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Developing games for a “broader audience”

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That's why companies such as Daedalic are making products addressed to us (adult audiences with lots of experience in adventure games), and these games are MUCH HARDER than Monkey Island or Day of the Tentacle.

Monkey Island 2 was much harder than almost all games Daedalic has ever done. Back then there was no elaborate tutorial that explained everything, players had to figure things out for themselves. Pretty much all Daedalic adventures have options to skip puzzles that are "too hard", in Monkey Island 2 you were just stuck. No, most Daedalic adventures (especially their later ones) are more on the easy side.

It is not a matter of being an adult or a kid. Adventures usually, are played from the age of a teenager and later, and this is what it used to be also back in the 90s. At least, this is the case outside USA, because playing them needs 1) certain skills (use your mind), and most importantly 2)knowledge of the English language in a adequate level to understand the dialogue. This latter one, is not very straightforward, to people who are native speakers of english language, so please bear this in mind, because it is extremely important. Outside USA, and some other english spoken countries, adventures, are very rarely (localization may have changed this to certain countries, but again this affects a minority of the rest of the world) played by gamers younger than 13 or 14. They simple can't understand them. So kids start playing other genres, requiring more your reflexes rather, than your wits, which are offered in huge quantities by publishers. Unfortunately, the adventure genre payed this toll, of not being "affordable", in younger ages (below 13), which is nowadays, due to the consoles, the starting age for a new gamer. Back, in the 90s, there were only PCs, playing a game was also not so easy (you didn't have to just put a cd inside and play). There were no windows also (just DOS), handling a computer, and making a game to run, required a certain degree of knowledge and in some games, you had to be an expert of memory management in DOS (I remember particularly the wing commander saga). Now, this admittance of kids in younger age, has a significant impact both to the fact that adventures are neglected by younger ages, since they have already become accustomed to another style of gaming, as well as to the fact that gamers have become "dumber" than they used to be. They may have better reflexes, built through their continuous avocation with shooters, fps, arcade games, but they can't play easily a game requiring wits, simply because, they never get accustomed to play one. So they are repelled by witty games, with a few exceptions (usually those starting their gaming career in later ages), such as adventures, puzzle games, etc. This attitude of young generations, caused the adventures to become a genre more focused on adult players, who are the adventurers of the past, and considering that an adult has other things to do and obligations to take care of, rather than playing games, adventures lost much of their built up audience, being unable at the same time to gain new audience, due to this "console games effect", I explained above. This, more or less explains, why most adventure games today, have more adult scenarios.

The comforting element, is that the last 2 years, people has turn again their focus to pc gaming, leaving aside consoles. This, along with the emergence of tablet gaming, may attract new blood, to genres which are inherent to such devices, like adventures.

However, until then, adventures will continue to have a more restricted audience (mostly late teenagers and adults), which is not always bad. Because OK it is not a very huge audience, but it they are an audience, who knows what they want, they have certain demands, and most importantly they have the money, and they do not hesitate to "throw" them, in case they believe to something. Kickstarter (not only for DF, but for other games, like old classic rpgs revival) jubilantly proved this.

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I don't think Broken Age has the right stuff to become such a classic.

I'm entirely sure it won't. Broken Age will be remembered, but it will be for being the first big Kickstarter game that started this trend.

I completely, disagree.BA is an impeccable game in almost all its aspects (visual, sound, scenario). Though, it misses, two of the most important game ingredients. Controls and gameplay (which for adventures are the puzzles). Grim Fandango, missed only one of these ingredients (controls) however it become an instant classic. The only thing Tim Schaffer has to do is to inject in the game the missing ingredients. Could he do that? Certainly yes, I think. Perhaps, controls could not be changed too much, than what they are today, though he could do a few tweaks there as well (as I said Grim also didn't have the best game controls also). But the gameplay, can be hugely enhanced for sure. Everything is on his own hands. If he manage to do it, and the all rest remain on the same level in the finalized game, then we will indeed have a classic!

