Sign in to follow this  
suejak

Broken Age would be better with death

Recommended Posts

I know this is heretical to long-time LucasArts fans and newbie-friendly designers in general, but I've always preferred the Sierra model in which Death Exists. For those unfamiliar with the idea, this means that the character runs the risk of dying and seeing an end-game screen in an adventure game. LucasArts famously eschewed this mechanic altogether, preferring to create a totally carefree environment where players were presumably "free to experiment" without the fear of this experimentation being "punished" by a "game over screen."

I always thought this idea was garbage and that LucasArts games have suffered for it. Designers like Dave Gilbert and his affiliated game-makers at Wadjet Eye obviously prefer the Sierra model to some extent, given that their modern games do feature death. And thank God for it, because I can't be the only one who has trouble feeling alive in a world that can't kill me.

In this vein, I firmly believe that Broken Age would be a better game if it allowed for death. Allow me to give a few examples.

1) The most obvious is Mog Chothra. To make a simple obvious point, how boring is an apocalyptic monster attack if the player is in literally no danger? No matter how long you wait, this giant beast is not going to eat you. You have infinite time to escape or kill it with a laser as the case may be. Did anybody feel a real sense of excitement during these scenes?

2) A much more interesting case: the Cloud Colony. Imagine if Harm'ny Lightbeard kept his minions inside the colony by threatening death if they tried to escape. Imagine if falling through the clouds resulted in going splat on the ground. Am I the only one who thinks that's far more interesting a location than one that relies on some sort of bizarre conspiracy with the birds, wherein they catch every faller and bring him back safely? It's not even clear why falling through the ladder-sacrifice area with the three golden eggs makes one impossible to catch -- couldn't the conspiracy-birds just come and swoop you up anyway? "How can I jump off a cloud without dying" is an infinitely more interesting premise and puzzle. As it is, the area feels too gamey and contrived.

3) The snake that strangles you... Losing oxygen outside the ship... Shrinking your head too much... There are endless examples of puzzles and scenarios that would have much more weight if they presented the possibility of death. Essentially, you do die if you cut your oxygen cord without a backup; however, the artificiality of the LucasArts conceit just gently plops you back to the adjacent screen. I find this boring. The drama of these scenarios would be significantly heightened if they were genuinely dangerous.

4) The game is too fluffy, overall. Am I the only one who wants it to have a bit of an edge underneath it all? Marek was supposed to be the contrasting character who made it all "real," according to Tim in the documentary. But he doesn't. Marek is goofy and flat with a funny voice; he isn't the creepy, serious, sorta-scary symbol of adulthood that Tim seems to want him to be. I can understand why Dave animated him so jovially on first pass, because his darkness is completely absent. So, in the absence of any truly dark or intimidating characters, perhaps death would have lent the story the extra weight that it needs. Perhaps the idea that, yes, "all of these people live in the clouds because they will fall to their deaths otherwise" is the sharpness that will bring the whole experience into focus.

Basically, I think the game is too soft and too light. It's like a bag of Funyons. Does anybody else find themselves wishing it had a little extra... kick?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, you don't like it when I do those big long replies, so I'll just go with:

Nope, nope, nope, nope, nopeitty nope nope nope NO.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, you can extend that to other stuff, like having time-critical puzzles.

It's different philosophies. Since adventure games are defined by the pre-existing story you are playing, you can, if you take that in the strictest sense, make a case that there shouldn't be an element that lets you actually fail, unless that was the way the story goes. Conversely, if you defined it to be part of the game-mechanics (i.e. the puzzles) and not the story, the argument'd be moot.

From a player's POV, I don't mind either way too much, provided game-overs are used sparingly and not overly unfair. Auto-saves takes care of the latter, and the former would mean I'd in any case only use it with the snake (because that is just funny) and the Mog Chothra. I mean, functionally, it's not that much of a difference: in the current version, you get grabbed and kick yourself free to start over, with an auto-save, you'd end up swallowed, game-over'd, and then would start over.

But to answer you other question: Yeah, I actually did feel some excitement during the Mog Chothra fight, because you end up caught up in the moment, actual death or not.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The Mog Chothra fight generally felt kind of displaced (could be a casual mini game or from Psychonauts). I didn't mind shooting with the beam a couple of times and they did a good job on that you feel some pressure on you but defeating the thing by putting the ladder inside of the mouth felt so wrong and unsatisfying as a solution.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"There's functionally no difference" between dying and not dying always strikes me as this forest-for-the-trees Nex' Gen designer perspective. There IS a difference, and that difference is that one results in a gameover, and the other results in a fluffy soft gameover, where the designers make it clear that you can't actually lose. These provide completely different emotional experiences. If they didn't, Nex Gen designers wouldn't think the no-game-over version was preferable.

