Telltale Autumn Sale

Worst puzzle in TMI? (Plus some rambling)

edited February 2010 in Tales of Monkey Island
Disclaimer: I love Tales, but I'm just trying to get an overall view on things. I am not of the opinion that my - ironically - my own opinion is worth a damn. This is just for me, and hopefully anyone else, to understand things a bit better.

OK, so what's the worst puzzle in Tales? The one (two? three?) that they should never attempt again. Explain why.

I actually have two.

The first is the unnecessary bit with Nipperkin: he gives you three random piratey things to do, all without any relation to what Tales is about*. You need to do this, this, and that to get to Deep Gut. Why? The first chapter was primarily about DeSinge, and Guybrush's attempts to re-unite with his wife. Where does Nipperkin fit in? Shouldn't there be an absolute guarantee that the player picks-up the pyrite parrot, for example? You need the parrot to finish the chapter. Leviathan avoided a similar problem by having you get a necessary object - the wrench - from a semi-obvious area, and only after that object became needed. It also limited the number of areas, hence avoiding that ever-present problem, traipsing.

The second puzzle is the coupon bit in Spinner Cay. You know, there are three things solved with those coupons. Although the mast puzzles relate to the story, the coupons don't. There had to be a bit more creativity with those. Just saying "You need a pixel-hunted coupon to get a certain object" - and it's not even a coupon you acquire by story, it's just random traipsing - is not a particularly good puzzle, I think.

I just think you need a story, a puzzle that ties into the situation, a comedic twist, a sub-divided obstacle and a logical solution. I don't think the coupon or Nipperkin puzzles fit that definition**.

OK, here's the rambling bit. You can skip this:
Just to clarify - this is what I think a good puzzle is, as explained by Jonathan Ackley and Larry Ahern (CMI co-leads):
We started by making a list of all the cool things about pirates that weren’t done in the first games: City sieges, ship battles, smuggler’s caves, volcanoes, “all-singing, all-dancing musical revues.” Then you see how they might fit into the story. You see if there’s a character from a previous game that fits with the new puzzle. If not, you create a new character. Then you add the inventory objects that give complexity to the original puzzles. Then at the very end, you go through and see if you have multiple inventory objects that can serve the same purpose. If so you throw one of them out.

He also said:
First we wrote an incredibly convoluted story about Elaine being turned into a ship’s mast-head. You had to change her back before the fiery demon LeChuck burned her down. A lot of great special-effects a la the “Gone With The Wind” burning of Atlanta scene. We also had a number of puzzles involving Guybrush attempting to return the wedding gifts given to LeChuck for the monster’s undead wedding to Elaine. It would’ve been spectacular, but when we looked at it again, we decided the story was somewhat hollow.

We reworked the story until all the puzzles revolved around Guybrush overcoming his own ineptitude and saving the one person who loves him despite his idiocy. The emotional stakes for Guybrush became even higher and the story fell into place. As to the end of Monkey 2 - that’s the real curse of Monkey Island.

(Highlight by me, to emphasize that "story" and "puzzle" aren't seperate when done properly, but completely intertwined.)
We got heavily into voodoo and ordering buckets of chicken, and the whole thing kind of gelled from there (the game, not the chicken). Basically, we were thinking that Elaine and Guybrush needed to take their relationship to the next level, which meant some big screwup by Guybrush involving the proposal of marriage.

Once we had that, we just started brainstorming situations that seemed appropriate and piratey, then tried to figure out how to relate them to the story and puzzle ideas. Often, most of the characters evolved from puzzle ideas (since most of the secondary characters weren't involved in the main storyline) and a gag.

He later elaborates:
As co-designer, you must have designed a lot of the puzzles in the game. Is there a typical method for creating puzzles (get object A to use B on C)?

Usually, it's good to start with a thematic element appropriate to the setting or story (such as the skeleton groom on Blood Island who left his bride waiting at the altar to eventually die of a broken heart). Then, add a comedic twist (the reason he left her at the altar was he got crushed in his fold-up bed), introduce the quest or goal (in order to get the ring from the dead bride, you need to reunite her with the groom). Then, create an unexpected way to make it happen (catapult him to the crypt with the fold-up bed), and, finally, disguise and block this way from the player (by covering the hole in the wall, nailing it shut, etc.).

