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Is it really an adventure game?

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Does it really matter to put a biig label on any game, if it's adventure, arcade, puzzler, indie, triple A or other fancy stuff? All that matters is for it to be fun right? the GAMENESS dude, it's in the gameness...

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It's a character-driven non-combat-oriented game with exploration and puzzle-solving. I think that fits!

This actually sounds very interesting. Never played a side-scoller with classic adventure elements minus the fighting. Making such a game seems a little strange, but in case of DF i'm rather confident that it will be worth playing. GO DF! :)

I'm still somewhat amused about OP's comment. At this point the main constant for DF is not having such a thing - at least not in their line of products, and i greatly enjoy that; it's what makes them special. I'm very excited to see how it turns out to be. Huzzah for new and exciting ideas! (Something like that should be the DF slogan.)

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Does it really matter to put a biig label on any game, if it's adventure, arcade, puzzler, indie, triple A or other fancy stuff? All that matters is for it to be fun right? the GAMENESS dude, it's in the gameness...

I forget who I was reading who made this observation, but they pointed out how funny it is that in every other medium we have names for genres like horror, romantic comedy, mystery, suspense thriller, psychological thriller, memoir, etc....

...but in games we have first person shooter, side-scrolling platformer, real-time strategy, etc...

which is funny, because if we titled our book genres that way, the way we would be talking to our friends about the books we've been reading would be more like:

"I've been reading a lot of Hardback Times New Roman Books, but I'm kinda getting bored with those. I think when I get my book budget saved up this month, I'm gonna try out one of those Paperback Sans Serif books. Never tried one of those before!"

Why do we still talk about games like this? And why do we think it helps us gauge whether or not we're going to like the game? It's a weird practice that we keep doing just because we always have, but it's not nearly as useful as gamer folk wisdom supposes it is.

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Why do we still talk about games like this?

Because it describes the interactive portion in a game, which is essential to games, though it isn't in other mediums of art and entertainment.

I think that we use genres that describe what we do in games is not a flaw, but just a sign of how essential the interactive experience is to games. I still differentiate if it's a horror game or if it's a funny game, but i feel i'm a lot more open to genres of storytelling if i like the interactive experience aka game play and besides: In my world genres are just labels, i don't know about you but i have to categorize stuff or i wouldn't have a fitting terminology, which would make communication quite difficult. I don't think it helps us gauge if it's good or not, but it never does that in films, music or literature either, though i may have preferences, there surely are people that think they only like that kind of thing or the other, but i don't think that these are a majority.

In short: They are labels so we know what we are talking about, not more.

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Does it really matter to put a biig label on any game, if it's adventure, arcade, puzzler, indie, triple A or other fancy stuff? All that matters is for it to be fun right? the GAMENESS dude, it's in the gameness...

I forget who I was reading who made this observation, but they pointed out how funny it is that in every other medium we have names for genres like horror, romantic comedy, mystery, suspense thriller, psychological thriller, memoir, etc....

...but in games we have first person shooter, side-scrolling platformer, real-time strategy, etc...

which is funny, because if we titled our book genres that way, the way we would be talking to our friends about the books we've been reading would be more like:

"I've been reading a lot of Hardback Times New Roman Books, but I'm kinda getting bored with those. I think when I get my book budget saved up this month, I'm gonna try out one of those Paperback Sans Serif books. Never tried one of those before!"

Why do we still talk about games like this? And why do we think it helps us gauge whether or not we're going to like the game? It's a weird practice that we keep doing just because we always have, but it's not nearly as useful as gamer folk wisdom supposes it is.

That's a very amusing metaphor! But movies, books, et al are a one-way communication mechanism. The two-way nature of games (i.e. communication/feedback) changes how we define the genres -- hence the need for category as well as interactive-style (e.g. Horror-themed first-person shooter). I like brainier games, where I have to solve something, but prefer for focus to be on thinking and less on hand-eye coordination (ever have to make a frustrating jump in a game?). Point-and-click falls into this category, but it doesn't mean I don't like moving my player around directly.

