Telltale Autumn Sale

Should the new King's Quest game have unwinnable states?

edited December 2012 in Kings Quest Game
I'm a big advocate of death and losing in adventure games. I think if a gamer is given enough warning that what they're about to embark on involves an element of genuine danger it makes for a much more intricate engagement with the game out of sheer glorious TERROR.

The puzzles in some King's Quest games border on the masochistic and I would feel disappointed if there wasn't some attempt to beef up the difficulty in order to genuinely reflect what this series was all about. You were adventuring in strange new worlds where fairy tale and horror had come to life - sometimes the best approach to make sense of this crazy world was to take a stab in the dark. You better grab that item right now or else you might never see it again! Maybe if I write this guy's name backwards i can pass this area. Things like that.

Dead ends are considered the worst possible thing you could do in an adventure game. It was part of the LucasArts manifesto to go against this design flaw, which brought about a flurry of genre defining adventure games that lasted up until Grim Fandango. However, that was never King's Quest's concern. In fact, when they removed unwinnable states in King's Quest VII the game was lambasted by fans for being TOO EASY!

So, why not bring back the dead end? Some of the most popular adventure games today have refined what it means to have an unwinnable state such as Ace Attorney and Ghost Trick. Surely there's a way to reconcile delicious punishment in a modern era of adventuring without throwing away the whole thing!
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Comments

  • JenniferJennifer Moderator
    edited October 2012
    Please don't bring back the dead end. There was one in Hector episode 1 (I'm not sure if by design, or script flaw) where if you didn't pick up an item before you left an area it was gone when you came back, and I really didn't like it. It takes you out of the game, and that's what makes it really not a good design choice.

    Death is fine, and I'm sure Telltale will have plenty of it. Although, personally I'd go for a happy middle ground rather than go the Jurassic Park/The Walking Dead route of restarting the scene where you died or Sierra's route of game over where you have to load a saved game or restart: having options on death for retry and loading a saved game. That way the diehard Sierra fans can happily ignore the retry option and load a saved game, and the people who are new to the genre, never liked Sierra's design style, or those who prefer more leeway with their games, can just retry the scene The Walking Dead/Jurassic Park (or, going back, Full Throttle) style.
  • edited October 2012
    The retry option is just as bad as having no deaths at all. That's a big part of what made KQVII so terrible. KQVII didn't just remove unwinnable states (they were pretty much gone, though still not completely, by KQVI). It removed the consequences of death altogether. Death in a video game means nothing without punishment.
  • JenniferJennifer Moderator
    edited October 2012
    Lambonius wrote: »
    The retry option is just as bad as having no deaths at all. That's a big part of what made KQVII so terrible. KQVII didn't just remove unwinnable states (they were pretty much gone, though still not completely, by KQVI). It removed the consequences of death altogether. Death in a video game means nothing without punishment.
    That's a pretty weird thing to say, considering what I posted. My compromise meant that you could have it both ways. If you don't like the retry button, just click the load game button instead. That way you can have classic Sierra unwinnable states if you want it. Just having the retry option there shouldn't upset anyone, if they give you the chance of death with consequences through a load game button, since you don't have to use it if you don't want to.

    Though considering how much a lot of Sierra fans love the unwinnable states in their games, probably the best way to do this would be through options to customise the UI like Telltale did with The Walking Dead. That way, if you want classic Sierra style deaths, you can completely remove the retry button from the death sequences and just have the load game button instead. That should please everyone.
  • edited November 2012
    This again? Oh well, I have some new points on this subject, so I hope nobody just comes in saying "oh not this again, can't you guys just agree to disagree?" If that's what you're going to do, then just hold your peace and leave the thread.

    Personally, I think "it takes you out of the game" is just an excuse for "it makes you aware that you aren't the perfect gamer you think you are". From the beginning, games have always been about overcoming hurdles and challenges. That includes the ultimate challenge: complete and utter failure. When you die in an adventure game you're failing at a game that challenges you on an intellectual level (with failing to figure out the puzzle) as well as a mortal level (failing to overcome basic gaming obstacles that threaten the character's ability to progress in the game; death). Dead ends are something else entirely and I can live without it if everyone's a book-burning over it, but dying? Bring it on, please.