*To me, it seems Tales is about Guybrush and how he trusts those around him. I haven't pondered this a lot, but that's my kneejerk analysis.

**Yeah, totally stole that from Ahern and Ackley. :)

Comments

  • edited February 2010
    Wow. I mean, Wow.
  • edited February 2010
    I kind of hate myself for starting this thread too, but I think it's something important, and warrants a discussion. The next MI game has to be, in Eurogamer's words, "in the upper brackets, where it belongs"...and...well. I don't want to see the same mistakes repeated. I thought that, as fans, we could help with that...Maybe?
  • edited February 2010
    I think the Nipperkin bit was just to sell MI's 'purpose' (and pirate rule, later revisited in Pirate God) again to new gamers. It has been 10 years, you know. I think that is the main reason.

    For the coupon puzzle, it's been a while, but isn't the coupon found in "the wild" useless except for comedy. The really useful ones are hidden away and need to be found (think: Singing fish).

    Personally I think the worst puzzle is the opposite Feast of the Senses in Epidose V (however, it's still my most favorite of the 5 episodes). Too fast after the feast, you already have 1/2 the items (if not more) by the time you get the puzzle. It just felt... unnecessary.
  • edited February 2010
    Oh wow, haha. This thread certainly didn't go well.

    My opinion, as worthless as it may be, is at least now out there. I love the games and I do appreciate all the hard work, everyone. Just a couple of things I thought I'd mention, in the hopes that they could somehow lead to an aversion of errors next time.
    Personally I think the worst puzzle is the opposite Feast of the Senses in Epidose V (however, it's still my most favorite of the 5 episodes). Too fast after the feast, you already have 1/2 the items (if not more) by the time you get the puzzle. It just felt... unnecessary.

    It was essential to the story, but they avoided a re-play of the fourth chapter by keeping it short. Some people the sponge bit may have stretched a little in chapter four. Adding another long section would not have been a good idea.
  • edited February 2010
    Although I see how you could think the Nipperkin thing is totally random and not story-related, I see it as a way to get familiar with the places and people on the Island.
    And well the story hasn't really /started/ by that time.

    However I think the fact that the puzzles you names were from the first and second chapter might mean that they got better at it. I definitely think that the chapters got better and better (although my fav is 4 and not 5), so I'm not sure they really need to be told the first chapters weren't as good. They improved on them so they must have noticed, right?
  • edited February 2010
    Avistew wrote: »
    Although I see how you could think the Nipperkin thing is totally random and not story-related, I see it as a way to get familiar with the places and people on the Island.
    And well the story hasn't really /started/ by that time.

    The way I see it, you need to introduce your world with your puzzles. SurplusGamer once brought up the opening of Monkey 2 as a great example of this idea: the more you do, the more reason there is to kick Largo LaGrande off Scabb. Largo steals all of Guybrush's money. Guybrush can't get off Scabb because of the Largo embargo. Everyone suggests a voodoo doll, which Guybrush begins making. The further into it you get, the more reason there is for Largo to get kicked out.

    Also, notice that every puzzle in act one is either directly related to Largo, or a sub-division of one of Largo's puzzles (you need a fluid; you need to wipe the spit; you need to find something to wipe the spit up with; use blank paper on spit).

    My problem with Narwhal's beginning is that there's no apparent *motive* for the player at some point. There had to be some way where you did piratey things without the unnecessary bit with Nipperkin. It has to tie directly into the story, which, in this bit, is escaping Flotsam. The most obvious thing is giving DeSinge a bigger role, but I'm sure that TTG thought of that. I haven't pondered it myself, so I don't have any decent suggestions.

    Though sticking in a maze when to solve things - and I think there were three mazes in Narwhal - is a bit of a patch job.
    However I think the fact that the puzzles you names were from the first and second chapter might mean that they got better at it. I definitely think that the chapters got better and better (although my fav is 4 and not 5), so I'm not sure they really need to be told the first chapters weren't as good. They improved on them so they must have noticed, right?

    I hope so. I think everyone's issues with the weaker bits was that they were given to us with different pacing. I mean, I loved the jungle puzzle in Trial, but I know some guys - including the Mixnmojo review - who didn't think much of it. From what I can tell, the better parts gave us all a somewhat similar experience: the pacing wasn't all over the place.

