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The puzzle that really stumped you in an adventure game

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MINOR SPOILER FOR THE SECRET OF MONKEY ISLAND! :P

monkeyisland.gif

For me it was on the boat in 'The secret of Monkey island.' I'd loved playing the game up until that point but I'd been dying to get off the island and sail the high seas. Needless to say, as soon I was on the boat and out at sea, I became irrevocably stuck. My short lived feelings of freedom and limitless adventure had come screeching to a halt when I found myself unable to unlock a chest (or a cabinet. I can't remember.) I couldn't work out how to do it or how to get someone else to do it. I tried for a few weeks, coming back to the game and touring endlessly around the ship, before sadly closing the game again. Every so often, while doing something else, I'd think I'd worked it out and would fire up the computer and the game only to be cruelly disappointed.

I have to explain, before I tell you how long the puzzle took me, that none of my friends had computers let alone played computer games in those days (we lived in the north of England, we only received electricity in 1972) and the concept of a magical document called a 'walkthrough' didn't even exist in my brain.

It was six months before, on one of my increasingly sporadic and seemingly fruitless tours of the ship, I looked at the cereal packet and realised I could open it. Inside was a toy key. My joy was unbounded as I unlocked the chest and the rest of the game.

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The Longest Journey. The really infuriating one was the whole sequence with the inflatable duck. That's a prime example of how to go too far with obscure item association puzzles.

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Those God D*£ned mother F%£kin' keys in the b%*tard door in Day of the Tentacle. Brought that game to a screeching halt!

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Those God D*£ned mother F%£kin' keys in the b%*tard door in Day of the Tentacle. Brought that game to a screeching halt!

I hear that. It's still my favourite game anyway.

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The puzzle with the cat in the attic in the past in DOTT. I tried those beds so many times!

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The cat in the attic on DOTT took me a while to figure out, but it was just a case of concentrating for one evening and then really satisfying when I got it.

Believe it or not, the thing that got me stumped was getting Nurse Edna away from that damn control panel.

Playing for brief spurts over about a two week period I was coming up with convoluted ideas about what objects to use with what other objects that gradually got more and more improbable. Finally, I locked myself in my room and was determined not to leave while Nurse Edna was still at the control panel and proceeded to systematically try everything with everything.

Then I hit on the solution after a couple of hours - it was deceptively simple.

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not strictly an adventure game, but in Metal Gear Solid on the Playstation.

a character dies and hands you an optical disc, his last words:

"Contact Meryl her codec frequency is on the back of the CD case"

I go to inventory, look at the optical disk, inspect, use... nothing useful

I try to use the optical disk on and device or item I can find... nothing

I kill all the bad guys on the map available to me, search every square inch of the map for something, anything, nothing...

I use the codec to contact other characters for help "contact Meryl, her codec frequency is on the back of the CD case"

FFS, at this stage my friends are laughing at me "just think about it dude" GRAAAAAAAAAAAAAA

I get pissed off and throw the controller on the ground "F**k this F**kin game!!!!"

A year later I move house, I'm living out of an open suitcase in my new place. as I'm going to bed I reach into the case for my phone charger under a pile of clothes and CDs. 1am, as I rest my head to sleep, my eyes fall on the case, on top of the stack of my possessions is the copy of MGS. I grumble to myself "F**king stupid game, what's that supposed to mean? 'Meryls codec frequency is on the back of the CD case'... ... ... no... wait a minute... " the realisation left no room for sanity, my trembling hand reached out and picked up the game "it can't be, I thought to myself, no game has ever..." turning it to read the print of on the back of the games case... nothing, a sigh of relief washed over me for an instant before my eyes moved to the game screenshot - of solid snake chatting Meryl, the codec code clearly on display between them.

AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!

FUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU'!

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Those God D*£ned mother F%£kin' keys in the b%*tard door in Day of the Tentacle. Brought that game to a screeching halt!

Ha! Same here. The one and only time I actually called the LucasArts hint line was to get help with that one.

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The Curse of Monkey Island, closing the banjo case to grab the gun... Aaarrghh! I hope Tim didn't design that one...

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I remember being stuck forever on the pumps puzzle in Grim Fandango, I think if I went back and replayed it (which I've been thinking of doing) I still wouldn't be able to get past it easily. I didn't have internet access in 1998, and it didn't help that the only walkthrough I had was from a PC Gamer (UK) cover disc. The solution supplied was very vague and misleading, and didn't detail what you were actually supposed to do - eventually I solved it on my own somehow.

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The Curse of Monkey Island, closing the banjo case to grab the gun... Aaarrghh! I hope Tim didn't design that one...

Rest assured, Tim was busy with Grim Fandango at the time Curse was being developed.

I recall being stuck in Simon the Sorcerer for ages because I didn't see an apparently important rock that looked just like every other rock. I also recall that particular puzzle not being the only one that involved an inconspicuous rock. That game taught me the fine art of swiping the mouse all over the screen so I don't miss some tiny-but-important thing that otherwise blended into the background.

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The Curse of Monkey Island, closing the banjo case to grab the gun... Aaarrghh! I hope Tim didn't design that one...

Rest assured, Tim was busy with Grim Fandango at the time Curse was being developed.

I recall being stuck in Simon the Sorcerer for ages because I didn't see an apparently important rock that looked just like every other rock. I also recall that particular puzzle not being the only one that involved an inconspicuous rock. That game taught me the fine art of swiping the mouse all over the screen so I don't miss some tiny-but-important thing that otherwise blended into the background.

Wikipedia credits him as "Additional Design" on that, I'd like to know which parts he designed.

As for the rock puzzle, it reminds me of Full Throttle :)

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I was playing the Second Red Jhonston chronicles game got stuck on a puzzle where you had to break tiles. Ended us that I didn't have to do it instead I just had to fix the radio. :-/

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I got stuck for months trying to get Dr Fred to sign the contract in Day Of The Tentacle, because *DOTT SPOILER* I never bothered using the exit dialogue choice, assuming that's all it would be. I still can't decide whether the solution (much like that of the keys puzzle) is a devilishly clever subversion of the player's assumptions or just bloody mean!

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not strictly an adventure game, but in Metal Gear Solid on the Playstation.

a character dies and hands you an optical disc, his last words:

"Contact Meryl her codec frequency is on the back of the CD case"

Hopefully by then, the boss fight with Psycho Mantis went a little better.

For another non-traditional adventure puzzle, I got stuck in Silent Hill 2. I spent hours wandering back and forth trying to figure out how to dislodge an item from the trash chute ("I've got a knife, why can't I poke it free?"... other consequences to that) I got the pretty obscure chemistry/biology based ones in Silent Hill 3 without a second thought, but for whatever reason "throw juice cans down chute" just didn't click.

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