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Point and click games now visual novels?

posted by kikyouchanx on - last edited - Viewed by 3.7K users
I really hate how people are calling point and click games 'visual novels'. Mainly due to The Walking Dead by Tell Tale Games..

I guess Maniac Mansion, Sam and Max, Police Quest, and every other point n click game is now a VN.

They all had cutscenes in some way or another.
22 Comments - Linear Discussion: Classic Style
  • Jake;794947 said:
    I didn't say they are quality-wise or design-wise on the same level as LucasArts games, you just said I did. I was just talking about how puzzle gating and stuff worked.

    I think there is a pretty intense gap between Dragon's Lair and The Walking Dead, but you obviously disagree, as you came in and dropped a nuclear bomb as your first post in the conversation. I don't expect (or want) to change your mind, as opinions are opinions. I just don't want you to think I'm making a case for something I'm not, and it feels like you put a lot of words in my mouth (and then attributed them to Telltale as a whole and not me).
    This is probably one of the reasons why DVD things where popular actor talks before the movie there is typical legal crap telling how he/she does not represent company's views or something like that.
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    Jake Telltale Alumni
    Clord;794967 said:
    This is probably one of the reasons why DVD things where popular actor talks before the movie there is typical legal crap telling how he/she does not represent company's views or something like that.
    Usually someone writing on a forum using "I" instead of "we" is enough, but sure, that is true.

    "My views on these matters are my own and do not represent the views or policy of Telltale Games." I'm a long-time adventure game fan who now makes games at Telltale, and I really like talking about them with fans.
  • I would also put TWD in the same bracket as old Poin and Clicks at least in Genre I've seen and played interactive movies and there is a difference...
  • Jake;794973 said:
    Usually someone writing on a forum using "I" instead of "we" is enough, but sure, that is true.

    "My views on these matters are my own and do not represent the views or policy of Telltale Games."
    Yeah, that's kinda why us mods have to have these things in our sigs. Lame. I could totally have used the space to put another awesome quote in there.
  • http://youtu.be/l_rvM6hubs8?t=2m45s Extra Credits, in one of their episodes about JRPGs vs Western RPGs, went on an enlightening tangent about the flaws in the way that game genres are defined. They tend to be focused on obvious, mechanical things (this game is in first person, this game uses a point-and-click interface, etc). I would say that the key differences between the "Visual Novel" genre and the as-yet-unnamed cinematic adventure genre that Telltale continues to flesh out are largely superficial and mechanical.

    Visual Novels are called visual novels because they tell a story with a lot of text and limited graphics. The actual gameplay mechanics can vary a lot, from rhythm tapping segments to adventure-style puzzles to courtroom battles to simulated surgery. If you replace a lot of text narration in a visual novel with a lot of cutscenes, you could have a game that plays exactly the same, but it would feel different because you aren't reading, so your brain is doing different things. I wouldn't say that Telltales games "are" visual novels but I wouldn't say the comparison is insulting or even innumerate. The primary goal is clearly the same, to tell a story and make the player feel like they're involved.
  • This was around the time The Walking Dead was called Game of the Year. That's when I heard a lot of 'Walking Dead is just a VN", and many other comments.
  • MtnPeak;794888 said:
    Actually, Telltale's new games are more like Dragon's Lair-esque interactive movies. The new Telltale games are strings of non-playable cutscenes linked together by minimal gameplay. That's really it. There is little actual "game" in these new Telltale releases. Seems like self-serving nonsense for Telltale to suggest their visual novels are in the LucasArts adventure mold. They aren't even close to being in the same league, quality-wise or design-wise.



    The term is absolutely used disparagingly. You're right.

    I have also been disappointed and dismayed to see several people from Telltale pile on and disparage traditional adventure games with point-and-click interfaces.
    I find it hilarious you just complained about people talking about point and click disparagingly, then used disparaging language against those classifying Walking Dead in the adventure mold.
  • To be fair people are going to say anything that isn't a generic shooter isn't a game if it gets famous...
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    Vainamoinen Moderator
    Jake;794854 said:
    I think people call WD a visual novel because there isn't a lot of walking around, and there isn't a lot of inventory, but there is a lot of talking and there is branching.
    > @LuigiHann said: The primary goal is clearly the same, to tell a story and make the player feel like they're involved.[/QUOTE]

    That is pretty much it. I believe the 'visual novel' and what you did in TWD have the same direction. It's not like you mostly eliminated environment exploration and the inventory because these were "the least mass compatible game elements", I think you did it with the ideal of a game that was pure interactive narrative, which is what a visual novel is.


