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The Grumpy Gamer Speaks 163

Ron Gilbert, well-known for his work during the golden age of LucasArts adventure games, is also well known as The Grumpy Gamer. Gamasutra has up an interview with Gilbert, discussing his career in the post-Threepwood period of his life. From the article: "It's actually kind of frightening, you know. You sit down with a publisher and the minute you mention anything like an adventure game or something story-based or adventure-game-like in any way, the meeting's basically over. So the publishers do have a huge resistance to this. And I think a lot of it is that they cannot point to anything like this that is successful in the market today. So it's very difficult for them to put anything behind it. It's a very difficult process."
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The Grumpy Gamer Speaks

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  • games today are lacking in story and adventure when compared to games of old. Sure they look great, but they lack that compelling factor.
    • Re:Agreed, (Score:3, Insightful)

      by abscissa ( 136568 )
      games today are lacking in story and adventure when compared to games of old. Sure they look great, but they lack that compelling factor.

      That isn't a problem for everyone. If I am playing a game with cutscenes, stories, etc. I always skip them. Is the idea that I am supposed to "pretend" to be the character and become engrossed in pathetically scripted storylines? Please. Most people have trouble enough distinguishing reality in the first place [wikipedia.org]. It is important to distinguish in your mind that your "desktop
      • Re:Agreed, (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Ohreally_factor ( 593551 ) on Monday July 03, 2006 @08:06PM (#15653822) Journal
        Over reliance on cut scenes and expositive narrative techniques are a sign of weak story telling in the game genre. A good game that tells a good story needn't depend on these. In fact (I think you'd agree from what you're telling me) they get in the way.

        Perhaps what Game companies need to do is hire a dramaturge [bartleby.com].
        • I don't know, I really enjoyed Max Payne. True, it's no Quest for Glory, or Monkey Island, but as for a FPS with a story, I liked it.

          -Rick
          • I played Max Payne on a console, and I liked it as well. The cut scenes were in a comic book format, and you could quickly skip with them the press of a button IIRC.

            Anyway, it took a few years for editing techniques and a semiotics of film to emerge after film became a popular entertainment. Many aspects film language that we don't even think twice about were developed thru trial and error. What had worked in the past on the stage floor didn't work as well in the new medium. There were growing pains. I susp
        • Re:Agreed, (Score:3, Interesting)

          I'd argue with you over this, there are some games who tell a lot of the story in cut scenes of one form or another and do it extremely well. Resident evil for example does it well, the plot is perfectly b-movie grade and works awesomely witht he cut scenes.

          I tink people forget something. Games are all different, some games suit some things and other games suit other things. I'm an old school RPG player so I perfer my characters to talk in text and cut scenes more or less to start and end the game (Tales of
    • I guess you aren't old enough to remember when most games didn't have a story at all, and we're mosty twitch fests. Even the games that had a pretense of a story were often basic dungeon crawls.

    • Re:Agreed, (Score:4, Funny)

      by servognome ( 738846 ) on Tuesday July 04, 2006 @02:39AM (#15655082)
      games today are lacking in story and adventure when compared to games of old. Sure they look great, but they lack that compelling factor.

      How can we forget the amazing plot twists of Pac-Man, not to mention the surprise ending! And no other game tells the story of the futility of mankind's survival like Asteroids.
      • How can we forget the amazing plot twists of Pac-Man, not to mention the surprise ending! And no other game tells the story of the futility of mankind's survival like Asteroids.


        I thought it was Pac-man the described the futility of modern life. Search for Page 12 [platypuscomix.net]; I couldn't find a direct link.
    • Re:Agreed, (Score:3, Interesting)

      Actually, many games attempt to rectify this, and fail miserably. The standard nowadays is an incredibly hackneyed, tacky, cliched and, if voice talent is present, terribly overacted plotline. Most this/next gen storylines are an embarrassment, and generally you want to wear headphones in case anyone happens to overhear the mortifying content that's sold as "compelling story". Usually, it's boisterous californians, complete with modern san francisco mores, transplanted into a sci-fi or medival fantasy world
  • Maybe you should try shopping your game around to some of the self funded developers instead of the publishing houses.

