So, almost 15 years latter I decide to buy Alone in the Dark on GOG (first time I played it I had a pirate copy), just so I could beat the game once and for all. I remember getting pretty far in the game, but I couldn't finish it because I didn't know what to do in a certain puzzle. Later, my save game file wouldn't work anymore, and I just quit it. I then read that the puzzle I quit was the very last one, and I remember reading that the solution was a very simple one.
Well, playing it this time was quite fun, I didn't remember all the puzzles so it was almost like playing for the first time. Then I get to the same puzzle and try the solution I remember reading in that walkthough, only to discover that it didn't work. I kept trying different solutions, to no avail. O decide to take a quick glance on a walkthrough (you know, sweeping through words without reading it properly), to see if something would help me, but trying not to read it so I wouldn't feel guilty of cheating. Then I end up reading the solution. =/ Man, what a shitty feeling. I mean, beating a game after reading a walkthrough to solve the last puzzle feels like not beating the game at all. Worse yet, it feels I'm stuck with an unbeatable game forever, unless it passes enough time so I forget the whole solution (which I think is pretty much impossible at this time).
So, kids, listen to this grumpy old man: don't ever read walkthroughs, don't cheat. Crime doesn't pay.
Yeah, I hate that feeling. Although it applies more to spoilers for me. Never look at cut scenes from a game your playing on You Tube if you haven't finished it yet. Trust me. :( Still, walkthroughs are necessary sometimes. I would have never beaten Syberia if I hadn't looked at a walkthrough. That drink puzzle nearly drove me insane! I still have the answer written down in case I ever forget it again.
I never get this feeling. Then again, I check walkthroughs after being stuck more than 2-3 minutes in any situation in any game. Also, I rarely finish games now. I found it's most satisfying when you quit a game while it still feels new.
Whaaa? How could you ever master a game then and brag about how good you are at it (Is it just console gamers who do that?) if you never play it till the end?
How could you ever master a game then and brag about how good you are at it
I have never, ever bragged about being good at playing a video game. Actually the whole concept of being good or bad at playing games is totally alien to me. I mean, I understand that people can be more or less proficient in reaction, problem-solving, tactical thinking, and whatever, but it simply means nothing to me when applied to video games. Every time I see a guy posting a video of how he beat a game on hardest difficulty (and sometimes with self-imposed handicaps) I have exactly the same feeling as when I see people competing in eating hamburgers within a time limit or something like that.
(Edited by DANIEL HAWKS ! (1843), Oct 23, 2011)Re: Crime doesn't pay
DANIEL HAWKS ! (1843), Oct 23, 2011
I have the opposite reaction I guess. I'm amazed when I see somebody pull off a combo I haven't been able to master, or complete a shooter on a few credits. I know I'm not nearly as good as a lot of other players, so I don't brag. They earned the right to brag about beating a game if they can back it up like that.
YID YANG Wrote:
Always felt the same way, though lately I feel like I've been getting grumpier about it. If it's an older adventure, I'd almost rather just follow the walkthrough from the start than spend hours in a loop trying everything. I do remember some enjoyment in keeping a game around for months, having various "ah-ha!" moments during the day, and then trying those potential solutions. Now I barely give a game that chance.
Just yesterday I was furious at Arkham City for throwing a bunch of thugs at me on my way toward the ending. I wasn't interesting in showing off skill in the slightest - I wanted the rest of my story, dammit, and this gameplay was getting in the way!
Maybe it's an artifact of getting older. Maybe I'm just an ass.
I was reading your post till the end thinking that it will have something to do with your pirate copy :>
Yeah, reading walkthroughs spoils the fun for me, that's why I was never a fan of adventure games... most of the time the solution is far from being logical and I'm not an immortal to spend years trying every possible combination.
I'd have hard time to list adventures I completed without cheating. I guess "Under a Killing Moon" was a real exception for me.
Don't worry about ruining AITD2, a timing bug will already have ruined that one for you.
And which puzzle was it anyway?
WARNING, SPOILER ALERT!
The last one, the tree one. You know, what you have to do to destroy it.
END OF SPOILER.
Don't worry about ruining AITD2, a timing bug will already have ruined that one for you.
Really? Man, that sucks, I just downloaded and installed it. Is it avoidable?
I figured it would be that one. Also got stuck there back then (actually, we were like 6 different people playing it, and we all got stuck).
While I do agree about the crappy feeling of pseudo-cheating by having to resort to a walkthrough, this is one of the cases where I think it's justified, because I consider this a textbook example of crappy game design: The solution involves doing something you never had to do before, so you would hardly figure it out by thinking --in the best of cases you'd solve it by blind luck. While there is a real-world logic behind the solution, it's not necessarily a game-world logic, which is what really counts in a game.