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Well it doesn't look like an adventure game to me. Terms I'd be comfortable calling it: Puzzle/adventure game; a puzzle/action game, a puzzle/platformer, action/adventure.

All those are fitting descriptions for the game (from what I can tell). I just don't think calling it a straight out "adventure game" fits it (which is what the trailer did). I don't doubt the adventure/puzzle elements in the game. I know they'll be in there. But there are OTHER elements too. Like JUMPING! And that, in my opinion, changes the genre of the game. But I know I'll be in the minority so I'll let it go.

For the record, I thought Stacking was most definitely an adventure game (much to my surprise...I bought it not really knowing what to expect and BAM...soon I found myself right in the middle of an adventure game! YAY!)

Hopefully what happened to Stacking will happen to me again.

It looks like fun regardless of what genre it is. :)

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Shouldn't a game developers main goal be to make the best possible game? Not to have limitations forced upon them in order to fit in a specific genre? In this case a genre that the game developer in question more or less created. Think about it. :)

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^they should by all means make the game they want to make. But at least have the self awareness afterwards to recognize what type of game it is.

This looks like a puzzle/platformer to me, a very common genre that has nothing in common with adventure games other than having puzzles in them.

You wouldn't call Banjo-Tooie a first person shooter because it has shooting segments in it. Same reason we shouldn't call this an adventure game because it has puzzles in it.

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^they should by all means make the game they want to make. But at least have the self awareness afterwards to recognize what type of game it is.

This looks like a puzzle/platformer to me, a very common genre that has nothing in common with adventure games other than having puzzles in them.

You wouldn't call Banjo-Tooie a first person shooter because it has shooting segments in it. Same reason we shouldn't call this an adventure game because it has puzzles in it.

But that question goes both ways. Would you call The Lost Vikings or Braid anything but puzzle games, even though they have platforming in them?

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^No I would call them puzzle/platformers because that's what they are.

I think Ron himself (or was it Tim?) made an excellent point in one of the kickstarter/documentary/interview videos that just because you go on an adventure in a game's story doesn't really make it an adventure game.

Heck, some actual point-and-click adventure games don't even really have adventurous stories, but they are still defined as adventure games because of their genre of gameplay

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It's like trying to call a scorpion a spider. I get that there's similarities and they're both arachnids, but when it comes down to it, without being incorrect you can't call a scorpion a spider. I suppose you could try and redefine things. I wonder if there was enough movement, could we switch the meanings of the colors blue and green to where all writing instruments would recognize the new definition?

How do you like my green font?

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I also think calling it an “Adventure game” really could pull in a lot of the captive Double Fine Adventure audience, without really hurting it with fans of platformer/puzzle/Limbo type game

Ugh. Not sure I particularly care for that tactic.

And a Ron Gilbert game with no dialogue from the characters just feels so, so wrong to me.

I've just started playing Deathspank for the first time, and hands down the best thing about the game is the hilarious dialogue.

Apparently the cave talks or something, but yeah...I'll try and reserve judgement I think for a little bit yet.

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Things Ron Gilbert has said on the subject:

In reply to:

Looks amazing! Is it really an adventure game? Seems like you'd been a stickler on what that meant in the past...

Posted by Ron Gilbert on May 24, 2012 five to ten am

Yes, The Cave is an adventure game. It is not a puzzle platformer.

There was also a comment on the same conversation which seems to have gone invisible now, but he said something like 'don't underestimate how much of an adventure game this is.'

It seems he's pretty clear on whether it's an adventure game or not, but I'm worried that because of certain visual and conceptual similarities, people will write it off too early as being like Trine.

That's not what I've seen looking at previews: I've seen no actual combat (sure, there are dragons but it looks a lot like you're figuring out ways to trick them or get around them, not fighting). I've seen inventory puzzles as well as environmental puzzles... most adventure games are full of inventory (use thing with thing) and environmental (make it so that all of these conditions are true in the environment) type puzzles. It looks like the dialogue might be restricted to the Cave itself, which is different, but I can't see how it's a dealbreaker for it being an adventure game. All of Machinarium's 'dialogue' is in speech bubble animations, but it's not any less or more of an adventure game because of it. The perspective is different, and thus the way you get around the world, but again, that doesn't seem to make it less of an adventure game, only more of something else.