    Like id, 3DRealms, or Epic.
  • by MagicDude ( 727944 ) on Monday July 03, 2006 @07:04PM (#15653516)
    The grumpy gamer ended his interview by shaking his fist and yelling "You damn kids! Get of my LAN!!"
  • by Colourspace ( 563895 ) on Monday July 03, 2006 @07:06PM (#15653530)
    Some of the best gaming moments I ever had were from the Monkey Island/Sam and Max/Day of the Tentacle days. Never played them but from what I know Full Throttle and Grim fandango did extremely well critically too - I should also include Psychonauts here too, a game which I have absolutely caned recently?. For contrast I have had many other great gaming moments RE4, Bubble Bobble, Gradius etc.. You know what I'm trying to say. Fuck the publishers they really ought to look further than the balance sheet if they want their (read:our) industry to survive past PacManBisexual.
    • Monkey Island/Sam and Max/Day of the Tentacle
      Those are still some of my best games ever. I've played quite some adventures, but these 3 are unmatched. Larry and space quest were great too, but they were less than MI, S&M and DotT.
      If another MI, S&M and/or DotT would be released I would buy it. Right at the release date. But apparently the publishers believe I'm the only one who would.
  • Um, what? (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Kuciwalker ( 891651 )
    And I think a lot of it is that they cannot point to anything like this that is successful in the market today.
    Um, what? Zelda, Oblivion, KOTOR, a million other highly successful story-based and/or adventure games?
    • Those games, although they contain a plot, are not plot orientated. The story in the games that you listed is there more as a secondary feature, not the primary. Those games are mainly about living out your own character, not telling a story

      In KOTOR after the initial few sequences (about to the point you get out of the academy) the plot is put on hold until the last level. Sure there are sub plots to go through and a munch of mini missions along the way but the main plot doesn't continue anymore until the c
      • I still don't see the difference. Take a game like "The Dig", which IIRC was basically a SCUMM based Story driven game(I really enjoyed it but never got to play Monkey Island myself), like Monkey Island, and compare it to KOTOR and the differences are minor.

        KOTOR adds an RPG element, and the battle element, but it has puzzles to solve, and ways to do it non-violently via conversation. And the plot isn't put on hold till you get out of the academy, its more like part of the story, you are stuck on a planet u
      • "If you were to write down the plot of KOTOR it would only end up being a few pages long, a short story or at most a novella." You can write the dialog of Once Upon a Time in the West on about 12 pages. It still was a great movie and told a great story. And not only that, it was a long movie. I haven't played KOTOR but I'm just saying that your metric is flawed.

        • I think the metric isn't that far off then. That's saying that in the course of playing a game for 20+ hours you get 2 hours worth of character development and plot.

          That is one of the things that are different between writing for games and writing for movies. Movies only have to occupy your time and entertain you for 1 ½ - 3 hours, story based games should occupy your time for at least 10 - 30 hours.
      • Those games, although they contain a plot, are not plot orientated. The story in the games that you listed is there more as a secondary feature, not the primary. Those games are mainly about living out your own character, not telling a story

        In KOTOR after the initial few sequences (about to the point you get out of the academy) the plot is put on hold until the last level. Sure there are sub plots to go through and a munch of mini missions along the way but the main plot doesn't continue anymore until th

  • HalfLife 2 (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Audent ( 35893 ) <audent&ilovebiscuits,com> on Monday July 03, 2006 @07:56PM (#15653771) Homepage
    I have to say that's really why I was dissapointed in HalfLife2... the story simply didn't do it for me.

    HL was a journey. You started off with nothing and the character learned along the way... the bad guys changed and the demands on the player's abilities grew as well (this isn't a book it's a game. I want to learn stuff, even if it's how to take out the giant gorilla thing with the buzzy bee gun). By the end of the game I felt I'd done something.

    HL2 looked way cooler but really, where was the story? It was hit and run, shoot everything and then, THEN, just as you get to the big Boss fight at the end... we get the Matrix effect and you're away with the fairies. There was no upgrading of the bad guys along the way, no new skills (notice how the boat and the dune buggy handled the same way? Learn it once, use it again and again) and OK, I enjoyed sending the sand lions in to fight on my behalf but really, that was the high point.

