Poll

Of these which do you think is worst aspect of adventure game puzzzle design.

Mazes
Tile/Jumping/Slider puzzles
Box puzzles
Standard/Cliched puzzle design (Door, key, and newspaper, etc)
Conversation-style puzzles
'Fetch Quests'
Rube Goldberg/MacGyver (unusual use of mundane items to solve puzzles)
Dead-ends
Deaths
no-deaths
Action/Arcade/Mini-games/Combat, etc (hybrids: QFG, Iceman, KQ8, Indiana Jones, Mean Streets, Conquests, Beyond Zork, Dreamfall, Freddy Pharkas, SQ, PQ, Inca, etc).
ingame hint system
no hint system
Linear or chapter-based
Non-linear
Parser (requires typing)
Multi-cursor & menus or verb menus (no typing)
Simplified menus (one or limited  # of cursors)
Dumbed down context sensitive cursors or highlighted items (telling you what can be interacted with, i.e. KQ7/KQ8)
The graphic system influence on puzzles (text or graphics 2-d or 3-d)
Treasure hunts (Zork Trilogy, KQ1, KQ2, etc)
Physics and Environmental puzzles
Useless Items/Red Herrings
CYOA Book-style puzzles (visual novels/interactive movie adventure genres)
Gatekeeping/checkpoint progression (visible or invisible)
Timed puzzles

Author Topic: Worst aspects of adventure game puzzle design!  (Read 39090 times)

Offline Fierce Deity

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Re: Worst aspects of adventure game puzzle design!
« Reply #60 on: August 13, 2011, 12:12:28 PM »
Rather than discussing the difficulty of KQ5's puzzles (considering that none of the puzzles were really that difficult), wouldn't it rather be pertinent to discuss the logic of the puzzles? So in this case, was there a movie where some guy threw a pie at a yeti, or was it truly a "there is no other item in your inventory that would be able to ward off a yeti, so use a pie" kind of puzzle?
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Offline Demidronik

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Re: Worst aspects of adventure game puzzle design!
« Reply #61 on: August 13, 2011, 02:19:51 PM »
It wasn't a difficult puzzle per say, you just had to try every item in your inventory on the yeti until one of them worked. You had a hammer in your inventory at the time, to me it seems like a hammer would be better to bludgeon a yeti to death with than a pie. Also beasts in this game seem to like the music from your harp or your tambourine, why not use one of them to soothe the beast.
Earlier in the game graham is dying of hunger, it would not be a jump in logic to assume that you could satiate his hunger with the pie. (not sure if it will let you eat the pie at that point in the game)
It just feels like a jump in logic to assume that the pie will kill the yeti. I tried throwing the pie at the witch earlier on in the game and it didn't kill her. This pie will ONLY kill yetis, I guess it is yeti killing flavor.

Offline Fierce Deity

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Re: Worst aspects of adventure game puzzle design!
« Reply #62 on: August 13, 2011, 03:08:55 PM »
It wasn't a difficult puzzle per say, you just had to try every item in your inventory on the yeti until one of them worked. You had a hammer in your inventory at the time, to me it seems like a hammer would be better to bludgeon a yeti to death with than a pie. Also beasts in this game seem to like the music from your harp or your tambourine, why not use one of them to soothe the beast.
Earlier in the game graham is dying of hunger, it would not be a jump in logic to assume that you could satiate his hunger with the pie. (not sure if it will let you eat the pie at that point in the game)
It just feels like a jump in logic to assume that the pie will kill the yeti. I tried throwing the pie at the witch earlier on in the game and it didn't kill her. This pie will ONLY kill yetis, I guess it is yeti killing flavor.

This is potentially what I was getting at earlier. The inventory in KQ5 wasn't the best, and a lot of the items were not tied to the puzzles with relevance or logic. Like catching a gnome with honey and gems? There was clearly not a fairy tale or a myth that would support any of the puzzles in this game. The puzzles might have been easy, but they still didn't make any sense.
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Offline Damar

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Re: Worst aspects of adventure game puzzle design!
« Reply #63 on: August 14, 2011, 01:31:42 PM »
In my opinion, catching the elf with the emerald/honey trap is the worst puzzle in King's Quest.  Possibly any game I've played.  It is a combination of everything that people have said is wrong with the game.  At least the original disk version of the game puzzle was.

