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DuskWulf

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  1. Wow. That's a loaded poll. Where's my option? "No. I found it to be a well-designed experience." I've often lamented over how adventure fans never understood that the future of the genre was based around interactive stories (Broken Age), games of choice and consequence (Telltale's recent offerings), or compartmentalised environmental puzzles (Myst). I knew this back in the day. As I was playing Monkey Island II, I realised that the only time I ever got stuck was because: a.) I missed a two-pixel wide item in a noisy background. b.) I didn't realise that rubbing the 'bodily excretions' upon the 'rocket's dorsal fin' would give me 'yesterday's newspaper.' Which basically boils down to how some puzzles are essentially just moon logic. (And don't tell me that's the case. The rubber ducky puzzle in The Longest Journey! You saw it, I saw it, we all saw it!) c.) An object can be used on something else that seems to be the solution, when in fact the object has a 'true' use elsewhere. That or any red herring or an actual attempt to deceive the player. d.) An interactive spot far away from where I currently was that seemed to serve no purpose (with or without items), designed only to work if I had an item from the other end of the map. And when you consider how many interactive items there are in the average adventure game, this leads to rubbing the object on everything until you find the right thing. e.) Showing every single inventory item to a character to find the one item they wanted, even though they expressed absolutely no interest in wanting it. And that covers every time I got stuck in those games, without fail. So how do we fix these issues? a.) Provide a highlight system. b.) Base your puzzles around logic and reason. c.) Don't do this. Ever. I think that if you're trying to actively fool the player into trying incorrect puzzle solutions, you're doing it wrong. d.) Provide an indication that the interactive point will work with/need some kind of object. Have the character comment as such. e.) Have the character tell the player what it is they desire, or at least offer reasonable hints to that end. Broken Age included all of the above solutions, in fact, the only point where it failed was on point c. And I think you know which puzzle I'm talking about. Other than that, though? It was sensibly designed. But what reaction does this lead to? It's too easy! This is the problem -- point & click adventure games are actually broken by design. This is why the genre died, and this is what we all came to realise. I honestly think that most of us didn't play them for the puzzles, anyway. I know I didn't. I played them for the story, the characters, and the fantastical to the downright impossible situations, places, and scenarios that adventure games explored on a regular basis. If anything, the broken nature of adventure games was nothing more than an obstacle between me and my enjoyment of that world. I couldn't lose myself in it because I was trying to figure out in which particular way the game was broken now. So I couldn't just fall in, drink it in, and become completely immersed. I could do that with, say, Myst because Myst didn't really rely on moon logic, trickery, or poor design. Instead, it just set a logical puzzle in front of you. It was similar to Professor Layton. You solved the puzzle set out in front of you, and you didn't need anything from anywhere else or any other tricks to solve it. It was just you and the puzzle. When adventure games were doing that, they were at their most challenging, rather than at their most broken. If you look at more recent games, like Mechanical, they've also taken to heart that environment puzzles are more important than inventory-based ones. This is an unavoidable truth, in my opinion. Was Broken Age an easy game? Yes. Tim's hands were tied, he had to make a point & click adventure, he could either have fixed the problems with the genre and made it easier, or he could have willingly allowed himself to fall prey to key design problems that I'm sure he's also aware of. How do you make an adventure game that's not broken and not easy? In my opinion, you can't. Therefore, the puzzle solving in Broken Age was just a means to an end. It was more of an interactive story, to me, and I enjoyed it as such. I just find the notion of adventure games ever having been hard to be fallacious, entirely so. Broken, yes. Challenging? No.
  2. Hurting someone's feelings and offending them are two different things. You may come over as crass, sleazy, and genuinely unpleasant to the person you're talking to if you're going to show that you're not capable of empathy or ethics. And what, exactly, did you like about Broken Age? You've made the claim that you like it but I've actually never seen any evidence of that, it seems that you like Broken Age politically so that you won't be called into question. As such, I'm actually asking you, what is it that you liked about Broken Age? If you did, you're going to be able to find good things to say about it, without having to mimic others. What did it mean to you? Where did your enjoyment stem from? I think you're just feeling put off because you don't get Broken Age and you'd quite incorrectly read their Kickstarter as Tim having said they were making Day of the Tentacle 2. The documentaries were open and transparent about the game they were making from the beginning, and you had plenty of chances to pull out from the backing. And in my opinion, perhaps in mine alone, what we got was better than Day of the Tentacle 2.