    I'm not talking about the look (which was excellent) or the "feel" of the game (which I enjoyed) but the story line itself.
    • The story of Half-Life 2 wasn't just the journey, it was the atmposphere; Particular the early parts were you walk around with the general populace. And, the car and hovercraft didn't handle the same way; The hovercraft could turn and move more than the car (Especially in the air), and to my opinion the car could travel faster. But, you've got to remember that according to the physics system, they're both great big heavy lumps of metal.
    • Re:HalfLife 2 (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Vo0k ( 760020 )
      Troll - probably not. Maybe just misguided. HL2 was the sign of the coming crisis in the games world and it shares a small deal of problems with nowadays games, but it was about the last good game.

      Sure the ending was a cliffhanger, "to be continued..." and because of that, sucked. But you point out WRONG weaknesses.
      The story was good. Last good story to date. The climate, the world with the resistance, the post-soviet cities and rural areas, the oppression. The storytelling was great, with some even if clic
      • Ah, you may have hit the nail on the head there... I definitely wasn't trolling (despite the mod... ay caramba!) but my disappointment with HL2 was, as you say, because we were being fed through the story sausage machine rather than having a more open game play. Perhaps HL was the same and I just didn't notice, but in HL2 I thought it was quite blatent and really interfered with the fun. There were far more "let's explain what's going on" cut scene equivalents than I would have liked.. OK, it's a great way
  • to wondering why a publisher won't fund his game even though it'd probably be reasonable profitable. The answers obvious: games are so big right now, being a publisher's like a license to print money. Why waste even a few moments of time on a game that'd net you 1 million when there're others that'll get you 10 times that. Worse, no smart industry wants to risk fragmenting their market into niches if they can avoid it. That's why they music industry pumps out the same crap over and over again. That's what k
    • No, terrible localisations full of "clever" jokes, and lead voice-actors they'd literally pulled off the street are what killed Working Designs.
      • Their games where profitable, what ever you think of the localizations. If there games where profitable, why then did they shut down? From Victor Ireland we know they couldn't get Sony to greenlight their projects, and after years of tough battles they threw in the towel. Why wouldn't Sony ok projects from a sucessful (financially) developer?
        • My understanding is that Working Designs were ALWAYS on a knife-edge as far as profitability goes - they were working in a tiny niche. Sony weren't OKing projects because SCEA have all sorts of issues with the idea of allowing 2D games to be released in the US, which I know has caused problems for Atlus and Nippon Ichi.
  • by WidescreenFreak ( 830043 ) on Monday July 03, 2006 @08:02PM (#15653802) Homepage Journal
    Yes, the adventure genre had its golden hour back in the Sam and Max/Monkey Island days, but there are still companies that are dedicated to the genre. For example, I can't wait for the guys at TellTale [telltalegames.com] to release their first Sam and Max episode. (This is the company that was formed by those who were on the Sam and Max sequel team when LucasArts idiotically abandoned their Sam and Max development when it was estimated to be 90% finished.)

    You're not going to make a successful adventure game for $10 million. But you can certainly make successful one for one or $2 million.

    This really sums up the problem with the current video game industry. The big wigs apparently have this ridiculous attitude that spending more will mean earning more, but only with certain genres. Otherwise, it's just not worth it because they apparently believe that they "have" to spend big bucks. Look at how many licenses are purchased every year, particularly from sports organizations. You can't tell me that in all circumstances changing the offical logos, changing the names of the players, getting very talented voice actors who sound like the real announcers but cost 1/10th a much, but keeping the exact same game play suddenly means death for the game. People want games that they can play and enjoy. Changing a name from NFL to "Pro-Football" thereby saving who knows how many millions in licensing costs might turn a few narrow-minded morons away, but if the game is really good, people will buy it. History has shown that time and time again. A probably-now-forgotten company originally called "Apogee" comes to mind.

    And that brings up another question. Does he really need a publisher? With electronic distributions as popular as they are, the increase in the number of people who have broadband, and the increasing popularity of delivery methods like Steam, does any game company really need a distributor to hold them back from at least an initial release - just enough to get the word spreading about the games that he releases? Again, look at Apgoee and its associated company iD, both of which were very popular from the electronic/shareware release method. No, it won't work with all types of games, but in this world of broadband and the Internet, where we only had dial-up and BBSes, I think that electronic distributin has a much better opportunity for success than ever.

