What do you do when you're stumped?

Dave GrossmanDave Grossman Telltale Alumni
edited April 2013 in General Chat
So, there's a common thing that people who play adventure games do when they start to get stuck, which is to methodically go through and try using everything in their inventory. I'm wondering what else people do when they're out of ideas -- for example, maybe you take your hand off the mouse and think, or you wander around through all the environments but don't click on anything, or you go back and talk to all the people again. (Maybe you immediately go look on the forums for a hint or call your brother-in-law for advice.) What's your approach?
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  • edited May 2007
    After the initial frustration, I just combine the things in my inventory with everything else I can find. Often it turns out I just missed some objects while exploring. It can also happen that I forgot to talk to someone about something, but usually I exhaust all dialogue options, so that doesn't happen often... but anyway, mostly I just retrace my steps to see if I haven't overlooked anything (which can be very tedious and frustrating, but rewarding if I find the solution on my own), and if I feel I understand what the puzzle is about but just can't seem to find the object the game designer wanted me to use, I'll just look online for the solution - I don't care much for pixel-hunting.
  • edited May 2007
    When I get stuck I stop and think about what it is exactly that I'm stock on, then I think of the most likely sollutions or locations where the sollution would be at, and then I systematically eleminate all possibilities until I solve the problem. If that doesn't work, then I go, "ARGGGG!!!" and then go look for a hint online. :p
  • SquinkySquinky Telltale Alumni
    edited May 2007
    Well, aside from cursing the game designer(s), I can't think of much else. :)
  • Sean ASean A Telltale Staff
    edited May 2007
    With Sam and Max that hasn't happened too often, but when it does I've found just turning it off and coming back later helps. But most of the time I try talking to everybody again, or seeing if I missed something. I used to try all my inventory items, but I think about things a little more before I do that now. What would help make that less tedious--hint, hint--is if the main character didn't have a stock response at all, but commented on how sane or ridiculous each idea was in turn.

    But unless I've exhausted everything I can think of, I never go looking for help.
  • ShauntronShauntron Telltale Alumni
    edited May 2007
    I cruise around to think about what I need to do and where I can find my solution. If I get burned out on this, I usually just give up for the day. I almost always find my solution if I can sleep on it, since the key to most puzzles is hidden in plain sight. That's why I bug everyone at the play tests when i'm stuck.
  • edited May 2007
    Yeah, if I'm stuck and clicking endlessly doesn't seem to be doing the trick, then I stop playing and come back to it later. I can usually solve the puzzles after I've had a rest!
  • edited May 2007
    I start to take the game apart on a fundamental "somebody designed this" level. I save in a central hub of sorts that is equidistant from all of the extremities of the world, then I go to one extreme and mess with it there, if nothing new happens, I load and wander off to the other extreme part of the game world. It speeds up all the wandering around. If the game has not been all too much fun, or if it is littered with ridiculous puzzles (such as: use love potion custard in outhouse, use octopus in outhouse, give fishmonger prunes, after tentacle rape get fishmonger's belt buckle, yay ftw) I may immediately go to the walkthrough. If there is a lot of pixel hunting (such as with early Revolution Soft. games) I am more likely to go straight to a walkthrough without wandering around looking for conspicuous pixels.

    I have to give it to you guys, though. You've taken a one-click interface, which removes some of the fun complexity of the game such as the look at verb (you may want to give a good hard thought to bringing it back, please, oh please) and managed to make a fairly complex gaming experience -- moreso with episodes four through six than with the previous three, but I guess it took some jelling and experimentation to figure out the best ways of doing things.
  • edited May 2007
    I usually revisit all the locations, and check the screens for items I may have missed... sometimes even by slowly scanning the screen with the cursor, in the hope of a new object highlighting.
  • MelMel
    edited May 2007
    Swear*.









