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GamblerZ

On Broken Age Difficulty (and why it matters)

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I agree that harder puzzles in the second act would go a way to helping pace out the adventure, but I don't think I agree with it to the extent you're saying; that is to say I fundamentally don't agree with the following:

[...]

Adventure games have always been a genre that rewarded more than puzzle solving. That's why I can happily go back and play any one of my favourite LucasArts classics. It's why every few years I play a Monkey Island game or DOTT or Full Throttle or The Dig or Grim Fandango despite knowing the puzzles for most of those games like the back of my hand.

I agree with the replay value of the old classic: It's like watching a great movie you've watched a hundred times and now every syllable, every pause and every camera angle and you still LOVE watching the movie and the warm fuzzy felling you have while doing so. Yup, I really love replaying some of the good old ones.

That being said: For a game (or movie or book) to have a lasting affect on me it needs to be really good on the first experience. Broken Age wasn't. And that is why I do not have the feeling that I will be going back to it too often. I will replay Act I before the release of Act II, but that's probably it.

The way you describe your gameplay expeirence sounds to me like your trying really hard to squeeze some more fun out of the experience which wasn't present the first time around. Kind of squeezing a rock in hope of getting water.

Look, you can like or dislike what you want to, but please don't tell me what I'M doing. I went back and replayed it because I wanted to. I had fun finding all those hidden jokes and responses and other things I hadn't noticed first time around because I wanted to. It wasn't some big effort to, as you put it, 'squeeze' more fun out of it.

I mean, that's just incredibly belittling of my enjoyment, particularly when you say things like 'Kind of squeezing a rock in hope of getting water'. What the hell, dude? It took me zero effort to enjoy the game as much as I did, and the idea that I was frantically wringing extra fun out of some bone dry experience is basically tantamount to calling me deluded, or a liar, for liking the game - first time and subsequent times round. Stop it.

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I agree that harder puzzles in the second act would go a way to helping pace out the adventure, but I don't think I agree with it to the extent you're saying; that is to say I fundamentally don't agree with the following:

[...]

Adventure games have always been a genre that rewarded more than puzzle solving. That's why I can happily go back and play any one of my favourite LucasArts classics. It's why every few years I play a Monkey Island game or DOTT or Full Throttle or The Dig or Grim Fandango despite knowing the puzzles for most of those games like the back of my hand.

[...]

The way you describe your gameplay expeirence sounds to me like your trying really hard to squeeze some more fun out of the experience which wasn't present the first time around. Kind of squeezing a rock in hope of getting water.

Look, you can like or dislike what you want to, but please don't tell me what I'M doing. [...] Stop it.

I wrote "sounds to me". That's not the same as calling you a lunatic.

I'm not telling you what to do. You can write as much as you want on how much you enjoy Broken Age. I don't care. But that still doesn't change that your posts about Broken Age seem a whole lot like the ones of an apologist to me.

If you can't handle that, feel free to put me on your ignore list any time.

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I agree that harder puzzles in the second act would go a way to helping pace out the adventure, but I don't think I agree with it to the extent you're saying; that is to say I fundamentally don't agree with the following:

[...]

Adventure games have always been a genre that rewarded more than puzzle solving. That's why I can happily go back and play any one of my favourite LucasArts classics. It's why every few years I play a Monkey Island game or DOTT or Full Throttle or The Dig or Grim Fandango despite knowing the puzzles for most of those games like the back of my hand.

[...]

The way you describe your gameplay expeirence sounds to me like your trying really hard to squeeze some more fun out of the experience which wasn't present the first time around. Kind of squeezing a rock in hope of getting water.

Look, you can like or dislike what you want to, but please don't tell me what I'M doing. [...] Stop it.

I wrote "sounds to me". That's not the same as calling you a lunatic.

I'm not telling you what to do. You can write as much as you want on how much you enjoy Broken Age. I don't care. But that still doesn't change that your posts about Broken Age seem a whole lot like the ones of an apologist to me.

If you can't handle that, feel free to put me on your ignore list any time.

Oh. right, so you're not saying I'm deluded or lying, you're just saying it SOUNDS like that to you. Hmm. Yeah, screw that.

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Oh, I just re-read my post and came to the conclusion you didn't answer the question (because you were offended):

So here it is again: Do you really think that what we got was Tims vision for the game (puzzle wise) and we did in fact not end up with an inferior watered-down version of the game that it should have been?

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Oh. right, so you're not saying I'm deluded or lying, you're just saying it SOUNDS like that to you. Hmm. Yeah, screw that.

You are really obsessed with isinuating that other people insult you.

I did in fact an no point claim that you are deluded. You are the only one here that is assigning this attribution to yourself constantly.

I said it seems to me that you are trying really hard to like the game.

If you can't see that these two things are not nearly the same you are in fact beyond help.

