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How to Handle Deaths (Revised Poll)

posted by chucklas on - last edited - Viewed by 1.7K users

There has been much debate over how to handle deaths in this game. I want to present a single option asd ask, would this be ok with you?

So, if they were to implement the retry option as the default and allow the user to disable it and only save manually if they choose, would you be satisfied with that compromise?

168 Comments - Linear Discussion: Classic Style
  • @Simo Sakari Aaltonen said: About the dictionary definitions from the source I used, I don't see the first definition as applying to computer games, since I don't see all computer games (certainly not adventure games) as a "competitive activity or sport". However, "played according to rules", sure. But then, books are read and films are viewed according to some rules, too.

    I do see computer games as a competitive activity, in the sense that they're a personal challenge, in a similar way that climbing a mountain is competing against the elements, so to speak; like playing solitaire or solving a crossword puzzle, single-player video games are competitive activities in that one can either succeed or fail in a way that doesn’t really apply to watching movies or reading books.

    @Simo Sakari Aaltonen said: On the "gameplay" vs "story" issue: In my way of looking at this, almost everything you might call gameplay (and that I have been thinking of as gameplay for the purposes of this thread) is actually part of the story. This is really the true and whole meaning of my thinking of it as an interactive story. And yes, it is a personal view only and I am not trying to convert anyone into sharing it!

    I totally believe that you are not motivated by any desire to impose your viewpoint on others. But you have framed some of your statements in a way that goes beyond the expression of opinion. Several of your statements posit something about the essence of KQ -- "This clearly shows that King's Quest is a story first and foremost."; "...the most essential part of KQ - the part that makes it possible to recognise it as KQ - is the story content, not the gameplay…" -- as if they were universal truths.

    Those ideas might flow naturally from your viewpoint of adventure games as playable stories, but I don’t believe there’s any objective basis for them outside of that and so they’re not necessarily valid characterizations of KQ for those with different approaches to adventure or computer games. Moreover, I’m not sure there’s any rational way to determine what defines KQ or what makes it great. I would suggest it’s whatever the fans say it is, individually and collectively. Of course it's not possible to know the collective or majority consensus. But from what I know about KQ fans, I believe that any assertion about what makes KQ great has to include both story (defined any way you want) and gameplay, regardless of whether it's included in the definition of story, pretty high on the list.

    @Simo Sakari Aaltonen said: What I mean is, "story" comprises not just the scenario or premise or basic plot. It also includes the narration, the dialogue, every action, every consequence, the sights and sounds - just like with a story in any other medium. The only difference is that the player controls the actions of the main character(s). Playing an adventure game (or most other types of games) is almost nothing else than story.

    I understand that your idea of story doesn’t mean merely plot but encompasses gameplay and other things, that that follows from your view of games as playable stories, and that you might even view these things as somehow inseparable. But what I’ve been trying to show is that gamers can and do view these things as separable, especially for purposes of analysis and evaluation. That’s why I can’t accept the hypothesis that story is more important than gameplay -- even though your vision of what story means encompasses gameplay -- because I can, do and will continue to evaluate the games I play on the basis of gameplay, independently of any other features.

    It's not that I think your ideas are blatantly wrong, it's that they don't even begin to capture why I enjoyed the King's Quest series or play computer games in the first place, and especially why I play them instead of watching movies or consuming stories in any passive media. That the player controls the actions of the character might be the only difference between an adventure game and other forms of media, but it's a huge difference, a fundamental difference, for me and probably many others who talk about gameplay around here.

    You know, I also lump some elements together when thinking about what makes a particular game or games in general enjoyable. My personal rubric for evaluation is two-fold: gameplay and what I'll call "atmosphere", which includes plot, writing, art style, music, sound, and the like. These two terms are probably how I will decide for myself whether the new game captures the spirit of the existing KQ games. But I can readily see that this breakdown would be insufficient for someone who plays games for different reasons or different experiences than I do. I can insist (and actually do believe) that the first Quake FPS had terrific atmosphere, and insist that my view of atmosphere includes plot, but to someone for whom high-quality plots are tremendously important in a game, my assertions would be meaningless at best, dismissive or even insulting at worst.

    @Simo Sakari Aaltonen said: I reckon it all comes entirely down to our different ways of seeing things.

    So, yeah, it does come down to our different ways of seeing things. :) I've enjoyed learning about your personal view of adventure games; your ideas are more intricate than those found in the many plot-vs.-puzzles debates I've seen in other adventure gaming fora over the years. What those debates have taught me is that, even though gameplay is more important than story for me personally, it would be wrong to work that into any kind of general rule or definition for all adventure gamers.