    Just my two cents.
    • Am I the only one here that feels uneasy about TellTale Games? I guess it's just because their web site makes it seem as if they actually made Grim Fandango and Sam and Max 2 - games that in reality certain members of their team worked on, and one of which was never even finished. It sits uneasy with me, knowing that Tim Schafer, the real creative engine behind Grim Fandango, is out there running his own indie game studio and not padding his resume with every game project he ever worked on. It just feels
    • And to confirm your claims, the most successful soccer console game is Konami's Evolution Pro which is not FIFA-licenced and therefore it contains imaginary names and logos (of course it costs 60 euros, but that's another story).
    • There are both advantages and disadvantages to creating an unlicensed football video game. In my opinion, one of the prime disadvantages is that many people buy the licensed game because they want a NFL simulator. They want to create teams of familiar players, based on their statistics during a given seasons and to play out games using these carefully-crafted teams. They also like the ease of recognizing the skills of a player without having to carefully read the statistic sheets. If the player's stats
    • I really like the concept of electronic distributions, although I may be biased because the game quality in my experience has been so much better than my typical impulse retail pick (e.g.: Stardock, Steam).

      But an initial release is EXACTLY where I think most developers still need a publisher (even if they want to take that role themselves). Getting the word of mouth out there does not seem that easy, Internet or not. I doubt I would have heard of the GalCiv2 release if I had not both played the original Gal
  • by Sathias ( 884801 ) on Monday July 03, 2006 @08:03PM (#15653805)
    One of the things that made adventure games good back in the day is that if you got stuck on a puzzle, you really had to nut it out. Walkthroughs and hints were not as easy to come by. Much of the gameplay in an adventure game is the solving of the puzzles, if you can easily get help when you get stuck, there isn't that much gameplay in such games. I think this is why games like Psychonauts are the next logical step, they have similar elements but more elements to them than the old adventure games that are purely problem solving.
    • There were hints and walkthroughs back in the day, they just weren't free -- in fact, this was part of the business model for many old adventure games and was thus part of the reason why some of them were so difficult to complete without any outside help. Personally, I don't mind easily-accessible hints, if only because I play adventure games for the story and the humour more than the puzzles themselves. Sure, I'd rather play through a game on my own, but sometimes I just don't notice that the third pixel
    • What about hint books and help lines? Publishers were more than happy to sell you the answers to the real stumpers. I have a couple of those ugly old white Sierra hintbooks with the red cellophane readers. They were $15, I believe, which is pretty steep now that I think of it.
  • Story-based games? (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Huh? No successful story-based games? What about (off the top of my head) ...

    - Baldur's Gate 2
    - Planescape: Torment
    - Star Wars: KOTOR 1
    - Oblivion
    - Neverwinter Nights
    - Diablo 2
    - Day of the Tentacle

    Not only do each of these games feature great stories, they are among the top-rated PC games of all time on sites like Metacritic [metacritic.com]. The raison d'etre for these games are their stories, and all of them were highly successful in stores.
    • Well, you've picked up on seven games. One of them was actually done by Ron's former partner, Tim Schaffer, back in the 'good old days.' Out of the remaining six, you could argue back and forth on whether they were story-based, or scenario-based, as Ron discusses. I haven't played Oblivion yet, but if it's like Morrowind, I'd give it a marginal rating on that scale. (Great game, but the degree to which the story was integral is arguable.)

      There are some out there--mostly coming out of Europe. Runaway is one
    • Planescape Torment sold like crap.

      And Diablo 2? Story based?

      Yeesh.
      • Planescape Torment sold like crap.

        Which is terribly sad, really. It has a cult following and all, but crap promotion may have had a hand in the game's miserable sales. I remember almost buying it new, but at the time I had never heard of it, the box art and unimpressive writeup on the back put me off, and I ended up taking home some long-since-forgotten PS1 game or something. Which is really a shame.. I'm playing through it for the first time now (off a reccommendation in a Slashdot comment, actually) an

    • Baldur's Gate 2, Planescape: Torment, Star Wars: KOTOR 1; OK, these are pretty much story-based.