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Oh, I just re-read my post and came to the conclusion you didn't answer the question (because you were offended):

So here it is again: Do you really think that what we got was Tims vision for the game (puzzle wise) and we did in fact not end up with an inferior watered-down version of the game that it should have been?

Yes, I do really think that, and the reason that I didn't answer that is that I find it rather annoying that I even have to explain that. But still, let me explain:

1) I think the game (so far!) has a few flaws, mainly surrounding the way hints are passed out and I would have enjoyed a dedicated look verb and... anyway, I've gone into what I think are the main flaws with the game in other places. So when I say I really like Act 1 a lot, it's not without reservation.

2) That said, what I've seen following the documentary, comments made (publicly, mainly, but a couple privately) suggests to me that

a) They are extremely proud of what they have produced and don't view it as a watered down compromise in the slightest

b) They nevertheless care enough about the project that they are listening to the primary concerns people have and are actively thinking of ways that they can improve on them.

b) doesn't surprise me, since even from my limited experience I know even with projects that came out really well I always end up with a list of a dozen things I'd wanted to implement but just couldn't in the end. That doesn't make it an inferior watered down version of my vision, that just makes it a video game.

I think that they genuinely thought, based on the tester feedback they got, that they had pitched the puzzle difficulty for Act I about right, and I think they still believe that (with some acknowledgement I've seen that perhaps the hints went too far in spots), which leads me to...

3) I think their confidence in that belief is borne out by the number of satisfied backers. I don't think they ever expected to simultaneously delight the pants off 90k backers - if they did, they were foolish to think they could, but I think the feedback I've been seeing in various places outside of this forum (twitter, Steam) tells the story of a game that the vast majority of people are very pleased with.

(I also think they intend to do what Tim said a few episodes ago and ramp up the difficulty for a significantly more difficult Act 2. I doubt it'll be enough for some people, but I do think it's worth remembering that we're discussing in isolation what we know is supposed to be the much easier act of a 2 act game. That's not to excuse Act I's faults, which as I said earlier do exist, but I do think it's slightly trickier to talk about what their vision was for the game when we haven't seen it all yet.)

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Oh. right, so you're not saying I'm deluded or lying, you're just saying it SOUNDS like that to you. Hmm. Yeah, screw that.

You are really obsessed with isinuating that other people insult you.

I did in fact an no point claim that you are deluded. You are the only one here that is assigning this attribution to yourself constantly.

I said it seems to me that you are trying really hard to like the game.

If you can't see that these two things are not nearly the same you are in fact beyond help.

I don't know how you can't understand how it's really goddamn rude to keep on telling someone 'it just seems to me that you're trying really hard to like it.' It's basically saying 'Oh, I don't know, it seems to me the only way you could like this game is if it was some kind of weird creepy FAKE like that you're putting on, or hallucinating or something.'

Yes, I'm using some hyperbole here in describing what you say, but not MUCH.

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I just want to interrupt for a second to say: Rock on, KestrelPi! :-)

I wish I had the same stamina for these discussions! Repeating and rewording the same arguments to different people tires me out too fast, though. Often it's even merely rewording the same arguments to the same people, because it's difficult, if not impossible to come to an understanding. Though I can tell your impatience is growing, because your pronounced evenhandedness has been waning as of late. Well, better that way, anyway. ;-P

Continue!

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I also would be very glad if DF would increase the number and difficulty of puzzles and also the number of hotspots.

I would have liked just to have some more hotspots on interesting objects even if its just to hear the opinion

of the protagonist about this object. To have more interesting hotspots would also increase the difficulty because you have more options that could be important for the current puzzle. If I have for example only 3 hotspots on screen and only 1-2 items in my inventory then the solution for the puzzle is very obvious, especially if the other characters then don't stop telling you, what you have to do to solve the puzzle like in the train puzzle.

I second the opinion that there is sometimes very little to do per screen. I would have liked more puzzles per screen. Especially in the different towns it would have been nice to have more "business to do" with the different citizens. Sometimes I meet a character and and all I have to to is simply use all dialog options once and thats it, I never have to talk to him again in act 1. Like the guru from the cloud colony for example. No puzzles to get something from him. No further need to talk to him later to get a permission for something. (I mean he's the "mayor" of the cloud colony. So he should play a more important role in that part of the game)

I would be glad if DF makes more use of the screens and characters they already have. That means:

- Give me more to do with these characters. I want to know them better

- Give me more hotspots to interact with per location. I want to hear the opinion of Vella or Shay about some of the objects in the background or even see them interact with more objects just for fun.

- Give me more puzzles per location and make them a bit more difficult.

I really hope that Act 2 will be more challenging and offer more things to do than Act 1. I absolutely like the art, the humor, the characters and the story (especially the end of act1) but I want more game and less just clicking through the story.