    Retry? Yes, nobody has to click it if they don't have to. But everyone WILL just because it's there. It's possible to continue without any consequence whatsoever. Even those of us that hate it will use it because it's so available and easy. And that's PRECISELY why we hate it. At that point, the debate for us is that we've made save games precisely in perfect situations where we can continue if we die (even if we don't know death is coming). Now, technically, there's no difference between a save game and a retry button. But, again, that's exactly what we hate about it.

    We've earned the skill of saving games from experience in other games. It's a badge of honour to be able to overcome death when it comes, even if we didn't see it coming. Now any old Joe schmo can come along, completely fail, and be given infinite second chances without doing any work whatsoever. This reduces the skill we've refined of being wary of the gaming environment and saving to a redundancy. We might as well press retry because it's the same thing. But it's the principle of it that bugs me. Why do inexperienced players get to cheat? Yes, cheat, because half the skill of many adventure games -- minus 95% of the LucasArts catalogue -- is sensing when death might be near and saving at pivotal game moments. The retry button completely nullifies that. To me, it's like using God mode or skipping a level in an FPS game. Or using an infinite resources command in an RTS game. Or maxing out your stats and all power/level-ups in an RPG game. It's no different because it's totally subverting a main obstacle that's meant to be overcome by means that the game itself offers you. When the retry button came along, it took that challenge away, nullifying death (like Lamb said) by making it totally pointless and a mere nuisance compared to the immense foreboding shadow that hangs over your head throughout the game like it used to be.

    Deaths are far more effective when there's a chance of losing everything without a way back, except the long journey you came from. Yes, it is punishment to the player. Rightful punishment. For failing. As it should be. Like anything else.

    Does anyone on the other side of the fence see my point yet? How about this as a compromise? And I ask this to people on both sides of the fence.....limited retries? Without the option to save exactly where you want to. That's the only alternative I can come up with that makes any sense. Similar to the "continue?" countdown in arcade games. If you run out of quarters you have to start all over.
  • JenniferJennifer Moderator
    edited November 2012
    Personally, I think "it takes you out of the game" is just an excuse for "it makes you aware that you aren't the perfect gamer you think you are". From the beginning, games have always been about overcoming hurdles and challenges. That includes the ultimate challenge: complete and utter failure. When you die in an adventure game you're failing at a game that challenges you on an intellectual level (with failing to figure out the puzzle) as well as a mortal level (failing to overcome basic gaming obstacles that threaten the character's ability to progress in the game; death). Dead ends are something else entirely and I can live without it if everyone's a book-burning over it, but dying? Bring it on, please.
    I wasn't talking about death taking you out of the game. I was talking about dead ends. I don't mind deaths in adventure games (even those without retries). But I hate dead ends. If you didn't notice a tiny group of pixels, you can't go back to look for it, even in some cases (like I mentioned with Hector episode 1) if you actually can go back to the area in question. That's not very good design in my opinion, and it's not fun.
    Retry? Yes, nobody has to click it if they don't have to. But everyone WILL just because it's there. It's possible to continue without any consequence whatsoever. Even those of us that hate it will use it because it's so available and easy. And that's PRECISELY why we hate it. At that point, the debate for us is that we've made save games precisely in perfect situations where we can continue if we die (even if we don't know death is coming). Now, technically, there's no difference between a save game and a retry button. But, again, that's exactly what we hate about it.
    But if there was an option in the menu to turn retry off in the UI, that would solve the problem of temptation. Since Telltale games started having hints, they've always had the option to turn off hints in the UI. The Walking Dead has options to turn off the Back to the Future style mission messages as well (and there has almost always been the option to turn off text names of objects, and The Walking Dead lets you turn off highlighting of clickable spots). Having the options in the menu to transparently make the game as easy or hard as you want the game to be seems like a good solution for both newcomers, those more used to LucasArts-style adventures, and Sierra veterans.
    We've earned the skill of saving games from experience in other games. It's a badge of honour to be able to overcome death when it comes, even if we didn't see it coming. Now any old Joe schmo can come along, completely fail, and be given infinite second chances without doing any work whatsoever. This reduces the skill we've refined of being wary of the gaming environment and saving to a redundancy. We might as well press retry because it's the same thing. But it's the principle of it that bugs me. Why do inexperienced players get to cheat? Yes, cheat, because half the skill of many adventure games -- minus 95% of the LucasArts catalogue -- is sensing when death might be near and saving at pivotal game moments. The retry button completely nullifies that. To me, it's like using God mode or skipping a level in an FPS game. Or using an infinite resources command in an RTS game. Or maxing out your stats and all power/level-ups in an RPG game. It's no different because it's totally subverting a main obstacle that's meant to be overcome by means that the game itself offers you. When the retry button came along, it took that challenge away, nullifying death (like Lamb said) by making it totally pointless and a mere nuisance compared to the immense foreboding shadow that hangs over your head throughout the game like it used to be.
    You can make the same argument about in-game hints, and that's not something that's likely to change in Telltale's games. And I personally don't care. I don't mind that people use them. You can turn them off in the menu, so if you don't want to see the hints you never will. If you can do the same with retries, there's really no issue.
    Does anyone on the other side of the fence see my point yet? How about this as a compromise? And I ask this to people on both sides of the fence.....limited retries? Without the option to save exactly where you want to. That's the only alternative I can come up with that makes any sense. Similar to the "continue?" countdown in arcade games. If you run out of quarters you have to start all over.
    That would cut away a large chunk of the current adventure game market who likes a more casual adventure game. I don't think the game should actively turn away that market, when they can let you control the difficulty of your game transparently. It works well for The Walking Dead, and it worked well for the Sam & Max games, Wallace & Gromit's Grand Adventures, Strong Bad, and Tales of Monkey Island in the past.