      Oblivion. Even less story than Morrowind, which was pretty light on story anyway.

      Neverwinter Nights. Story? "Collect the four X's, then kill the evil wizard"-style. That is a typical example of what is mentioned as "not really a story" in TFA.

      Diablo 2. Story? HAH!

      Day of the Tentacle. Good story, but over a decade old.

      There are still story-based games out there, but there are very few. LucasArts, which w

  • by Cadallin ( 863437 ) on Monday July 03, 2006 @08:08PM (#15653826)
    To DO an adventure game nowadays? Let's say you wanted to do a SVGA (SCUMM-style) 256-color 640x480, animated, with full voice acting game? Let's say you pull all the stops, go whole hog, and get like, Tony DiTerlizzi to do your background paintings and Character designs, put together your own studio, etc? I mean, jesus, it probably wouldn't be more than like $500,000. How can the market NOT support this? Even with fairly modest sales you'd expect a couple million in revenue. Let's suppose you sell 60,000 units at full retail price of like $40 and recoup $20 of that after packaging and the retailors cut, that's still $1.2Million. And honestly I'd expect a game with decent writing and production values to EASILY sell in excess of a hundred thousand units.

    At this point I'd half expect someone to be able to make a game in their freaking basement, and then jump start a studio off just a few thousand digital download sales, with a few thousand in revenue. I mean really, we've got the Gimp, various free audio editing tools, Python is Free/Free. Studio recording equipment is Ass-cheap. What's stopping people?

    • You think anyone will buy a 640x480 game?

      Also one problem is that lots of people have LCD monitors. If you have a fixed resolution, you are either going to have to stretch it, or leave it in a window. Neither is acceptable. So you'll have to draw a number of different sizes, and have your engine choose the most approriate one.

      Also, if you are going "all-out", the amount the animation costs is surely going to compete with one, if not multiple episodes of say Futurama, Family Guy and similar. I think you unde
      • Good points, but it would be easy to draw at the largest size you want to support (maybe around 2000 pixels across) then scale it down, or use vector graphics, of course.

        I think the animation costs would be a bit less than the average TV show. The adventure games of old didn't have so many unique animations. A few walk cycles for each character would be needed, and the main character would need plenty of special animations, but they could keep the number down. I think that painting backgrounds would be wher
      • You think anyone will buy a 640x480 game?

        It's a niche market, sure, but FWIW, within the last year I bought two -- Monkey Island 3, and Planescape: Torment. (Actually, I'm not certain about Monkey Island 3, but I'm pretty certain Planescape is 640x480.)

      • You think anyone will buy a 640x480 game?

        Nintendo thinks more people will buy an affordable 480p console than an expensive 720p console. Yo muthafscka Wii!

        If you have a fixed resolution, you are either going to have to stretch it, or leave it in a window. Neither is acceptable.

        Why is stretching an image not acceptable? In 2006 we have smarter line art stretching algorithms such as Scale2x/Scale3x and hq2x/hq3x, and we have LCD HDTVs that stretch SDTV to 720p and also stretch 1080i to 720p. Heck, on a

    • Why such a low color depth/resolution? This isn't 1995 any more. A low end computer could easily do 1280x1024 at 32bpp. I don't think a game that looks ten years out of date is going to excite people much (my theory is that most people have a broken nostalgia gene).

      I'd like to see some modern adventure games too, but I suspect that although many people would buy one in a heartbeat, most gamers wouldn't. The majority is a little obsessed with graphics, squad based FPSes, and MMORPGs, without much interest in
    • by Anonymous Coward

      Tony DiTerlizzi to do your background paintings and Character designs, put together your own studio, etc? I mean, jesus, it probably wouldn't be more than like $500,000. How can the market NOT support this?

      Are you kidding? $500k is so far below budget for a modern game that it's almost laughable. You simply won't be able to produce a viable product (i.e., one that people will want to buy) for that amount.