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I apologize for taking so long to respond, life has been pretty hectic for me lately and talking on forums isn't really a priority when you're trying to pay bills.

The thing is, what you just said is different. This is how I feel: you get so close to making a point that, if I don't agree with, I at least feel like I can respect and engage with, and then you say things like this, let me quote directly:

"I, for one, before the internet never dreamed that there would be a group of people who liked everything about adventures except for the puzzles. Less so that Tim Schafer of all people would design his next adventure game to cater to THAT crowd after running a Kickstarter evidently catering to my crowd."

How am I supposed to interpret that except for seeing it as you veering massively off the point again? You can keep saying that you understand that you're not presenting this binary viewpoint, but when you say things like the above then that's the sort of stuff that makes me want to throw my hands up in the air in frustration as we go back to the drawing board of me trying to patiently explain there's a difference between not liking puzzles and someone not prioritising them in terms of importance. You say you understand this, and I kind of believe you, but it makes it all the more baffling that you keep going back to statements like the above.

I know that there are more than two views, but there is a clear-cut binary set of camps here: those that are ok with the puzzles in Broken Age and those that aren't. I'm not. This was not made for me. How is this so hard to understand and why is it such an issue to accept? Tim has confirmed this already. His goal was to make the game more approachable to a broader audience, something I wish he didn't do. That's his whole outlook on adventure games and one that I disagree with; to appeal to those who wouldn't normally play games. This is all public knowledge, this isn't just hearsay. These are Tim's own words. Is that what you're disagreeing with? I'm afraid I still don't understand your whole issue with my point of view in this case.

If you phrased it badly or imprecisely, fine, say what you actually meant and we can move on, but don't blame me for interpreting the above in the way I did. THAT sort of thing is where I keep getting this notion from. You keep on saying stuff like that and agreeing with people who are saying the same thing, but elsewhere I've seen evidence that your view IS more nuanced.

My impression here is that you keep seeing this as something that it's not and reading into things that aren't there. Not regarding my more "nuanced opinion", but in my somehow provoking or implicating you and your position unfairly.

Finally, I don't care who 'provokes' this debate. I'm happy to be the one doing it if you like, because I'm happy to bring it up as long as I think people are leaving out vital nuance from the discussion.

I wasn't saying it for your sake, it was a disclaimer for the others who have blamed me for dragging this on and on. I didn't mean specifically you. I'm happy to discuss it as well.

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Anyway: I think the trade-off they went with (more polish, animation, art instead of more content) made BA a shadow of what it coud have been.

If you are happy with it than be happy with it.

I am not and I will not replay this game half a dozen times to grind some more joy out of it.

Says it all.

Look, you can like or dislike what you want to, but please don't tell me what I'M doing. I went back and replayed it because I wanted to. I had fun finding all those hidden jokes and responses and other things I hadn't noticed first time around because I wanted to. It wasn't some big effort to, as you put it, 'squeeze' more fun out of it.

I mean, that's just incredibly belittling of my enjoyment, particularly when you say things like 'Kind of squeezing a rock in hope of getting water'. What the hell, dude? It took me zero effort to enjoy the game as much as I did, and the idea that I was frantically wringing extra fun out of some bone dry experience is basically tantamount to calling me deluded, or a liar, for liking the game - first time and subsequent times round. Stop it.

And what about you equating our position to rushing through the game looking for puzzles that aren't there and not enjoying the rest of the game? I believe the metaphor was something about a box of chocolates. You're doing the same thing. I don't agree with your reasons for liking the game. I don't think they're good enough, so I don't like your opinion on the game. It's nothing against you. I know you're enjoying the game as it is, but I think it's for a silly reason. And that's my opinion and I'm free to say it. To me it IS like wringing joy out of a shallow experience. To me you're settling for less, even though you say you're perfectly satisfied. You may have an opinion on my opinion of your opinion, but I don't care. And neither should you. That's your whole problem, you keep acting like you're being insulted because of our opinions. Don't take it personally, man!

1) I think the game (so far!) has a few flaws, mainly surrounding the way hints are passed out and I would have enjoyed a dedicated look verb and… anyway, I’ve gone into what I think are the main flaws with the game in other places. So when I say I really like Act 1 a lot, it’s not without reservation.

2) That said, what I’ve seen following the documentary, comments made (publicly, mainly, but a couple privately) suggests to me that

a) They are extremely proud of what they have produced and don’t view it as a watered down compromise in the slightest

That's a problem to me. Though, I understand they don't have to listen to me. That's also sad to me.

b) They nevertheless care enough about the project that they are listening to the primary concerns people have and are actively thinking of ways that they can improve on them.

Commendable, but their ideals are in direct contradiction to mine, so I don't expect to be satisfied by their attempts to appease me, though I appreciate it.

b) doesn’t surprise me, since even from my limited experience I know even with projects that came out really well I always end up with a list of a dozen things I’d wanted to implement but just couldn’t in the end. That doesn’t make it an inferior watered down version of my vision, that just makes it a video game.