    I do think that they should up the difficulty level of the puzzles though. The in game help is there for people who are more casual adventure gamers, so Telltale should take that into consideration. The highest level of help since Back to the Future has been hand-holding gamers on exactly how to solve puzzles, so there shouldn't be any problem getting casual gamers past hard puzzles that way if they want to use the highest level of hints.
  • edited November 2012
    I would say there is absolutely no way the game will have dead ends. They were cheap design back then (throwing all puzzles together is always easier than taking all possibilities into consideration and making sure that the player can't run into an unwinnable situation) and they would be cheap design now; even more so. And, perhaps more importantly, virtually nobody liked them. Al Lowe, Jane Jensen, Scott Murphy, Mark Crowe... all of them reduced the number of dead ends, or avoided them altogether, as they matured as designers. Even Roberta Williams, whom I've never considered a good adventure game designer, decided to stop including dead ends in her latest games.

    On the other hand, it wouldn't surprise me if Telltale's King's Quest does include deaths, because they are one of the most distinguishing traits of the series, and they can be introduced without turning the design of the game into a cheap mess. The usefulness of a retry button (although I think they will include one anyway) depends on how they approach this: if the death scenes are introduced in a remotely reasonable way, there should be some ways of predicting and avoiding them if you play somewhat carefully, so a retry button is not really needed. If they are introduced in an unfair, completely unpredictable way, there is actually no ability involved, just pure trial and error. Therefore, the retry button could be useful, so the player doesn't have to compulsively save the game when entering every single screen, just in case a thunder falls randomly from the sky and kills Graham.
  • edited November 2012
    "Doesn't have to" is the viewpoint that irks me here. Like I said, that was a gaming feature and obstacle to overcome, not an annoyance. You "have" to save in FPS games too (although, a lot of FPS's have automatic retries now, which is even worse). Just because Adventures are all about puzzles doesn't mean that dying shouldn't be something that can end your gaming experience like anything else. It's not trial and error. Yes, some deaths are unpredictable, but I don't personally find that annoying. At all. I'm not "forced" to "compulsively" save my game. It's not about that. The viewpoint is just so different now and skewed from what it used to be.

    Regarding turning off the retry button, if that was to happen, it would have to be unavailable to re-enable once the game has started. You can always turn in-game hints on again whenever you want currently. I don't like the idea of customizing the game rules while the game is still playing. Ideally, I'd like hints to be grayed out once the game has started as well. It just feels like cheating. Customizing your game experience before starting and then being forced to stick to it is something I would prefer.
    That would cut away a large chunk of the current adventure game market who likes a more casual adventure game. I don't think the game should actively turn away that market, when they can let you control the difficulty of your game transparently.