One of the reasons I fell bad about this game in special is that the books in it usually tell you the solution to its puzzles, and it wasn't different in this case. The game gives you several clues about the identity of the main bad guy, the last book tells you explicitly who he is. The death of the main bad guy is described in two or three books, and it is consistent with the puzzle solution. So yeah, you never had to do that before, but it isn't as if the game didn't give you any clue of what you had to do.
When I first played it my English was a lot worse so maybe I didn't get all the references, but it wasn't the case this time. And I must say that I didn't spend much time trying this time.
I don't know, I guess that I'm one of those guys who never blame the game designer, at least when it comes to adventure games. Action games are another story: in that case, I blame the designer, but I refrain from cheating also.
For instance, I recently finished Psychonauts. I saw a lot of people bashing the last level, saying it was too difficult and whatnot. I for one think that it was challenging, but not "too damn hard". It took half a dozen tries, but it wasn't impossible, so I didn't curse the developers. BloodRayne, OTOH, is whole different story. The last boss was simply impossible for me and I surely blamed the developers. And I quit, I didn't cheat; I remember reading people saying that even cheating the boss was impossible.
I see that a lot of people here don't feel bad about reading walkthroughs for adventure games, but for me, doing it is like giving your controller to a friend so he can pass a difficult part on an action game. That's why I feel subtracted from the feeling of beating the game: passing that particular part isn't "my" achievement, is someone other's.
I don't remember that, but if it's true, then this is the kind of detail that would revert the blame back to me and let the developers off the hook. When I was writing that I was precisely thinking about how the texts in the game usually give you hints and stuff, and I didn't remember reading one about this puzzle. If there was indeed such a book, then I'm sorry Infogrames, I guess I was just very stupid.
That's getting old for you. Welcome to getting old!
Replaying old games I noticed just how impatient I've grown with this kind of thing as well. I can't even play adventures anymore because the classic "dialogus interruptus" conversation system of the genre already gets on my nerves like you wouldn't believe; so having to rub every item in the inventory all over the screen with the hope that I'll randomly stumble on the solution to a puzzle is a complete no-go.
And it goes even further. Not long ago I wanted to replay that part in Metal Gear Solid 2 where you take down a Harrier with a bazooka because I had these fond memories of the whole thing being so spectacular and rewarding and whatnot. I played the game for about 7 minutes before I kicked it off my hard disk forever. I can't believe there was a time I was willing to put up with such an abomination of a control interface for all those hours.
Keep in mind that you probably played the new, revamped version of Psychonauts (with the achievements and whatnot), and DF has gone on record as saying they tweaked the Meat Circus to make it significantly less punishing now.
The "never say die" approach to adventure gaming is unique to our generation I think -- old enough to have PLAYED adventure games, but not young enough to have been on the ground while the first wave of them brutally unfolded across the landscape, callously smacking players across the face with unfairness. Take a look at the "scorpion" part of this post.
My recollection is that AITD wasn't terribly well-hinted; plenty of text to establish atmosphere, but things that may have been patently obvious in the original French were only hand-waved at in the final translation.
I certainly played harder adventure games than AITD, but yeah, that doesn't mean that it was crystal clear with its in game hints. I never though about the French-to-English aspect of the in game text, though.
As Doc said, back in the day I was a lot more patient with the whole "click all items in your inventory in every possible pixel in the screen" approach. Growing old sucks, it seems.
Games made for the young are stuffed with filler (hello, view-constrained maze in AITD which you have to navigate what, three times?) My time is more important now so if I can streamline out the filler, that would be great, thank you.
The success of the graphic adventure's click-all-combinations-of-items-and-locations approach is that even a hundred clicks can be done very quickly... exhausting all possibilities in a text parser is a drag (except in Aisle and Podd!)
I played through it the first time around so it was on the intended hardware; I'm told that Neptune's trident atop the staircase strikes you down too fast to dodge (or the other, unspecified action you're supposed to do) due to relying on very specific hardware timing. You may be able to pick up play from a saved game after that point?
I know the feeling, but these days I get over it quite quickly. Either it's a game I really enjoy playing, then I don't even get the urge to cheat. It's the puzzling and also the getting lost and feeling stumped that are part of what makes the game fun, and I will appreciate that the game manages to occupy me for such a long time. I.e. I don't try to shorten the experience, it would feel like switching to Cliff's Notes halfway through a book I love reading.
But if it does become more of a hassle and a challenge and I am tempted to cheat just to see the ending, it's because I feel the game is no longer worth my time. Wouldn't want to play it anymore anyway, just want to have narrative closure for what I've already seen. For a very short moment I might have the feeling that I could have enjoyed it a little more had I just tried a little longer, but this quickly passes with one glance at my backlog of other great games in which I'd rather invest my spare time.