    Secret avoided the issue by giving you three trials of similar length, and those trials were always related to the story (you meet Elaine and avoid death when attempting to procure the Idol of Many Hands, for example). They even set-up the second act by giving you reason to leave Melee after you completed one of the trials (as an added easter egg, there were different versions of that scene, depending on which trials you completed first). Tales, on the other hand, had a couple of puzzles that halted the game completely until you solved them. These work for "locked room" puzzles - the Morgan/Elaine fight comes to mind - but for non-lnear, let's-walk-all-over-the-place affairs it's too risky that you'll kill the pacing.
  • edited February 2010
    Kroms wrote: »
    My problem with Narwhal's beginning is that there's no apparent *motive* for the player at some point. There had to be some way where you did piratey things without the unnecessary bit with Nipperkin. It has to tie directly into the story, which, in this bit, is escaping Flotsam. The most obvious thing is giving DeSinge a bigger role, but I'm sure that TTG thought of that. I haven't pondered it myself, so I don't have any decent suggestions.

    Well, Guybrush wants to escape the island, and Deep Throat can help him with that, and Nipperkin won't give him the password until he's done the three acts of piracy.
    Might not be tied into the story enough for you but it's still tied to the story.
  • edited February 2010
    Doing that he gains the Screaming Narwal... and he has a good reason to wishing to leave the island (Elaine and LeChuck).
  • edited February 2010
    A thing i didnt get form the last chapter is when the dog "hides" the spell.

    I mean, i said "ok, and using the dog with the Xs wont work because..." And it worked.
    Its one of those moments when you dont know if you missed something, or they missed something or what.
  • edited February 2010
    Avistew wrote: »
    Well, Guybrush wants to escape the island, and Deep Throat can help him with that, and Nipperkin won't give him the password until he's done the three acts of piracy.
    Might not be tied into the story enough for you but it's still tied to the story.

    Which brings us back to my other point:
    I think everyone's issues with the weaker bits was that they were given to us with different pacing. I mean, I loved the jungle puzzle in Trial, but I know some guys - including the Mixnmojo review - who didn't think much of it. From what I can tell, the better parts gave us all a somewhat similar experience: the pacing wasn't all over the place.

    At one point, I had gotten the Narwhal and had been stuck on one of Nipperkin's trials. And I'd gotten angry with it, because the trials didn't strike me as being in any way related to Guybrush getting to, from what I could see, the Voodoo Lady. I still think that could have been better integrated. Narwhal would have been a better chapter with Nipperkin's sections replaced with something else. I wouldn't mind so much if the pacing hadn't been risked by puzzles not directly related to the plot, but that's not what happened.

    This is all said in hindsight, by the way. I can't hold a candle to Mike Stemmle, which is why I'm not suggesting any "alternatives". I'm simply trying to explain what didn't work for me, and why, in the hopes that this can be avoided in the future.
    Ignatius wrote:
    A thing i didnt get form the last chapter is when the dog "hides" the spell.

    I mean, i said "ok, and using the dog with the Xs wont work because..." And it worked.
    Its one of those moments when you dont know if you missed something, or they missed something or what.

    Something similar happened in Leviathan: a showed Murray the book before actually asking for the vote, and from the dialogue could tell that I'd inadvertedly solved a puzzle I hadn't come across yet.
  • edited February 2010
    Kroms wrote: »
    I still think that could have been better integrated. Narwhal would have been a better chapter with Nipperkin's sections replaced with something else.

    I see what you mean. Since you need the boat to escape, it could have been tied to the plot for that reason. And you could have needed to help D'Oro find his Ninja Dave for another reason as well I guess. Same with the bar, you could have just needed to go inside to get something.

    When you think about it, all of that is really setting up chapter 4. You did all these stuff that you're being tried for, and you had to because Nipperkin asked you to. But on the other hand... It would be just as funny if everything was Guybrush's fault from start to finish, without him being asked to do these things.
  • edited February 2010
    That's an interesting way to look at it. If chapter one's tasks were a set up for chapter four, then much of both chapters was essentially unnecessary to the plot, no? I didn't really like Nipperkin's quests either, and I think it would have been better to have had Guybrush accomplish the same tasks as part of his mission to get off the island to save Elaine and not as his mission to appease Nipperkin's demands in order to find Deep Gut. It may have even been better to have had the Voodoo Lady ask him to accomplish the same tasks.
  • edited February 2010
    That's an interesting way to look at it. If chapter one's tasks were a set up for chapter four, then much of both chapters was essentially unnecessary to the plot, no?