    I look at it more as introducing these gamers to new experiences and challenges. I don't really agree with the idea that people get exactly what they want out of a game they've never played before. Where's the fun in that?
  • edited November 2012
    If you can't somewhat predict most of the death scenes in a game (which is what happened in many, if not most, of the earlier Sierra games), yes, it's trial and error. I obviously don't mean there has to be a big warning sign: I have no problem whatsoever with the death scenes in games like King's Quest VI (I can even tolerate the dead ends in this one, because they are reasonable, they are not the result of cheap game design and they are not out there just to screw the player); I don't even have a problem with the death scenes in King's Quest V (although the design in this one is noticeably worse and, as a result, many of the dead ends are just ridiculous). Those, for me, would be similar to the FPS example you provided. I don't have a problem with that.

    Many other Sierra games, however (especially the earlier ones, as I said), would be more like an FPS in which you are randomly shot dead by an invisible enemy. Most people wouldn't like that FPS.
  • edited November 2012
    For me it's not a big deal if you can die or can't die in adventure games. In some games it's a good thing that you can die and in others I'm happy that you can't get killed, because death would feel unsuitable considering the style and story of the game. In old Sierra games death was frequent and it would be difficult to imagine King's Quest game where you can't die (although it's even more difficult to imagine Space Quest game where you can't die, because many best jokes were on death scenes).

    However I generally don't like dead ends. I can live with those if I know in advance that dead ends are possible and I know to save my game before doing something with an item which might have limited uses etc. In early King's Quest games dead ends didn't bother that much, because replaying the whole game didn't take much time if you knew what you were doing, but I doubt I would enjoy if in TTG's King's Quest I couldn't finish the Episode 5, because of a wrong dialogue choice in Episode 1 or something like that.
  • edited November 2012
    although it's even more difficult to imagine Space Quest game where you can't die, because many best jokes were on death scenes
    Oh, come on every single KQ game had ways to die.

    As for Space Quest, oddly enough there is a fan game that as far as I know has no ingame deaths. Shocking as it may be :p... It really is kind of 'missing'.
  • edited November 2012
    BagginsKQ wrote: »
    Oh, come on every single KQ game had ways to die.

    As for Space Quest, oddly enough there is a fan game that as far as I know has no ingame deaths. Shocking as it may be :p... It really is kind of 'missing'.

    Like I said it's difficult to imagine King's Quest game where you can't die, but dying isn't as integral part of the game experience as it was in Space Quest series. In Space Quest games deaths were one of the most enjoyable part and I often killed Roger on purpose just to see what happens to him.

    But I agree that dying was important part of the challenge in every early Sierra adventures, in later games deaths were less frequent and for example in Gabriel Knight games, despite the horror themes, there was only few places where Gabriel could die. And also in the later King's Quest games dying became less important. In King's Quest VII there was a retry button which allowed you to retry from the start of the scene and in Mask of Eternity dying happened only when you lost all your hit points, but that happened only rarely because battles were easy and there was always plenty of healing items available.
  • edited November 2012
    ...in Mask of Eternity dying happened only when you lost all your hit points, but that happened only rarely because battles were easy and there was always plenty of healing items available.

    If you were smart and/or experienced enough to use them.....ahhhh, see? I don't see this as any different. It's not THAT hard to avoid deaths in the older KQ games either.
  • edited November 2012
    If you were smart and/or experienced enough to use them.....ahhhh, see? I don't see this as any different. It's not THAT hard to avoid deaths in the older KQ games either.

    Except that sometimes it is relatively hard to avoid deaths and it requires plenty of saving. I would assume that almost everyone died few times because of the cave troll in KQIV. Climbing the beanstalk in KQ1 is also a pain in the bottom, because it's not obvious which is the safe route to climb and if you don't know the danger zones in the forest wolf or ogre can come out of nowhere and kill Graham. Only by learning those places of danger with plenty of trial and error you can avoid deaths.
  • edited November 2012
    Yes. Glorious challenging days, those were.

