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How to Handle Deaths (Revised Poll)

posted by chucklas on - last edited - Viewed by 1.4K 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
  • 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.

  • 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.

    I don't know what games you were playing but deaths in KQ up to KQ7 often included humor, especially KQ5 through KQ7 and KQ1 remake. They were also generally exaggerated in the earlier games. Lots of unique animations for each death in all the games (before the textbox appeared). Also note the death theme in kQ2 was in and of itself a joke. Many of the deaths, sometimes the most amusing ones were only possible to see if you went out of your way to make something a dead-end. In all the games quite entertaining.

    Even though KQ8 lacked fancy death text screens, there were still a variety of animations depicting connor's death via different obstacles and enemies. It wad however the only one to lack all humor in death.

    One of these days I need to make a list of the deaths for each game.

  • There were very few if any humorous deaths in KQ5 and KQ6, though. Maybe some mildly amusing narrator comments. My point was not that they can't be funny at times but that that the deaths weren't meant entirely for comedic purposes, like many people here seem to be suggesting. That's Space Quest and LSL.

  • I meant the text box was the funny part.

    Actually in space quest most of the deaths are not so much funny (unless you are into sadomasochism), but rather violent and realistic. It was the death comment after the death that made them funny. There are only one or two that are flat out funny even before you got he text screen. With the instant replay cam.

    In earliest KQ the funny aspec of the death were the exaggerated animations since the original games lacked unique death comments for each death. The practice of adding a funny death coment began with KQ3 IIRC. For example falling off the ice cave cliff gave a comment about Russian judges giving your fall a 9.0.

  • The point of deaths in Space Quest was (admittedly, by Scott Murphy) to make them humorous and fun to attempt rather than annoying to run into. That's quite a far stretch from King's Quest's approach.

    Let's be honest, you didn't go around in King's Quest looking for ways to brutally murder your character and laugh at it. But that was entirely the intended effect with Space Quest. I'm pointing out the difference that King's Quest deaths were meant to impede your progress while Space Quest deaths were there to impede your progress but also reward you for finding ways to kill off Roger in very brutal ways if you wanted to. While one could find it amusing to try and kill your character in a King's Quest game it wasn't really the point.

    Again, in short, King's Quest deaths were usually not funny until the death message since it wasn't a comedy game. That's the main difference I'm pointing out here. Even the narrator in KQ6 describes the process of your death as it's happening as a suspenseful ominous event. It's not until after the death you get a subtly smarmy remark. I'm just saying that the deaths aren't supposed to be funny like some people are saying. That's Space Quest's territory. SQ's were funny because it was so overbearingly brutal.

  • By the way you use KQ6 as your main example of what narration 'is' in KQ but in general it is the one game that is the least like any previous KQ.

    It's overly dramatic tone is more to do with Jane Jensen than Roberta! If you go back to previous Roberta games, the humor was in exaggerated cartoony death animations in the earliest games, the addition of funny death picture in KQ5 and KQ1 remake (a style ripped out of Space Quest 3 actually). More importantly many of the narrations were filled with puns and jokes even in non dangerous situations (often at the expense of the player, or nods to pop culture)! Check out KQ2 and KQ3 scripts for prime examples!

  • Yet most deaths in space quest in general do impede your character. You had to solve a puzzle to get past them. Others act as rather logical barriers preventing you from traveling to far on a planet. Try to explore outside of the designated area and you might be eaten like a snake or grell, or have an asteroid fall on your head!

    Granted it also had it's 'secret' deaths like pushing the red button, or poking about mysterious holes. But for the for the most part most acted as barriers or punishments for making puzzle mistakes.

    If you hadn't noticed Sierra produced their own hintbooks and in most of them there were 'did you try sections'. These were written by people such as Roberta Williams or Al Lowe in the case of KQ games. What's interesting is many of the things to try involve secret deaths that the designers put into KQ for the fun of it. Many of these do not 'impede' your progress and a player has to try to do illogical thing to see them. Like for example in KQ2 you can choose to 'drink' the poison lake water. Graham is given an overly dramatic death scene where he turns a deep shade of purple. Most people aren't going to attempt to drink poisoned water! Unless they are suicidal.

    I point this out as this is a case where even Roberta or Al Lowe (KQ2) admitted that many deaths were for the fun if it and to reward you for finding them! But let's remember she personally never saw KQ as a serious series, to her it was almost satirical nod to classic fairy tales. Many of the scripts for the earliest four games were filled with puns in the narration and jokes at the player's expense (with references only the player would understand). Such as references to Mr. Ed or Colonel Sanders or in some cases other Sierra games! Many of the comments were fourth wall braking in KQ2 and KQ3's style of narration (thankfully not nearly as much as in the fan games).

    Yes Space Quest did many of its deaths in an attempt to satire KQ or really any older adventure games with death. But even the designers in KQ were not always 'serious' about it.


    In fact I've even read a few old interviews where Roberta claimed that she intended KQ to be a light and humorous adventure game, and even wanted the deaths to be fun and entertaining, not something to annoy the player.

    I suppose it's where space quest and KQ are different is the author's completely different styles of humor. It's also a matter of different people's interpretations of the humor. Murphy apparently saw KQ as a serious series, Roberta saw it as something light and whimsical, full of humor.

    I think it's also kind of funny how KQ5 and KQ1 remake nabbed the funny close up death pictures-style that Space Quest had been utilizing since SQ3!

  • You're still missing my point so I'm not pressing the issue further.

  • I'm not trying to 'miss' your point, I'm just trying to point out that the purpose of deaths in KQ was interpreted differently by different people, including those working at Sierra, including Roberta Williams. It's probably tinged by their various different senses of humor. What Roberta considered humor, Murphy's was quite a bit different!

    Hoever, I wouldn't put it past Roberta started taking some inspiration from the Space Quest way of doing deaths by KQ 3, much in the same way KQ5 'ripped off' the Space Quest 3/4/5/1VGA style death boxes. KQ2's narration might have had been inspired by Al Lowe's sense of humor considering the number of slightly lewd elements hidden in the text in regards to the female characters in the game.

    Speaking of people not getting certain types of humor, over another type of humor. Have you ever run into diehard Lucasarts fans that prefer those games, because they didn't find Sierra games funny? Because of completely different styles of humor?

    Or visa versa for diehard Sierra fans?

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