That's a fair bit of generalizing there. Some games are good and bad largely because of how much content they had to cut or didn't cut. In this case, in my opinion, Broken Age suffered irrevocably from cutting too much or not implementing enough. That's not an unfair statement. It seems to me like you keep saying that because this game is a success that we should give in and just admit it's a good game. No. I don't have to do that and I won't. On the contrary, I think this game is terrible because it's a success, given current marketplace realities. (yes I went there)

I think that they genuinely thought, based on the tester feedback they got, that they had pitched the puzzle difficulty for Act I about right, and I think they still believe that (with some acknowledgement I’ve seen that perhaps the hints went too far in spots), which leads me to…

3) I think their confidence in that belief is borne out by the number of satisfied backers. I don’t think they ever expected to simultaneously delight the pants off 90k backers - if they did, they were foolish to think they could, but I think the feedback I’ve been seeing in various places outside of this forum (twitter, Steam) tells the story of a game that the vast majority of people are very pleased with.

I don't care what the vast majority are pleased with. I know that Double Fine does, but I don't. I'm not going to change my opinion that this is a hollow shell of what it could have been just because it works for a lot of other people who have no idea what they're missing.

(I also think they intend to do what Tim said a few episodes ago and ramp up the difficulty for a significantly more difficult Act 2. I doubt it’ll be enough for some people, but I do think it’s worth remembering that we’re discussing in isolation what we know is supposed to be the much easier act of a 2 act game. That’s not to excuse Act I’s faults, which as I said earlier do exist, but I do think it’s slightly trickier to talk about what their vision was for the game when we haven’t seen it all yet.)

Again, because of what I now know about their design philosophy, I don't think anything they do will be good enough for my liking. It's still going to be streamlined, easy, and appeal to the masses more than to me. Which brings me back to the point that this game was made for one of two groups of people that I am not a member of when I was hoping for the opposite. The only thing that will save the game for me at this point is a difficulty setting before the game starts similar to MI2 and CMI which caters to both crowds. Yes, I'm bringing up the 'both crowds' point again because there are people who don't mind easy puzzles and there are people who do. Anything more "nuanced" about individuals' opinions in either camp doesn't really matter where that is concerned.

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Almost everything you just said is irrelevant, because I wasn't answering a point about you you, MusicallyInspired think of the game, or DoubleFieps, I was answering the question, and I quote: "Do you really think that what we got was Tims vision for the game (puzzle wise) and we did in fact not end up with an inferior watered-down version of the game that it should have been?"

Your responses are as if I was answering some entirely different question to do with what certain adventure game fans are looking for. If it makes you happy: Yes, I acknowledge that some section of adventure game fans will be disappointed.

Those reasons are valid for them, they're welcome to them. And it may sound heartless, but

a) I don't really care.

b) Well, I don't care as long as they don't say silly things that imply that my own reasons for liking the game are invalid or worthless, because that makes it personal. (and no that box of chocolates this is not the same - for a start I admitted it was an imperfect analogy, and as I've said before I don't think that's how you do play the game, in reality - I was just using it as a hyperbolic example)

c) Okay, I also care a little bit when people, as DoubleFieps did, imply that the reason that they don't like the game is because of some big internal failure to deliver that they know about but just won't own up to.

Edit: d) Fine, fine, there's another one. I also care a teeny bit because I'd like you to enjoy the game more. I don't hate you or anything, any of you, even if you occasionally drive me a bit nuts, but I do wish you had it in you to appreciate adventure games with tricksy puzzles, and also ones that don't have so tricky puzzles. I guess a bit of me is frustrated because it's so easy for me to appreciate both things, and it makes me slightly sad that others can't.

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But things were obviously cut from the game. And not because they were too difficult for playtesters. Of course it's watered down. You can't argue that.

Otherwise, I think you're getting hung up quite a bit on semantics and misunderstanding everybody. It's not that DoubleFine won't own up to their "mistake" (it's a mistake to me, but not obviously to them), it's that they don't consider what they did to be a mistake. That's extremely disheartening for me and it's caused me to lose a lot of respect for Tim as an adventure designer. As a general game designer, that's different. And if he's going to start this new era of "adventure" games with Broken Age it's going to do well and he's going to be quite the forerunner with his story-telling capabilities (not so much his puzzle designing abilities). But it's not what I expected when he said "old-school".

