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Parser vs. Point & Click (not just KQ)

posted by Anakin Skywalker on - last edited - Viewed by 673 users

Is there anyone else here who prefers the parser system to point in click? I don't just mean for KQ, but for adventure games in general.

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  • I'd enjoy both, to be honest. I love typing commands for games, despite never ever playing a pure text adventure for more than five minutes. But I absolutely loved it in games like Leisure Suit Larry and Police Quest. I guess for the ease of use, a point'n'click is far superior, but for possible depth and puzzles with several solutions, a parser is superior. That said, I think the 9 verb interface that early (but not earliest) LucasArts adventure games, more specifically Monkey Island 2, Indy Fate of Atlantis and Day Of The Tentacle, was a great in-between model that provided choice without being too complex.

    Adventure games today comes with point'n'click inteface (mostly). I can't see King's Quest Telltale having text parser, so I secretly hope for something along the line of the last couple of King's Quest games (not counting KQVIII). Heck, I'd like it if for once the inventory wouldn't be hidden away from us all of the time, like all the modern adventure game do. I want something like the system in the Legend of Kyrandia quests, which really is exactly the way most do it today, but without hiding the inventory from sight.

    But since everything has to be cinematic, it's a miracle we even get to see the mouse cursor nowadays.

  • If I remember correctly, Scott Murphy (SQ creator) wanted Space Quest IV to have a parser system for it's freedom and was against the point and click method. That's probably why SQ4 and SQ6 have a smell and taste icon.

  • You'll never see a parser game again, if for no other reason then it would make it very difficult to port it to the home consoles or the iPhone.

  • @techie775 said: If I remember correctly, Scott Murphy (SQ creator) wanted Space Quest IV to have a parser system for it's freedom and was against the point and click method. That's probably why SQ4 and SQ6 have a smell and taste icon.


    Yes, as I understand it, Ken Williams basically asked (and then, when Scott said no, ordered) him to convert the game to point-and-click.

  • Ken didn't ask. He gave Scott the option. And then after he chose parser he went behind his back and forced it P&C anyway, according to Scott.

    @techie775 said: If I remember correctly, Scott Murphy (SQ creator) wanted Space Quest IV to have a parser system for it's freedom and was against the point and click method. That's probably why SQ4 and SQ6 have a smell and taste icon.

    Actually, SQ6 doesn't have them either. The only two games that have them are SQ4 and SQ1VGA.

  • Even though SQ6 didn't explicitly have a "Taste" or "Smell" command, if you used the "Mouth" command on random things, you would get Gary Owens telling you how something tasted or smelled.

  • That's not exactly the same. The idea was to have a lot more interactions than were possible with the "standard five" P&C icons (walk, look, use, talk, inv). Scott wanted to carry over the feel of the parser where you could type anything you wanted and the game would respond.

  • True, it was interesting to try them on various things and see what would happen, even if it meant death (like on the pool of water/acid in the caves of SQ1VGA).

  • I think parser could make a comeback as an alternative method of control. Of course, it'd take a real enthusiast to do all the extra work required for it.

  • I love both the parser interface and point and click interface.

    But as much as I enjoy the parser interface in older games, I really can't see how that would work in modern games. It would seem a bit absurd... having modern graphics, music, all of that... and still having to type in commands.
    So I don't mind how that was eventually replaced.

    Point & click is in my opinion ideal for an adventure game... that is, the kind of adventure game I love the most, which are games in the style of Lucasarts and Sierra classics.
    For a while I suspected it might just be nostalgia, but after having played more modern adventure games, often using direct control and the like... I think I've given it enough time by now to say that for me, it's not only because of nostalgia.

    I just enjoy the kind of adventure game you get when you have point & click controls... even though it means you can't have equally cinematic scenes (not without going through more hassle of figuring out how exactly to implement it anyway), but that doesn't bother me one bit.
    I've never needed cameras moving around and lots of various 'artistic' camera angles, etc... I can honestly say that I can get just as good of a feeling of nice atmosphere in a game without that.

    So for me, in the end, I prefer point & click as that is something even new games can use without appearing really strange.

    The reason I like it much better than direct contol... well, there are more than one, but a biggie for me is that constantly manually controlling your character everywhere seems a lot less convenient to me than simple point & click controls - as my ideal adventure games are challenging ones where there's a good chance you'll end up stuck more than once. In situations like that, where you end up walking all over the game world, possibly for quite some time, I think it's a hassle to have to do that using direct controls compared to point & click.

    So in that way, it's less of an issue for me in dead easy games like the ones Telltale usually develop... when I never get stuck (for more than a few minutes, anyway)... that greatly reduces the amount of just walking around I have to do.

    On a related note, I've always been really happy with the kind of controls Sierra used in their older adventure games, where you had to use the keyboard - I love how their system works in the way where you just tap a key to start walking and then tap it again to stop.
    People might argue this means you don't have the same precisioun when controlling your character in these games, and that's true, but other than in a few cases where Sierra decided to make navigating certain areas a challenge on purpose... I never had any trouble controlling any of those games.
    And if you did have trouble, you could always use a joystick... well, if you had one... but at least they did give you somewhat of a choice, I guess.
    Really nice how they did that, I'm certain I would not replay them as much as I do if the game had direct controls the likes of what you normally get these days.

    EDIT - forgot to mention - the most ideal control scheme in adventure games for me is point & click, with hotkeys for the various verbs/actions. I love how this gives you the choice of using the mouse only, and even without using hotkeys, I find it quite convenient... but I love having the option of using hotkeys though I don't always use them.

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