: the dark project clone. They eventually change it to a 3rd person shooter for the original xbox. And that is about the same time frame the prequels were released and the start of a new generation of console wars with the xbox and the PS2.
     
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  18. HoboForEternity sunset tequila Patron

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    what turn me off is "ooh i cannot finish the game because i didnt keep track of this obscure item in this obscure location with obscure puzxles 5 minutes into the game that have no foreshadowing whatsoever, but it turns out you need it for the final challange!"
     
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