    I mean, come on now. It's obviously dangerous to climb a beanstalk. Anyone can realize this. This allows you to realize that you'll need to probably save here just in case. There's two screens of beanstalk before reaching the top. Once you reach one screen, you save again just in case (I'd bet money that a retry in this area would start you at the beginning of the beanstalk and not exactly where you were, if retries were in this game). Once you continue doing it you get a feel for how the game works. In both the AGI and SCI remake of KQ1 you have to position your hands (not feet) on the beanstalk. Once you realize this it's incredibly easy. I get it first try every time. It's not hard to understand. And it's not trial and error. At least not to the point you're exaggerating it to. It takes experimenting and there's nothing wrong with that. I consider that a puzzle.

    And even if people were having trouble, once they finally reach the top there's that incredible sense of accomplishment at defeating that game hurdle. Of course it's annoying to see Graham fall to his death time after time, but that just makes the reward even better. Much better than if it was impossible to die or if there was a retry on each beanstalk screen. It'd just be another annoying sequence without any reward whatsoever.

    Hate on deaths all you want, but they make the game more exciting and more rewarding. You're missing out if you only play games without deaths. This is why I prefer Sierra games to LucasArts games. They're just more exciting and more rewarding. The makeup for it in LA games is that the dialogue is funny and entertaining.
  • edited November 2012
    Yes. Glorious challenging days, those were.

    I mean, come on now. It's obviously dangerous to climb a beanstalk. Anyone can realize this. This allows you to realize that you'll need to probably save here just in case. There's two screens of beanstalk before reaching the top. Once you reach one screen, you save again just in case (I'd bet money that a retry in this area would start you at the beginning of the beanstalk and not exactly where you were, if retries were in this game). Once you continue doing it you get a feel for how the game works. In both the AGI and SCI remake of KQ1 you have to position your hands (not feet) on the beanstalk. Once you realize this it's incredibly easy. I get it first try every time. It's not hard to understand. And it's not trial and error. At least not to the point you're exaggerating it to. It takes experimenting and there's nothing wrong with that. I consider that a puzzle.

    And even if people were having trouble, once they finally reach the top there's that incredible sense of accomplishment at defeating that game hurdle. Of course it's annoying to see Graham fall to his death time after time, but that just makes the reward even better. Much better than if it was impossible to die or if there was a retry on each beanstalk screen. It'd just be another annoying sequence without any reward whatsoever.

    Hate on deaths all you want, but they make the game more exciting and more rewarding. You're missing out if you only play games without deaths. This is why I prefer Sierra games to LucasArts games. They're just more exciting and more rewarding. The makeup for it in LA games is that the dialogue is funny and entertaining.

    I didn't say that I hate deaths. I said that dying had more important role as part of the challenge in the early Sierra games than in later ones. And I also said that I think that dying is part of the King's Quest games. And while I said that in early King's Quest games you have to die sometimes before you can figure out the right solution, it doesn't mean that I don't accept it as part of the challenge (although I'm not good in climbing scenes and have tendency to walk over the edge especially if DOSBox cycles are accidentally set to bit too fast). None of those statements means that I hate deaths.

    My personal favourite is KQIV where deaths are still quite frequent (cave troll, shark etc.) and it has dead ends too and it even has a time limit. But none of those bother me at all, because it's a good and challenging game.
  • edited November 2012
    I wasn't necessarily talking only to you. I was replying to you, but directing many of those thoughts to others.
    My personal favourite is KQIV where deaths are still quite frequent (cave troll, shark etc.) and it has dead ends too and it even has a time limit. But none of those bother me at all, because it's a good and challenging game.

    Amen.
  • edited November 2012
    To this day I get REALLY nervous when a game doesn't allow multiple save slots.. Having been a gamer in those days are a huge part of feeling that way.

    That said.. most dead ends where not put in their on purpose... and I really do not want to see dead ends return now.
  • edited November 2012
    Death scenes can be annoying when they are extremely frequent (like Space Quest II), but at the end of the day I can tolerate them, or even like them if they are introduced in an interesting way. Dead ends is what I can't stand (and they can also be based in trial and error mechanics, which makes them even worse), with some honorable exceptions. I don't enjoy not knowing if the reason you're stuck is because you can't find the solution to the puzzle or because you overlooked a now-impossible-to-get item five hours ago. What should you do, keep thinking and trying to find a solution to the current puzzle, or replay the whole game, just in case? If having that perennial uncertainty while playing the whole game is supposed to be fun, or an stimulating challenge, I guess it's just not my cup of tea.