    Well, one could argue that the whole trial thing was unnecessary since the only thing needed was getting the sponge to grow, and having LeChuck arrive and denounce himself right away would have saved time. But I liked the trial, I wouldn't have wanted to do without.
  • edited February 2010
    It almost feels like he should have been going around doing things to get off the island, whilst simulatenously doing things that directly related to DeSinge and the pox. If he began solving puzzles related to how the pox worked, or who DeSinge was...it might've been better. The trick is to not simply make it a re-tread of Woodtick. I'll have to think about that.
    Avistew wrote:
    Well, one could argue that the whole trial thing was unnecessary since the only thing needed was getting the sponge to grow, and having LeChuck arrive and denounce himself right away would have saved time. But I liked the trial, I wouldn't have wanted to do without.

    The trial ties into the story, though. A part from it all being a terrific joke (Guybrush finally having to pay for always screwing over people), it provides enough elements related to the creation of the sponge, and develops the relationship between Guybrush and LeChuck before the "Unholy THIS" at the end. It's important because LeChuck comes in at the last second: you think you've been declared not guilty, find a crime you can't defend yourself against, and get saved by your arch enemy. It's a much stronger reason to trust the guy. More importantly, it introduces the angle about the Voodoo Lady being the real maestro of evil.
    Avistew wrote:
    When you think about it, all of that is really setting up chapter 4. You did all these stuff that you're being tried for, and you had to because Nipperkin asked you to. But on the other hand... It would be just as funny if everything was Guybrush's fault from start to finish, without him being asked to do these things.

    I think Mike Stemmle wrote both chapters together, which makes sense.

    I agree about it being funnier if it were all Guybrush's fault. The guy's essentially a loveable kleptomaniac, you know? It's adventure gaming's equivalent of making a comic book about a superhero who gets sued for damaging the city during his antics.
  • edited February 2010
    Yeah, I've always thought if I made a story that takes place in a game (I keep having ideas like that but never really finish them) there would be things like that. The hero goes and finds a chest and steals the contents right in front of the owner, only to have said owner call the police/city guards instead of smiling an repeating the same sentence like nothing happened. Things like that.

    I know in games you spend a lot of time helping people with their problems. But you spend a lot of time doing terrible things to them, too.
    I liked the fact that the things Guybrush was accused of were actually actual crimes he committed (counterfeiting Ninja Dave, catalysing catatonic catalepsy) or almost committed (burning Krebbs leg). Appart from the one he was falsely accused of of course.

    It does feel like karmic retribution, which was nice. But they end up not really being his fault (Nipperkin asked him to do these things, indirectly at least) and then he gets out of the consequences anyways, which is terrible unfair since he DID do that.
    I keep wondering how Miss Prettywhiskers is doing. Poor kitty. At least Krebbs did burn her own leg so she only has herself to blame, and D'Oro gets away too, but Miss prettywhiskers is not only paralysed, but now being attracted to a magnetic monkey. She might get hurt, and it's not going to help with her condition :(
  • edited February 2010
    That's an interesting way to look at it. If chapter one's tasks were a set up for chapter four, then much of both chapters was essentially unnecessary to the plot, no?
    Avistew wrote: »
    Well, one could argue that the whole trial thing was unnecessary since the only thing needed was getting the sponge to grow, and having LeChuck arrive and denounce himself right away would have saved time. But I liked the trial, I wouldn't have wanted to do without.

    Someone could argue that the whole of Part 2 in Secret is unnecessary since all you really do is create a Voodoo spell that takes you to Monkey Island, but I am not that someone. So long as the games are fun, (and they don't ruin staples of the series or create pointless character-ruining retcons,) who cares?
  • edited February 2010
    You need a decent to get to a legendary, possibly not-real island. It fits. To the game's credit, that part is relatively short and easy.

