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How to Handle Deaths (Revised Poll)

posted by chucklas on - last edited - Viewed by 1.2K 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
  • I personally think that totally random and unpredictable deaths are terrible - you know, walk onto a new screen, and WHAM, before you get the chance to do anything, a werewolf kills you. Ones that could've been avoided if you used logic, common sense and a bit of cautiousness (sp?) are great, and add to the game.

  • @MusicallyInspired said: Just because people are too lazy nowadays to enjoy a good dangerous baffling adventure game and want every answer handed to them on a silver platter in the safest game environment possible doesn't mean I'm speaking solely out of nostalgia.

    I'm alright with removing dead ends. That will never work ever again I imagine. But that doesn't mean that gameplay and that on-edge feeling of exploration has to be completely nonexistent. I don't understand gamers today. Games just aren't challenging anymore.

    Yet you have rock-hard games like Demon's Souls or Super Meat Boy that are somehow both hard and fair.

    I don't think it's really laziness. Dying should be instantly reversible, and not a punishment. No menu should come up. Press "R" to return to the edge of the cliff you so beautifully slipped over.

    Dead ends never worked in the first place.

  • That's a fair point, but you can't compare two genres together. Even Super Meat Boy doesn't allow you to continue from the very point you died. And it wouldn't be very challenging if you did. You have to start the whole level over. And that can be just as maddening if not more seeing as it happens so frequently.

  • Right, except getting to the edge of the cliff in Super Meat Boy is in itself a challenge. In King's Quest, it's just clicking on a point and watching your character slowwwwwwwly get there. I think most gamers would die of boredom the fifth time they had to do this. Instant access to rooms via double click was the best thing that ever happened to adventure games.

    I really, really don't like GUIs or menus in my games. If you want death, fine; but don't use it as punishment, nor bring up a menu everytime it happens. Make it instantly reversible, and use it as feedback to players - a way to tell them that whatever they just did was wrong. I can't see it being useful otherwise.

  • What is the difference between being able to chose retry or having to load an old game anyway.
    To make a death meaningful all saves have to be deleted.

    Preferable the adventure gets changed around too, so you can't use previous experience to handle things better.
    (Too bad that current adventures do have a problem with randomizing the environment)

  • @Krohn said: What is the difference between being able to chose retry or having to load an old game anyway.

    Bringing up menus is an immersion killer for me. I just wanna get on with it. We Arabs have a word for it - "Yallah!". Hurry up already. I could do without the silly menu.

  • @Kroms said: Right, except getting to the edge of the cliff in Super Meat Boy is in itself a challenge. In King's Quest, it's just clicking on a point and watching your character slowwwwwwwly get there. I think most gamers would die of boredom the fifth time they had to do this. Instant access to rooms via double click was the best thing that ever happened to adventure games.

    You sound like the type of person who would love the new Jurassic Park game. Perhaps King's Quest isn't for you.

    I really, really don't like GUIs or menus in my games. If you want death, fine; but don't use it as punishment,

    Then what good is it? For a laugh? That's not King's Quest, that's Space Quest. Or to a lesser extent Leisure Suit Larry.

    nor bring up a menu everytime it happens. Make it instantly reversible, and use it as feedback to players - a way to tell them that whatever they just did was wrong. I can't see it being useful otherwise.

    Geez, you sound like an incredibly impatient gamer. Perhaps adventure games themselves aren't your cup of tea? Adventure games aren't about "getting on with it." It's about exploration, discovery, and the journey. Not the goal.

    @Kroms said: What is the difference between being able to chose retry or having to load an old game anyway.
    To make a death meaningful all saves have to be deleted.

    The difference is it's your responsibility as a gamer to save the game yourself. So if you forget or don't bother it's your fault. It's a threat to the progression of the game. What else should a death be? They're completely pointless otherwise. This is the first and oldest rule of video games in general with regards to failure. The save feature should be bonus enough. Autosaves are just handing the game to you without putting up a fight. And that's just not fun and makes deaths merely minor annoyances rather than the show-stopping dangerous game events they should be.

  • One of the things that gave King's Quest (and other Sierra) games a distinct style is that as the player, you are responsible for your character's feet. Graham and family do not automatically avoid raging rivers and toxic swamps as Guybrush does. Other threats are mobile and so must the player be prepared to use the character's feet to get his or her ass away from them. You need to put yourself into your character's feet -- and not just their inventory stash -- to survive icy mountains and vast deserts.

    While it has mostly disappeared from the adventure genre since the heyday of Sierra, puzzle-solving from the perspective of the feet can add excitement to gameplay and contribute to immersion in the game-world (far more than occasionally having to reload a saved game detracts from it). There's nothing inherently "unfair" about it -- just as it's not unfair to have to be responsible for aiming your character's weapons in a third-person action-adventure even though many of them have auto-aim, it's not unfair to have to consider your character's feet in an adventure game just because most of the others incorporate an auto-danger-avoidance system during movement.

    It's a different approach to gameplay, and one that I think is worth preserving in any honest attempt to revive the King's Quest franchise. Why are adventure gamers always so eager to have every title hammered down to fit the same mold?

  • Here's an interesting article on deaths in video games past, present, and what to expect in the future. It doesn't really tread into the adventure genre, but it does raise some great points nonetheless which I think are just as pertinent to adventure games.

    Check it out.

    http://www.cracked.com/blog/5-crucial-lessons-learned-by-watching-kids-play-video-games/

    Here's a particularly interesting tidbit, though:

    [quote]... those of you who grew up with the old-school games, have you felt anything like the horrible tension you felt when you knew that you were on that last life, on that last level and that dying meant everything you had accomplished would be wiped out?

    The stakes were so high, and the feeling you got from winning was like you'd won the Super Bowl. Now, when I'm given a virtual God Mode from the very beginning as part of the game design, it just feels ... well, kind of wrong. But the new generation of gamers disagree with me, and the entire concept of getting stuck in a game is treated like a bug that gets squashed during play testing. So games have moved on to the "long interactive movie" concept, a progression from A to B where it's a foregone conclusion that you're going to win, and without any kind of real hardship along the way.[/quote]

  • You know, that quote immediately made me thing of Contra. I love that game. It was fun to use the code for 30 lives to easily beat the game, but the game was so much better when I sat down with a buddy and played the game for 2 days straight until we beat it without using the code. There were some seriously tense moments, and when we finally beat it, the satisfaction was huge. I haven't felt that from a game in a LONG LONG LONG time.

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