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Tim Schafer is not a god

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Yup, I said it. Contrary to popular belief around here, Tim Schafer is actually not a god. He used to be a game designing god back in the days between 1990 and 1998 - but since then he has made some nice games but nothing that will be remembered. He might have been a product of his time, only excelling in the right environment - an environment that is long gone.

And: there is a reason why adventure games are considered dead. We all love those games from back in the days and still play them today - but just a look at the "Best Point and Click adventure game of the last 10 years" is depressing. There is nothing on that list that I would consider a masterpiece, actually nothing that I would want to play again.

So there is a real good chance that a lot of people will be disappointed with the end product. A lot has happened since 1998 - people have played lots of games, the technical side has evolved and the gods from the dark ages have grown a little old. The Beatles haven`t been able to maintain that high level after they split - save for a couple of great songs like Imagine.

So, there is hope - hope, that the DFA will turn out to be something like Imagine. Here are a couple of things I think are necessary to make this project succeed:

1. Don`t try too hard to revolutionize the genre. Grim Fandango failed with the masses not only because of it`s quirky setting, but because you tried to turn it into 3D - strange graphics and a horrible control scheme was the result. One of the reasons adventure games worked so well back then is because of the great handdrawn 2D graphics. Up the resolution but don`t change what`s been working in the classics.

2. When you remember old adventure games you remember the stories, the characters and funny situations - those should be the most important things for your new project. Sure, puzzles are important for an adventure game, but they should always serve the story, not the other way around.

3. Try to make it feel like a AAA title. When I play most adventures today, say Telltales games, they feel like they know, that they are only a niche project. Those old Lucas Arts games felt like they were the hottest products out there (because they were). Have enough self esteem to make it feel grand.

4. Go back and play the classics, say Monkey Island, Day of the Tentacle, Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis - what made those games great, and why hasn`t any game since then been able to recapture this quality?

5. Take this game serious. I don`t mean that it can`t be funny - actually it should be funny since that`s your biggest strength. But don`t make it like a never ending joke. A serious game with a lot of funny moments, just like the classics.

6. Try to recreate everything around you from the old days - forget surveys, forget what games are out right now, forget all that cool technical possibilites. Buy the kind of pizza you ate back then and try to make a game like you did back then.

So, that should conclude my little rant. Although all of my negativity I can`t tell you how excited I am about this project - and not even for the finished product, but for the whole experience. It´s great to have such an insight in the making of the game, and it is a great experiment to see, what legendary game designers can do, when they don`t have publishers up their backs.

Let`s make this special...

Mike

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>Nothing that will be remembered

Speak for yourself. It's 50/50 whether I'll play anything in the next decade that will surpass my experience of Psychonauts. Still, onto the points.

1 - agreed

2 - partially agreed. TTG have gone in this direction and suffered for it.

3 - agreed

4 - meh. I'm sure they know enough by now

5 - agreed. People forget that MI1 was actually quite serious in story-telling and look, it was just also hilarious

6 - nahhhh, I'd rather have something up to date

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Blasphemy! Ok,first off,we know Tim's not a god. If he were god,he wouldn't have to rely on Kickstarter for funding his games. His games would be marketed as the boxes full of awesome they are instead of "we have to go with what's "hot" right now". And honestly,opening your post like this is going to go over like an atheist preaching to an evangelical ministry. Anyone who isn't pissed off by you attacking their beliefs is going to be pissed by your condescending attitude.

Basically,Tim's always put out great games. The only problem is they weren't *commercially successful*. Largely cause the big companies didn't know how to market his games. I've come to the conclusion most people in marketing don't know how to do their jobs. Hey,there's an idea. Fan made commercials for Tim's games. I wonder if they could do better.

I could go into a long ass post about what all is wrong with your suggestions,but I'll keep it short. Tim's games have always been awesome. I don't see why this one would be different. Now be quiet and let Tim and Ron do their thang.