  • This exchange has been very interesting and useful for me, too! Your spirited advocacy of gameplay is both appropriate and necessary. And I think I now understand what you meant: that crucial factor X (which we have called gameplay and interactivity and interactive storytelling) that makes adventure games a very special form of entertainment for both of us and that can transform even a lesser story into solid entertainment.

    That first half of the term I used, "interactive story", is indeed fundamentally important to the charm these games hold for me as well. If these stories were stripped of all interactive elements and reduced to a single linear narrative, they would lose much of their allure for me. I love exploring the boundaries and the workings of the story worlds in every sense, trying different permutations, seeing how far off track they let me stray, etc. Things that are only possible in computer games.

  • @Simo Sakari Aaltonen said: I love exploring the boundaries and the workings of the story worlds in every sense, trying different permutations, seeing how far off track they let me stray, etc. Things that are only possible in computer games.

    Which is exactly where BttF has failed.;)

  • Well, it sounds like BttF was made with a different kind of player in mind.

  • I think thats why so many are worried about KQ. If they don't make it with actual KQ fans in mind and try to bring in a larger audience the actual KQ fans will be seriously disappointed.

  • @Simo Sakari Aaltonen said: Well, it sounds like BttF was made with a different kind of player in mind.

    Without our knowledge or consent.

    @Simo Sakari Aaltonen said: I think thats why so many are worried about KQ. If they don't make it with actual KQ fans in mind and try to bring in a larger audience the actual KQ fans will be seriously disappointed.

    Exactly. See the problem? And the reason for preemptive negativity? Telltale may have said that they're going to have to cater a little bit to the KQ audience because of the type of game KQ is, but that means virtually nothing really because we don't know how much they are going to remain faithful and how much they are going to change. And also because they've lied to us before.

  • @MusicallyInspired said:
    Exactly. See the problem? And the reason for preemptive negativity? Telltale may have said that they're going to have to cater a little bit to the KQ audience because of the type of game KQ is, but that means virtually nothing really because we don't know how much they are going to remain faithful and how much they are going to change. And also because they've lied to us before.

    And to those who think the whole argument is just about save games or deaths or dead ends...etc. this is why it really is more than all of that. Once they start messing with auto saves and retrys, they are tipping their hand that they are trying to cater and design the game for those who are not comfortable with KQ to begin with. Even though some KQ fans like some of those ideas, the game is not being designed for them, it is being designed for a much different, much larger demographic. It makes sense for their bottom line, but as KQ fans, the game wont be made with us in mind.

  • TTG's need to expand the audience for its offerings isn't the only cause for concern here: If it were merely about making games more accessible, there are various ways they could have done so without sacrificing what makes games enjoyable to experienced adventure gamers. I think the more troubling issue is the philosophical shift toward cinematic production. And before anyone says the philosophy will only be applied to "the movie games", JP and BTTF, note that this shift started before the Universal deal; it's clearly evident in The Devil's Playhouse -- Sam & Max. Not a movie. -- and IMO gameplay suffered as a result.

    The latest spewing of this philosophy can be found in this interview with TTG's Executive Producer of JP, who says "every scene, shot, and activity" in JP is being composed cinematically. I have difficulty seeing how the adoption of cinematic composition as a central design goal could provide an enjoyable experience for gamers who value exploring a gameworld and tackling substantive obstacles to progression found therein.

    I have always appreciated TTG's attention to visual design, but they went overboard in TDP, and actually scuttled the ship in BTTF. Who knows what their thinking is on cinematic design wrt King's Quest? I don't think it's a sure bet either way. But the cause for concern is justified.

  • I can't wait for the inevitable poll:

    Which is the worst King's Quest game?

    A) Telltale's King's Quest Machinima
    B) The Silver Lining
    C) King's Quest: Mask of Eternity

  • Its interesting that from Roberta William's perspective, often it was technology that was the essence of King's Quest. She used it, and all her games to some extent push technology. Plot and story, and puzzles came second!

    Which is the worst King's Quest game?

    A) Telltale's King's Quest Machinima
    B) The Silver Lining
    C) King's Quest: Mask of Eternity

    You need to add King's Quest VII: The Princeless Bride to that (it's one of the most criticized games in the series). Some people include King's Quest V (due to Cedric, and 'incoherrent' puzzles/dead ends)!

    But I'm sure each game has its detractors!

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