On an unrelated topic, I don't agree with the concept of "unfair" game-overs in the first place. Even in the nastiest of Sierra games where they killed you for going too close to a cliff that didn't look threatening, I felt like deaths were just part of the experience and part of the fun. "Losing is fun" is a trendy catchphrase among modern roguelikes, but I've always thought it was true in good adventure games too. Almost every Sierra death provides you with a funny graphic, an amusing if abusive note, and a heightened sense of danger. Calling it "unfair" is just missing the point.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That's why he said there's FUNCTIONALLY no difference. Functionally.

The process you go through is (pretty much) identical. If we didn't think it mattered emotionally, we wouldn't care if there was death or not, would we?

So, we're in agreement there.

But, I and I think others fundamentally disagree that the adventure game experience is usually improved by the experience of dying. In fact, I've specifically avoided adventure games where death is likely. For me, it takes the wind out of the exploration, because I'm always concerned that I'm going to end up reloading because I did a wrong thing, which makes me not want to try stuff that I think could be dangerous. I'd much rather not have to worry about that sort of stuff while roaming around the world.

Apart from that, it just disconnects me from the experience. I would much rather fail, then be shown the result of the failure (e.g. mom-arms drag me back into the ship, issue smelling salts) than be shown a death animation, and reload, as if it never happened.

You can dismiss it by calling it fluffy or whatever, though I don't know quite what your obsession is with adventure games being all grrr manly, but it's very clear that the style of play resonated with LucasArts fans. And also, you can't have it both ways - in one thread you complain that Double Fine have produced a game that isn't in line with your classic adventure expectations, but here you suggest something that would clearly go against the expectations of classic adventure fans who played Tim's old games like DOTT and Grim and so forth.

The exception is Full Throttle I guess, which does have a bunch of death/restart bits at the end (which I actually found to be kinda clumsy) but still the game for the most part was almost completely player death-free.

Also, what in the name of everything good and not-completey-bonkers are you talking about "Nex Gen" designers? As you acknowledge full well, the no-death adventure design paradigm has been around for nearly 25 years.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Why death works in an action game is because the action game is still fun the second time you play it, because you get better at playing it. You will have an easier time each time you die getting to the point you die. In an adventure game having to reload a save means having to input the same commands you already put in and is very annoying. If there's no value in replaying, there's no value in death.

The only time where I'd want death in an adventure game is in confined areas, where you need to solve the puzzle but have a clear checkpoint to go back to should you die, and from that checkpoint, you should be able to tackle the puzzle in a different or better way than the last time you tried it. The Mog Chothra sequence in Broken Age could work with it, and I kinda expected that it does that, but I ended up suspecting that it just kills off the characters you don't need anymore to simulate urgency. It's fine by me.

"You died from walking into the wrong room, now reload a random save game from ages ago, and do all the things you already did again" isn't good game design to me. It needs to be clear that you are in danger, and you need to have a checkpoint to fall back on right to where it was still possible to avoid the error. In Monkey Island 1 you can have the thrill of falling off a cliff without the annoyance of having to redo all your previous work.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
That's why he said there's FUNCTIONALLY no difference. Functionally.

The process you go through is (pretty much) identical. If we didn't think it mattered emotionally, we wouldn't care if there was death or not, would we?

So, we're in agreement there.

But, I and I think others fundamentally disagree that the adventure game experience is usually improved by the experience of dying. In fact, I've specifically avoided adventure games where death is likely. For me, it takes the wind out of the exploration, because I'm always concerned that I'm going to end up reloading because I did a wrong thing, which makes me not want to try stuff that I think could be dangerous. I'd much rather not have to worry about that sort of stuff while roaming around the world.

Apart from that, it just disconnects me from the experience. I would much rather fail, then be shown the result of the failure (e.g. mom-arms drag me back into the ship, issue smelling salts) than be shown a death animation, and reload, as if it never happened.

You can dismiss it by calling it fluffy or whatever, though I don't know quite what your obsession is with adventure games being all grrr manly, but it's very clear that the style of play resonated with LucasArts fans. And also, you can't have it both ways - in one thread you complain that Double Fine have produced a game that isn't in line with your classic adventure expectations, but here you suggest something that would clearly go against the expectations of classic adventure fans who played Tim's old games like DOTT and Grim and so forth.

