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About Smalltalk-80

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  1. Not bland in the sense that it lacks colour or geometric variety, but bland/vacuous in imagination. Of course Kells looks different on the surface and WRT execution, but at heart much the same thing is going on. In the same way that you most of the time can spot instantly if something is from the 60's 70's or 80's, this style or feel clearly belongs to the mid to late parts of the previous decade. And IMO the part of the period with a less refined and more safe sense of style. But before I go further, I'd like to state that I'm still giving the team the benefit of doubt. It could be me that just don't get it from the few samples we've seen.
  2. Well, there are lot's of examples. It's the whole feel that feels dated and mainstream. Look at something like the movie Secret of the Kells to get an idea: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0485601/ Or the graphic design of Michael C. Place. It's the kind of bland, overly slick, nonthreatening, cute pseudo-whimsy that has been done to death during the last few years. Not a lot of games has done it (though a few has), but then games always seems to be well behind the curve.
  3. It struck me how damn handsome Tim looks in this episode. I'm not saying that to kiss up (what would be in that for me?), just as a casual observation. He probably lost some weight, but also he looked more alive and "there"/present. To be frank I don't really dig the way BA looks. It looks like a brand of generic mainstream metro-cute three to five years too late. That said, I've learned to suspend final judgement to when I can actually experience finished products, but again then it's too late to do anything about... Ron leaving... Pretty predictable in my eyes. He was always kind of a lone wolf and after The Cave performed less than satisfactory sales wise, he probably feels he has to. I'd still LOVE to see a real adventure game collaboration between Ron and Tim though.
  4. As said in another thread, there are alternatives if you don't like the puzzle-aspect to dominate the game but still want more narrative and structural variety and depth than a pure a action game offers. I come to think of the Zelda games/genre, the first Tomb Raider, the Indy action games, the Another World series, and even the Mario series has a lot of adventure elements. I happen to like to dive into an ocean of interlinked puzzles from time to time, and find the experience just as important and fulfilling an aspect of the feeling of real adventure as anything else. Real adventure feeling being a very broad idea. To me it's a feeling of awe and wonder in knowing and discovering, drawing lines where there were none before, and discovering the grand in the mundane and the mundane in the grand.
  5. Unsurprisingly I completely agree. I somehow think though, that Ron had something else in mind when he mentioned the type of problem, and that particular example is just poorly chosen or easy to misunderstand. We'll just have to hope for an answer from him at some point.
  6. How is what he wrote applicable to Limbo?
  7. And this was apparently not done in my post? X-D Also, I highly doubt you are studying any kind of philosophy when you use a phrase like "objective discussions". If you feel I'm putting myself above you then apparently you just don't have any valid counter arguments? Get to know you?! That's rich. Are you proposing a coffee date or something? If you enjoy other games then play those instead. It's my understanding that there also is some kind of narrative in many RPGs. Although I don't blame you for wanting more than hammy, angsty teeny, assembly line stories. I for one can't be bothered with the gameplay of most RPGs. They just feel incredibly pointless with the detached, endless random battles, semi-random outcomes and other schema and number templates draped over what should really be a boisterous exiting adventure. Come to think of it, isn't there a point here somehow... ;-) You lose. Or win. Depending on how you look at it.
  8. I almost can't be bothered to answer because the answers should be self-evident, but anyhow: Almost all adventure games demand some degree of observation "skills", even text adventures. That's in the very nature of the genre. If you can't be bothered and just want to breeze through and get every puzzle served on a silver platter, there are other genres of games that gives you that. What's more that premise wouldn't really be compatible with having any kind of narrative in the game. Where on earth did you get that? Not all adventures require the same amount of "visual acumen" of Machinarium but that is the style of that game. Probably partially because the budget/scope of the game and also because the scenes have had a great deal of attention lavished on them. You need to use some of the same "care" and attention to detail that was employed by the artist. If that's not your cup of tea, then don't play. There are many other game out there. Dynamic and multi-solution puzzles are very difficult and problematic for a number of reasons. They are very hard and time consuming to do because of the potential infinite number of branches. Also if done procedurally, they break with the guarantee that every puzzle should be solvable so you don't end up in a dead-end. The time taken to work on such a impossible mammoth task will take resources away from other places in the game where it was better used. You are not an adventurer if you are not ready to slow down and think about things, at least to some degree. Plain and simple.
  9. What you are saying is basically wrong. Almost every point you raise can be debunked by just looking at the game. For example: There are plenty of hints of what are takeable items, such as animation and just plain sticking out, if you are in doubt try to pick it up. You can't be in that much of a hurry if you are playing an adventure. It's an age-old problem of graphical adventures to tell the player what is background and what is not, an indeed if it should be done at all. In the clocktower puzzle the robot affected by each of the settings, are pretty clearly marked by the posters and small symbols in the vicinity of the robot. The dog when clicked upon shows a thought-bubble of a gun loaded with a suction-cub. If you are any kind of adventurer, you'll have wondered what is in the cabinet in the locked room, and "automatically" find the gun. The clock with glowing hands is pretty unmistakeable (it is rather crocked and dented anyway) . And if you are able to mistake it anyway you just try both of the possibilities. No big deal. It just seems you were simply in too much of a hurry, and didn't take your time to take in the game and visually inspect and explore every scene.
