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dead-ends in king's quest

posted by shaygol on - last edited - Viewed by 2.6K users

The thing I remember most about sierra games are the dead ends.

This usually happens when you got to a certain place in the game and you can't move on no matter what you do. Then, when you look at a walkthrough you see you forgot to pick up a certain item and you need to restore or restart to get to that point in the game.

This is something both lucasarts and telltale (till now) avoided.

But if they're remaking king's quest what will happen?

I prefer it if they will continue to avoid those dead ends. I didn't like them - they seemed so unfair, it was the main reason i preferred lucasarts games to sierra.

85 Comments - Linear Discussion: Classic Style
  • You obviously haven't read 'make choice' books, 'Choose Your Own Adventure'!

    Those are built upon the trial and error approach, and that's what made those books fun to read, and gave a sense of exploration and adventure!

    What choices lead to dead ends, or miserable outcomes or even death? Which ones let the reader move on to a successful conclusion?

    Here for example was a Choose Your Own Adventure based on the classic Zork game series (a precursor to the KQ style adventure games, back when games of thist sort were all text).
    http://www.boraski.com/zork/

    Many pen & paper RPG format use the tried and true decisions with consequences format, except that a roll of the die and individual players skill sets might decide that choice for you! But this was based largely off the 'make choice' style of old books! Its no wonder that the RPGs even inspired 'make choice' books of their own!

    Some game historians even suggest that the adventure game genre, and even some other genres evolved out of the "CYOA" format!

    In real life, decisions have consequences, and you may not always know what the outcome is! Life is like a classic Adventure game.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oXlkGmitusk

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BwZNBLHN0Ls&feature=player_embedded

    But seriously, I'm sorry, but what you are asking for is the regular Telltale format (I.E. BTTF), and not a King's Quest style. The classic 'make choice', trial and error format, was what made KQ challenging and fun. It was what gave the games the sense of 'exploration'. No one is forcing you to buy a KQ game, if you don't like them.

  • @NSM said: There's nothing more fun than reading the extended edition of the rules, after all. Honestly, I sometimes think that King's Quest players must just hate having fun.

    No, we just have a different idea of what we consider fun compared to other people, apparently. Reading game documentation was fun. It was often written in such a way as to be part of the lore. Also, anyone who's new to a game series should be reading the manual just as much as people who are new to electronics need to read the instructions on how to operate them properly.

  • I sure hope brain surgeons read their manuals, before they perform operations on anyone!

    If you didn't read the manual to Life and Death series you'd probably end up killing your patient!

  • @NSM said: There's nothing more fun than reading the extended edition of the rules, after all. Honestly, I sometimes think that King's Quest players must just hate having fun

    @NSM said: Yeah, get off my lawn kids, you're the worst! Everything in the past was great! All the current things suck! Let's all go back to the 80's!

    Wow, what persuasive comments! Ad hominem attacks are always the best way to make your points. :rolleyes:

    You need to get over your delusions of grandeur: you are not in charge of defining what is fun and what is not fun for anyone but yourself. And you're tilting at windmills with your caricature of KQ fans as being motivated only by mindless nostalgia. Besides, reverse nostalgia -- equating newer with better -- is just as mindless. ;)

    @NSM said: But seriously, I'm sorry, but what you are asking for is the regular Telltale format (I.E. BTTF), and not a King's Quest style. The classic 'make choice', trial and error format, was what made KQ challenging and fun. It was what gave the games the sense of 'exploration'. No one is forcing you to buy a KQ game, if you don't like them.

    Agree. Please, adventure game-makers and Telltale in particular, stop making the same flippin' game over and over again! I like the "Tellltale format" in S&M and W&G, etc., but we need variety and reviving KQ is just the place to do it.

    Besides, trial-and-error was not as prevalent in KQ as it's made out to be. There were plenty of puzzles that could be approached logically and solved on the first try if one thought carefully and/or was observant enough to find the right clues. Of course, to a player who doesn't think carefully and/or misses the relevant clues, a perfectly logical puzzle will seem just like a trial-and-error one. It's these un-thoughtful and un-careful players who have perpetuated the myth that Sierra was all about trial-and-error.