  3. It's not an argument, it's a counter-argument, and I'd rather I use it. Thank you. I guess it would be nice to ignore that I actually brought up cultural differences, but I did, it's right there in my original post. One culture's actions aren't bound to another's. I'm sure that when the OP was talking of story books, he was thinking of Grimm's fairytales at best. And not even the original and much darker takes on those stories, either. Even then, they tend to tell stories based around a simplistic black & white morality designed for a child to understand. Not even Struwwelpeter is particularly nuanced or subtle. In fact, like many of those stories, it works through shock rather than reason. Broken Age, on the other hand, deals with more prickly subjects through reason rather than shock. They're not presented in a horrific way. As such, I don't know what story books the OP has been reading, but I'd like to see them because I've yet to see one that makes a point about a mature topic in an intelligent, subtle, nuanced way. I'm not attacking you here, either, but I'm just using your response to illustrate a point. I knew that someone was going to reply with that, and you're just a means to an end. My point is is that one can only take Broken Age to be akin to a children's storybook if the nuance and subtlety contained within has completely eluded them. This is more of a judgement of a person's lack of perception than it is an indictment of the game itself. I'm of the opinion that I'd like to see subtlety more commonly used, even if it does sometimes go over the heads of those unable to parse it. Savvy? Seems that you are savvy. Good job.
  4. I'm going to have to concur with this. The promise of this comes from its novelty, and that novelty exists in deceit if the focus isn't upon what makes it so novel. If it's focused too much on the boy, it's going to ignore what I feel the pitch is all about. I can understand some focus, but that needs to be balanced very, very carefully. Just my opinion. But yes, I agree. If that balance is attained, though? Then I'm with it all the way. I've already voted on Steed as one of my favourites, and I'm going to stick by it. So this isn't going to influence how I vote either way, I suspect that's true for all of us. I'm just hoping that that balance will be taken into account.
  5. I find it overtly bizarre that the 'storybook for children' complaint is so frequent. I don't know if this is a cultural difference or not, but I don't believe it's all that common to read stories that open with ritualistic sacrifice to children, is it? Or how about showing a sapient being what he believed to be an example of mutilation of his own kind? Even though it wasn't, the suggestion was there, and it was enough for him to vomit. Not enough? How about the techno-organic infection spreading through Shay's ship and the fact that he's been in danger all of his life, and that the AI is probably going insane trying to keep him safe? Honestly, I think that this notion of mature is ironically so, as in Rambo-shooting-men-full-of-holes mature, mature with air-quotes. Whereas Broken Age actually deals with some very mature topics, and a sense of creeping dread that isn't thrust down your throat at every given opportunity. I actually appreciate subtlety. In fact, I think it's subtlety that made Broken Age so cool. That subtlety extended to the humour, and some of my favourite video game jokes of the past year. Hands up, how many actually got the warp and woof drive joke? That was a beautifully nerdy joke. I love it. I just can't help but feel that this use of cool is interchangeable with crass. I empathise that some people enjoy entertainment that's as blunt as a hammer, I guess that mainstream television and video games have taught us to expect that, no? So it's impossible to enjoy something unless it's slapping you around the chops with the obvious, and making low-brow jokes. I can't help but wonder, conversely, if the OP liked Deponia. Did Deponia have that cool factor? I felt that Deponia was too blunt and on the nose, it made it unpleasant and even misogynistic. But that's what some people go for, Family Guy is their Shakespeare, so to speak. As a creative fellow myself, I prefer the subtlety that went into it all, even into the art and the music. And I loved the visual theming. To each their own, I guess.
  6. I realised that after I did some writing, then some more, and some more, I wouldn't be able to trim what I had to say down into a post small enough to fit within a couple of thousand characters. So, instead, I ask the Double Fine folks to take a look at this document over on Google Drive, if you want to, and if you have the time. (And check the comments afterwards, I forgot about a couple of things.) Thanks! Sorry for my lack of foresight into how much I was actually going to ramble.