The exception is Full Throttle I guess, which does have a bunch of death/restart bits at the end (which I actually found to be kinda clumsy) but still the game for the most part was almost completely player death-free.

Also, what in the name of everything good and not-completey-bonkers are you talking about "Nex Gen" designers? As you acknowledge full well, the no-death adventure design paradigm has been around for nearly 25 years.

Why is death so emotionally painful for you?

I'm not asking to have it both ways. I'm asking for Tim to deviate from the DOTT tradition to adhere to the Sierra tradition, which isn't something I expect him to do, but something I believe Broken Age would benefit from.

Full Throttle had soft death. It has nothing to do with being "grrr manly," it has to do with the story feeling like it has weight. As it is, Broken Age is silly and happy-go-lucky with little emotional power. I believe so much of it would be cast into relief by the genuine threat of death, as in better games like Gabriel Knight and Space Quest.

The "Nex Gen" thing refers to a form of justification, not to the mechanic itself. X and Y are "functionally the same, so let's just make it easier on the player by hooking him up directly to the outcome" is a recent sort of thinking. This is an edgy-designer perspective that is new.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Why death works in an action game is because the action game is still fun the second time you play it, because you get better at playing it. You will have an easier time each time you die getting to the point you die. In an adventure game having to reload a save means having to input the same commands you already put in and is very annoying. If there's no value in replaying, there's no value in death.

The only time where I'd want death in an adventure game is in confined areas, where you need to solve the puzzle but have a clear checkpoint to go back to should you die, and from that checkpoint, you should be able to tackle the puzzle in a different or better way than the last time you tried it. The Mog Chothra sequence in Broken Age could work with it, and I kinda expected that it does that, but I ended up suspecting that it just kills off the characters you don't need anymore to simulate urgency. It's fine by me.

"You died from walking into the wrong room, now reload a random save game from ages ago, and do all the things you already did again" isn't good game design to me. It needs to be clear that you are in danger, and you need to have a checkpoint to fall back on right to where it was still possible to avoid the error. In Monkey Island 1 you can have the thrill of falling off a cliff without the annoyance of having to redo all your previous work.

Well, what I'm saying is it's not annoying. There is fun in the death because the death itself is part of the game. There's emotional reinforcement provided by the threat of death, and the death sequences themselves are often very entertaining.

Why do you get so annoyed by it? It's just an animation and a reload. Why is this so painful for you?

Also, why are you saving "ages ago"? Just save a bit more. It has nothing to do with good or bad design, and that canard is what really baffles me about this whole discussion. I believe Broken Age design suffers because it lacks death. To claim that it's bad design to have genuine danger in a game that pretends to be dangerous is genuinely confusing.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
That's why he said there's FUNCTIONALLY no difference. Functionally.

The process you go through is (pretty much) identical. If we didn't think it mattered emotionally, we wouldn't care if there was death or not, would we?

So, we're in agreement there.

But, I and I think others fundamentally disagree that the adventure game experience is usually improved by the experience of dying. In fact, I've specifically avoided adventure games where death is likely. For me, it takes the wind out of the exploration, because I'm always concerned that I'm going to end up reloading because I did a wrong thing, which makes me not want to try stuff that I think could be dangerous. I'd much rather not have to worry about that sort of stuff while roaming around the world.

Apart from that, it just disconnects me from the experience. I would much rather fail, then be shown the result of the failure (e.g. mom-arms drag me back into the ship, issue smelling salts) than be shown a death animation, and reload, as if it never happened.

You can dismiss it by calling it fluffy or whatever, though I don't know quite what your obsession is with adventure games being all grrr manly, but it's very clear that the style of play resonated with LucasArts fans. And also, you can't have it both ways - in one thread you complain that Double Fine have produced a game that isn't in line with your classic adventure expectations, but here you suggest something that would clearly go against the expectations of classic adventure fans who played Tim's old games like DOTT and Grim and so forth.

The exception is Full Throttle I guess, which does have a bunch of death/restart bits at the end (which I actually found to be kinda clumsy) but still the game for the most part was almost completely player death-free.

Also, what in the name of everything good and not-completey-bonkers are you talking about "Nex Gen" designers? As you acknowledge full well, the no-death adventure design paradigm has been around for nearly 25 years.

Why is death so emotionally painful for you?

I'm not asking to have it both ways. I'm asking for Tim to deviate from the DOTT tradition to adhere to the Sierra tradition, which isn't something I expect him to do, but something I believe Broken Age would benefit from.

