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"Video Game Puzzles That Made No !@$&ing; Sense"

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www.youtube.com/watch?v=FVgpf2Ttz48

aka Why I love/hate puzzle-based adventure games...

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Oh wah wah cry me a river all over again about the Broken Age knot puzzle. It was not that friggin' bad. The other adventure game puzzles (such as the famous mustache puzzle ridiculed by Old Man Murray in that excellent review) definitely use stupidly arbitrary nonsense logic, but the knot puzzle is not even in the same category.

People are just pissed about the knot puzzle because it requires a certain degree of abstract thinking, where you have to look at a shape and consider what the shape may or may not look like. There is a kind of person for whom this type of play is sort of fun and makes a kind of sense, and there is another type of person for whom this kind of thing seems like the opposite of sense and is perhaps the worst thing ever. The only thing annoying about it is having to go back and get a new knot and the game doesn’t make it very clear that you can fast travel via one of the dialogue options. But the puzzle itself is fine. The Witness, for example, is FULL TO THE BRIM of puzzles based on a similar kind of abstract thinking.

Complaining about having to go back and get a new knot (especially if you don't know about the fast travel): Valid

Complaining about the puzzle itself not making sense: Crybaby nonsense.

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The knot puzzle was my favourite! I just thought every part of it was hilarious. Recently I watched a livestream of the game, and it seems the fast travel is now automatic, which I guess is part of the bugfix they did. On release the puzzle had a bug where if you got it wrong, and didn't use fast travel, the right answer wouldn't appear among your untangling instructions options. I noticed and made sure I fast-travelled on my next try.

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I solved the knot puzzle in 15 minutes. :)

But when you're stuck at a puzzle, listen to Jonathan Blow's advice:

Wim8zWt.png

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I don't blame people for looking up hints to adventure games of the old guard variety because... well... mustache puzzle. But the knot puzzle is straightforward. AT WORST, it is a process-of-elimination puzzle, where you just pick a description and suss out which knots it DOESN'T describe and then pick the one it does. AT BEST, it is a fun puzzle where are trying to guess the exact pairing of an abstract description and an abstract shape. That kind of abstract thinking is a lot more difficult or just plain annoying for some people. (Just as math and hard logic is more difficult or annoying for other types.) But to say it "makes no sense" is just not true. I got the knot puzzle just fine, and I got it on purpose (though it took a couple tries), not by elimination or lucky chance.

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I don't blame people for looking up hints to adventure games of the old guard variety because... well... mustache puzzle. But the knot puzzle is straightforward. AT WORST, it is a process-of-elimination puzzle, where you just pick a description and suss out which knots it DOESN'T describe and then pick the one it does.

Like insult swordfighting, one of the most beloved and classic "puzzles" in the genre :).

But I assume people would have hated that if the game was released today.

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I had, like, zero problem with the knot puzzle. I have no idea why people got caught up on it.

However, the wiring puzzles...

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I had, like, zero problem with the knot puzzle. I have no idea why people got caught up on it.

However, the wiring puzzles...

2 puzzles that are the reason I'll not replay Broken Age. Both are terrible.

The knot puzzle is not any worse then puzzles in the old LucasArts adventures. It isn't.

I find the notion that it's a deal breaker for Broken Age silly.

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I've just remembered it took me like four playthroughs to discover that Guybrush wrote down the skeleton song lyrics in Monkey Island 2. I used to write them down myself. And it never struck me as a kid that that was unfair xD Obviously I didn't do that in my first playthrough, but was able to find the right path anyway, so I figured the song was an optional aid for that part.

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2 puzzles that are the reason I'll not replay Broken Age. Both are terrible.

That's pretty absurd. Sure, they were the hardest puzzles in the game, but they're actually just very old skool. I loved the fact that I needed to get a pen and paper out.

But to skip the entire game is absurd: It's not like they're grinding. You can easily look up the solutions and zip right through those two puzzles without it affecting a replay at all.

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It's more the tedium of it. Because these knots look like all the descriptions to me.

What really kills Broken age is the trial & error in the Hexipal-wires. One of these 2: Maybe. Both of them in one playthrough: Dealbreaker.

I'm trying to think of a classic adventure game that has a puzzle that is so bad that it would stop me from a replay. I can think of a lot of silly puzzles but once you know what to do I can actually solve them first try.

I'm pretty convinced that a lot of the old classics would be trashed for their puzzles if they had been released today. I don't think that puzzles like insult swordfighting or mazes from Monkey Island 1, the spitting context from Monkey Island 2, a great deal of the puzzles from Gabriel Knight 1, and others, would be as well received today.

There are definitely puzzles that are worse then others, but people in general (not pointing to you) today tend to use word as obtuse as soon as their progress is halted even the slightest, when most people had pretty good patience if they got stuck back in the 90's.

You just have to look at Grim Fandango's re-release, where a lot of people lost their enthusiasm when faced with the puzzles. Or that particular review that slaughtered Broken Age back and forth, where the reviewer later called Act 2 a 4h game. (I spent more 12h on it according to Steam).

I got no problems being stuck at puzzles myself. I quite often exit the game and take breaks when stuck, and keep thinking about the solution when not playing. For me, that was a part of playing them back in the 90's, and I feel the same now.

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The thing people seem to like about roguelikes and other permadeath games is that they don't give a damn about your need to win or your need to constantly be earning +1 of something. They will -1 you for hours. Or -20 you for all they care. The point is, roguelikes (and similar spirited games) feel no obligation to stroke your precious ego and make you feel like you are always winning, always progressing, all the time.

Some types of puzzle games are like this, too. They don't particularly care whether you are solving the puzzles fast enough, always succeeding at them, making steady progress. They WANT you to get stuck, just like a roguelike wants you to die. (But both secretly want you to succeed, eventually, sometime.)

But I will say this: in a roguelike type game, if you die and re-randomize, you have a completely different situation next time around. In a puzzle game, if you get stuck, you tend to just be stuck. In a roguelike, if you are on a steep losing decline, you are still doing something, still struggling, still have a plan you are striving to execute. In a puzzle game, if you are stuck, you are just standing there scratching your butt.

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