Given all that, it would seem to me that arguing The Cave isn't an adventure game because it's played from a side-scrolling direct control perspective 'like a platformer' would be a bit like saying in 1992 Wolfenstein 3D isn't a shooter because it's in a first person view 'like a dungeon crawler'

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Things Ron Gilbert has said on the subject:

In reply to:

Looks amazing! Is it really an adventure game? Seems like you'd been a stickler on what that meant in the past...

Posted by Ron Gilbert on May 24, 2012 five to ten am

Yes, The Cave is an adventure game. It is not a puzzle platformer.

There was also a comment on the same conversation which seems to have gone invisible now, but he said something like 'don't underestimate how much of an adventure game this is.'

It seems he's pretty clear on whether it's an adventure game or not, but I'm worried that because of certain visual and conceptual similarities, people will write it off too early as being like Trine.

That's not what I've seen looking at previews: I've seen no actual combat (sure, there are dragons but it looks a lot like you're figuring out ways to trick them or get around them, not fighting). I've seen inventory puzzles as well as environmental puzzles... most adventure games are full of inventory (use thing with thing) and environmental (make it so that all of these conditions are true in the environment) type puzzles. It looks like the dialogue might be restricted to the Cave itself, which is different, but I can't see how it's a dealbreaker for it being an adventure game. All of Machinarium's 'dialogue' is in speech bubble animations, but it's not any less or more of an adventure game because of it. The perspective is different, and thus the way you get around the world, but again, that doesn't seem to make it less of an adventure game, only more of something else.

Given all that, it would seem to me that arguing The Cave isn't an adventure game because it's played from a side-scrolling direct control perspective 'like a platformer' would be a bit like saying in 1992 Wolfenstein 3D isn't a shooter because it's in a first person view 'like a dungeon crawler'

I agree. And to revisit Chris Remo's point:

Grim Fandango (i.e., the most highly esteemed adventure game of all time) wasn't a traditional point and click! It had directional walk/run controls like a typical action game. If the game had never existed and we saw an early teaser trailer for it today, the army of point-and-click defenders would probably not judge it to look too "adventure gamey" either.

I mean directly controlling a character in real time?! With BUTTONS instead of a MOUSE?!

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Well, I don't consider Machinarium STRICTLY an adventure game. It's a puzzle/adventure game in my book. But it's all just semantics. People have different interpretations. Some people's ideas of adventure games are Banjo Kazooie and Mario 64.

I've stopped worrying about it. Hopefully it's fun.

It was a shock to the system though, viewing that trailer, and seeing all that side-scrolling, and those monsters, and then being thrown the line "adventure game".

We shall see...

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Well, I don't consider Machinarium STRICTLY an adventure game. It's a puzzle/adventure game in my book. But it's all just semantics. People have different interpretations. Some people's ideas of adventure games are Banjo Kazooie and Mario 64...

True, and this isn't what I wanted to respond with but first a side point:

***SIDE POINT!***

I actually disagree with your assessment of Machinarium in that I don't see why having puzzly-puzzles as well as adventurey puzzles means that it drifts away from being an adventure game, only that there's something else in there too. So to break that part a bit, there seems to be a prevailing view that a game's genre is like a pie chart, where all the genres are jostling for representation, so maybe Machinarium is 60% adventure game and 40% puzzle game or something.

But I'm not sure I go along with that view of what genres are actually like. I prefer to think of it more like a mixing desk, where turning the volume up on one thing doesn't necessarily mean you have to turn it down on another, although if you put everything at max volume then it'll probably sound like a bit of a mess. So the way I'd describe Machinarium is that it's totally an adventure game: the volume is up way loud on that slider, but it's also punctuated by a thumping puzzly bass-line.