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I completely, disagree.BA is an impeccable game in almost all its aspects (visual, sound, scenario). Though, it misses, two of the most important game ingredients. Controls and gameplay (which for adventures are the puzzles). Grim Fandango, missed only one of these ingredients (controls) however it become an instant classic. The only thing Tim Schaffer has to do is to inject in the game the missing ingredients. Could he do that? Certainly yes, I think. Perhaps, controls could not be changed too much, than what they are today, though he could do a few tweaks there as well (as I said Grim also didn't have the best game controls also). But the gameplay, can be hugely enhanced for sure. Everything is on his own hands. If he manage to do it, and the all rest remain on the same level in the finalized game, then we will indeed have a classic!

It misses the most important ingredients, but it is impeccable? :D Since this is the final state, as I understand it, BA will have to become this true, instant classic without the most important ingredients. Impeccable.

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I completely, disagree.BA is an impeccable game in almost all its aspects (visual, sound, scenario). Though, it misses, two of the most important game ingredients. Controls and gameplay (which for adventures are the puzzles). Grim Fandango, missed only one of these ingredients (controls) however it become an instant classic. The only thing Tim Schaffer has to do is to inject in the game the missing ingredients. Could he do that? Certainly yes, I think. Perhaps, controls could not be changed too much, than what they are today, though he could do a few tweaks there as well (as I said Grim also didn't have the best game controls also). But the gameplay, can be hugely enhanced for sure. Everything is on his own hands. If he manage to do it, and the all rest remain on the same level in the finalized game, then we will indeed have a classic!

It misses the most important ingredients, but it is impeccable? :D Since this is the final state, as I understand it, BA will have to become this true, instant classic without the most important ingredients. Impeccable.

I am wondering, when somebody in this forum, would correctly read a full sentence in order to understand its meaning, rather than picking fragments from it and and use them to support his different opinion. To clarify it:

Did I say that BA is impeccable? Answer NO]

What I said is and I copy here the whole sentence is: BA is an impeccable game in almost all its aspects (visual, sound, scenario)

I did some styling, enlarging some words, in case you failed to see them during your first reading.

Did I said BA will have to become this true, instant classic without the most important ingredients? Answer NO]

What I said is: If he manage to do it (inject those two missing ingredients, mostly gameplay), and the all rest remain on the same level in the finalized game, then we will indeed have a classic!

Along with the size styling, I put also in parenthesis, colored in red so you do not miss it again, the object referred by the pronoun it.

Hope, you understood what I said now.

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Actually I'm curious -- when did DF decide to make Broken Age a tablet game? I thought the original kickstarter pitched a Windows/Linux/Mac game, with no mention of tablets. Did that change at some points (haven't been keeping up with the documentary).

Mind you, I don't have any particular problem with porting games to tablets, and the controls are *not* the biggest problem with Act 1 -- Act 2 could keep the exact same controls, and I wouldn't complain, as long as they injected some steroids into the puzzles. But I do think that the UI suffers from the same problem as Windows 8 did -- by making the user interface "universal" in a way that it would work on both PCs and tablets, the controls feel clunkier on the PC that they need to. Controls optimized for the mouse, followed by a separate UI scheme when they eventually decide to port the game to tablets, would have been a better approach. But again, this is a nitpick, as while I did notice that the controls were suboptimal, it did not decrease my enjoyment of the game once I got used to it.

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Can't even trust Tim Schafer to make a classic adventure game anymore.

Well I trust him. I think he will fix it until the final release. The problem, is that much money usually cause overwhelming expectations

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To the whole "Why adventure games died" thing.

First of all: They did never die! I mean, look at this giant list of adventure games that came out after Grim Fandango! Even if you just look at Telltale, it nearly feels as if they made nearly as much adventure games as Lucas Arts! (well, they didn't but whatever ^^)

Well, adventure games got a big crisis around 2000 maybe.

But if you ask me why adventure games are not as successful as back in the day, i would answer:

Because the puzzles are got ways to easy to solve. It's kinda boring and unsatisfying.