    Besides, as it's been pointed out, it's not like most of the dead ends in Sierra's older games were a deliberate and pondered choice (death scenes, on the other hand, were definitely a design choice). Many if not most of them were just there as a result of poor, lazy design.
  • edited November 2012
    I wasn't necessarily talking only to you. I was replying to you, but directing many of those thoughts to others.

    OK. I thought that you were still answering to my post.
    Irishmile wrote: »
    To this day I get REALLY nervous when a game doesn't allow multiple save slots.. Having been a gamer in those days are a huge part of feeling that way.

    That said.. most dead ends where not put in their on purpose... and I really do not want to see dead ends return now.

    If game allows only one save, then I usually make backup copy of my saved game after every session. I don't fear dead ends, but I have occasionally experienced corrupted saves and then it's a good to have backup saves so you don't have to start new game.
  • edited November 2012
    There are actually quite a few different death animations for killing Conner in KQ7 by different methods (and sometimes by way the enemy killed him). All pretty worth discovering. There might be some dialogue you can only hear if you arr killed by certain enemies. Plus the extra bad ending where Conner is sucked down into the dark Abyss. Our at the end of the game.

    I still like how it was done in KQ1VGA, KQ5 and KQ6 (and a lesser extent in 7) the best with the pop ups with a funny message and sometimes a special animation, much like the space quest deaths. Like space quest I loved discoveryimg how you could kill off a character. In the earliest KQ they sometimes had special animations to show a death like graham turning into a green possessed zombie and committing suicide, or turning purple afte drinking poison water. Rosella becoming a zombie too. Sometimes you gotta go out of your way to discover some of the deaths.
  • edited November 2012
    Here's a great article that makes an excellent case for why autosaves or retry buttons ruin the sense of tension and atmosphere in games. The article obviously is about survival horror games, so it's a bit off topic, but the overarching concept of the value of limited retries and actual punishment for deaths is relevant to a discussion of adventure games as well. And it's just a good read in general, and reminds us of the gradual dumbing down of games as a whole.

    http://gamecritics.com/guest-critic/the-slow-decay-of-survival-horror
  • edited November 2012
    A great read.
  • edited November 2012
    Seconded. A lot of great points there.

    As for King's Quest... I've never been a fan of dead ends, seeing as how they force you to start the game all over again, which isn't something I find a particularly pleasant thing to do (having been forced to do so in action games due to glitches, most recently in Lego Harry Potter). I'm not usually into deaths in adventure games either (unless there's plenty of warning), though I will concede that when done well, allowing the player to die can add a lot of tension and intensity to a story - provided you disable saving during the scene in question, otherwise you can accidentally save mere seconds before you die and essentially screw yourself over (Hi, 7 Days a Skeptic!).

    But given how the KQ series is known for both, how about this. When you first start the game, you're given an option. Classic or Modern? If you select 'Classic', you get no hints and no option to retry when you die, just like the good old days. If you select 'Modern', then hints are available should you need them (while still being disabled in the options for people who want a compromise) and when you die, you go back to a nearby checkpoint to try again.

    Best of both worlds?
  • edited November 2012
    Death by design is never an enjoyable experience. Neither is not picking up an item in the opening sequence and then finding out you need it for the final sequence.

    I would like a Demon's Souls / Dark Souls way of doing things; it was not easy and it didn't hold your hand, yet if you missed an item / killed an NPC they were not integral to finish the game but you missed out on these items which could have helped you or learned more about the story.

    I know they are not the same genre but my worst experience with Sierra games as a kid were those unwinnable situations and the completely obtuse puzzles (KQ4 etc)
  • edited November 2012
    Death by design is completely different to unwinnable states.
  • edited November 2012
    Death by design is completely different to unwinnable states.

    That's why I mentioned both.
  • edited November 2012
    Death by design is gameplay balance. It has to be challenging.

    Oh, why am I getting into this again...never mind.
  • edited November 2012
    Yes, it might get ugly; what a person might think is "a challenge" is what others call "bad design".
  • edited November 2012
    Death is in every genre ever. Why is it so shunned in adventure games? Here's the answer, because of LucasArts. I picture LucasArts adventures as a half-breed between adventure games and puzzle games, which is largely a boring lifeless time-waster genre. That's why I don't prefer them. They're just a tad too boring and not very exciting at all. Luckily usually the stories are great and it has funny dialogue to save it, otherwise I'd not play them at all.