    *I'll supply a more thorough answer later.
  • edited May 2007
    I think about what would be most logical to do (in that specific game universe), and if I have got abit in to the game before I got stuck, I'm trying to go over everything that has happend so far, and think about what the heck the designers want me to do next (and possibly some backtracknig, going through dialogs I might have missed due to my lack of knowlege of the english language), and if nothing of this work I traditionally use everything on everything for a few minutes, after those painful minutes I get bored and skip directly to the walk-through part.
    What can I say, I hate when the story/"flow of jokes" stop :P

    Please excuse my horrible english, too tired to correct my worst spelling errors.
    Bed here I come!! :rolleyes: (that I for some reason found that sentance funny might imply the fact that I'm really tired and/or insane).
  • SquinkySquinky Telltale Alumni
    edited May 2007
    Mel wrote: »
    Swear*.

    My favourite answer.
  • JenniferJennifer Moderator
    edited May 2007
    So, there's a common thing that people who play adventure games do when they start to get stuck, which is to methodically go through and try using everything in their inventory. I'm wondering what else people do when they're out of ideas -- for example, maybe you take your hand off the mouse and think, or you wander around through all the environments but don't click on anything, or you go back and talk to all the people again. (Maybe you immediately go look on the forums for a hint or call your brother-in-law for advice.) What's your approach?
    I usually stop and think. Then I go back to see if I missed something. Then I stop for a day and come back and try it again with a fresh mind. If I can't figure it out then, I come to the forums and see if someone posted a hint. I've only had to do the latter once in Sam & Max season 1
    during Reality 2.0 with the RGB puzzle
    . It was a logical puzzle, I just couldn't get my mind wrapped around it for some reason.
  • edited May 2007
    I will usually check other locations, talk to more people .. go have a look around.. think about what I have to do..if i'm still stuck i'll have a break from the game and think about the puzzle then.. and come back to it.. a lot of the "did you do ..." play it again stuff was done when I was stuck.. theres a lot you miss when you just rush through the game
  • MelMel
    edited May 2007
    Mel in a clear thinking state of mind:
    1. Go back and talk to everyone:
    It works - hurrah! (why didn't you think to talk to that person again?)
    It doesn't work - Damn!>>go to step 2

    2. Revisit all locations, look for any items or hot spots missed:
    It works - Why didn't I see that the first time OR How in the hell did they expect me to find that?
    It doesn't work - Shit. One more thing and then I'm going to hints.>>>go to Step 3

    3. Try everything in your inventory on everything else in your inventory or on all of the hotspots and people you can think of:
    It works - What a pain in the ass! What was the point of that puzzle again?
    It doesn't work - F*#@.>>>go to Step 4

    4. Go to UHS or a walkthrough
    It works - I don't mind doing this a few times but if the whole game is like this, I may quit.
    It doesn't work - Uninstall.

    Mel in a stressed/tired state:
    1. Swear
    2. Go to UHS/Walkthrough
    3. Contemplate shelving game playing until I am out of said state of mind.

    In the first scenario I'll interchange steps 1 & 2 or do them at the same time thus bypassing Damn.
  • edited May 2007
    1. Have I clicked EVERYTHING?

    2. Have I tried EVERY item?

    3.How far would I have to backtrack to double-check?

    4. Have I clicked every possible conversation branch?

    5. Have I blind-typed "plugh", "plover" and "xyzzy"?

    6.Did I chortle at my own cleverness for doing so?

    7. Is the game alt-tab friendly so I can check online for hints?

    8.Was it smart for me to manage to buy the one game that nobody has written a walkthrough for?

    9.Do I have a baseball bat and a place to put the CD/floppy shards?
  • edited May 2007
    have you ever get stuck on an fps game? heheh I did once in Doom.
    well for adventure games, I very much agree with Mel except the last resort of uninstalling... it can turns out to be a bug! and for Sam & Max, what better place to find or seek help than this lively forum (or maybe asking directly to Emily)?
  • edited May 2007
    I've been stuck in FPSs quite a bit, usually because of something escaping my notice, or a hard-to-find key, or jumping puzzles. (I HATE those)

    For instance, a couple days ago while playing Quake 4, I spent almost an hour in a room, simply because I somehow kept not seeing a big honkin' touchscreen that opens the door.