    Besides, according to the Idle Thumbs podcast with Ron Gilbert, that's somehow related to what the Secret of Monkey Island is.
  • edited February 2010
    bleh. anything could be related to what the real Secret of Monkey Island is. Ron has said that some guesses are closer than others to what it is, but no one has guessed quite right yet.

    my previous point was that just because some puzzles in ToMI are short or don't impact the plot, it doesn't make them useless.

    anyway, getting back to what you said about Ron saying the trip to MI in SoMI being part of the Secret itself... let's see. The name of the ship is the Sea Monkey, it was once crewed by monkeys and Herman Toothrot (seperately), Guybrush's crew are a bunch of lazy bums, and getting to the island requires a voodoo spell which accepts random substitutions from the original recipe (ie. Jolly Roger flag instead of an actual skull which had been pressed). how does any of that involve the Secret?

    If you ask me, Ron will never tell what the Secret is, because anything he says will disappoint one group of fans or another. At this point, the Secret itself has become a legend, and the hype probably outweighs the truth (as it probably should.)

    Speaking for myself, though I do want to know what the Secret is, I also don't want to know, or rather I don't want Ron to tell us and ruin the expectation everyone has.

    EDIT: I guess the real reason why I don't want him to tell us is for fear that it turns out to be something really lame or stupid.
  • edited February 2010
    I doubt Ron himself even knows what the secret of Monkey Island is.
  • edited February 2010
    Chyron8472 wrote: »
    anyway, getting back to what you said about Ron saying the trip to MI in SoMI being part of the Secret itself... let's see. The name of the ship is the Sea Monkey, it was once crewed by monkeys and Herman Toothrot (seperately), Guybrush's crew are a bunch of lazy bums, and getting to the island requires a voodoo spell which accepts random substitutions from the original recipe (ie. Jolly Roger flag instead of an actual skull which had been pressed). how does any of that involve the Secret?

    I don't remember exactly, but I think it was something like about the mysterious way in which Guybrush arrives at Monkey Island. I don't know. I'm too tired to listen to the podcast again.
  • edited February 2010
    Kroms wrote: »
    It's adventure gaming's equivalent of making a comic book about a superhero who gets sued for damaging the city during his antics.
    They've made a movie out of that, you know. And it's pretty good.

    As for puzzles. I think my own definition is that they BLOCK the progression of the story. Hence... "puzzle". Once you solve them, the story continues on. If you don't solve them... sorry, no more story for you.
    Seeing it like that I really don't mind Nipperkin's little tests.
    The puzzle in itself isn't "bad". The Slim of the Senses however I think is, that's why it got my vote of worst puzzle in the game.
    Luckily there aren't any absolutely horrible ones around this time (yes, EMI, I am looking at you!).
  • edited February 2010
    They've made a movie out of that, you know. And it's pretty good.

    Oh yeah? What's it called?
    As for puzzles. I think my own definition is that they BLOCK the progression of the story. Hence... "puzzle". Once you solve them, the story continues on. If you don't solve them... sorry, no more story for you.

    Oh man, no.

    A good puzzle feeds the story, and the story feeds the puzzle. That's why there's always a three or five trial puzzle structure: you don't want to be stuck trying to figure out how to get the guard dog away from the house. You need to be able to do other things that move everything forward. The non-linearity and background interactivity of games like Monkey Island is a workaround.

    It'd be completely unfair to bring the entire game to a halt because the player hadn't figured out how to get the key from the dog's stomach. There always has to be progress. Most sucky adventure games have that problem of giving you completely obtuse puzzles that contribute nothing but bad pacing.

    More to the point: If you needed a certain object in the second act that could only be picked up in act one, you better give the player a reason to pick up the object. The game can't continue if the player does not have that object, but it has to explain why. You need the ring in Curse; to make sure you take it, the ring is used at the end of chapter one as part of a puzzle solution. You later need the nickels; you can't escape the hold without first picking up the ring, and you can't pick up the ring without the nickels. These are all puzzles that relate to the story. You don't pick up the ring and then not wonder if it's part of the puzzle solution...

