Author Topic: First Person vs. Third Person in Adventure Games  (Read 6767 times)

Sir Perceval of Daventry

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First Person vs. Third Person in Adventure Games
« on: August 23, 2011, 09:23:29 AM »
This isn't an argument for or against First Person or Third Person graphics--This is something a little different. A seemingly minor, but to me, significant change, in adventure games, went from the protagonist being referred to as "You" to the protagonist being referred to by his/her name.

For example, in KQ's 1-4, the player is referred to as "you" by the narrator. Not Graham, Alex or Rosella. The narrator also often directs comments straight at you in the early games, besides giving the standard descriptions--for example, in KQ4, if you type in for Rosella to undress, the narrator tells you, "Not in front of the players." But in KQ5, it changes. The narrator becomes only a vehicle to describe the environment or an action; the narrator is no longer a "character" in some ways; also, the protagonist is no longer called "you", it's Graham. Subsequent games follow this--in KQ6, the narrator refers to the protagonist as "Alexander", etc.

I think this small change in the interaction between the game and the player is significant, in that it in a way removes you somewhat from the game. The player character is no longer you, it's a character you play--it's a subtle, but significant difference.

Offline MusicallyInspired

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Re: First Person vs. Third Person in Adventure Games
« Reply #1 on: August 23, 2011, 09:35:42 AM »
I believe this played a part in the eventual dumbing down of adventure games. From parser to P&C, from P&C to single-icon click (with absolutely no narrator), and eventually to the almost 70%-cinematic games that Telltale are now making.

Although, I wouldn't go as far as to say the narrator can't be a character. SQ4 and SQ6, for instance, both refer to the character as Roger but he also includes the player sometimes "We now join Roger as he...." etc. And also he and Roger converse quite a bit.
« Last Edit: August 23, 2011, 11:22:12 AM by MusicallyInspired »

Offline KatieHal

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Re: First Person vs. Third Person in Adventure Games
« Reply #2 on: August 23, 2011, 11:07:55 AM »
I got just as into the third-person narration games as the first-person, so I'd really call it a matter of preference.

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Offline Baggins

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Re: First Person vs. Third Person in Adventure Games
« Reply #3 on: August 23, 2011, 11:37:02 AM »
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For example, in KQ's 1-4, the player is referred to as "you" by the narrator. Not Graham, Alex or Rosella. The narrator also often directs comments straight at you in the early games, besides giving the standard descriptions--for example, in KQ4, if you type in for Rosella to undress, the narrator tells you, "Not in front of the players." But in KQ5, it changes. The narrator becomes only a vehicle to describe the environment or an action; the narrator is no longer a "character" in some ways; also, the protagonist is no longer called "you", it's Graham. Subsequent games follow this--in KQ6, the narrator refers to the protagonist as "Alexander", etc.

While during the main game, there are usually the use of "you". They are definitely called Graham, Alex or Rosella by the narrator a few times.
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Offline Damar

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Re: First Person vs. Third Person in Adventure Games
« Reply #4 on: August 23, 2011, 07:09:28 PM »
I can definitely think of times when KQ4 still refers to Rosella as "you."  Off the top of my head I can't think of any time when KQ5 does that and I'm nearly 100% certain that KQ6 never does.  I'd agree with Katie that it never made a difference to me, though.  I don't think it changed the tone of the series or the specific games.  I was always immersed whether the game referred to me in the 2nd person or the 3rd person (albeit by a name that wasn't mine.)

An exception is SQ which I don't think was ever consistent on the "you" versus Roger (or whatever you named him in the first two.  I called him Han.  Han Skywalker.)  I think a major reason the narration wasn't consistent was because while the game was about Roger the writers just couldn't give up making fun of "you" directly.

Offline darthkiwi

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Re: First Person vs. Third Person in Adventure Games
« Reply #5 on: August 23, 2011, 07:27:29 PM »
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I believe this played a part in the eventual dumbing down of adventure games.

How does that work? Why is switching narrative viewpoint considered a negative thing? Yes, it's an *evolution* of some sort, but not necessarily dumbing down.

Who is to say which is more "complex"? On the one hand, perhaps referring to the avatar as a separate character is more complex, since it differentiates between player and avatar: it's no longer just "you -> game world" but "you -> avatar -> game world". But perhaps referring directly to "you" is somehow more complex, since that involves the player more directly and therefore takes the player right into the game, unmediated by an avatar? My point is, I don't think you can pin this "dumbing down of adventure games" on something as indefinable as perspective change.

Also, referring to the player as "you" is not first person, it's second person. If the game were first person it would refer to the player as "I". Now that would be an intriguing perspective.
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Offline MusicallyInspired

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Re: First Person vs. Third Person in Adventure Games
« Reply #6 on: August 23, 2011, 09:19:19 PM »
I didn't say it was solely responsible, but it made it easier for the dumbing down process to escalate with each new game. It played a very small role. It was a change in style of writing that reflected the type of user interface.

Take the AGI games for instance. You had a parser interface and you typed in whatever you wanted to do and you had to be specific. You couldn't just type "use boudler" you had to be specific about what you're supposed to do with it, at least most of the time (up until SCI0 games where the narration was starting to shift and you could type simple commands, and also the right mouse button would look at objects. A sign of things to come). This is arguably the interface that gives the player the most control. Thus to reflect that the narration was styled and directed to that of the player and not the character.

When the games switched over completely to P&C you didn't really have full control over your character anymore. All you could do was click a hand icon on and object and the character would decide what the best course of action would be. Whether it be use, push, pick up, or something else. The focus shifted from the player to the character and you were moreso telling the character what to do rather than doing everything yourself. And again the narration reflected that. It was the character in the game this time who actually had a personality of his own as opposed to older games where they didn't have a personality but what you gave him because you were typing in everything to say and do specifically. In P&C you just click talk and the character chooses something to say himself based on his personality.

Again, forward to KQ7. No narrator at all as far as I know, correct? Now the interface is dumbed down to just a single option click interface that only works on specific objects and lights up to let you know which ones they are. Then you just click on it and the character just does whatever she thinks is best. You're not even telling her what to do anymore you're just suggesting "Hey check this out. What's that over there?" And she explains it herself to you the player. The character is in almost complete control.

I know it's small but I never said it was the sole reason. Again, I only meant that it was a subtle change that represented the continuing dumbing down of the game interface. It played a part.


Also, I realize I have a series of run-on sentences here but it's late and I'm tired....I'm usually a little more careful but I just don't care right now. lol
« Last Edit: August 23, 2011, 09:25:12 PM by MusicallyInspired »

Offline Fierce Deity

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Re: First Person vs. Third Person in Adventure Games
« Reply #7 on: August 23, 2011, 11:52:56 PM »
I prefer the third-person perspective in Adventure games. I play adventure games to be told a story of great interest. It appeals to me not whether I should be a part of this story. Besides, I have a firm grip on reality. I know that I'll never be the prince of Daventry or a Freelance Policeman.  :'(
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Offline MusicallyInspired

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Re: First Person vs. Third Person in Adventure Games
« Reply #8 on: August 24, 2011, 12:07:20 AM »
I play adventures for the story and for the puzzles. It's a hand-in-hand thing to me. You can't have one without the other without having the game suffer for it.