As for your final point, people are different. I appreciate that you want the best for me in experiencing Broken Age the way you've discovered that you can do. Seriously, that's very kind and you're obviously very sincere and passionate about that. And the truth is I can appreciate Broken Age for what it is, but I can't appreciate it as an adventure game, because on those terms it simply isn't one according to my definition, so I can't enjoy it for what I wanted it to be and what it could have been. I simply can't. It frustrates and saddens me because I see the missed opportunity and the wasted potential. Thus far, my arguments against the game have been on that basis; it's not a true adventure game according to my standards. My entire position has been to attempt to explain my definition of adventure games and why Broken Age doesn't fit the bill. Not that Tim lied or that other people can't call this an adventure game, everyone has their own standards. I did have fun with the interactive story game called Broken Age. It was great, funny, and interesting. I really wish it could have been an adventure, though...

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But things were obviously cut from the game. And not because they were too difficult for playtesters. Of course it's watered down. You can't argue that.

Otherwise, I think you're getting hung up quite a bit on semantics and misunderstanding everybody. It's not that DoubleFine won't own up to their "mistake" (it's a mistake to me, but not obviously to them), it's that they don't consider what they did to be a mistake. That's extremely disheartening for me and it's caused me to lose a lot of respect for Tim as an adventure designer. As a general game designer, that's different. And if he's going to start this new era of "adventure" games with Broken Age it's going to do well and he's going to be quite the forerunner with his story-telling capabilities (not so much his puzzle designing abilities). But it's not what I expected when he said "old-school".

As for your final point, people are different. I appreciate that you want the best for me in experiencing Broken Age the way you've discovered that you can do. Seriously, that's very kind and you're obviously very sincere and passionate about that. And the truth is I can appreciate Broken Age for what it is, but I can't appreciate it as an adventure game, because on those terms it simply isn't one according to my definition, so I can't enjoy it for what I wanted it to be and what it could have been. I simply can't. It frustrates and saddens me because I see the missed opportunity and the wasted potential. Thus far, my arguments against the game have been on that basis; it's not a true adventure game according to my standards. My entire position has been to attempt to explain my definition of adventure games and why Broken Age doesn't fit the bill. Not that Tim lied or that other people can't call this an adventure game, everyone has their own standards. I did have fun with the interactive story game called Broken Age. It was great, funny, and interesting. I really wish it could have been an adventure, though...

I don't think I am getting hung up on semantics - yes, things were cut. Every game Tim has worked on, I think, has gone through at least some level of cuts. Every game MOST people have worked on. Not everything you could possibly do makes it in, so I think you have to allow for an amount of that before starting to call the work 'watered down' or deviating from the 'vision' whatever that is.

On my final point, I sort of meant it and sort of didn't. Yes, we're all different and I don't want us all to be the same, but at the same time, y'know, I think it would be sweet if you liked the adventure part more because, well, I'm not a MONSTER.

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Yes, every game goes through cuts. In this case, however, it resulted in compromising its adventure-ness instead of some other aspect. That's a bad thing to some people which makes it a bad game. Or more specifically, a bad adventure. So, as far as puzzles are concerned, the game is watered down compared to what Tim had planned. He cut the wrong content, as far as I'm concerned.

On my final point, I sort of meant it and sort of didn’t. Yes, we’re all different and I don’t want us all to be the same, but at the same time, y’know, I think it would be sweet if you liked the adventure part more because, well, I’m not a MONSTER.

What "adventure part"? That's my whole point. And how does that have anything to do with you being a 'monster' or not? I don't think you're a monster. I don't know what you're getting at there.

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Yes, every game goes through cuts. In this case, however, it resulted in compromising its adventure-ness instead of some other aspect. That's a bad thing to some people which makes it a bad game. Or more specifically, a bad adventure. So, as far as puzzles are concerned, the game is watered down compared to what Tim had planned. He cut the wrong content, as far as I'm concerned.
On my final point, I sort of meant it and sort of didn’t. Yes, we’re all different and I don’t want us all to be the same, but at the same time, y’know, I think it would be sweet if you liked the adventure part more because, well, I’m not a MONSTER.

What "adventure part"? That's my whole point. And how does that have anything to do with you being a 'monster' or not? I don't think you're a monster. I don't know what you're getting at there.

I wasn't saying you thought that, I was just saying that I think it'd be nice if you liked the adventure part because I think it's nice when people enjoy things, because.. you know, only a 'monster' would not think it's nice when people enjoy things.

And yes, I will say adventure part. Even you have to admit there were puzzles. Adventure puzzles. They might not be even 1% hard enough for you, they might not have satisfied you even a little bit, but you have to be in some serious denial to claim that they don't exist.

Certainly, I've watched people on YouTube play this game quite a few times now, many of whom are big adventure fans, I can tell from the things they reference, and some are newbies. The newbies tend to get stuck more often, but there were still plenty of situations where the veterans just didn't immediately realise what to do.... but I digress, the point is, the game is an adventure game with adventure game puzzles in it. If you're seriously denying that, then I don't even know what to DO with that.

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First let me say that I tend towards KestrelPi's opinion that this is a good and enjoyable game, with a nice universe and an excellent story.