Even in the documentary and in interviews Tim EXPLAINED why hard puzzles makes you feel good when you solve them. (with that full trottle example he even prooved this kind of): Damn i am so smart.

So do you feel smart when you go to a supermarket and the guy you are there with tells you: This is an orange. It is a fruit. Your girlfriend said buy some fruits, so … well, you MIGHT take a fruit NOW so you got a FRUIT when you have to pay … just saying. Oh and maybe take your other buyings with you aswell … if you FORGET them you can't BUY them.

Well. I would say, no, you don't feel smart at all while someone who is with you suggest the whole time all you might do. Indeed you more feel like someone is thinking you are to stupid for checking this whole thing for yourself.

I mean, even in the first scene, it was so OVER-OBVIOUS that grandpa did hide the knife … like plenty times more often in this game the only more obvious thing to say where is the knife is would have been a blinking light and sight on witch stands: Here is the knife! Grandpa might like a cupcacke by the way! Oh - and don't forget having fun with this - puzzle! -

A real hint, that would have been really for people who not yet know what a adventure game is, would have been "You might go around talk to all those guys in the room and don't forget to check some stuff aswell."

To be fair the "You have to let him split the cupcake into 2 halfs" was kinda tricky. But you might just had to find out first who of those, wow, 5 persons, it would be worth it talking to them anyway, is hiding the knife … and just afterwards trying to get it from that person. So the whole cupcake into 2 halfs came quite to fast and to naturally.

The thing is, the puzzles in broken age was perfectly well designed! ( i mean really, they had good structures, brilliant dialogs, the dialogs itself was awesome anyway … you even can still imagine how that puzzles just might been thought as more complicated in the beginning ...)

But double fine did as much as they could to ruin that kind of!

Im mean, really, the puzzles was totally logic! ( i really really really do love THAT fact!) But it just felt like they was made easier and easier afterwards. So easy it nearly was no puzzle anymore. Indeed it was more like beeing in a supermarket and having a guy next to you, suggesting, you MIGHT need some MILK for the MILKcoffee later … like an annoying talking list for thing not to forget.

If you ask me, adventures got a crisis because you get a strong feeling, as if the designers of the game (and i write it in plural, because i am not even shure how happy tim is with the difficulty level) and maybe even the publishers (but somewhat this whole kickstarter proves that point kinda wrong … ) think, that you, just straight up in your face, are stupid.

So well, Tim said, people loved adventures and games like monkey island, because you felt super burning hot smart after solving some puzzles.

So where again is the logic in this whole "make it easy" strategy again? Sorry, i not even get it. I just know that again and again people who make adventures now a day (and yes, they are still doing adventures … to be true, i backed brocken age because telltale stopped 2 years ago making adventure games and there was a discussion in the telltale forums who would make the next monkey island now that telltale just do zombie-fightsequence-quicktime-thingys at the moment … and some one said double fine could, what made me courious. Than i played the Cave and than tim was talking about bringing oldschool adventures back and i realized that he was the guy behind grim fandango and got super exited … even played grim fandango on an old computer and win 98 … till sadly my very old computer crashed ;) )

The point is even: Those easy adventures for lazy people are everywhere anyway. I mean honestly. People. There was so many new adventures the last 5 or 6 years. It is not as if something like broken age is in any way something that wasn't there for … well, 10 years or something. It is not even something that wasn't there for even just one year.

So as Tim said it would be oldschool, you just might expect some more oldschooly things than just "it got an inventory" -.-'

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Hope, you understood what I said now.

I understood right away, I just don't agree. As far as I know, the only thing that's not final, is Act 2. They'll probably fix some bugs, if there are bigger ones, but otherwise that's the way the game's gonna stay.

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This is how I see it: they went over budget and been using studio's money for some time now. In order to get the money back, they have to sell the game to non backers. And since backers = hardcore adventure fans, they have to sell it to people who are casual when it comes to adventure games. Hence easy puzzles in Act 1 (they need to sell enough copies of Act 1 to finance the development of Act 2, and making Act 1 puzzles harder could mean lost sales), and tablets oriented design.