Full Throttle had soft death. It has nothing to do with being "grrr manly," it has to do with the story feeling like it has weight. As it is, Broken Age is silly and happy-go-lucky with little emotional power. I believe so much of it would be cast into relief by the genuine threat of death, as in better games like Gabriel Knight and Space Quest.

The "Nex Gen" thing refers to a form of justification, not to the mechanic itself. X and Y are "functionally the same, so let's just make it easier on the player by hooking him up directly to the outcome" is a recent sort of thinking. This is an edgy-designer perspective that is new.

Haha, emotionally painful.... come on. I think I explained myself perfectly well, why I find deaths in adventure games to be emotionally unsatisfying. UNSATISFYING. I don't think I mentioned anywhere that deaths were 'painful'. I did say "it just disconnects me from the experience" and "it takes the wind out of the exploration" which seem to be pretty clearly talking about the fact I find death in adventure games to be unsatisfying, not 'painful'

Let me elaborate on why I think they're unsatisfying - quite simply, I think there's something satisfying about the continuity of a LucasArts style adventure game. I enjoy that when I play through one, I'm never asked by the game to pretend that my failure never happened (because the failure killed me), I just get to approach the task again. The fact, for example, that I got taken in by those mom arms and revived by the smelling salts is just part of the story, with no need to retcon the failure.

Sure, this does produce situations where I understand that the danger the game is portraying isn't going to cause GAME OVER to appear, which arguably lessens the tension, but historically I never found this to be the case. Even when I was playing Monkey Island 2 I knew that that time in the underground tunnels at the end was never going to kill me, but to this day that sequence still gets me worked up, makes me nervous.

One of the criticisms I do have with Broken Age is that end fight with Mog Chothra I feel is a little too zoomed out. It's difficult to feel involved in the battle when it's happening so far away except when you get picked up, but the way I'd fix the lack of tension in that sequence isn't to make death possible, but to just have it be more up in your face - in my eyes, the right mood does more than having a Game Over screen could ever do. I know you have problems with the tone, too, but with a few exception (such as the above noted one), I don't.

Anyway, let's try to lay off the dramatics, eh? You have this habit of taking what someone says, then interpreting it in the most over-dramatic ("DEATH IS SO EMOTIONALLY PAINFUL") way possible, and then arguing against that.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Having deaths (or even failures) would be a step in the right direction, but it's not enough to fix the issues I have with it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Having deaths (or even failures) would be a step in the right direction, but it's not enough to fix the issues I have with it.

There are failures.

Loads of them.

I bet I could name a ten off the top of my head that I personally encountered - if these aren't failure states then what 'counts'?

When you cut the air hose without first attaching an air supply

When you try to fly off without first attaching a means of propulsion

When you try to go to Prima Doom but end up going somewhere else instead.

When you make the tree barf without anything to catch it in.

When you get picked up by Mog Chothra without having first zapped all the arms but one.

When you try to go up the ladder without first combining it with the shoes.

Any time that you run through the train sequence without raising the bridge to break the sequence.

When you try to leave the room without first using the blow-up-doll as cover

When you try to put the helmet on without making your head sufficiently small.

When you try to walk around with golden eggs without first obtaining/wearing cloud shoes.

Every single one of them an example of trying to do something and being met with a fail condition that you have to overcome. Most of them situations where you've solved part of the puzzle, but not the whole thing, and so have more to do. Completely legit examples of adventure fail states, regardless of the difficulty.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Right, I'd agree with that. So I guess to reiterate the point: if you're going to have fail-states, doesn't the atmosphere suffer from simply having failure plop you back to 5 seconds ago within the unbroken narrative? It's like Shay's early missions are a metaphor for the game as a whole... You can't NOT win, and you're never in any real danger...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Right, I'd agree with that. So I guess to reiterate the point: if you're going to have fail-states, doesn't the atmosphere suffer from simply having failure plop you back where you started? It's like Shay's early missions are a metaphor for the game as a whole... You can't NOT win, and you're never in any real danger...

SPOILERS>>> Well, this is getting slightly off point, but I think in Shay's case the lack of danger until the very end when he gets knocked out is very deliberate, for story reasons. So I'm not even sure that death in Shay's story would make sense (I'm of the opinion that the illusion of danger is a ruse, up until the end, and that he's SUPPOSED to be safe even when what he is doing seems dangerous) <<

But anyway, no, I don't think the atmosphere suffers, for reasons I mention above. Maybe in some ways it does? I don't know, because I think the atmosphere suffers by a far greater degree when you're yanked out of the story, have to make-believe that the death sequence you just experienced never happened, and start again from the point before it happened.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If what you're saying about Shay's nerf-bat environment is true, then wouldn't that be made all the more powerful if you COULD die in Vella's world but not in Shay's? In fact, that would be rather incredible to me and a brilliant manipulation of traditional design: what if Shay's inability to be hurt in his environment WERE exceptional, rather than an accepted brand convention?

