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How to "save" adventure games

posted by RetroVortex on - last edited - Viewed by 119 users

After reading the PC Gamer article on adventure games:

http://www.pcgamer.com/2011/09/04/dont-quit-how-to-save-adventures-225/

I thought it would make an excellent topic for discussion.

The guy does make a valid point.

Adventure games need to be more unconventional.

But how does one expand on that?

In my opinion, one first needs to look at the genres that evolved from the adventure game genre.

In particular Survival Horror, and Action-Adventure genre.

Within these games, there are fascinating concepts, though in their current forms may be undeveloped, unbalanced, or just plain unfitting, but when applied to a adventure game format, may work excellently.

The Thing and Onimusha 2 explore the idea of party management, but with a different interpretation to the traditional RPG affair.

In The Thing, individual members could "turn" (into monsters), they could get scared and go crazy or commit suicide. Death was a constant threat, which kept you, the player especially alert and active.
You had to manage your squadmates trust and fear.
You had to be careful what you did, or else you may accidentally make the game even harder.

Onimusha 2 had a relationship management system, though basic, was very, very interesting.
Basically you could find items and gift them to any of the four supporting chracters.
Ekei, Magoichi, Oyu and Kotaro

Some items someone would love, others they would loathe.
But they would give you something as well to trade on or use.

Here is an extract from a guide which explains a bit:

As your friendship with each of the sub-characters increases, these characters will appear more frequently, giving you valuable story information, helping you in battles, and even taking part in certain Side Quests. While these Side Quests can be played with Jubei, they are designed for certain sub-characters, and when played with those characters you will receive added bonuses and unlock more of the game.

The level of assistance each sub-character provides is based on their level of friendship. With the exception of Oyu, all of the sub-characters will be indifferent to your presence at the beginning of the game. The more favorable trades you make with each character, the better your relationship becomes. To make matters worse, each of the sub-characters has their own additional level of friendship with each other independent of your bond.

For example, Ekei and Magoichi are rivals, so when you make friends with one you lose points with the other. You can be friends with everybody at one time or another; just not everyone at the same time. Learning when to make new friends and abandon old ones is just another interesting aspect to this game.

You can tell your level of friendship by watching for visual clues when you begin a gift exchange. Indifferent characters will keep their back turned to you at the start of a transaction. After you have given them several good items they will start to face you during these encounters indicating a certain level of respect. At this level the character may assist you in battle and appear in some of the cutscenes. Once you have given them enough good items to boost them to a friendly status you will see a unique gesture for each character to indicate they are your ally. At this point they become playable characters in certain Side Quests.

Here are the friendly gestures for each sub-character:

Oyu smiles at you
Kotaro drops from his hanging position
Ekei waves to you
Magoichi salutes with his gun

Various games have played with the idea of sanity.(Eternal Darkness, Penumbra/Amnesia, Clock Tower 3 ect), which would affect gameplay in real-time.

(I'll look around some more and give some more interesting things later when I have more time, but for now I'll move on to the next point)

Secondly one needs to GO BACK to the older titles, and see that many of them came with ADDITIONAL MATERIALS, (which were used either to explain things, give clues, or aid in puzzles).

Originally this was due to limitations in the game itself, but if we were to apply that concept of external materials to modern-day resources and technology, and take the concept further, one could come up with fascinating new gameplay elements.

Thing of how amazing and popluar ARG games are these days.
(especially Portal 2's)

Now imagine taking some of those ARG elements, (the real world exploring, the online exploring, the external program manipulations, the social elements ect), and you combine them with conventional adventure game elements, I'd argue one could make something truly amazing.

It would be very hard, but its there.

(Sorry for the incoherency here, but I had it all typed up before as a comment on the PC Gamer blog, but I timed out and lost it all, but yeah, lets discuss! :D)

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