All the other puzzles might be illogical, but you can figure them out just by clicking your inventory on everything.  Other nearly impossible puzzles, like the gnome's name in the original KQ1 or the bridle on the snake in KQ2 were difficult to the point of being impossible, but they didn't stop the game.  You could still get the key in KQ1 and you could pick your way through the brambles in KQ2 (it was very, very hard but possible.)

The elf trap had no context though.  It is the textbook illogical McGyver puzzle.  Sure, maybe I can see elves wanting emeralds, but you didn't know they were elves at first.  Just that they were glowing eyes.  But that was only half the issue.  In the original disk version, you had interface problems as well.  KQ5 was completely new as far as the interface.  So you had this pouch but you could no longer type "open pouch."  And when you click it on Graham, you just get the red x of doom.  I could never even get to the illogic of the elf puzzle because I couldn't get the pouch open in the first place!  In the CD ROM game they simplified it by putting the hand icon in the inventory itself.  In the original disk version of the game, though, you had to pull up the inventory, then go up to the icon bar and select the hand icon.  This sounds simple, but if you think about it, every game prior in the old interface paused the game when you selected the inventory.  You couldn't do actions with the inventory screen up, outside of look at the objects (if you clicked F4 and could select them).  So the concept of accessing the icon bar from the inventory screen was completely alien and never occurred to me.  I think it took a call to the Sierra hint line to have them tell my family and I how to do it.  In my opinion, the new interface caused a lot of difficulties with KQ5.  The scenes with the cat and the Roc in particular still jar me because the icon would change to a crown, which you've been conditioned to think means you can't do anything.  But it's a different type of crown which means you have a limited number of actions you can do if you access the icon bar.  Even to this day my thought process in the Roc's nest is, "Ok I need that necklace.  I need that necklace.  As soon as my icon comes back...OH SHOOT ITS HATCHING GIVE ME MY ICON GIVE ME MY...oh right, I have control still.  Stupid crown..."

Anyway, I guess what I'm saying is that in the case of KQ5, the puzzles never bothered me a ton.  That particular game suffered from the fact that the interface wasn't perfected.  It might have been a first for King's Quest, and for computer games in general, but it had flaws to work out.

Offline darthkiwi

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Re: Worst aspects of adventure game puzzle design!
« Reply #64 on: August 14, 2011, 04:54:57 PM »
I completely agree about both the pie and the elf-honey-emeralds puzzles. I think Sierra as a company didn't take the player's experience into account enough. They built these amazing worlds and came up with these strange puzzles to allow you to progress through them, but I seldom get the sense that they looked at the game from the *player's* perspective, but always from the *designer's*. It's as though they were building these games for themselves, rather than as things to be navigated by others, which is why playing them can sometimes feel like reading the developer's mind.

Does anyone else sometimes get this impression? Or is it just me?
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Offline Delling

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Re: Worst aspects of adventure game puzzle design!
« Reply #65 on: August 14, 2011, 05:31:18 PM »
The earlier games had hints that made the player's actions sensible. (Ok, in KQ2, with "throw baby bridle at snake", that wasn't really hinted at, BUT it just required you to think: "this is a Sierra game... ?I played KQ1? ...killing is seldom the solution or if it is a solution, it is not the best one" (though from that to "throw baby bridle at snake" is a bit much... but that's because it was a text parser... I wonder what commands would have worked for that...).

Actually, I think 5 was the worst for this. Generally, there were hints if you talked to and looked at EVERYTHING, even in 6 and 7... we are not talking about 8. :P An exception might be that The Catacombs...

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Offline Fierce Deity

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Re: Worst aspects of adventure game puzzle design!
« Reply #66 on: August 14, 2011, 09:39:58 PM »
I completely agree about both the pie and the elf-honey-emeralds puzzles. I think Sierra as a company didn't take the player's experience into account enough. They built these amazing worlds and came up with these strange puzzles to allow you to progress through them, but I seldom get the sense that they looked at the game from the *player's* perspective, but always from the *designer's*. It's as though they were building these games for themselves, rather than as things to be navigated by others, which is why playing them can sometimes feel like reading the developer's mind.

Does anyone else sometimes get this impression? Or is it just me?

Nah, I feel that way too. I used Telltale's repertoire as another example for illogical puzzles, and a lot of the time, the answer will make sense after the fact, but the progression up to that point shows no context. Which would only mean that the designers would be able to get through just fine, but the player would have to randomly click around the screen until something happens.
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