    Moreover, too many adventure gamers fail to distinguish between truly random puzzles that can only be solved by brute force trial-and-error and non-random puzzles that need to be solved through trial-and-error-and-feedback, such that subsequent trials are more informed than previous ones. Conducting trials and using the results to identify patterns and narrow down choices -- ie. the scientific method -- is a wonderful type of puzzle that unfortunately gets lumped into the dreaded "trial-and-error" category as adventure gamers hammer away at complexity and variety in the genre. (Trial-and-error-and-feedback is especially common in the best contraption-style puzzles, and Telltale actually had a nice one in episode 4 of The Devil's Playhouse.)

    I could ramble and stray further on the topic of trial-and-error but I'll stop now. :)

  • I think the new King's Quest needs "Professor Layton" style deduction puzzles.

  • Wouldn't that then make it a ripoff of Puzzle Agent?

  • Not if you play one of the king's "Wise Men" in the next King's Quest game. Then you could really spin it your own way and make the puzzles all medieval!

  • Gee,
    I was all set to say that dead ends were a vital part of the King's Quest series and any old school adventure game worth its salt, but now...

    I definitely found the dead ends to be a part of the fun, and I have always been a save early, save often (in multiple slots) gamer, but I am starting to feel that they can be left out and the game can still feel like the originals. I think that dead ends were all about punishing players for their lack of adventurous spirit, or attention to detail, or what have you. I felt this was what drove me to try harder to explore every avenue (even when my 1st guess at a puzzle solution appeared to work, I often try some of my other thoughts to see if they get better/funnier results). But a player can be punished in different ways without having to be so frustrated, with lower score, less satisfying ending, shorter game, etc. If the player is told why he got the boring ending, he may want to go back to get the better one. Those who don't like to have to replay, don't have to.

    I especially like one of the early suggestions of an easy difficulty level which warned you of possible dead end situations (warning you before you leave a room without a necessary item, for example), and a hard difficulty that lets you make any mistake you choose to.

    I guess what I'm saying is that I believe that dead ends were valid, fun ways of making a game challenging, but if they make a new game too difficult for the average, modern gamer, then I am willing to give them up. In other words, if I get to play a brand new King's Quest game that might be simpler and funnier rather than satisfyingly challenging, then I am happy.

  • @Daishi

    I think it depends on the dead end.


    [LIST]
    [*] The cat chasing the rat in KQ5 is fast, hard to click on/react to, and unknown at first encounter whether it is a repeatable event. This dead end is cruel and should be removed.
    [*]If you obtain a pouch of gems in KQ4 left forgotten by some dwarves and immediately think to give it to the poor fisherman without first giving it back to the exact dwarf who left it (as the other dwarves don't want it; and not offering it back to the dwarf first loses the chance to obtain an extremely useful lantern)... this "dead end"--though not entirely game-breaking--is extremely irritating, as the cave to the magic fruit must then be traversed in complete darkness, and as such this should be removed.
    [/LIST]

    [LIST]
    [*]If you make the effort to buy a pie in KQ5 from a shop and then eat it with no discernibly positive outcome, or pick up Cupid's bow in KQ4 which only has 2 arrows and waste one of them, then you shot your own self in the foot and should know better.
    [*]If you went through the Land of the Dead in KQ6, neglected to pick up River Styx water, and don't have a save game to go back and fix it (as one of the next things to be done is cast a spell with said water)... again your ineptitude is not Sierra's fault.
    [/LIST]
    There are further examples of dead ends caused less by bad design and more by... umm... user error, but my point is that TTG can have some dead ends in their game without ruining the experience.

    @DAISHI said: What I'm advocating is this. If you're going to cut off one avenue of puzzle solution to a player, at least provide another. Rather than dead ends, provide multiple ways to handle a problem. If the player doesn't make the 'correct' choice, make the next solution more difficult to achieve, but don't cut the game off from him. I think flexible, multiple approaches to puzzle solution are far more intriguing than dead ends.

    @DAISHI said: Since when has a puzzle solved not in the way the original designers intended resulted in a dead end?

    I agree with your second paragraph, though. That's a more interesting approach and much more realistic in this century of "adventure" gamers. Make the alternative more difficult AND score less points and/or result in a not-so-perfect ending somehow. Either way, I still think there should be punishment, though.

    KQ6 sort of had an alternate solution to the genie bottle puzzle at the end. You could either capture the genie with the bottle or destroy him with the mint. Granted, by that point it is too late to obtain either once you're in the castle if you haven't done the proper steps prior to entering, but I would say the mint solution should be more obvious and is then sensible to award fewer points.

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