    A puzzle isn't an obstacle. A puzzle is a tool. You can even use it to reveal character. For example, I'm sure Ben Throttle solves things differently than Bernard Bernoulli does. You can even use it for character development. Let's say Guybrush was trying to atone for what he's done; he's attempting to go back to the land of the dead and bring back Morgan. He has had it with puzzles: it's been a crappy day, and monkeys-on-water-pumps aren't sweetening things up. After finally solving a very difficult puzzle and getting ready to save Morgan, the puzzle twists on itself to form a new puzzle. Guybrush sighs, on the brink of defeat, and then says that he'll do it anyways - for Morgan. If done well, that'd be a good character moment, and it happens because the puzzle fed the story.

    This is just really basic stuff. God, can you imagine how unbelievably boring Monkey Island would be if all you did was solve puzzles that had nothing to do with the story? On a scale of 1 to 10, I'd peg it as a -5.
  • edited February 2010
    Kroms wrote: »
    Oh yeah? What's it called?

    The Incredibles.
  • edited February 2010
    Kroms wrote: »
    Oh yeah? What's it called?
    The Incredibles.
    It'd be completely unfair to bring the entire game to a halt because the player hadn't figured out how to get the key from the dog's stomach.
    I am going to list a few games that actually do this, you might have heard of them:
    SMI, LCR, CMI, EMI, ToMI, Sam&Max (Hit the Road, both TTG seasons), Indiana Jones and the fate of Atlantis, Day of the Tentacle, Syberia, A Vampyre Tale, Full Throttle, Wallace&Gromit, Gabriel Knight (all), Ankh (both), Jack Kane, The Longest Journey... should I go on?
    Pretty much all adventures. It's a wee little bit of a trademark of the kind actually.
    More to the point: If you needed a certain object in the second act that could only be picked up in act one, you better give the player a reason to pick up the object.
    Not related to what I am trying to say. Having the game halt because the gamer doesn't solve a puzzle is common. ALL THE TIME. Having the game halt because of bad game design... that's just unforgivable in this day and age. And (bugs aside) all above don't do that AFAIK.
    These are all puzzles that relate to the story. You don't pick up the ring and then not wonder if it's part of the puzzle solution...
    Picking up the ring and the nickles are puzzles? I don't quite see it that way. Having to USE the ring on the glass is a puzzle, that's true.
    And until you do that, the story doesn't continue... does it now?
    Pretty much everything one picks up in adventures (Longest Journey and some misc. items excluded) has to be used in a puzzle sometimes later on. Some items multiple times.
    Whenever the item is given doesn't change when it's being used (see: Skeleton Arm, CMI).
    A puzzle isn't an obstacle.
    Nope. Until you cut the glass, no escape (story advancement). A single or collection of puzzles may eventually resolve in story progression, but until any are solved, no progression for you.
    Maybe you call not being allowed to give cheese to a vulcano until you use tools on tofu "story progression" but I call it a puzzle, and until you solve it, no lava, used for yet another puzzle, before your story can progress etc.
    ToMI is a little different in that regard compared to the old MI's that more storyprogression happens with less puzzlefrequency to aquire such a progression, but the principle stays the same.
    After finally solving a very difficult puzzle and getting ready to save Morgan, the puzzle twists on itself to form a new puzzle. Guybrush sighs, on the brink of defeat, and then says that he'll do it anyways - for Morgan. If done well, that'd be a good character moment, and it happens because the puzzle fed the story.
    As I see it. Puzzle... story progressed after solving... another puzzle came up blocking you... solve it! Until you finish the initial puzzle no Guybrush progression at all. Puzzles actually block progression. That's the very definition of "puzzle".
    God, can you imagine how unbelievably boring Monkey Island would be if all you did was solve puzzles that had nothing to do with the story?
    ToMI did pretty good with Lair of the Leviathan (pretty much 1/2 of it was unrelated to the story).
  • edited February 2010
    Didn't he get sued for accidentally hurting the guy he was saving's neck, though?
  • edited February 2010
    The Incredibles.

    Oh, that's not what I meant. I Googled a bit and came-up with Hancock, though.

    I am going to list a few games that actually do this, you might have heard of them:
    SMI, LCR, CMI, ToMI, Sam&Max (Hit the Road, both TTG seasons)... Day of the Tentacle

    Name me one puzzle in those games that halts the entire game. One. (I excluded the others because I either don't remember them well, or haven't played them.)