  10. I don't think it can be questioned that it really is an adventure. It's just and adventure of a different kind. That most puzzles are largely confined to a single screen, is a design choice that I imagine simplifies the development process a great deal. It also makes for a more focused gameplay experience, where you focus on one thing at a time. Not all games should be like that, but it's a nice variation. I cared a great deal about the little robot. It's sort of a Chaplin/Keaton character that is diminutive and troubled but crafty and plucky. How can you not like that?
  11. I think it really just is the best adventure in a very very long time. It's not as long and involved as some of the old LEC games but it's very very good in it own right. The Telltale games are just air to me. They aren't horrible, they are just mediocre through and through. Pity that they should sully and dull the name of Sam and Max, Monkey Island and BttF. Doing such a halfassed, vapid job with such great franchises is just inexcusable. Sure hope Purcell got paid well for lending his name and characters...
  12. Seeing as Ron and Tim talked so positively about Machinarium in the teaser video, I got curious and checked out the free demo. The next day I purchased the whole game. Why didn't I take heed before? Well, I was vaguely aware of the game, but wrote it off as a typical mediocre overproduced, generic and pretentious indie-douchebag affair, purely based on the artstyle. I thought it looked like the usual lazy post-grunge, "colors R gay, grime and steampunk is good", that has been done to death and beyond for the last 15 years. How wrong I was. It turns out that it is much more strongly rooted in Czech and Russian tradition that was the original inspiration for much of the formerly mentioned lazy post-grunge "indie" stuff (as with much inspiration, it's a great improvement on what came after). Look up Zagreb Film and Yuri Norstein to get an idea what I'm talking about. It means among other things that it has a very humane, sweet and calm attitude towards storytelling and environment design. Sure, the look is somewhat bleak and melancholic, but there is always hope; a ray of sunshine coming through, and a nice gentle humor. The graphics are very refined and detailed and you really have to use all of the detail to solve the puzzles. The music is some of the best I've heard for many years in a game. Supple, yet not fey and vague. I strongly recommend that all backers give the game a look while we wait for DF adventure. There is a free demo to dip your toe into on the developers website. http://machinarium.net/demo/ It's not that I think DF should emulate the look and feel of Machinarium at all. On the contrary, it would almost be an insult to the inspiration. But the game shows that adventures are not a dead genre and that great games can still be made. It wasn't purely something in the water or in the zeitgeist back then...
  13. Well, someone never played post-1990 Sierra. They only gave that sh!t up after 1990?! Talk about being late to the game. Got nothing against a good text driven game. It's the halfassedness of Sierras implementation I find appalling. I'm not going to make excuses for any intermediate period, but the Sierra games I grew up on were all mouse (save for a few arcade minigames, and even those had mouse support). I still haven't played the LucasArts adventures, but the 5-senses approach of the Sierra engine was pretty great; it seems like the verbs I've seen on the bottom of the screen of Monkey Island screenshots are a little too backwards in their text-based paradigm. Like you, nothing against text-driven games, but on the other hand having the ability to tell my character to try to eat or at least lick or smell things was pretty great in Sierra's world. If you haven't played one of them, I recommend Space Quest 4 or 5, or the remakes of 1 or 2 (which is fanmade and recent, admittedly), or Freddy Pharkus - Frontier Pharmacist. There is nothing intuitive or "right" about icons. On the contrary, they are a sort of secret language that has to be learned and internalised, outside of a few lucky exceptions that are culturally ingrained in us from when we are kids. It was only for a short period in the 70's that they were believed to be a sort of lingua franca of man machine communication. That is until it was actually tried out and the designers found out how wrong they were. Now it's only in the world of plebeian uninformed software designers that that misconception persists. Plain text on the other hand is very precise and often takes up less space with the same or better information content. That the SCUMM interface had a better space to information ratio, allowed the game designers to include more commands, which in turn allowed more involved puzzles.
  14. Well, someone never played post-1990 Sierra. They only gave that sh!t up after 1990?! Talk about being late to the game. Got nothing against a good text driven game. It's the halfassedness of Sierras implementation I find appalling.
  15. Nothing wrong in sticking to and liking specific companies, for the same reason it's not wrong to love a specific group, be loyal to your family or your country. If something or someone produces a lot of stuff you like, it's only natural and right to feel attached. Of course all within reason. You should never be blind their faults or if they begin to falter in general. Most companies that produce good or great products, do not do it only for financial gain. If that was the case, and they were heartless robots from Planet-x, they would have gone into something really boring but with sure money, like plastic cutlery, detergent, bookkeeping or law. In some companies there are generic hired suits or greedy stock owners. But those are more akin to a parasite that lives off a more highly developed being.
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