  7. This is going to be tangentially related to Broken Age, and then very related to it as I wrap it all up. It's going to be filled with random segues, memories, and it's going to be considered 'an essay' by people who hate words! With that in mind... Why did I like adventure games? It's a good question. I can tell you right off the bat why I didn't like them. I want to stab at the heart of pixel hunting as the least fun thing a person with optic nerve damage could do, being just marginally above root canal surgery. I couldn't just don a pair of spectacles, as they do nothing to help, so I just had to tough it out. Often I had to wade into walkthroughs and have things spoiled for me just to learn that I'd missed a 2 by 2 pixel point of interaction somewhere. Fun! And since AI-driven speculeptacles haven't been invented yet, which would be able to point out these things to me that my own sight wouldn't be able to perceive, I'm glad that's gone. I also didn't like how I felt like I should have been doing DMT to actually think like the developers when they came up with a certain puzzle. The Longest Journey lives in infamy and you all know why, don't you dare tell me you don't! All I have to say is: Rubber ducky. The bane of my existence -- and, once again, tied into pixel hunting. Also involved having to work backwards through a developer's thought processes. I actually felt a little bit sick when I gave up on that one because it seemed so impossible. Of course, it doesn't help when the puzzles for point & click adventure games are being supplied by machine elves. I wasn't entirely fond of the mechanics, then, per se. The parlance of the time would have dubbed me a lamer, as gaming was about mastery and difficulty, even when that was completely artificial. I'm actually glad we've passed through those mists of nonsense now into a more enlightened age. Yet despite all of that, I played adventure games. I loved adventure games. It'd be easy to think that I despised them, but no, quite the opposite. Adventure games were magical and fantastic in ways that video games weren't regularly accustomed to being -- they could take the mundane and make it the impossible. I think Tim even loved doing that, looking at every game he's been involved with, I think he gets a kick out of it. Like the fantastic gives him something of an erection -- but that's fine, because me too. See, that's why I played them. When other people were focusing on how fun it was to kill billions of faceless creatures and animals, I was dipping into a variety of magnificently diverse worlds that ranged between the fantastic and the utterly impossible. It wasn't s sin to be clever, to be imaginative and creative. This accursed genre embraced novelty and the bizarre so thoroughly, so unconditionally that it held my attention without fail for countless games. There are so many things that happened in adventure games that you just don't see happening anywhere else, anywhere else at all. Impossible things. Even a game with no human characters to speak of (like Inherit the Earth), unimaginable things. Things that, to belabour the point, would unnerve and disturb anyone unfamiliar with the uninhibited nature of the genre. Adventure games were kind of like being drunk on an alien world. You had no idea what you were doing, you had no clue what was going on, and it was often frustrating because you didn't have proper motor control or clarity of thought. But you didn't ever want to stop because cor, look at that, wossat? What is that? Well. Right. That's a bit odd. Okay. What's that? Crikey! I have to admit that I was a bit of a Myst nerd, too. I loved it because it got away from the pixel hunting and the substance-abusing logic (to use the word as loosely as possible). Uru was especially lovely because it rolled in tourism, jumping puzzles, and exploration with the environment puzzles. I dug that. I also liked being me, that was a bit nifty. There I was, chubby old bloke in sandals and then Maintainer Suit. I never took the Maintainer Suit off after I got it, it was like the Bleeding Edge armour of its day. Why would I not want Bleeding Edge armour? (I'd invite those in the audience who're not too familiar with Marvel or Iron Man to look that up.) So, yeah. I loved being a tourist in these strange worlds -- looking at things, poking things, learning about things. I feel that Broken Age harks back to that so, so well. Instead of fixating upon eyeball-hating pixel hunting or puzzles borne of off-kilter neurochemistry, it was a celebration of alien-world tourism. I was a tourist! An explorer! I looked at things, I poked things, I learned about things. And when Act I was over, I spent a good hour speculating hardcore with a friend of mine about what exactly had just happened. I'm of the pre-Extended Cut school of thought, see. I would have been happy if Act I were the end of Broken Age, that grand inspiration of wonder! I wanted to write the rest of it in my head, to figure it out myself. I'm sure I won't be disappointed with Act II, but all I can say is... Tim and everyone else at Double Fine? You're wild-eyed kids inside, all of you. You've never lost sight of wonder, curiosity, and the fantastic. I feel that as most people age, they lose the ability to question, they just stop. It's too much of a hassle. And when you stop questioning, you lose the self-awareness of youth, the ongoing personal, intellectual, and emotional growth. You just stop, and you become an automaton who simply goes through the motions of day to day life. You don't question what the telly tells you, or the newspapers, and you don't even question your own thoughts. You don't get inspired, and you become incapable of wonder. That's why so many people become so docile and satisfied with the unchallenging mainstream, which is rarely ever fantastic. Since that never happened to me (I'm still a brat myself), I crave novelty, curiosities, and the fantastic. So I'll be watching what you do. Thank you. Thank you for Broken Age. (This makes up for Meat Circus and Little Oly having two health bars, making it difficult to get him infinite health, thus making Meat Circus tolerable. I want to know who was responsible for the 'two health bars' thing so that I can give them disapproving looks.)
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