    You completely misinterpreted everything else I said, though. You seem to think that you have to concentrate on one puzzle for the game to move forward, when the non-linearity of the good games allowed you to do other things - related to story - whilst not being stuck in the same place.

    But
    Picking up the ring and the nickles are puzzles? I don't quite see it that way. Having to USE the ring on the glass is a puzzle, that's true.
    And until you do that, the story doesn't continue... does it now?

    Picking up the ring is part of the puzzle. The story doesn't technically continue, but that lasts for about five minutes - besides, the game hasn't been brought to a halt. You have a very clear objective: get out. LeChuck is dead. Stuff's over. All Threepwood has to do is get out. There's only one way out.

    More importantly, though, is that everything you do in that ship is what causes CMI to happen. A short, "locked room" puzzle that sets-up the story isn't exactly a halt.
  • edited February 2010
    Kroms wrote: »
    Oh, that's not what I meant. I Googled a bit and came-up with Hancock, though.
    Superhero gets sued for saving somebody that doesn't want to be saved, property damage during an apprehension etc. and has to quite being "super" and lead a normal life, which he can't cope.
    How exactly is that not what you mentioned?
    Name me one puzzle in those games that halts the entire game. One.
    SMI: Okay, can't really remember this one.
    LCR: Don't realize the meaning of the song? Sorry kiddo, no proceeding in the game (well, unless you use easy mode)
    CMI: Don't realise that you have to have a banjo fight? Sorry, no crew of 3, no sailing to Blood Island.
    Hit the Road: Can't find out how to disguish as Bigfoot? No proceeding in the game for you.
    Season 1, Episode 5: Don't figure out how to get into your office in cyberspace? No way for you to finish the game.
    Season 2, Episode 4: Don't go back in time to fix a leak, no flyer for you, no game proceeding for you...
    Day of the Tentacle: Oh man, the amount of times I had to seek up a walkthrough for this one. Okay; 2 words: Hamster, and... freezer.
    You seem to think that you have to concentrate on one puzzle for the game to move forward, when the non-linearity of the good games allowed you to do other things - related to story - whilst not being stuck in the same place.
    However eventually you HAD to solve that puzzle to proceed. And if you still couldn't solve it, well, you're stuck. Your argument would be true if every puzzle in each game had multiple solutions, but in 98% of the cases, there is just a single solution. Don't get it, don't go on... side-tracking wont help then.

    For example the Nipperkin situation you critize, it's the only puzzle in ToMI I had to use a walkthrough. Got the treasure and the fight, got stuck on the ship. And I couldn't proceed until I solved it. No more sidetracking available. Turned out that I had to climb the anchor *again* to set fire to some grease (I would have never thought of that).
    The story doesn't technically continue, but that lasts for about five minutes
    That's because there are a whole 2 screens. Things tend to get more complicated if 100 screens, 40 items, 3 characters over 3 timelines and stuff get involved (Think: Day of the Tentacle). And you bet you are stuck if not solving EVERY single puzzle in the game.
    LeChuck is dead.
    He was still very much alive (well... eh... sort off). He only "died" because Guybrush sunk his ship after getting out.
    There's only one way out.
    And that's my exact point. There is always only 1 way forward (masked with a puzzle). Don't solve it... no continuation of game, or storyline.
    More importantly, though, is that everything you do in that ship is what causes CMI to happen.
    I can say the same about Tales. Except replace ship with "ships".
  • edited February 2010
    Kroms wrote: »
    For example, I'm sure Ben Throttle solves things differently than Bernard Bernoulli does.
    "As far as the main characters go, it's like this: Let's say Ben and Bernard both walk up to a door. It's locked. The only tool they have to help them get through the door is a ham and cheese sandwich on white (bread). Bernard would inspect the keyhole and see that the key was still in the lock, sticking out the other side. He'd lubricate the floor with mayonnaise from his sandwich, and slide a piece of bread under the door. Then he'd take out the toothpick and use it to push the key back out the hole so it would drop on to the bread and then pull the bread back under (the door), and open the lock with the key. Ben would eat the sandwich and kick down the door."