    (For those who have played it, it was the medical room where you first encounter the flying acid-spitty Strogg with blades for arms)
  • edited May 2007
    Kingsley wrote: »
    (such as: use love potion custard in outhouse, use octopus in outhouse, give fishmonger prunes, after tentacle rape get fishmonger's belt buckle, yay ftw)
    Haha, yeah, I loved Discworld, but some of the puzzles were crazy.

    And yeah, sometimes getting stuck (like in a dungeon in Zelda or Oblivion) is just due to something that's just not obviously visible. Like in Sam & Max episode 4
    I knew the beacon must have been somewhere in or near Bosco's, but I just couldn't see it.
    Had to look online for that one.
  • ShauntronShauntron Telltale Alumni
    edited May 2007
    I used to get stuck in FPSs way more often because the textures and level design were all too similar, so I would run around in circles too much and give up. Starting around the release of Half Life, level design got a lot more varied and logical and I don't really get stuck anymore.
  • edited May 2007
    1. Think about what I need to do next, logically.

    2. Revisit all NPC's and scenes. Repeat dialog and look for anything missed.

    3. Go to sleep... its 3 am already?

    4. Retry steps 1 and 2.

    5. Go online. Read walkthrough. Get mad at accidently reading the answer to a puzzle not yet encountered. Get more angry at realising the answer was either obvious or insanely twisted

    If all that fails and I'm still stumped... I try to put in disk 21... or disk 52... or disk 98...

    Or maybe I'll just skip that part of the game...
  • edited May 2007
    I usually have a friend over while I'm playing and almost all of the time we can figure it out between the two of us. If we're stumped, then we start drinking beer and talking about stuff until we figure it out/don't care anymore. Usually the answer comes eventually.
  • edited May 2007
    I get some paper, a pencil, and start drawing. A blank, that is. :D

    --Erwin
  • edited May 2007
    *Drum roll*
  • edited May 2007
    Well, these days I tend to go to a walkthrough quicker than I really should... it's terrible but i've gotten lazy. All this easily obtained hints... mmmm.
    I try to find spoiler free ones though.
    I get stuck, I walk about for a bit to see if I missed anything, have a think.. find a walkthrough.
    Back in the days before widely available internet assistance however, I wandered, thought, asked friends and family for suggestions, walked about a bit more, got bored and left the game for the day. Annoyingly the Lucasarts Sam & Max had me horribly stumped at one point. Took me weeks before a cousin finally pointed out "oh, there's a magnifying lens in the background there, see? it's really hard to make out but it's there"
    Bah... I simply hadn't noticed the thing.
    I have such fond fond memories of completing so many adventure games without walkthroughs, something i seldom do these days... either games have gotten harder (doubt it) or i've gotten lazier... i'm going with the later.

    However... My endless undying respect goes to my cousin Quentin who manged to actually finish KQ7 WITHOUT a walkthrough... my god... that game is frustratingly impossible.
  • jmmjmm
    edited May 2007
    I heard that asking like a madman every 10 minutes in the forum works :p
  • edited May 2007
    Besides doing a number of things mentioned on this thread, I also use the trick of looking for things I haven't used yet. Case in point: in the ep6 finale, I knew I had to
    do something with the lunar lander
    for the sole reason that I had not used the
    lunar lander keys
    anywhere yet. I know this is supposed to be a bad tactic and supposed to be counteracted by red herrings and multiple-useful items, but let's just say it works surprisingly often.
  • edited May 2007
    After I have tried everything I can think of I go away from the game for a bit and come back a day or so later with a fresh perspective.