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Oh and just as a good example for the whole theory why adventures really fail these days. As you guy mentioned amanita design anyway.

Machinarium was a huge hit! Everywhere kind of! And it did have quite complicated puzzles!

Than, as if it was kind of a diabolic law of nature the next game was just kinda a strange "Click through" game. Botanicula. Well Botanicula quite fast came after Machinarium.

Point one: Bontanicla ended up not really that much noticed.

It has not even a wikipedia article in Germany.

And since than …. amanita kinda did nothing new till now. Not even said there is any new project at the moment ( i have to check maybe their page again sometimes … but yhea, i don't even check it anymore at the moment, because there is nothing happening, and with botanicula ... no awards …. nothing … )

So, Amanita got a complicated game that was a huge hit.

Than Amanita wanted maybe to reach a bigger market and made an easy peasy click through game … and nothing more was heard of it. It was just once mentioned here and there when it came out as "the new release from the studio that made machinarium".

Ahrgh. I not even get this myth "easy games for stupid people sells best"

Just saying.

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Are there *any* examples of adventure games that did poorly in the marketplace for being too hard?

Of all of the games I have played, Riven is the only one that I think would have been better had it been easier -- and even it sold 5 million copies.

Braid, Fez, Portal 1 & 2, Antichamber -- while not "classic" point & click adventure games, these have strong puzzle elements, are plenty challenging, and sold very well. It's ok to ask sophistication of the typical gamer; she will surprise you.

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Are there *any* examples of adventure games that did poorly in the marketplace for being too hard?

Of all of the games I have played, Riven is the only one that I think would have been better had it been easier -- and even it sold 5 million copies.

Braid, Fez, Portal 1 & 2, Antichamber -- while not "classic" point & click adventure games, these have strong puzzle elements, are plenty challenging, and sold very well. It's ok to ask sophistication of the typical gamer; she will surprise you.

Oh yes, the myst series of course!

I loved Exile! :)

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Are there *any* examples of adventure games that did poorly in the marketplace for being too hard?

Of all of the games I have played, Riven is the only one that I think would have been better had it been easier -- and even it sold 5 million copies.

Braid, Fez, Portal 1 & 2, Antichamber -- while not "classic" point & click adventure games, these have strong puzzle elements, are plenty challenging, and sold very well. It's ok to ask sophistication of the typical gamer; she will surprise you.

As someone who begged my parents to buy Myst and then played about an hour of it, I would be surprised if more than 500,000 people beat that game.

The problem with challenging games now is that if the challenge is simply just a puzzle people can easily google it. It was more difficult in the 90s especially for recently released games. A game like Braid is trivial if you look up a guide to the solution and really it takes away all the fun anyways. More people will play challenging games and have their hands held with a guide I think.

The reason that this can work in something like Portal is because the difficulty slowly ramps up, the player is suppose to get better at solving more challenging puzzles. If they don't want to be challenged anymore they can look up a video on how to do it.

In Broken Age if something is too challenging from the start many people might have just quit, you need to get hooked into the game and the system of the gameplay elements before you can truly challenge the player. Even a hardcore game like Super Meat Boy will do that.

The puzzles did get more challenging in Broken Age towards the end the only problem is that trial and error is not punished and the hints are given out too quickly.

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Are there *any* examples of adventure games that did poorly in the marketplace for being too hard?

Of all of the games I have played, Riven is the only one that I think would have been better had it been easier -- and even it sold 5 million copies.

Braid, Fez, Portal 1 & 2, Antichamber -- while not "classic" point & click adventure games, these have strong puzzle elements, are plenty challenging, and sold very well. It's ok to ask sophistication of the typical gamer; she will surprise you.

As someone who begged my parents to buy Myst and then played about an hour of it, I would be surprised if more than 500,000 people beat that game.