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LOL and you think Tim Schafer and Ron Gilbert who created those games don't know these things?

Also I don't think you ever played Psychonauts.

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Is his name Fred Durst? Cuz I think he might be trollin', trollin', trollin', trollin'....

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2 - partially agreed. TTG have gone in this direction and suffered for it.

Really? I think lately Telltale's been making the exact opposite mistake, in fact. Everything from Back to the Future onward has focused entirely on the story, with the puzzles being very, very simplistic. While it's the writing and atmosphere that makes an adventure game memorable, it's the puzzles that make it fun to play. I wouldn't call either aspect more important than the other, because ignoring either of them is foolish.

That's actually a big factor in why I donated to this project (besides loving Tim Schafer, of course). I need my adventure game fix, and Telltale's gradually shifting away from a proper adventure game. I don't even want to talk about Jurassic Park. :P

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You could have brough up these ideas in a different way. Sounds like commandments ;)

While you don't want us to worshop Tim, he's supposed to follow your commandments?

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Thou shalt not troll thy god's forums by scolding and patronizing and offering blatant advice to thy god.

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Hmm, I think Psychonauts is the best game he ever made (actually one of the best games ever, period) although together with Grim Fandango. But he has never made a game yet that I didn't like. They are all just different level of awesomeness.

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Actually I am not trying to be trolling ;-). I just have the feeling that a lot of people here are sure that the game has to be great because ist is Tim Schafer. And a lot has happened since his big days...

There might be a cult following behind Pschonauts - but it is way smaller than the cult following of his Lucas Arts titles. And all of his other games might be nice but nothing more than that. Actually pretty unimpressive small games if you ask me. Fun? Sure. But nothing special. There is a reason why they haven't sold really well and it's not because of the marketing.

Like I Said I am excited for this project - I kept refreshing the forums yesterday for the documentary, which I ended up loving. I just think some people are having expectations that will have to be disappointed.

Oh and as for my suggestions - sure they know those things better than me. It's just nice to feel like you are part of the process. Maybe our suggestions end up improving the finished product.

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2 - partially agreed. TTG have gone in this direction and suffered for it.

Really? I think lately Telltale's been making the exact opposite mistake, in fact. Everything from Back to the Future onward has focused entirely on the story, with the puzzles being very, very simplistic. While it's the writing and atmosphere that makes an adventure game memorable, it's the puzzles that make it fun to play. I wouldn't call either aspect more important than the other, because ignoring either of them is foolish.

That's actually a big factor in why I donated to this project (besides loving Tim Schafer, of course). I need my adventure game fix, and Telltale's gradually shifting away from a proper adventure game. I don't even want to talk about Jurassic Park. :P

Yeah. I think something's been lost in translation. I was saying TTG have gone too far away from puzzles, and suffered for it.

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There might be a cult following behind Pschonauts - but it is way smaller than the cult following of his Lucas Arts titles. And all of his other games might be nice but nothing more than that. Actually pretty unimpressive small games if you ask me. Fun? Sure. But nothing special.

So you didn't like Brütal Legend (the only game he made besides Psychonauts outside of Lucasarts)? I did but each to their own. You can say what you want about that game but "small" is just plain wrong.

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Nö, I didn't care too much for Brütal Legend. Custom Quest was kinda Fun and Stacking was nice in concept but a little boring to play.

If you think of the best game designers of the last 10 years, most people wouldn't come up with Tim Schafer. His time were the 90s. Now he has a chance to prove, that when he has complete creative control and can work in his favorite genre, that he can still be a genius.

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Your thread title is already factually correct, why write such a long post about this?

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Costume Quest and Stacking were not made by Schafer though. They are great games (and smaller), especially Stacking IMHO. I don't think a game has to be huge in scope to be good but that's just my opinion.

I personally see Schafer as one of the best gamedesigners ever (and I think many people here think the same).