***END OF SIDE POINT!***

The main thing I wanted to say though is that the reason I brought up Machinarium was just to talk about the dialogue in that game. Regardless of how much of an adventure game it is/isn't in the first place, my argument is that the way it chooses to handle dialogue by using little animations doesn't make it any LESS of an adventure game. So if all 7 main characters are silent and only the Cave speaks, that isn't really anything of a mark against it being an adventure in itself.

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I'm not sure what genre I would put The Cave in, but I'm also very uninterested in genre, so it isn't really something that I spend time thinking about. However, I can try, I suppose. Watching the trailer, you definitely get the sense of "puzzle platformer", but watching the game being played adds a great deal to that. From what I saw when I was at Double Fine's studio, there are multiple ways to complete puzzles, and some of those options have repercussions within the story. This seems like it could be a natural evolution of the "adventure", and "puzzle platformer" genres. Also, it looks fun as hell, and I can't wait to play it myself.

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i have a suspicion that this concept became more of an adventure game after the success of DFA...

And theres nothing wrong with that :)

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i have a suspicion that this concept became more of an adventure game after the success of DFA...

And theres nothing wrong with that :)

Nah, I doubt they did THAT much iteration in such a short span of time. Probably when the DFA was a success, it made them feel pretty happy about what they were already doing, but changing the entire course of their design seems unlikely.

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The main thing I wanted to say though is that the reason I brought up Machinarium was just to talk about the dialogue in that game. Regardless of how much of an adventure game it is/isn’t in the first place, my argument is that the way it chooses to handle dialogue by using little animations doesn’t make it any LESS of an adventure game. So if all 7 main characters are silent and only the Cave speaks, that isn’t really anything of a mark against it being an adventure in itself.

No, it's a mark against it for it being a Ron Gilbert adventure game with LESS dialogue! That's sacrilege that is! ;)

Seems like such a waste!

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i have a suspicion that this concept became more of an adventure game after the success of DFA...

And theres nothing wrong with that :)

Nah, I doubt they did THAT much iteration in such a short span of time. Probably when the DFA was a success, it made them feel pretty happy about what they were already doing, but changing the entire course of their design seems unlikely.

Yeah, I agree. It's apparently been in production for at least a year, and I doubt they spent the last couple of months redesigning it from the ground up to incorporate lots of inventory puzzles. Plus, even when he first started talking about it, Ron described it as a game that those fans of the old adventure games will like.

I suspect what'll happen in a lot of cases is that people will end up surprised by how much of an adventure game it is.

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What would be really cool (but probably unlikely) is if The Cave and DFA end up releasing at around the same time and DF worked out some kind of deal with SEGA where they could bundle the games together and sell a slightly discounted Classic Adventure Twin Pack.

Though it might be more accurate to call it something like Newish Old, Innovatively Classic, Modernly Nostalgic Adventure Pack.

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The main thing I wanted to say though is that the reason I brought up Machinarium was just to talk about the dialogue in that game. Regardless of how much of an adventure game it is/isn’t in the first place, my argument is that the way it chooses to handle dialogue by using little animations doesn’t make it any LESS of an adventure game. So if all 7 main characters are silent and only the Cave speaks, that isn’t really anything of a mark against it being an adventure in itself.

No, it's a mark against it for it being a Ron Gilbert adventure game with LESS dialogue! That's sacrilege that is! ;)

Seems like such a waste!

It's never a waste for a creative person to create. And I've always been of the opinion that work should be judged based on what it is, not what it isn't.

Plus, it's still very early. We have no idea how much dialogue will be in the final game.

I will say that hearing the deaths of the people off screen, as they screamed "Dragon" because Ron chose not to shut the gate after stealing the dragon's gold was quite hilarious.

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This is a Double Fine game.

Iron Brigade was probably the game with the least amount of dialogue, and even then there was plenty.

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This is a Double Fine game.

Iron Brigade was probably the game with the least amount of dialogue, and even then there was plenty.

Did you forget about happy action theater?

That game didn't have any dialogue and people seemed to still enjoy it.

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Did you forget about happy action theater?

That game didn't have any dialogue and people seemed to still enjoy it.

DFHAT is a staple in my household. Not a get-together or party can go by without firing up that one.

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