Apart from that I am on the disappointed side regarding puzzles. It's not just a matter of each discrete puzzle's difficulty. The problem of the game is that its puzzles are not multi-level enough. What increases an adventure game's difficulty is not hiding the hints. A good adventure game always gives you hints about the solutions, else they are unfair. But in a good adventure game, you have so many things to do, so many simultaneous puzzles to solve, that you need to really think and revisit locations and repeat dialogue lines, until you get it right.

And then you get stuck and curse the day you started playing this game and shut down the computer. And the next day at work, you come up with a solution and can't wait to go home and solve it. So you solve it and there come two more different puzzle trees to follow. And more hours to spend in this beautiful world the developers created.

Let's talk with examples (SPOILERS AHEAD!!!).

- To take the bucket, you just need to talk a bit to the mayor. You need to select the first dialogue choice to talk about the bucket and then choose the second correct choice which gives you the bucket. Very nice logical puzzle. But why so easy? Why so quick? If there is a dialogue puzzle, give it more steps. Make it a whole discussion in which you must select the correct path of 4-5 different sets of choices to get the item. Give me a challenge, don't let me randomly solve the puzzle.

- To make the stool you need to pick up the piece of wood and take it to the wood chuck. Why note make the piece of wood be floating in the water and make a nice puzzle out of this? Perhaps somehow stealing the hooks from the dressed-up girls and using them with the fish poles to fish the piece of wood out. This way, the solution to the puzzle delays a bit, you need to talk to the girls first, come up with more puzzle trees after talking to them (and perhaps following them instead of revisiting the wood) and later you will remember that piece of wood and try to solve the puzzle.

I think this is what most people who complain about the difficulty mean. If a couple of more steps were added to the puzzles and the puzzle paths were intermingled, it would give us a more lengthy experience, with an otherwise excellent and polish game. A look at feature would indeed add more content which is a nice feature but, be that as it may, the real juice is giving us a challenge. If it is more difficult for me to reach a cut-scene, I will be more immersed in it when it finally happens.

Peace be between us fellow elderly adventure gamers :)

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Yes, I would be ok with such easy puzzles if there were TONS of them (and I mean tons). That's not a perfect solution, however, but it's a step in the right direction. I'd rather just have difficult multi-threaded puzzles and more of them.

I don't call Broken Age an adventure game because it didn't focus on puzzles really at all. It has all the elements of an adventure game, but not a classic one. As I keep saying, this new slew of adventure games (that don't NEED a revival! They're already here and booming!) are not what I call adventure games at all. They're story games. They may have puzzles, but so does Half-Life. That doesn't make it an adventure game.

For me.

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As I keep saying, this new slew of adventure games (that don't NEED a revival! They're already here and booming!) are not what I call adventure games at all. They're story games. They may have puzzles, but so does Half-Life. That doesn't make it an adventure game.

I don't understand your complaint. I don't play so many games generally these days due to lack of time, but I have played some newer adventure games. Mainly from Telltales and Daedalic.

The Sam n Max series, even though it started a bit on the simple side, it became a much more multi level experience with excellent gameplay changing puzzles. Back to the future was ok, more towards the "story games" you mention but still maintained basic principles of adventure games.

Daedalic's games were nice too, sometimes with not so excellent puzzle design, but they had their difficult moments and sometimes nice puzzles. I will accept your opinion if you say they weren't good, but if this is so, it means they weren't good adventure games, not that they were not adventure games at all.

I have also tried some indy adventure games like Machinarium or Resonance, which I found enjoyable. I consider them adventure games, parts of a genre that evolves but maintains its core principles, which are the need to use you brain to complete them and the nice feeling of experiencing the story and the urge to see what comes next.

Care to elaborate on what you mean by "new slew of adventure games" which you don't consider adventure games at all?

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I actually enjoyed Daedalic's games. Well, I've only played the one so far (Deponia), but I loved it. The puzzles were great, challenging, and kept me working for a good long time. I was half-worried after playing Broken Age that the first area of the game (the town) would be the only area, but it turned out to be only about the first quarter or third, which was a pleasant surprise. Daedalic scored major points (pun intended) with me with Deponia. That's more along the lines of how an adventure game should be designed. I just wish we could have something like that with Tim's great storytelling and humour injected into it.

The others you mentioned, I never got into them at all and I don't consider any of them true adventures. Tales of Monkey Island was TTG's best effort, but it was nothing compared to the originals. The Sam & Max games were....just ok. Lesser works than Tales of Monkey Island. Back to the Future was abysmally bad. I was so disappointed with it story-wise and puzzle-wise. It was the title that caused me to lose my already dwindling hope altogether for Telltale. Jurassic Park was a joke. Now they're not even trying to make adventure games at all, and that was a good decision for them. At least they're finally being honest about what they want to do and where they want to go instead of fooling themselves and everybody else into thinking they were "advancing the genre" by stripping it clean of everything I considered great about it. Walking Dead and their latest efforts are the farthest things from adventure games I have seen from them yet. About the only game I truly enjoyed from Telltale was the first Puzzle Agent, and that wasn't even an adventure game either.