The problem with challenging games now is that if the challenge is simply just a puzzle people can easily google it. It was more difficult in the 90s especially for recently released games. A game like Braid is trivial if you look up a guide to the solution and really it takes away all the fun anyways. More people will play challenging games and have their hands held with a guide I think.

The reason that this can work in something like Portal is because the difficulty slowly ramps up, the player is suppose to get better at solving more challenging puzzles. If they don't want to be challenged anymore they can look up a video on how to do it.

In Broken Age if something is too challenging from the start many people might have just quit, you need to get hooked into the game and the system of the gameplay elements before you can truly challenge the player. Even a hardcore game like Super Meat Boy will do that.

The puzzles did get more challenging in Broken Age towards the end the only problem is that trial and error is not punished and the hints are given out too quickly.

Well, in the end of the first half, so after kind of playing the half game allready, we still not reached in any way a level of any hard puzzles.

And i do think in theory the puzzles are well thought and build. But they are cutted and kinda ruined with all those hints.

So there still is no satisfying diffculty level reached for plenty people in this forum after 4 h of gameplay!

And it might even have been easily be like more 6 or 8 h if the difficulty would have been higher.

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oh and the myst series is on 5 (or even 6?^^) games now and i remember that i read that it seems likely there won't be any more JUST because the last one was kinda to hard. So i never played the last one. But i guess there have to be plenty people that played the 4 others through, so there was enough interest for a fifth one.

And i played through exile completly. You need some time to get into that world and logic. But than it's quite nice! And since Exile incredible beautiful graphics!

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I am not sure why everyone applauds Machinarium so much. I found it to be a game that had horrible controls, horrible interface, bad puzzle design and a buggy game in general. I played up to about the third screen where you have the cart coming out onto the track, the puzzle was bugged for sure or the puzzle design was just bad. Either way it took me about 30 minutes to do and the puzzle was solved by doing the same thing I was doing for the past 20 minutes.

I am so glad Broken Age isn't like this.

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Excellent posts, Poplion and Greco. A lot of great points you've made.

*SPOILERS HERE*

I think what we have to ask ourselves here is should puzzles feel natural to solve? Should they be intuitive? Are they even the same thing (natural and intuitive)? If puzzles are too natural you'll breeze through them with no trouble at all. If they're not natural then you can get stuck, but does that make them illogical? Is unnatural and illogical the same thing? What would an unintuitive puzzle be? Just that you can't think of the concept the puzzle requires you to have to solve it? Rather Dashing mentioned in another post how he was trying to solve the puzzle with the sap and the arena and tried everything to interact with the arena directly. It never dawned on him that you could just give it to the mayor. Is that unintuitive? Is that unnatural? Is it illogical? I think the problem in that case was that he was thinking (hoping) that the puzzle was more complex than it ended up being. It was very clever to think you'd have to go back up to the Meriloft and dump the sap on the arena from above. That would have been brilliant. But no, all you had to do was give it to the mayor who did all the work.

This leads to a few interesting observations:

It was unnatural for Dashing to think that giving the sap to the mayor would solve the puzzle. Yet it was an incredibly easy and simple solution. Not easy in the sense that anyone could solve it instantly, that was obviously not the case. But easy in the sense that you the character didn't have to lift a finger to solve the puzzle, all you had to do was get someone else to do it for you. He was stuck on that puzzle for a good 30 minutes. Is that a good way to be stuck in an adventure game? Yes and no. It was a good way to be stuck because it was a true exercise for the brain to force it to think in a different way than it would be used to thinking. That, for me, is what adventure puzzles are all about. It was not a good way to be stuck because the solution turned out to be an incredible anti-climactic let-down. Sure you kick yourself for not thinking about it, but was it because you were too stupid to think of it? Was it worth all that time? I appreciate that it took time for Dashing to figure it out, but the results weren't worth the time. So there's an extremely delicate balance when designing puzzles involving far more variables and criteria than you would normally think.