    > @Jake said: the way the Walking Dead's story unfolds, the way obstacles are gated and revealed, and the overall way the story breaks down, comes pretty obviously from Telltale's more SCUMM-like adventure game catalog.

    That might have to do with the more cinematic approach than the visual novels, I'm not sure it has to do with some kind of "adventure roots". That's not to say there aren't any in TWD. Quite the contrary, those roots are the solid ground from which TWD tries to leap. I do believe the landing wasn't safe, though. :o
    MtnPeak;794888 said:
    Actually, Telltale's new games are more like Dragon's Lair-esque interactive movies. The new Telltale games are strings of non-playable cutscenes linked together by minimal gameplay. That's really it. There is little actual "game" in these new Telltale releases. Seems like self-serving nonsense for Telltale to suggest their visual novels are in the LucasArts adventure mold. They aren't even close to being in the same league, quality-wise or design-wise.
    Criticise the strings of cutscenes all you like, I am absolutely not satisfied with the ever more present cinematic cutscene as well. Unfortunately, that's about it for valid, well-founded criticism in your entire post. If you approach it from the 'not much of a game' angle, I would have to protest. It's just that you don't like the gameplay. Several board games don't let you do anything for really long periods of time, then all you do is throw a die, and still they're - exemplary - games.

    And, no, Telltale absolutely doesn't suggest that their games can be compared to old LucasArts titles, the official company communication usually even shuns the term 'adventure game' if possible. And you would certainly agree that this is a wise move, as it's rather not those leftover LucasArts fans who would buy TWD. The fact remains that this is the direction Telltale is undoubtedly coming from, the fact remains that Telltale's games practically illustrate a continuous development from more traditional forms of the adventure game to the TWD mechanics, without a 'missing link'. Like these present games or not, those are their roots.

    And like it or not, the kind of game that TWD is is validated by its success. Who would have thought that such a large number of people would even let Telltale play on their heartstrings this way? They have obviously struck a nerve with a whole lot of present gamers, there are millions out there who really, really want more of this kind of game. These are not 'second rate' gamers. Who am I to say that this is not the way a game is done? All I could say is that it's not my kind of game, and that I would wish for Telltale to walk another path that fits me better personally.
  • I dunno, I think The Walking Dead does have similarities to Dragon's Lair.

    Of course its also like a "choose your own adventure" novel too. (I loved the goosebump ones! :) ), which of course, the visual novel bases itself on.

    The main difference gameplay wise, is that Dragons Lair is purely reactionary and linear (since its styled like a movie and has a pace like a movie)
    You don't decide, you react, fail, and then adjust that reaction till its the right one to progress in the story.

    From what I hear (/played from the first episode! XD) about TWD, is that, like Dragons Lair, it has a direction, key events still happen, but more variation, based on the input you give it when it puts you in the drivers seat to make decisions.
    (But also doesn't directly punish failure with hindered progress. At least nowhere near the masochistic extreme Dragon's lair does)

    Of course it also draws from traditional adventure games as well, though streamlined to try to keep a flow

    Now if you wanted a game that matches what people say about The Walking Dead in OPs post, then 999 and its sequel Virtue's Last Reward would be more appropriate.

    (Since they ARE visual novels with puzzle elements.)

    Edit: I'd also argue that TWD narratively sits between a film and a visual novel.
    More variable than a film, but visual novels often branch out a lot more, and can wildly change in style, plot, and key events.
    (Since they tend to be focused on the writing. Which is as linear as a writer would want to make it. TWD is based on a comic, which traditionally follows a linear structure like films and animation. Plus it would take too long to make a 3D game that branched out that much for a company that acts as a company first, with deadlines and expenses and all that! XD)
    (In the end of the day its normally quicker and easier to write variety than visually represent that)
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