I'm playing through Machinarium now. So far I'm happy with the difficulty curve. Still only on the third screen. Need to get back to it. I don't know how long the game is, but if there are much much more areas in the game I imagine I'll be quite happy with it. I've also started Gemini Rue and Blackwell Legacy by Wadjet Eye. Gemini so far has been pretty easy, but I'm no where near the end yet (at least, I hope not). I'm hopeful. Blackwell is proving to be rather challenging so far, at least it's keeping me thinking a lot, I just wish there was more to DO. There are very few "hotspots". Gah. I hate that term, I don't believe in thinking of adventure games as having "hotspots" or more than enough "red herrings" or things like that. I come from Sierra games where you could basically click and look at anything you could see. It wasn't about having enough hotspots or not, it was about exploring and being observant. Not about knowing exactly which objects you are allowed to interact with and, therefore, know that it's important to progress in the game. They don't have to be important. Anyway, that little rant aside, there wasn't much to do in Blackwell...at least not so far. It's very streamlined. The puzzles so far have been fairly challenging, but like someone (yourself? I apologize I could be wrong) said somewhere else, it lacks the multi-threaded/chained puzzle structures to keep you busy and your mind occupied.

Basically, any so-called "adventure game that sacrifices puzzles in favour of story and atmosphere is not an adventure game to me. An adventure must have a certain level of difficulty, narrative, exploration, and intractability. I don't even really care for dialogue tree puzzles. They're alright, but they're no substitute for puzzles. I actually believe that Telltale's games excess in dialogue trees and attempts to pass them off as the bulk of the puzzles. LucasArts games had dialogue tree puzzles, but they weren't solely depended on for that. Broken Age has a problem with this as well. I'm just annoyed with the focus being solely given to story, atmosphere, and characters all the time while sacrificing the actual gameplay. I don't agree that they are more important than the puzzles. Story alone must be equally as important as puzzle design. Everything else is bonus and makes the game better. But sacrificing puzzles for everything else is the wrong way to go. From that point on the game ceases to be an (old school) adventure game and becomes something else. What I've been waiting for is a return to THAT type of game. The type of game that everybody seems to be unfairly treating as outdated and obtuse design philosophies.

But that's me. I adore Space Quest, King's Quest, Police Quest, Conquests of Camelot, and all the rest and their sequels. A couple of them had minor issues, but I was happy with my experiences in them all. I also enjoyed LucasArts' games to a slightly lesser extent. Especially Monkey Island 2, Curse of Monkey Island, The Dig, Fate of Atlantis, and Day of the Tentacle. They clearly put a lot of focus on storytelling and ease of use, but the puzzles were all still there, very present and well designed. I didn't enjoy them as much as Sierra, but I did enjoy certainly enjoy them. The one problem with LucasArts and their designers was that it's now clear that they've always had a design philosophy that catered more towards accessibility than challenge. And with each new release of their games (starting around Full Throttle) they started going downhill. Telltale continued this trend after assembling themselves together and made more and more watered down (puzzle-wise) games with each title. Now it seems that Tim Schafer and Double Fine are doing the same thing. The things that I enjoyed about older games were clearly not the things that they liked themselves and have already (if not always wanted to) done away with them. This is a harsh reality that I'm starting to understand, but it's a sad truth. Luckily, there are still some small groups making great challenging and true adventure games out there who aren't ascribing themselves to this new story-focused narrative and atmosphere-based strand of "adventure game" fad. I enjoy a good story, but I came here to play adventures.

Sorry for the length.

TL;DR I liked Deponia and to a lesser extent am enjoying Blackwell Legacy and Gemini Rue. Telltale's games are not adventures. I wish more developers would follow in Sierra's footsteps than those of ex-LucasArts designers, who are not as great as I once thought them to be.

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Ok I get where you are coming from. I don't know how much of the Sam'n'Max games you have played. Till they reach the third season they become pretty nice and with interesting plot and puzzles. The guys did a good effort on those. But I agree with you, neither Jurassic Park nor Walking Dead are adventure games. I don't know whether they are advertised as the next step of adventure games, but that could not be further from the truth. They took on those games because they have high market value and I guess they made quite a lot from them. But this does not mean there are no new adventure games. I believe you are exaggerating a bit.

For newer ideas in how to evolve adventure games keep on playing Machinarium and try Samorost 1 & 2 and Botanicula. Amanita are looking to do different things but keep the basic principles of adventure games. But their games are different in many aspects, artistically and in gameplay. If you liked Deponia try the whole series, all three games are at the same decent level, with the third being my favourite.