Someone else might have thought this wasn't even a puzzle. It was just the next obvious thing for them to do. Would they be happy or disappointed that their suspicion of an extremely simple solution of "give sap to mayor" was the end of the puzzle arc? I suppose that depends on what you're looking for in an adventure game. Myself, I saw so many missed opportunities to extend the life of this game in so many ways puzzle-wise. I don't believe that that is "artificially extending it" or throwing in puzzles for the sake of puzzles.....but then maybe I am. But I just don't believe that is a bad thing. I've always thought that adventures are for puzzles. Puzzles and story. There are two different ways to approach them. 1) The story is the reason to play the adventure. The puzzles are what you do in the game to progress further in the story. Without them it'd just be watching a movie so you need SOMETHING to do, but it's mostly to see the sights, enjoy the world, and solve the odd small puzzle to make you feel "smart". But the inverse works as well. 2) The puzzles are the reason to play the adventure. The story is there as a reward for solving a certain set of puzzles and gives you a reason and incentive to go through the next set of puzzles to discover more of the story. I realize that it isn't quite as clear cut as that and there are gray areas and even crossovers to those points, but they're more or less the two roots where all other styles of enjoying adventure games spring from.

The difference between these two viewpoints is that one is scaling a proverbial Mount Doom with your bare hands on a steep cliff-face while the hot air and lava rain down around you causing you to concentrate and think in different ways how to solve problems that you run into to discover different ways to ascend using every possible tool you might have on you. It's certainly not very pleasant at times, but when you finally succeed it is a great victory that you solved it all by yourself with no help against all odds. That versus walking with a large group of people up a completely safe almost horizontal tourist stone pathway with high walls on a clear bright sunny day with a tourist guide in front of you telling you about all the sights and where you should go next to see the next attraction. You don't enjoy the walking (which is made as easy as possible), you just want to see the historic mountain. All you need is a walking stick at best, maybe a bottle of water.

Are the puzzles that you solve easily worth the experience? That depends on combination of things as there are (at least) two types of "easy". Whether your practiced brain just works in such a way as to see patterns easily and understand what the game wants from you by the clues it gives or whether it was a simple single-action activity. Either examples are both good and bad to different kinds of people. Some people just want to get on with it. Some people relish every facet and frustrating part of the journey. But both are valid.

Back in the old-school days it seemed that both camps of people could enjoy adventure games easily without a problem. Why is it so hard to co-exist now? Why do people cry out against difficult puzzles with lengthy and frustrating solutions labeling them as backward, inferior, and outdated design tropes? This isn't about good or bad game design, this is about different ways and reasons that people enjoy an adventure game. Perfectly legitimate reasons that are completely different from one another so much that it's incredibly difficult for one point of view to comprehend the other. Everything that some people despise about classic adventure games are the very things that people like me thrived on. And everything that I despise about modern adventure games are the very things the cause others so much enjoyment. The problem is I feel like my side of this has been left out in the cold for far too long. Day of the Tentacle was not an easy game. Monkey Island 2 was not an easy game. You cannot compare Broken Age to either of these games in terms of difficulty. Puzzle-wise, Broken Age IS NOT old-school in any sense whatsoever other than their style. Difficulty-wise, they are light years apart. And it's not a case of nostalgia. There are classic adventure games that I have never played back in the day that when I play them now are quite challenging and I haven't beaten them yet. Broken Age was nothing like them.

Personally, I'd be very happy if both our camps got to have our way with Broken Age. Act I can be the easy hand-holding "story game" that casualists can enjoy without having an aneurysm due to even a three-stage side fetch quest just to get one item, while Act II can be the challenging, think-outside-the-box and put-it-together-all-on-your-own-with-no-help, convoluted, and "illogical" puzzle-fest that you can enjoy being stuck on for weeks and weeks in true classic fashion and celebrate when you finally overcome it. I hold out hope for this, but somehow I doubt that's how it will turn out. This is my problem with today's "adventure games". My opinion, of course. But I feel like people like me have stayed around and waited long enough for something that fits our mold of an adventure game and I'd really like to see it finally make a comeback with Broken Age and not be disappointed. I think the story is fantastic, but it's not the only reason I came to play. I'm expecting my brain to work overtime. Stump me! Give me the brain-teasers that make me feel like I want to throw the computer through the wall at times! So that when I finally solve those "impossible challenges" I can put that game box on my shelf as a trophy knowing that I overcame it all on my own with no help. None of that breaks my immersion. That IS my immersion!

