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Is getting stuck okay if the world is fun?

posted by DoubtedEdwardo on - last edited - Viewed by 1.6K users

I think that the only time a game is annoying to be stuck in is when there is nothing interesting left to look at. Telltale have shown they can make a fun and interesting world so would a few more difficult puzzles be okay if they simply forced you to stop and look around for a bit.

This thread isn't meant to be another 'make the game harder' one. I'm just curious if people would be willing to get stuck more if they still had fun stuff to do. While you are bubbling around enjoying the madness you often stumble on the answer anyway!

Personally I don't judge whether a game is good or bad by the difficulty of the puzzles, but by how good the safety net of fun content is for when I am stuck. (Although the difficult puzzles are good at stopping me racing through and missing all the fun stuff!)

8 Comments - Linear Discussion: Classic Style
  • Yeah when I'm stuck I usually explore the world more, go back to locations, talk to people again, and look for objects I may have missed. I enjoy this because I often come across jokes and fun things I raced past the first time. The stuff to do in culture shock if you compare it to bone 1 is a huge improvement..

  • Yes, I've always thought getting stuck is a must for graphic adventures, and it's even better when you have a beautiful world to explore, discovering jokes and just having a full immersion in the background.
    Furtherly, other small improvements like mini games (see HTR) make the getting-stuck experience less boring and frustrating.
    I'd love to boil my brain once again, thinking for days about whatta do next:D

  • I hope they bring back wack-a-rat thats always some fun when you are stuck

  • I'm not sure what the extent of the additions Telltale can make to each episode. When they started, most people were pegging the episodes at 1-2 hours (video with Dan Connors, Telltale CEO, earlier in the year, talking to 1up which--to me--seems like he is agreeing with the 1.5-2 hour figure brought up by the 1up Previews Editor), whilst the content in Culture Shock is roughly double that. I think they've responded to fan desires for longer game length with that, but they originally marketed their ideas to investors--and especially Gametap--on the ability to deliver 6 1-2 hour episodes over the course of 8 months. As Culture Shock clearly shows, they've decided to do more, and probably are working much more on the product than they had initially expected (admittedly, many game studios appear to have this issue).

    I think a secret element to Culture Shock is that it was paced such that you found almost all the interesting things to look at even without getting stuck. I would wager that most people were able to look at most of the interesting things in the context of solving the admittedly 4/6 (that's Telltale's admittance) difficulty. Can you imagine what would have happened if you got stuck in Culture Shock? There actually wasn't that much more interesting things to look at or find except easter eggs, but no game company should ever fall back on easter eggs as anything other than inside treats. There really wasn't much to look at or do (5-6 locations), as many people have stated--but it still took 2-5 hours for most people, and it still took Telltale probably 3 months to make it. So if Telltale were to create situations where you would get stuck, they would have to increase the amount of interesting things to look/interact with, or else you'd exhaust all options pretty quickly, and then you will not like being stuck anymore.

    Sure, I'd like the game to be longer as well, but what is reasonable and unreasonable to demand from this tiny start-up? Especially since they've committed to a very aggressive once-a-month release schedule? If it takes 3 months to put together the 3-4 hour Culture Shock, how much time would it take to add 2 more hours of interesting things to look at, 4 hours?

    I'm not sure how much we can demand without some magical investor fairy dumping loads of money on Telltale so that they can afford a larger staff.

    Having said all that, it probably becomes easier and easier to have more content with each successive episode, since they have the opportunity to work with locations they've used before (and thus, don't need to design from scratch). They'll need to come up with new dialogue and perturbations, however.

    But Telltale has demonstrated a clear desire for optimal game time:

    Kevin Bruner, Telltale's Chief Technology Officer
    When we focus group Cow Race, we're going to sit with a stopwatch and figure out, "Okay, they didn't spend as much time here as we intended them to, so we need to beef that part up." Or, "They're spending too much time here, is that good? Or do we need to move some of that somewhere else?"

    Definition: If they want us to get stuck, they'll make us get stuck, and vice versa, but they have focus groups to test on to make sure that their target audience (whoever that may be) don't get stuck more than they plan. And sorry, but I doubt they want people getting stuck for days.

    But I vote yes to mini-games.

  • Wow, I didn't expect that much of a reply from someone numble. I think you slightly missed the point that I'm not campaigning for more fun stuff or harder puzzles. It's more a reaction to the people who think that having a difficult puzzle in an adventure game is like 'beating their head against a brick wall'. It have some similar aspects but it's more like beating your head against a wall while being told an excellent and engrossing story. For the metaphor to be perfect the beating would somehow have to involve you more in the story but I can't see how that would happen.

    Anyway, I agree with you that Telltale has done an amazing job with Culture Shock, but I think there is enough fun stuff going on that I could have wandered around for a bit more and not been bored. The thing is without being stuck on a puzzle I don't have much incentive to wander around aimlessly.

    To be honest I don't play the mini games that much, I'm too busy combining anything with everything to try and solve the next puzzle.

  • Nice post, Numble! I think you point out many reasons why Sam & Max is the way it is, and what people can reasonably expect from TellTale (and I see how it directly relates to Ed's original post, which was also good). I think people forget that they're trying something new here, something that's not been done before. It's not an attempt to make Hit the Road: Part 2. If it was, then we could all quite justifiably been very upset with them, but instead Culture Shock is something different. It's almost like the "circus" section from Hit the Road (ie. the first chunk of the adventure).

    Whatever it is, I think we're all going to have to get used to the idea that this is what Sam & Max is now. That might be easy for me to say because I loved it, but I also think it's true!

  • I think people forget that they're trying something new here

    I didn't forget! I was just wondering about something that I think...

    they have focus groups to test on to make sure that their target audience (whoever that may be) don't get stuck more than they plan. And sorry, but I doubt they want people getting stuck for days.

    ...answers for me. I felt that I missed something because I didn't spend ages wandering around the locations but I guess I saw everything Telltale wanted me to see.:o

    I suppose there is a whole generation of gamers who have been trained to believe that they haven't properly played an adventure games unless they spend five days discovering all they can about a location until they find the last piece of information they need to solve the puzzle. There must be some reason we all found that so much fun.

  • Yep, I know what you mean, and you ask a good question, but I don't expect TellTale to change their game model. It is something that's worth pondering though.

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