I guess BA is somewhere in the middle. It has enough puzzles to not be an interactive movie but not enough to challenge us.

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I'm not saying there aren't new adventures. I'm well aware of the current developers out there. I'm excited to n play the other Deponia games and The Whispered World as well (which I do own). Not all of them are keeping what I felt was integral to adventure design in their approaches, though. Thus those specific ones are 'modern style' adventures and not 'classic style' adventures. Broken Age is a modern adventure through and through. Unapologetically so.

I'm also not interested in evolving the genre at all if it means I don't have to think or if it's trying to change the focus to something else entirely. It's an intriguing experiment sometimes, but I'm not interested in it for its self-proclaimed connections to classic adventures. Some would call that being stuck in the past. I don't think it is, I can enjoy something for what it is. I just don't consider these changes to be an improvement on what I think wasn't broken. I consider it a complete alteration. To the point of rendering the original model it's based on unrecognizable in the end result. That's not evolution to me, that's reimagining. Which is fine. Just don't label it as having anything to do with 'classic adventure games'.

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After playing about 6 hours of the indie RPG Driftmoon I start to feel somewhat sympathetic with what I previously considered to be whining about BA's difficulty.

Driftmoon is ridiculously easy, both the combat encounters and quests don't offer any challenge. I started the game on the second lowest difficulty level (of four) and two hours in I started escalating the difficulty level, first to the second highest, then to the highest. I can't say that I felt much of a difference. There was one fight against a big spider that necessitated the use many potions, but since I had those plenty anyway that fight wasn't any trouble either.

But even if the game lets you down in one way in that it doesn't resist your progress through it, it keeps you interest because its writing is lovely, its world fun to explore every nook and cranny of. You just love to be in this world. I just wish some of its secrets were much better hidden and that some combat encounters necessitated a more clever use of my abilities. The game isn't too simplistic, it actually offers really tight and varied mechanics, lots of different ways to interact with the game that make you feel like you have an impact on it. It's just far too easy. No, it's not only that: When the game tells you that no one, many an adventurer and smart mind, has been able to open a certain vault that has been closed for centuries, it makes it implausible that it's trivially easy for you. Driftmoon may be the perfect RPG for beginners, though.

And I prefer it to Mask of the Betrayer, definitely. That's why I started playing Driftmoon anyway, because MotB pissed me off. Constant fighting with the camera, character positioning and interface aren't what I call fun. And it throws hard to beat fights at you on Easy before you're even out of the introductory dungeon! Pah! Nah, I prefer Driftmoon.

Closing words: I have to say though that I felt Broken Age offered some resistance to me as a player, some challenge. Not a lot, but I had to stop to think for a few times, I didn't feel this lack of challenge Driftmoon poses to me. But I can understand now how some people might feel with BA how I feel with Driftmoon. :)

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To contrast, I finished Full Throttle for the first time last night and man, after that, I really feel like praising Broken Age's puzzle design. Some of the puzzles in that game were just obscure and unfair. BA's puzzles compared to those look like a paragon of logic and clarity. (That's why I still feel the game could do with less hints. :P)

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To contrast, I finished Full Throttle for the first time last night and man, after that, I really feel like praising Broken Age's puzzle design. Some of the puzzles in that game were just obscure and unfair. BA's puzzles compared to those look like a paragon of logic and clarity. (That's why I still feel the game could do with less hints. :P)

What??

Puzzles don't get much more basic and straightforward than Full Throttle.

Well, there are a few things which are quite notoriously hokey, though I agree that the puzzles for Full Throttle are mostly quite straightforward. From the top of my head:

- The feedback on the Junkyard puzzle is poor. It wants you to do a specific thing, but you can do a few things like it that aren't quite right, and the game just isn't that good at feeding back why doing it one way = failure and why doing it another way = success.

- The whole ravine sequence depends on you getting various items from different people in the bike combat sequences, but while the combat isn't that difficult, it sometimes isn't all that logical why one particular weapon works and another doesn't.

- The wall-kick puzzle is just not good. Even if you get the logic that Maureen would have been shorter when she used to kick the wall as a kid, that doesn't REALLY tell you where to kick, it's just a pixel hunt. This one is probably the most notorious.

- the whole sequence of things you have to do to get through the demolition derby always felt a little arbitrary to me, the puzzle was logical enough, but the execution felt clumsy.

I think Broken Age managed to avoid puzzles which just didn't make sense, but I think I'd like to see a few extra layers of complexity in part 2, and just generally a lower level of hinting.

So, for example up there where I was talking about feeding back why something is failure, what Broken Age needs to do a little more of is showing why something failed (e.g. the not being able to get out to space fast enough and getting dragged back in by the arms) but then stopping before Shay says something like 'If only I had some sort of propulsion' i.e. giving us a bit of time to work out that the solution was propulsion.

I think that would help with a lot of it.

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