There's room for the both of us. Stop pretending our tastes don't matter, aren't "relevant", or are "outdated" because they are perfectly valid. I WANT a game world that I can find so many things to look at, interact with, pick up, people to talk to, etc even if they ultimately serve no purpose whatsoever! It's MY job to discover what is actually relevant to continue the game. It's MY challenge to find the right pathway(s) that lead to the finish line. Don't take that away from me! I don't just want a story game. And I don't care if the broader audience doesn't like it. I'm still awaiting that game. Some of you have mentioned Daedalic's games as being overly difficult and overwhelming. I acquired Deponia a while back and I have yet to play it due to time. Maybe I should play it at last and find out if it's as good as you say. :) I never played it because I always thought it would be just another easy game. Same with Machinarium. Will have to play that too.

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oh and the myst series is on 5 (or even 6?^^) games now and i remember that i read that it seems likely there won't be any more JUST because the last one was kinda to hard. So i never played the last one. But i guess there have to be plenty people that played the 4 others through, so there was enough interest for a fifth one.

And i played through exile completly. You need some time to get into that world and logic. But than it's quite nice! And since Exile incredible beautiful graphics!

You mean Uru? I've played it and it's not hard -- none of the Myst series games have been nearly as hard as Riven, IMO. One of the more recent games (IV?) had a stupid scene at the end where you had to click on colors, and was more luck-based/frustrating than intellectually difficult, but it did turn people off, I'll give you that.

The reason Uru failed, as far as I can tell, was that they deviated from the tried & true formula -- point and click gameplay in a fantasy world -- and created an MMO/adventure/real-time/ARG Frankenstein with mixed fantasy and real-world elements, and people didn't like it.

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oh and the myst series is on 5 (or even 6?^^) games now and i remember that i read that it seems likely there won't be any more JUST because the last one was kinda to hard. So i never played the last one. But i guess there have to be plenty people that played the 4 others through, so there was enough interest for a fifth one.

And i played through exile completly. You need some time to get into that world and logic. But than it's quite nice! And since Exile incredible beautiful graphics!

You mean Uru? I've played it and it's not hard -- none of the Myst series games have been nearly as hard as Riven, IMO. One of the more recent games (IV?) had a stupid scene at the end where you had to click on colors, and was more luck-based/frustrating than intellectually difficult, but it did turn people off, I'll give you that.

The reason Uru failed, as far as I can tell, was that they deviated from the tried & true formula -- point and click gameplay in a fantasy world -- and created an MMO/adventure/real-time/ARG Frankenstein with mixed fantasy and real-world elements, and people didn't like it.

Oh no! Even Myst totally just failed because it didn't have anymore hard puzzles in it ^^

Well, i never played Myst I and Riven because i allready was used to the exile and revelation Graphics. ^^ And i just got through the first half of revelations because i had a new computer and i didn't manage to get my safedgames back. ;) And also had not as much time on my hand as i had when i played exile anyway ^^

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Hrm, like I said I'm not sure the puzzle difficulty had anything to do with the failure of the Myst series. The Uru puzzles were less hard than the Riven ones, but not bad per se. The problem with Uru was that they took a big risk moving the gameplay online, and it didn't pay off.

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Hrm, like I said I'm not sure the puzzle difficulty had anything to do with the failure of the Myst series. The Uru puzzles were less hard than the Riven ones, but not bad per se. The problem with Uru was that they took a big risk moving the gameplay online, and it didn't pay off.

Ah, i didn't even know what MMO and ARG is because as soon as there is something-online-somewhat-mulitplayer i'm out anyway - sorry, so i kinda overread that part. *ups*

But so, it not even had anything to do with a diffuculty that was "too high" that the series got stucked.