As it is, you're making some odd claim that Shay's environment is "especially" harmless, a claim that has no weight because nothing in the game is harmful at all. No LucasArts game has ever been threatening, because for brand reasons they chose to coddle players instead of kill them.

"Reloading" as a narrative-breaker isn't really convincing to me, because either way it's a choose-your-poison conceit: is it more harmful to the experience to have a soft world that pretends to be threatening but promises to never hurt you, or a cruel world that will kill you and force out-of-game reloading? For some reason, LucasArts fans tend to assume that it's better to have a nerf-bat world because then you have continuity. I disagree. Losing is a part of all good games, in my opinion, and by removing true loss you simply change the nature of the game.

Anyway, I know this is fundamentally a matter of taste, so I'll go ahead and emphasize that I think it would be beautiful if Vella's world featured death and Shay's did not. This is a tragic missed opportunity.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

None of those things end the game. They are not failures. I'm dead-set against "retry" deaths and failures, too. They might as well not even be there. There's no sense of danger or loss of progress, which is the entire point. Everything has to be at stake or it just won't work. LucasArts did well to avoid deaths and failures altogether if they didn't agree with the philosophy.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
If what you're saying about Shay's nerf-bat environment is true, then wouldn't that be made all the more powerful if you COULD die in Vella's world but not in Shay's? In fact, that would be rather incredible to me and a brilliant manipulation of traditional design: what if Shay's inability to be hurt in his environment WERE exceptional, rather than an accepted brand convention?

As it is, you're making some odd claim that Shay's environment is "especially" harmless, a claim that has no weight because nothing in the game is harmless at all. No LucasArts game has ever been threatening, because for brand reasons they chose to coddle players instead of kill them.

"Reloading" as a narrative-breaker isn't really convincing to me, because either way it's a choose-your-poison conceit: is it more harmful to the experience to have a soft world that pretends to be threatening but promises to never hurt you, or a cruel world that will kill you and force out-of-game reloading? For some reason, LucasArts fans tend to assume that it's better to have a nerf-bat world because then you have continuity. I disagree. Losing is a part of all good games, in my opinion, and by removing true loss you simply change the nature of the game.

Anyway, I know this is fundamentally a matter of taste, so I'll go ahead and emphasize that I think it would be beautiful if Vella's world featured death and Shay's did not. This is a tragic missed opportunity.

as I mentioned before, I just don't agree that the old Lucasarts games never felt perilous because there was no real chance of dying. If that was true then there'd be no tension in any adventure movie where you just know the hero is going to make it out okay. Was Indiana Jones ruined because I knew he would always make it out okay? No, because I get wrapped up in it, just like I still get wrapped up in the end scenarios of Monkey 2,etc. Sure I guess it would be more tense if they made a version of every movie where the main character dies, and you're not sure which one you'll see, but it's not necessary, and while it's a tool in the game designer's box it's not one that I see as valuable in all situations.

At the very least "tragic missed opportunity" is hilariously melodramatic.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
None of those things end the game. They are not failures. I'm dead-set against "retry" deaths and failures. They might as well not even be there. There's no sense of danger or loss of progress, which is the entire point. Everything has to be at stake or it just won't work. LucasArts did well to avoid deaths and failures altogether if they didn't agree with the philosophy.
Of course they're failures. You tried a thing and it didn't work. It's a failure in any sensible interpretation. Just one that doesn't end the game. What you're talking about is punishment, which I've never felt the need to experience in an adventure game since 1990, and I'm not about to start.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That's not the kind of failure I'm talking about. Every adventure game has "failures".

I've always felt that punishment was a very useful tool in an adventure game. I know LucasArts fans abhor them, but LucasArts adventures weren't the only adventures ever made. Just because they did a lot right doesn't mean it's the only way to do it right.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Tim's puzzle/event design style depends too much on learning from scripted failures for this to work --- Tim's back-of-tricks puzzle-wise is pretty much "let the player fail, so they realize they've got to do something else, reveal key details about the puzzle during the first failure" and that'd be pretty aggravating given the current puzzles... and it'd also necessitate more world-building and more-complicated-puzzles in general. But I generally prefer death/consequences in adventure games.

