While I'm okay with ToMI being harder than S&M, I do have to say that it should not be as hard as, say, MI2. The puzzles should be similar in style, but not unfair or illogical. I think even Ron Gilbert has pointed out this problem at some point...
In general, it's like puzzles were made to defeat the player and satisfy the designer, rather than to make the player feel satisfied when they finally work it out. They tend to be based on the developer's logic, so that you could only follow their line of thinking from the method to the solution if you had made the game. This wouldn't be so bad if you already knew where point B was, and merely had to find the path from A to B, but sometimes you aren't even sure what you're trying to do or what your starting point is. There are too many gaps in the player's knowledge for clever thinking to be enough. When you have no idea if you're even on the right track, and the game gives you no indication, you can spend an hour doing the wrong thing, or you can spend an hour ALMOST doing the right thing, then give up and try a completely different (wrong) track. It stops being fun and off to the Internet for spoilers we go. I even noticed this more recently, when I played the almighty Grim Fandango. You're trying to work out both what your goal is, and a way of getting there. You have no pieces of the puzzle to start filling it in, and often a massive inventory with a billion time-wasting combinations to work with (this is why I want a MI2 remake) - but you don't even know if you have the item you need or if you're accomplishing nothing.
It wasn't until Telltale showed up with Sam & Max that Adventure games really became what they should be (although I loved the original S&M as well). You were far more likely to have a point B - or more often, C - to aim for, or a point A to start from, and it was possible to work it out with your OWN logic, not by reading the developer's mind. (Again, MI2 tended to make it worse because you had access to so many different places that you had no idea where you could currently make progress or if you were wasting time, or if you needed an item from a completely different place to progress in this one.) That's what makes a puzzle really fun. Maybe I'm just impatient, because I played the MI games in the era of the Internet, but I did need to check a FAQ and the result was often "I never would have gotten that", without endless trial and error and running around between five different places I was stuck at with no indication of how what I was doing even related to my quest.
Of course, the other way it could be done, to give the player some indication of what the hell they're trying to do so that they could work out how to do it, is a hint system, which we know Telltale are now using. I think that having one of those as an option is a good way of opening the genre up to people who have been wary of it for years (and I know many people like that). I don't personally intend to make much use of the hint system unless the puzzles ever become unfair again (which I doubt because it's Telltale), but just having that last point in the puzzle, a goal that the player still needs to work out how to get to themselves, is the perfect way to do it. Don't give me hints that tell me what to do and how to do it, give me hints that tell me what I want to achieve. Which ideally, the games should have done in some form in the first place, and some of the classic ones didn't.
Last edited by Impossible3144; 06/07/2009 at 01:51 am.