For me it's pretty much between myself and myself. ))
If I resort to cheating in an adventure game, I consider the solution. I blame game designers if the solution is contrived and out of the blue. I blame myself if it's something I could've figured out. But I never feel spoiled or robbed of "finished the game" feeling.
And I never ever cheat in action or strategy game. These games should have proper difficulty settings. If they don't, I really have little appreciation for them.
Having said that, I really enjoy some insanely difficult indie platformers as of late like Super Meat Boy or Mega Man 9. But these games usually make it so that deaths are unobtrusive to the experience as possible.
Have anyone played recent KEYBOARD DRUMSET FUCKING WEREWOLF? It's one of those I couldn't complete on my own. But I enjoyed every minute of it and watched the rest on youtube.
If it makes you feel any better the original AiTD's were the epytome of the completely rigid european adventure design mantra in which you really have to profile the designers and think "what would a psychotic french designer think makes sense in this situation?" rather than follow any logic path to problem-solving.
I love these things! Only 2 or 3 years later you can play the game again, because the stuff makes so little sense there's no way you'll remember the solutions.
I don't know what it is, but for some reason I've always had problems with french game design. It's just not that compatible with me. Not to say there are no good games from the country, but there's always that little something there that just feels a little "off" to me.
They just try to be "artsy-fartsy" too hard, and often in wrong direction. Usual sin of young artists (or self-proclaimed artists, ahem...).
Say "Post Mortem".
The setting simply begs for proper stylization, they could have plenty of material - either authentic (e.g. music from old records) or created for the game yet faking the old style.
What do I see? Plenty of goth/emo stuff, all this "City of Lost Children" weird style etc. I'm suprised they didn't want to aim for recreating old Paris atmosphere?
Still, I'm rather happy to have them around doing their insanity. Videogames would be much more boring if we only had the US/Japan school of designs to provide games.
(Edited by Daniel Saner (2319), Nov 07, 2011)Re: Crime doesn't pay
Daniel Saner (2319), Nov 07, 2011
I think the French are some of the best at creating fantastic worlds, and telling nice stories. I don't mean that they're the only ones who can do it, or that they make better games in general. But just looking at the distribution over all games, how many games come from France and how many from elsewhere in the world, an insanely disproportionate amount of titles I'd call beautiful or charming or touching come from French developers.
I even made a little GOGmix, they're very present over there.[/plug] Out of the ones I very fondly remember, only Lost Eden seems to be (still) missing. Although I believe that wasn't a very good game, simply a beautiful one :)
"Art for art's sake" is something you can't really say anyway, because you can never know what something means or doesn't mean to other people, usually if people call something artsy or pretentious (my most-hated word in the whole world, all languages considered), they just mean that it's not to their taste. It's not about what it is, but how you read it. Sure there are tools who just try to copy trends, but even then you can't dismiss it if they strike it lucky and it actually ends up meaning something to some people. (See the old fallacy of "I could've done that.") In the case of the French I think it is really more of a cultural issue. I cannot really read reviews of European films by most U.S. film critics because they usually end up calling them boring and pretentious, and when I read their reasons it's like they weren't even watching the same film. After years of trying to convince myself of the opposite, I end up accepting that European and U.S. tastes often just are too incompatible.
I agree that the French have given the world a disproportionally high amount of good games; what's more, they have a unique way of making games that can hardly be confused with others.
However, their "art above all" philosophy is clearly evident. This also explains the affinity of many French gamers and developers to Japanese rather than American games (same way as French composers of the past broke away from mainstream German style and turned towards Russians and even more exotic cultures). They value aesthetical elements of games above all - and indeed, sometimes forget about the gameplay when doing so.
(Edited by Daniel Saner (2319), Nov 08, 2011)Re: Crime doesn't pay
Daniel Saner (2319), Nov 08, 2011
YID YANG Wrote:
Yes, of course that's a way of looking at it. What I don't agree with is the idea that this style is inherently about trying to create just the semblance of a deep game, with dozens of metaphorical and philosophical layers, while actually it's all just for show and pretend. Rather, it's a different approach to achieve certain goals, like invoking a certain emotion or atmosphere, one that might make some people think that it's just "artsy-fartsy", but it really is just a different language so to say. Just like, for example, the gargantuan eyes of anime drawing styles, which serve a clear purpose, but might just look weird or silly to people from other cultures who aren't used to it (they do to me, incidentally).
The "art above all" also really sums up some French developers like the late Cryo. They were basically a CGI production company, which decided to add a few interactive elements to their sequences and sell them as games instead of films. Render movies were the be-all and end-all of their games, but it doesn't mean that they weren't good games, or didn't tell good stories etc.; it was just a different focus and different way of going about things.
Edit: Coincidentally, GOG.com just released Fahrenheit/Indigo Prophecy today :)