    Either way, there are multiple opinions on the subject and the very fact that there's a sizable audience out there for Sierra style games means that it's not bad game design. People enjoy it. No group of people can call it bad game design when even one person appreciates it. And there's far more than one person that does.
  • edited November 2012
    Death wouldn't be shunned if it wasn't for moon logic puzzles and unwinnable states. It's no longer fun, just frustrating.

    No one said that games should be easy and only hold your hand. We as lovers of adventure games and other types such as RPG's etc don't want to have everything handed to us. But it does not justify ruining your whole game because you didn't have that one item.
  • edited November 2012
    Sleeq wrote: »
    Death wouldn't be shunned if it wasn't for moon logic puzzles and unwinnable states. It's no longer fun, just frustrating.

    No one said that games should be easy and only hold your hand. We as lovers of adventure games and other types such as RPG's etc don't want to have everything handed to us. But it does not justify ruining your whole game because you didn't have that one item.

    I recently replayed first King's Quest and Space Quest games. Sure there are some unwinnable situations, but most are relatively easy to avoid if you explore the locations carefully. And even if you have to restart, so what? Those games aren't long and if you know what you're doing you can play those from start to finish in hour or two. You spend at least the same time in replaying one mission of modern shoot em up game, because you accidentally saved over your only save just before sniper's shot kills you.
  • edited November 2012
    All I'm saying is, having multiple unwinnable states in one game (sometimes to the point they are parodied such as KQV) isn't something to strive for.

    Hence why I brought up the Demon's/Dark Souls concept.
  • edited November 2012
    So what you're saying is, unwinnable states makes deaths not fun? So what is your opinion on deaths without unwinnable states?
  • edited November 2012
    Death scenes? Yes. The comedic way they were handled in the King's Quest series is a small part of the series' charm and would indeed seem lacking if they were not possible in the new game.

    Dead ends? No way. Most dead ends ocurred when a player followed a path that altered from the one intended by the designer. This often meant that if a player decided to follow a path other than the most obvious one, because they wanted to experience every delicious morsel of the game possible prior to advancing the story, they would often end up stuck in the game with no way to continue. What's worse, the games never told the player they had just entered a dead end, so the player is forced to go back and continuosly beat their head against the wall thinking there might still be some hope of advancing if they could just figure out the solution to the puzzle. A puzzle that didn't even exist. This can reduce an adventure game to a methodical labor of clicking every item on every object in every screen sequentially until you hopefully hit the sweet spot. Only with a dead end, you would exhaust that process and still be stuck. What is the point in punishing the player by causing them that level of frustration, uncertainty and wasted time. Dead ends are bad in gaming in general. Their level of bad is compounded exponentially in adventure games.
  • edited November 2012
    So what you're saying is, unwinnable states makes deaths not fun? So what is your opinion on deaths without unwinnable states?
    Deaths are fine in adventure games so long as they don't come from nowhere and there's either a checkpoint or enough forewarning to let players save their game beforehand. If not, that could mean restarting the entire game, which would be a massive no-no.
  • edited November 2012
    If there's a checkpoint then what's the point? I just don't see the big deal with having the danger of starting an entire game again. Again, every genre ever does this. Games are too safe now. They make intense situations meaningless because there's a safety net and it turns a gripping and exciting gaming event into a increasingly frustrating nuisance that you must sit through every time. Sure you can argue manual saves give the same effect, but at least you did the work yourself, knowing that if you didn't the game could have been entirely over.

    The control must be in the hands of the player. That's a truth that works on multiple levels and on multiple arguments. Excessive cutscenes, for example.
  • edited November 2012
    If there's a checkpoint then what's the point? I just don't see the big deal with having the danger of starting an entire game again. Again, every genre ever does this. Games are too safe now. They make intense situations meaningless because there's a safety net and it turns a gripping and exciting gaming event into a increasingly frustrating nuisance that you must sit through every time. Sure you can argue manual saves give the same effect, but at least you did the work yourself, knowing that if you didn't the game could have been entirely over.