Is there really anything wrong with death teaching a player that they have to do something else?

It's often simply proclaimed to be bad design these days, but I've never really agreed. "If you have to die to figure out how to solve a puzzle, then it's bad design" -- why?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
as I mentioned before, I just don't agree that the old Lucasarts games never felt perilous because there was no real chance of dying. If that was true then there'd be no tension in any adventure movie where you just know the hero is going to make it out okay. Was Indiana Jones ruined because I knew he would always make it out okay? No, because I get wrapped up in it, just like I still get wrapped up in the end scenarios of Monkey 2,etc. Sure I guess it would be more tense if they made a version of every movie where the main character dies, and you're not sure which one you'll see, but it's not necessary, and while it's a tool in the game designer's box it's not one that I see as valuable in all situations.

At the very least "tragic missed opportunity" is hilariously melodramatic.

I would argue Indiana Jones is especially dramatic the first time you watch it because you genuinely don't know if he'll survive or not. You think he'll probably make it, because why would Lucas kill his hero? But you don't know. Did you expect Vader to die? Han Solo to die (and come back)? They keep you on your toes, which is why it's good stuff.

I do agree that there is still some amount of tension even when you know for sure there is no risk, but in a film that largely comes down to the lack of agency. The viewer is at the mercy of events and has no time to process them at his own pace. In an adventure game you do have agency, and hence you can simply sit back and leave the computer on for hours on loop, if you like. It'll be hard to maintain a sense of danger if you can't figure out what to do for five minutes but nothing actually happens, despite the "danger" Shay's mama (i.e. Broken Age) may be promising.

Sorry if you're too dead inside to see tragedy in a missed artistic opportunity.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
as I mentioned before, I just don't agree that the old Lucasarts games never felt perilous because there was no real chance of dying. If that was true then there'd be no tension in any adventure movie where you just know the hero is going to make it out okay. Was Indiana Jones ruined because I knew he would always make it out okay? No, because I get wrapped up in it, just like I still get wrapped up in the end scenarios of Monkey 2,etc. Sure I guess it would be more tense if they made a version of every movie where the main character dies, and you're not sure which one you'll see, but it's not necessary, and while it's a tool in the game designer's box it's not one that I see as valuable in all situations.

At the very least "tragic missed opportunity" is hilariously melodramatic.

I would argue Indiana Jones is especially dramatic the first time you watch it because you genuinely don't know if he'll survive or not. You think he'll probably make it, because why would Lucas kill his hero? But you don't know. Did you expect Vader to die? Han Solo to die (and come back)? They keep you on your toes, which is why it's good stuff.

I do agree that there is still some amount of tension even when you know for sure there is no risk, but in a film that largely comes down to the lack of agency. The viewer is at the mercy of events and has no time to process them at his own pace. In an adventure game you do have agency, and hence you can simply sit back and leave the computer on for hours on loop, if you like. It'll be hard to maintain a sense of danger if you can't figure out what to do for five minutes but nothing actually happens, despite the "danger" Shay's mama (i.e. Broken Age) may be promising.

Sorry if you're too dead inside to see tragedy in a missed artistic opportunity.

But I don't see it as a fucking missed artistic opportunity do I? That's the whole point of this discussion isn't it? I could just as well say "sorry you're so dead inside that you literally need the possibility of the player character dying in order to feel tension."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think it would be annoying and this is not the way to improve the game in my opinion. Puzzles could be challenging without it. This is usually just a mechanism to artificially prolong gameplay.

The reason that I prefer it this way is that you can try almost anything and never get punished for it. That's the fun part and it shouldn't change.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I think it would be annoying and this is not the way to improve the game in my opinion. Puzzles could be challenging without it. This is usually just a mechanism to artificially prolong gameplay.

The reason that I prefer it this way is that you can try almost anything and never get punished for it. That's the fun part and it shouldn't change.

How would it prolong anything? Failure already exists in the game; it just picks you up and plops you back one screen rather than placing the burden on the player to save and reload. It's not affecting game-length at all. It's entirely an effect on the experience and atmosphere.

Anyway, if you think the toothless-tiger scenarios of Broken Age are fun, then I can't really argue with that. I believe "punishment" underscores fun without detracting from the experience, but I know there are adventure game fans who disagree.

I just can't say I ever really enjoy LucasArts games as much as Sierra ones. They're so contrived and safe.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sign in to follow this