I mean, still, 5 games in a series are an achivement.

Monkey Island aswell reached 5 games with tales of monkey island. And both had really really hard second parts! So it seems like increase the difficulty of a game that allready was super successful (and allready kinda challenging) leads to immortality.

While making everything easier as the next step … well, leads to not so much.

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There is a cult following for Uru. I got into it a year or so ago and I was amazed that I missed the opportunity for this long. But people still play it. I love it! In fact there is even a group of people that create their own ages for the game.

I love the Myst series. One of my favourites. The first three in particular were the best. Riven was an absolute masterpiece with truly challenging puzzles that never once held your hand or told you what to do. Riven was freaking hardcore. Plus it had a fantastic story and a truly interesting world to boot. Just fantastic. I don't think I've ever played a game as hard as Riven. Figuring out the D'ni numbering system was incredibly complex and there was nothing there to help you along other than the clues that were present. Absolutely wonderful experience. And yes, the final section of Myst IV was utterly stupid. Completely out of place in a Myst game. Stopped everything dead. In a bad way. Other than that, it wasn't bad. The first three were the best, though. I still have not played Myst V yet, though in reality it's really Uru 2 but Ubisoft wanted Cyan to call it Myst to increase sales.

Myst did go downhill after a while, but I don't consider it a failure in any way. It's one of the few game series that kept the puzzle challenges up uncompromisingly, which is admirable.

By the way, anybody hear that Cyan had a successful Kickstarter not long ago for a brand new game? Google "Obduction".

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Comparing the Themes from Monkey Island to BA is not really fair. Broken age is absolutely much more adult oriented and has a deep message in it wile monkey island is a long string of hilarious punchlines.

Comparing the two would be like comparing an art film to a stand up comedy show. Many more people would listen to 3 hours of Robin Williams than watch a Tarkovsky film. Now, defining what is better, is a debate that could go on for ages. Tarkovsky make us reflects on the human condition while Robin Williams will make us happy for the rest of the day.

We need to have both.

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Oh and just as a good example for the whole theory why adventures really fail these days. As you guy mentioned amanita design anyway.

Machinarium was a huge hit! Everywhere kind of! And it did have quite complicated puzzles!

Than, as if it was kind of a diabolic law of nature the next game was just kinda a strange "Click through" game. Botanicula. Well Botanicula quite fast came after Machinarium.

Point one: Bontanicla ended up not really that much noticed.

It has not even a wikipedia article in Germany.

And since than …. amanita kinda did nothing new till now. Not even said there is any new project at the moment ( i have to check maybe their page again sometimes … but yhea, i don't even check it anymore at the moment, because there is nothing happening, and with botanicula ... no awards …. nothing … )

So, Amanita got a complicated game that was a huge hit.

Than Amanita wanted maybe to reach a bigger market and made an easy peasy click through game … and nothing more was heard of it. It was just once mentioned here and there when it came out as "the new release from the studio that made machinarium".

Ahrgh. I not even get this myth "easy games for stupid people sells best"

Just saying.

Machinarium is challenging, and gorgeous on its visual also. Its success is credited to those two elements.

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I feel like Monkey Island 2's difficulty system would be a perfect solution to this problem. Easy difficulty could be equal to Broken Age's current puzzles, and then there would be a harder difficulty where the puzzles would become more complex.

I wonder why MI2 is the only one (the only one I'm aware of anyway) with this system, as it worked out very well in that game. Developers thought it was unnecessary? It made scripting too hard? It increased the budget too much?

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I feel like Monkey Island 2's difficulty system would be a perfect solution to this problem. Easy difficulty could be equal to Broken Age's current puzzles, and then there would be a harder difficulty where the puzzles would become more complex.

I wonder why MI2 is the only one (the only one I'm aware of anyway) with this system, as it worked out very well in that game. Developers thought it was unnecessary? It made scripting too hard? It increased the budget too much?

mi 3 had it, too

budget reasons, i bet :(

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