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How to Handle Deaths (Revised Poll)

posted by chucklas on - last edited - Viewed by 5.8K 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
  • There's nothing wrong with being punished for exploring either. It's all a matter of tolerance and what you can (or want) to handle as a gamer. I personally don't see a point in deaths if there are no consequences for it (like losing your place and having to start over). It's a threat to the continued progress of you the gamer, like any death should be in any game. Without it it's more like a "GOTCHA!!! Hahaha no I'm just kidding. I had you, though! I had you!" thing. Which is funny in Family Guy, Monkey Island, and even Space Quest, but not in King's Quest.
  • I disagree fundamentally with the first sentence of your post. I mean, yes, if you do something completely stupid, like walking up to a dragon, you should die, and if you didn't save before, that's your own stupid fault. But the sheer unpredictability of some of the game overs in the early KQ games really baffles me as to why people would find that enjoyable. It's not punishing bad decisions, it's punishing not guessing what ludicrous thing the game developers wanted you to do, or not walking right along the two pixel-wide walkway perfectly, or not knowing the in-game timer to a T.

    And I guess I'm confused to why people are getting so worked up about this, even if there was a choice to disable the feature, and why people are saying the mere knowledge that some people aren't playing it as hardcore as them is ruining the game. I mean, the first three games have fan remakes that disable dead-ends. Does that ruin the original games for you?
  • That logic doesn't apply to my original point (if I remember it correctly)... Taking dead ends out of the game was the right move. King's Quest is (ideally) supposed to keep you on your toes while you play, not screw you over at the very end because you forgot one item at the beginning that you can't get now. We should draw the line for how the KQ player experience should be reasonably; let's not fall into a slippery slope argument where if we can do one thing in one situation it automatically applies in all situations.
  • I wasn't referring to you or anyone else specifically. And yes, I know that nobody (sane) would argue that the "You forgot an item three hours ago? Unwinnable." approach should stay. But there are a LOT of deaths in the old Sierra games that didn't need to be there.

    For example, King's Quest I: You had the various rivers in the game. Fair enough, if you walk into the river, the game lets you know this is bad by killing you, and it's easy enough to tell which bodies of water are shallow enough to wade across. Then you had the witch, dragon, and giant. All plot relevant, all obvious dangers, as fairly easily avoidable until you were ready to deal with them.

    Where it loses me is with the wolf, the ogre, the dwarf, and the leprechauns. The first three, they're just there to antagonize you with no context, and inhibit exploration in an often unfair and unpredictable way. Yes, they always appear on the same screens, but you won't know that until you've already had to restart because of them.

    And the leprechauns represent the absolute worst trend in adventure games: The aforementioned punishment for not having the right item. I guess it wouldn't be too bad, except that you can save between when you can last acquire the item needed to get rid of them, and when it's too late to go get it, and you probably will because of the obvious danger in the cave leading up to them. But again, I don't think anyone is defending this trend.

    I guess it really boils down to this for me: If the cause of death has a place in context of the story, and is obvious enough to encourage you to save before experimenting, then it's fine. It's the random, out of context middle fingers that Sierra would send my way that make me prefer the fan remakes of the first three KQ games.

    EDIT: I'm going strictly from memory on this, by the way, so if there are contexts for the dwarf, wolf, or ogre, or if the game prevents you from going to the leprechaun cave without the clover or fiddle, then I will concede those points. And I know the dwarf is provided context in later versions, but not the original, if I recall correctly.
  • Sometimes that's life, man. You don't always get a warning when bad shit up and happens.

  • I'm not defending dead ends so much as I'm attacking autosave/retry deaths. I could live without dead ends, even though I appreciate them. I can't live with retry deaths or without an option to disable them. It renders them pointless.

    And I don't consider these classic adventure game mechanics so much as trying to guess what the developer wants you to do as it is searching out the game world and experimenting to find out just what kind of world it is and what dangers it holds. Some call this fourth-wall breaking and frustrating because it absolutely depends on the save game feature, I beg to differ. It's all part of the game experience for me. Deaths and dead ends to me are dangers that impede your ability to progress and complete the game. It's an added difficulty. Obstacles to overcome. Gamers today don't appreciate this. Even in the FPS world. We don't even have save slots anymore, we have checkpoints. So you never have to worry about losing in your game. Just shut it off whenever you're done and the game automatically saves your progress. I guess I'm just used to the old-school days of not even HAVING saves and you have to beat the whole game in one sitting (like the NES and SNES classics) and when a game does have the ability to save I use it for all it's worth. I don't think saves should come packaged with the game, I think they are a game tool one must utilize, not something to not have to worry about.

    Regarding dead ends, they're frustrating, yes. But as I said above I also consider them gaming obstacles. Whether intended or unintended implementations. If you're at the end of the game and you don't have the item you need and can't figure out what to do it's you're logical reasoning skills (a mandatory adventure tool) that deduce that you missed something and have to go back. This isn't a bad thing! This means you GET to go back and explore the world again! More game! You missed something! There's more of the world to explore and solve before moving on! I always worry when moving into new game areas that I missed something beforehand because of this and make sure I look absolutely everywhere I can think of. Of course this doesn't always work, but again, you get to play the game longer to find new things you never noticed before. There are ALWAYS things you never noticed before in an adventure game. Even if you beat it. There's always more in the world to see and do that you missed (not in Telltale games, but anyway...).

    I do this in other games too. FPS, RPG, everything. I look around everywhere for every possible secret I can find and make sure I have everything I can get before moving on. I'm not saying that everyone should share my practices of playing a game, I'm just sharing how I enjoy and support deaths, random deaths, and unwinnable situations. I'm romanticizing a little bit, as dead ends CAN be insanely frustrating to the point of me wishing they weren't even there, but at the end of the day it makes for much more enjoyable experience when I finally beat it with full points. Yeah! I BEAT this sucker! Bring it on!

  • I think King Graham should finally be made to pay for his crimes.

    Oh, those aren't the kinds of in-game deaths we're talking about? Because I know a couple of witches' families who might have a thing or two to say about that. Those poor old ladies didn't get to SAVE and RESTORE, that's for sure.
  • There's nothing wrong with being punished for exploring either. It's all a matter of tolerance and what you can (or want) to handle as a gamer.

    It's the stuff real men are made of.

    I think you're completely wrong, but when did rational argument ever beat nostalgia in a sparring match?
  • 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.
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