    Usually the reason I get stuck in games is when I have actually figured out the answer to the puzzle but I can't figure out how the game designers want me to solve it. Perfect example: in "abe Lincoln must die" I
    knew I had to get the Nuke targeting device from Bosco's but I couldn't figure out where it was in the store
    . I can't stand stuff like that, because I wasn't stuck because I couldn't figure out the puzzle, I was stuck because I couldn't figure out where to click! In those cases you just need a break to relax and then come back when you can calmly try things again.
  • edited May 2007
    Stumped...
    Hmm ...
    It only reminds me of a situasion a have when I visit the bathroom , but....
    Well ... Never mind ... :D
  • edited May 2007
    Step One: Give up and go and start making tea
    Step Two: Have idea, run back and try it
    Step three: Find idea works. Proceed to play game for another 30 minutes
    Step Four: Remember tea and go back to find it has gone cold. Drink it anyway and make more.

    Optional: Replace all instances of 'Tea' with 'Coffee' depending on the time of day.
  • edited May 2007
    I tend to lean back and overthink things. I don't like to just combine stuff at random so I try to avoid that as long as I can. In my opinion combinations or actions should be logical (based on the given universe obviously, S&M is a sliiightly wacky universe;-)

    Often I do know WHAT I want to do to fix something but don't know HOW I can do that in the game. For example; I did know I wanted
    ketchup on the cake
    in S&M ep2 but took ages to reverse my train of thought and
    bring the cake to the ketchup
    :)
  • edited April 2013
    1 When I get stumped I go back to see what I've missed.
    2 Then I start to think in a more logical way.
    3 After this I try combine everything with everything and talk with everyone again. Sometimes I go back to previous saved stages to redo the steps.
    4 Then I get away from the game, sleep and the next time, try to see the things with a diferent perspective. I can hold this for 2 or 3 days.
    5 By now, I considering to look online walktroughs. I really start to walk trough the house, thinking.
    6 I look online help.

    Usually works on the step 2 or 3.
    I'm playing Monkey Island 2 and I got stuck in the governor Phatt book part. I'm on step 5 and had this logical tought. I have to take the book without him noticing. Then come the Indiana Jones idol scene and everything fall into place. There's no better sensation!
    But happens situations like the Kate Capsize near-grog puzzle. I had missed the part that the barman say about her having a near-grog bottle. Neither the barman or Kate talk about this anymore later. There's no way I could know how to solve this puzzle. I keep trying to win the grog contest in all of silly ways. I was piss to look for online help and piss to realize that the puzzle was solved that way! It's curse the designer time!!
  • edited April 2013
    When I'm hopelessly, hopelessly stuck, I generally just try everything with everything, even if I know the combination is illogical. But I'm not always provided with an interface that allows me to do this very quickly, or sometimes the environments are simply too vast to permit the use of such tactics. It's in these cases that I will turn to a walkthrough. But I generally try my best not to.

    However, with that being said, when it comes to twiddling puzzles, I will almost invariably seek out walkthroughs.
  • edited April 2013
    In this day and age I am happy that a game gets me stumped for a change and doesn't shine a hint button in my face or just is so easy that this doesn't happen.
  • edited April 2013
    1.) Combine all items together
    2.) Cry
    3.) Got to GameFAQS
  • edited April 2013
    DAISHI wrote: »
    1.) Combine all items together
    2.) Cry
    3.) Got to GameFAQS
    Replace 'Cry' with 'Scream in Frustration' and you've got my list as well.
  • edited April 2013
    Replace 'Cry' with 'Scream in Frustration' and you've got my list as well.

    I would have thought you were the manifestation of serenity after the way you sneaked past the sheriff in his office in Simon the Sorcerer 3D. If I had managed to force myself to play that game at all, I probably would have given up on it then.
  • VainamoinenVainamoinen Moderator
    edited April 2013
    Replace 'Cry' with 'Scream in Frustration' and you've got my list as well.

    What now, Darth? No scream of agony over a massively necroed thread? :o
  • edited April 2013
    I must not scream. Screaming is the mind killer. Screaming is the little death that brings total obliteration.
  • edited April 2013
    Also you have no mouth. So even if you must scream.
    Wait where was this one going...
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