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Hmm, I think Psychonauts is the best game he ever made (actually one of the best games ever, period) although together with Grim Fandango. But he has never made a game yet that I didn't like. They are all just different level of awesomeness.

/agree

Psychonauts is always in my top ten list.

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As much as your statements are completely legitimate, they're simply opinions.

Referencing a list of 'top 10 adventure games' isn't really ANY kind of indication of what the best 10 games REALLY are.. ANY list of the top of anything with anyone will ALWAYS be different, and it's always subjective.

Those lists are always just what the makers of said lists have decided that THEY think are the best. And I guarantee you most people will disagree on several points there.

Also considering how many lists of 'top 10 adventure games' there are, we don't even really know which list you're actually referencing to. :P

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I was talking about the thread in this forum - actually not a top 10 list but a survey with about 30-50 games on it.

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There is no god, ergo, if Tim Schafer is a god, there is no Tim Schafer.

Seriously, without going into the details, while I'm sure your intentions are good, I disagree with your rhetoric.

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There is no god, ergo, if Tim Schafer is a god, there is no Tim Schafer.

Seriously, without going into the details, while I'm sure your intentions are good, I disagree with your rhetoric.

But there is a Tim Schafer. Therefore you just proved God.

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I have to disagree with the OP on a few points.

Firstly, whilst Brutal Legend was a fun little game which didn't set the world on fire, Psychonauts has an enormous reputation amongst critics and those gamers who did play it, and I think it will last a bit longer than you think as a result.

Secondly, I think it's pretty clear that neither Psychonauts nor Brutal Legend are quite the games they would have been had Tim not been obliged to work with a publisher on them. (He talks a little about the effects publishers have in distorting the creative process on the first episode of the 2PP documentary.) So I think even Tim might admit that there's aspects about them that could have been better - but he didn't have a free hand to make them better.

I would actually say Tim's legacy, right now, hinges not on what he's done in the recent past but on the DFA himself. If it's fantastic, then it'll be clear to all that he's still as sharp a designer as ever. If it's a dud, then maybe there'd be something to the idea that his best years are behind him.

Uh.... no pressure Tim. ;) (FWIW I am confident it's gonna be great.)

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There is no god, ergo, if Tim Schafer is a god, there is no Tim Schafer.

Seriously, without going into the details, while I'm sure your intentions are good, I disagree with your rhetoric.

But there is a Tim Schafer. Therefore you just proved God.

The first reasonable conclusions in this thread ;)

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Psychonauts is the best game Tim Schafer made (sorry Grim Fandango). Anyone who doesn't love it has no soul. This has been proven. Scientifically. With science.

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This guy is raising some pretty valid points, I don't get why people keep saying he's trolling.

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There is no god, ergo, if Tim Schafer is a god, there is no Tim Schafer.

Seriously, without going into the details, while I'm sure your intentions are good, I disagree with your rhetoric.

But there is a Tim Schafer. Therefore you just proved God.

The first reasonable conclusions in this thread ;)

Wow, an adventure game that proves the existence of god.

Still, better stick with Descartes. All this proves that if Tim Schafer is a god => there is a god. :lol:

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This guy is raising some pretty valid points, I don't get why people keep saying he's trolling.

Anyone posting in a fan forum about how the object of everyone's fandom is not a god HAS to be trollin'.

And why the heck would you just copy something made years ago, when time and society have moved on?!

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I think most of your concerns have been not only considered by Tim and the team, but in most cases even directly addressed in either interviews, videos or forum posts. Hearing Tim (and Ron in the case of that discussion vid) speak about the project gave me a lot of confidence in their approach.

One example, re. point 4:

Hey guys,

One of the important early parts of the game development process is doing research-playing old games as inspiration to remember what you liked about them and what things can be improved on. I was thinking about going back and playing Day of the Tentacle to refresh my brain, and I thought it may be fun to have a bunch of us play at the same time! ...

Also, Psychonauts has some of the most memorable scenes in gaming, to my mind. I also love Grim's graphics.

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