    The control must be in the hands of the player. That's a truth that works on multiple levels and on multiple arguments. Excessive cutscenes, for example.

    I agree with this. Why should adventure game have checkpoints (I don't oppose those, but I just don't think those are necessary, because good player saves often). But I admit that while I play many games in "ironman mode" it doesn't serve much purpose in adventure game unless there are dead ends, because you'll just end up doing the same things again. If we could get rid of that, then I think that a great adventure game could have dead ends, but it also should offer alternative solutions, so you could still save the situation if you didn't pick some object in first scene. But the alternative solution should be more difficult to achieve (and you still could miss it) and you would also miss the chance to get perfect score.
  • edited November 2012
    The first couple King's Quests come to mind, where there were alternate puzzles for almost anything if you forgot to pick up or do something. However, if you didn't have the alternate inventory items you would still be stuck. Also, the alternate solutions were not favourable and would not grant as many points, and in some cases, cost you some.
  • edited November 2012
    If there's a checkpoint then what's the point? I just don't see the big deal with having the danger of starting an entire game again. Again, every genre ever does this. Games are too safe now. They make intense situations meaningless because there's a safety net and it turns a gripping and exciting gaming event into a increasingly frustrating nuisance that you must sit through every time. Sure you can argue manual saves give the same effect, but at least you did the work yourself, knowing that if you didn't the game could have been entirely over.

    The control must be in the hands of the player. That's a truth that works on multiple levels and on multiple arguments. Excessive cutscenes, for example.
    Have you ever had to start a game over because you died? It's not a nice experience. EVER. Especially if you happened to bear near the end of the game. As I was. TWICE.

    The checkpoints can be as far back as you like. Hell, you could even replace them with autosaves made every half an hour or so. But if you're going to punish players just because they didn't have the frame of mind to physically save the game in case they happened to die, then you're still punishing players. That's never cool.

    Yes - checkpoints can remove tension, and they can make certain sections repetitive. But if that's the price I have to pay to avoid starting over or having to lose an hour's worth of progress, then I'm more than happy to pay it.
  • edited November 2012
    No, it's not a nice experience. But it is absolutely INTEGRAL to the overall enjoyment of a game. Punishing players is WHAT GAMES ARE ALL ABOUT. You have to overcome these obstacles! Overcome what the game throws at you! Against all odds! I hate games that hand themselves over to you on a silver platter. "Oh you died? Well, that's ok. You can still beat me. Here, I'll even give you infinite retries." What's the point in deaths if that's what you get for them?? I mean, what obstacles are even left in games now? They've taken out death and failure, the number one obstacle in any game. Even FPS games are really easy now. No challenge. Just try try again. I don't know about you, but I don't want my challenge in a game to be simply how fast I can run through it, because it's so easy. Or to just be repeating a frustrating and annoying sequence over and over again with no penalties whatsoever. It completely removes the suspense, the edge, and even the immersion.

    It's the same failure in understanding game design that led to Jurassic Park's removing of walking around between scenes because "it's annoying to take the time to walk from place to place when you can just go there with a click". Well, golly gee why don't we just remove all interactiveness in a game then? It's annoying to take the time to actually play through the game, let's just get to the ending and see how it all turns out! You're not really playing the game anymore anyway. You're watching it. And that's all games are becoming now. Cinematic. Gameplay-less. And then after you fail a number of times it starts making things easier for you to make sure you beat it like hints, or dynamic game difficulties, etc. They make you feel at first like you're an amazing gamer and you solved/beat it, but really all you did was follow the signs and follow them down the brightly lit and completely safe path, instead of finding your own way through the dark woods with dangers everywhere, so to speak. Some games even offer you the option of skipping the section if you fail too many times!! It's insane!!

    Are games progressing? No, they're devolving and getting more and more dumbed down to appeal to the LCD, resulting in gaming trash. That's why I appreciate games like Super Meat Boy and Binding of Isaac for pulling no punches and slamming you right in the face with its difficulty. Sure it can make you livid sometimes, but then after you beat it that feeling of satisfaction is like nothing else. Sierra games were the same way, until they added retries.

    I'm sorry, if the price means losing my enjoyment of my game, then I refuse to pay it.
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