    (I'm supposed to type something that isn't quoted or I can't post)
  • edited February 2010
    Seriously, LeChucks Revenge has Walt the dog, Where you actually have to get the KEY from the dog! If you can't figure out that you have to
    use the plank with the bone and give the bone to the dog
    you are out
  • edited February 2010
    Remolay wrote: »
    Seriously, LeChucks Revenge has Walt the dog, Where you actually have to get the KEY from the dog! If you can't figure out that you have to
    use the plank with the bone and give the bone to the dog
    you are out

    That's a "locked room" puzzle. Those are usually so easy. They're important to the story (or semi-important, as Phatt's jail was), but because of their non-linearty are mostly designed to be quick affairs. They don't really affect pacing.
    Superhero gets sued for saving somebody that doesn't want to be saved, property damage during an apprehension etc. and has to quite being "super" and lead a normal life, which he can't cope.
    How exactly is that not what you mentioned?

    Oh man, I'd totally forgotten about that part. You're right. Never mind.

    Though I wish I saw a movie that concentrated on that more. I like The Incredibles, but it falls back on the by-now tiring "Pixar story".
    SMI: Okay, can't really remember this one.
    LCR: Don't realize the meaning of the song? Sorry kiddo, no proceeding in the game (well, unless you use easy mode)
    CMI: Don't realise that you have to have a banjo fight? Sorry, no crew of 3, no sailing to Blood Island.
    Hit the Road: Can't find out how to disguish as Bigfoot? No proceeding in the game for you.
    Season 1, Episode 5: Don't figure out how to get into your office in cyberspace? No way for you to finish the game.
    Season 2, Episode 4: Don't go back in time to fix a leak, no flyer for you, no game proceeding for you...
    Day of the Tentacle: Oh man, the amount of times I had to seek up a walkthrough for this one. Okay; 2 words: Hamster, and... freezer.

    Most of these puzzles are story-related, though. I'm not talking about their difficulty - maybe actually bringing the game to a halt because of story-related puzzles isn't a bad thing. My entire point is that you can't baffle the player completely over something that isn't completely intertwined with the story. ("Reality 2.0" gets a pass because that was the first somewhat difficult puzzle in Sam and Max).

    As such, Nipperkin isn't completely integrated into the story. The story flows, tastes and feels the same without him. I'm just saying that his puzzles should have been part of something else, maybe related to the Narwhal, the pox and DeSinge.

    For example the Nipperkin situation you critize, it's the only puzzle in ToMI I had to use a walkthrough. Got the treasure and the fight, got stuck on the ship. And I couldn't proceed until I solved it. No more sidetracking available. Turned out that I had to climb the anchor *again* to set fire to some grease (I would have never thought of that).

    No, you just have to run up the plank, and then climb the anchor. Guybrush slides-down the plank, smearing it and the dock with grease, which lights Winslow's coal.

    I think you can visit DeSinge at that point, by the way.

    That's because there are a whole 2 screens. Things tend to get more complicated if 100 screens, 40 items, 3 characters over 3 timelines and stuff get involved (Think: Day of the Tentacle). And you bet you are stuck if not solving EVERY single puzzle in the game.

    And that's my exact point. There is always only 1 way forward (masked with a puzzle). Don't solve it... no continuation of game, or storyline.

    The five minutes refers to the part with the treasure hold. There's plenty to do in the room with Wally. I love that part. It teaches you every mechanic in the game, is easy, and makes sure you use everything you pick-up.

    Yet, it's all story-related (with the exception of Murray, who's there to keep you company). When there is nothing to do, they give you a ridiculously easy puzzle to work - and one that directly relates to the story. You're in a locked room, but escape quickly. SMI's under-water puzzle was similar, MI2's phatt jail, and TMI04's barfight.
    I can say the same about Tales. Except replace ship with "ships".

    What's your point? I didn't say Tales didn't do the exact thing. Tales does it even funnier, since the whole thing could've been avoided had Guybrush not been showing-off.
  • edited February 2010
    Kroms wrote: »
    No, you just have to run up the plank, and then climb the anchor. Guybrush slides-down the plank, smearing it and the dock with grease, which lights Winslow's coal.
    Yeah... I know now.
    I think you can visit DeSinge at that point, by the way.
    No
    What's your point?
    No point, just an observation...
Sign in to comment in this discussion.