Love the idea of dual realities. The first time I heard Tim tell the story in the video made me immediately think of the situation when the boy and girl finally meet.
One of them has been living in a futuristic world and the other in the past. You know castles and swords. (Day of The Tentacle vibes just rushed through me because of the time thing...) Anyway, both of their worlds are shaken by strange happenings and they have separate stories that take them through trials and tribulations, during which the independent growth of both characters takes place. There are more and more earthquakes and small black holes appear that suck anything inside. People start calling these "events". The boy and girl start seeing glimpses of each other during their adventures.
However, at one point or another when both worlds are experiencing the biggest events (think black holes appearing all over the place, castles getting sucked stone by stone into black nothingness, and in the future cars being pulled into these black holes) the boy and girl both, by chance, see each other through some strange hole in the world's fabric and all time around them seems to slow down as they reach out and touch hands.
From there on their story together begins. They work side by side helping each other out and eventually they start to feel the universe has a plan for them to be together.
There's so much kickass stuff to be done with that idea. Working together with the character lets you progress in the game, and so on.
What really drove me into adventure games back in the Lucasarts/Sierra glory days were the stories. The immersive worlds. The lighthearted but very well thought out environments. I'm very much an "explorer" type of gamer. I like to take my time and look around. I usually get owned at fast-paced player versus player games. Apart from the things I really like in adventure games (different characters to meet and talk to with interesting personalities, cool relationships between characters and beautiful backgrounds and vistas that you can look at for hours because it's like a painting) here are some of the things I dislike the most:
- Specific points in the game where you have to repeat some mechanic that's often very different to the core game. (This has been done in Lucasarts games as well. For example in Monkey Island 3 was it where Guybrush sails his ship shooting at other ships. Or in a few Monkey Island games where you do the insult swordfighting. Sure I remember the crazy insults and I still repeat those funny lines to friends but it felt a bit tedious because you HAD to do and couldn't progress otherwise. The game turned into THAT for an hour or so. Being a kid that wasn't great at english yet back then might have affected it though. As for the ship fights, and these are just examples, many games do this kind of stuff most likely to switch things up for a while which is a good thought, the problem is they just tend to be sub-par because not a lot of effort went into this new mechanic that is only used in this one scene. It's not as good as the "real shipfighting game I was just playing". I really like switching things up but maybe it's just about putting as much focus into it until you feel like "this is polished enough that we could ship it as a separate game". Obviously it requires more work...)
- Puzzles. (But this requires a bit of explaining. There are good puzzles and bad puzzles. Bad puzzles, for me, are the ones that clearly feel like something that's been done a million times before. For example the picture that's split into 8 pieces and you have a grid with 9 slots and you move around pieces 1 by 1 trying to rebuild the messed up picture. We've done that a million times and it feels lazy. Puzzles should immediately make it obvious what you're supposed to be doing but you have to figure out how to do it. For example Angry Birds or Cut The Rope on the iPhone/Android. Obviously the problem lies in that those are 2 full games and you'd have to create a unique "game" esentially for all puzzles... But what if you just stuck to physics? All puzzles are physics puzzles.)
- Finding pixels. (It's annoying when you have to move your mouse over the screen from top to bottom to see what lights up. It's also annoying when you have a button, such as ALT, that you can just press to highlight everything. So that's a tough pickle! Making interactive items stand out from the backgrounds sort of kills the mood as well, making it feel less immersive and more like a game. Subtle things like having the character's head look towards different objects in the environment could help but since it's 2D would be a bit tricky to make it clear enough. Possibly highlighting/animating the mouse cursor the closer it is to an interesting item. For example, the mouse cursor is a hand that tries to point towards and "grab" any interesting items).
- Long irrelevant dialogue in dialogue trees. (These usually just have so much unnecessary dialogue that isn't particularly funny and feels like filler. Do note that some games do this a lot better than others and for the most part Lucasarts adventures were quite exciting dialogue-wise.)
- Slowly spoken dialogue. (The thing is, if the character speaks slowly and you have subtitles on you'll probably read it in your mind quicker than it's said on screen. Without subtitles you probably don't have the problem unless the characters speak SO slowly you just want to turn them on anyway... Case in point, Deathspank. The main character himself speaks so slowly you just want to skip everything after reading it, even though his voice would be interesting enough to listen to otherwise. I really like the interesting voices of many adventure game characters but maybe it's a combination of often used irrelevant dialogue and the current age of ADHD "I want everything NOW", but characters should speak faster. This might only be me though!)
- Irrational item combining. (When you're left in a situation that you have to try and combine all the things in your inventory because nothing seems to make sense, the game gets tedious. What about leaving hints in the game world for those who like to explore more, such as a book on shelf that explains how a certain fluid combined with fire causes an explosion. That gives you a tip that the bottle in your inventory and some matches could clear up that pile of rubble that's blocking your path.)
I think all in all for me adventure games were never the games I played to get a sense of achievement in. As in when you find out "how to proceed" (like Portal or Cut The Rope, when you finally figure something out you feel like Einstein). I don't think adventure games are about that. At least for me. Instead I would like adventure games to proceed at a nice consistent pace (obviously this is in current games relative to how fast each individual person figures out the "puzzle" at hand) and for the world and story to take me to a very interesting and unique place. Machinarium was a great example of a game that only got a bit tedious near the end where it opened up a much larger area to explore opening lots of possibilities to combine new items and remember what you saw 5 screens ago (although it still did it very nicely in that what you needed was rarely too far off so you had an image in your head almost always as to what you want to try). I don't think adventure games should "get harder" the further you are in the game like many other genres.
One last point regarding pace though is that we are all different. There are no "difficulty levels" in the puzzles and happenings of an adventure game. You COULD create it a bit artificially by not highlighting the cursor on interesting objects on hard difficulty and then highlighting everything on easy as well as showing tips every 2 minutes of inactivity as some games do. However, that's not really the way to do it. The best way would simply be to have huge QA teams testing your game and implementing a tool to see how long it takes for them each to complete a certain section of the game. Luckily there's everyone here through Kickstarter (and soon pre-orders)!
That got a bit long but I'm passionate about adventure games and mainly the old Lucasarts games and their stories/characters (also in part because you couldn't DIE! That was another thing that totally put me off some other adventure games). Loom, Maniac Mansion, Day of The Tentacle, the Monkey Islands, Indiana Jones (some of the few actually good games based on movies!), Full Throttle, Grim Fandango,... I was just a kid in 2nd grade when we played Loom at my friend's house. I always wanted to go back there to continue it. We were just learning english but the world/feeling/mood/atmosphere just kept you so hooked.
Just polish the atmosphere and mood to be as awesome as possible and I'll love it.