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An Interesting Article by Ron Gilbert

posted by Capotasto on - last edited - Viewed by 192 users

I was trawling the internet just now and stumbled upon this article written by Ron Gilbert:
http://oxcgn.com/2008/01/31/why-adventure-games-suck-by-ron-gilbert/

I'm not sure how much of it I agree with, but there's no doubt it's very interesting! I thought I'd share it with Telltale and the community. Sorry if it's widely known already!

15 Comments - Linear Discussion: Classic Style
  • @larys said: i hope nothing like this happen in TOMI

    This has never happened in any Telltale game I've ever played, and I've played them all except CSI (Sorry Kevin, but I did played Telltale Texas Hold 'Em)

  • If any type of game is going to bridge the gap between games and storytelling, it is most likely going to be adventure games. They will become less puzzle solving and more story telling, it is the blueprint the future will be made from. The thing we cannot forget is that we are here to entertain, and for most people, entertainment does not consist of nights and weekends filled with frustration. The average American spends most of the day failing at the office, the last thing he wants to do is come home and fail while trying to relax and be entertained.

    I don't like that. I like challenging puzzles, that's the core draw to adventure games to me. They're like riddles. I never get them to just sit back and watch a story. I love a great story, but it's the challenge that is key to any game (thus why it's called a game).

    I also think that sometimes having a puzzle solution be totally wacky in the sense of "I never would've thought of that!" is great, as long as your actions eventually lead to that solution. It's great when you think of the puzzles' logic yourself and then carry it out and it works, but not at the expense of it being obvious or easy logic. I'd rather have a really clever solution even if I found it with a little bit of trial and error or lateral thinking. Sometimes you discover what the solution logic is half way into solving it, and it's cool.

    Also, that's from 1989 which is worth noting. He was laying out the ground rules, some of which seem obvious now, especially for LucasArts/Telltale players, but back then there were lots of games that weren't forgiving whatsoever. I think now people take some of that advice a little too far though, and make games for lazy, incurious, child-like minds.

  • @RockNRoll said: I also think that sometimes having a puzzle solution be totally wacky in the sense of "I never would've thought of that!" is great, as long as your actions eventually lead to that solution. It's great when you think of the puzzles' logic yourself and then carry it out and it works, but not at the expense of it being obvious or easy logic. I'd rather have a really clever solution even if I found it with a little bit of trial and error or lateral thinking. Sometimes you discover what the solution logic is half way into solving it, and it's cool.

    But, as you say, there has to be some internal logic in the solution, even if that logic is kinda wacky, twisted, strange, or even ilogical in the real world, it has to make sense it the world of the game. And "making sense" not neccesarily means "obvious" or "easy".
    An that's Ron said: Is a really bad idea that the solution of the puzzles have no logic at all.
    Is not the "I never would've thought of that!" thing what's wrong, not if you can add "But thinking it now, it makes sense!"

  • @Lena_P said: This has never happened in any Telltale game I've ever played, and I've played them all except CSI (Sorry Kevin, but I did played Telltale Texas Hold 'Em)


    It's something that Sierra and LucasArts changed about adventure games and it's been a major no-no in the genre for a long time as a result. I haven't seen any game that breaks this rule in a long time.

    Infocom used to be horrible about this (*coughBabelfishcough*) and it was really frustrating. Sierra really started to push forward with eliminating dead-ends, and then Lucas took it a step further by eliminating death altogether.

  • Wow, that was a really interesting read!

    Interestingly, I think out of that long list of potential problems, I think I've only ever seen Telltale slip up the Backwards Puzzles problem.
    They seem to always avoid the rest.

  • @der_ketzer said: I never experienced anything like this.
    Maybe I only played good adventures where you are forced one way or the other to get every important item before leving an area for ever.
    Like in CoMI when you pick up the bag so you can pick up the diamontd you need to finish the part of the game.

    I remember Maniac Manson which my characters die or get in prison and the game became a dead-end and i had to start over. But it was ok because the game wasn't supposed to have saves. If you stuck the next day you wll start over and do thing right.

    @der_ketzer said: But, as you say, there has to be some internal logic in the solution, even if that logic is kinda wacky, twisted, strange, or even ilogical in the real world, it has to make sense it the world of the game. And "making sense" not neccesarily means "obvious" or "easy".
    An that's Ron said: Is a really bad idea that the solution of the puzzles have no logic at all.
    Is not the "I never would've thought of that!" thing what's wrong, not if you can add "But thinking it now, it makes sense!"

    I love wacky, twisted, strange , logical only in the game puzzle. It would be great if we have one of those in the next episode. The satisfaction you feel after completing one it's just doesn't compare with anything else. But I don't see it happens after i saw how many people in the forum and the reviews have difficulty at some of the puzzle on the Narwhal. For example IGN gave the game 7.9 because it's too easy to miss a key location in the jungle and not know it, which can result in headaches.

    What do they mean by that? How can you miss key locations in the game?

  • @Mad Mary said: Interesting. I have a talent for solving puzzles backwards, LOL...

    I remember myself solving about a half of EoMI Pegnose Pete puzzle just trying to get rid of that braclet of my leg (doing that looked more piratey to me than doing police's job)

  • @larys said: I remember Maniac Manson which my characters die or get in prison and the game became a dead-end and i had to start over. But it was ok because the game wasn't supposed to have saves. If you stuck the next day you wll start over and do thing right.


    Yeah, Maniac Mansion was made before he wrote this article. It was possible to escape the prison by pushing a loose brick in the wall though.

  • @Ravey said: Yeah, Maniac Mansion was made before he wrote this article. It was possible to escape the prison by pushing a loose brick in the wall though.

    Xmm. If I remember correctly i didn't found any loose brick. I thought the only way to open the prison is to have an other character(who isn't prisoner) to find a key to open the door. :) I should go replay it

  • @larys said: Xmm. If I remember correctly i didn't found any loose brick. I thought the only way to open the prison is to have an other character(who isn't prisoner) to find a key to open the door. :) I should go replay it


    You could be right, maybe it was added in the enhanced version? It's in the middle somewhere on the front wall.

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