      1) It doesn't take too many people to code an actual game engine. A team of 8 or 10 core developers c

      • Wow. 130k a year, and you still missed the point of what he's talking about

        1) Why do you need a new engine? 8-10 people? Cripes. Network code? It's a frickin adventure game. License the SCUMM engine or something similar.

        2) Yes, the assets are the biggest expense. No, they're still not 500k. We're talking a pretty basic game - especially if you have a old engine, support should be minimal (game help lines don't count). Assets are pretty simple - you're not doing 2d/3d modelling, you're doing old SCU
        • by Anonymous Coward
          Semi 3D works well too, like the last monkey island or grim fandango. It'll save you quite some time drawing various frames for the movement of characters. The rest of the world simply uses 2D backdrops.
          And ofcourse there is absolutely no need what so every for this "HD" crap all over the place. I think you can push out a great adventure game with just 10 people in total.
          1 or 2 programmers, 2 2D artists, 2 3D artists, 1 story/dialog writer, 1 producer/PR dude, 1 creative director (who could double as one of
        • The reason why most modern adventure games are 3D is not that 3D is fancy. It's that 3D is cheaper than 2D. Creating good 2D characters is incredibly expensive, since you have to draw up to hundreds of consistent frames for each character. 3D is cheaper than 2D.

      • I'll do it for 10 rupees. Thanks!

        -India
      • Are you kidding? $500k is so far below budget for a modern game that it's almost laughable. You simply won't be able to produce a viable product (i.e., one that people will want to buy) for that amount.

        Actually, I work for a small game studio that is just wrapping up a game for both PC and XBox with a budget of under $500K. The software is written by three developers, there are two artists which created all for the art content, and music and voice work were contracted out. Testing and distribution is handle

    • by Anonymous Coward
      Ron Gilbert's already made the calculations for you on his website. His project development total, without marketing, comes to around $950,000. See:
      http://grumpygamer.com/4904226 [grumpygamer.com]
    • It's probably better to look at more "current" adventure games like Broken Sword 3. It broke away from the point-and-click model to a more console-friendly interface and was thus able to do reasonably well in both th PC and console markets. It used 3D graphics that were quite reasonable for the time.

    • It's not stopping these people [himalayastudios.com]. Their first game [alemmo.com] may be a good test of the market. They've pulled in some talented people to make the game (creative content) so they're above amateurs, but....well, I can't bring myself to download the 234MB demo for a 640x480 adventure game. Maybe it's worth it and I should just give it a try.
  • HOLD IT! (Score:2, Informative)

    by Kamineko ( 851857 )
    You sit down with a publisher and the minute you mention anything like an adventure game or something story-based or adventure-game-like in any way, the meeting's basically over.

    Your Honor, how do you explain the existence, and subsequence release of the popular Nintendo DS adventure-attourney game, 'Phoenix Wright: Ace Attourney' (Originally a Game Boy Advance game: 'Gyakuten Saiban' roughly 'Comeback Court')
    • Have you noticed that the big N has been on a streak of "crazy" games, handhelds, and consoles. DS: Stylus? WTF? Is this a game machine or a PDA? Phoenix Wright: WTF? Law? In a game? You're joking! How's that entertaining? Wii: What a dumb name! And that crazy controller is just stupid.

      Of course, those views changed. I just don't think big N, or any Japanese publisher, would take this guy seriously.
    • Phoenix Wright was a great game. I just regret spending $50 on it because it was WAY too damn short. Two hours, no walkthroughs or FAQs, and it was done. *sigh* I could have played that game for ten times that. It was really nicely done.
      • Your honour, I have been playing Phoenix Wright exclusively - and have yet to finish the game. I've had to recharge the battery on his DS twice so far.

        THIS EVIDENCE ON BATTERY LIFE DIRECTLY CONTRADICTS THE WITNESS TESTIMONY!!! [wikipedia.org].

        (flashing lights - music kicks in)

        Hence geminidomino could not have finished the game in two hours!!

        • Objection Overruled. Just because Lave sucks at the game doesn't imply GeminiDomino does as well. ;)
          • Sustained - the rate of ones progrees doesn't imply the rate of progress of another

            However, the rate at which text flows, coupled to the unskippable sections indicate that GeminiDomino is clearly exaggerating the speed at which he progressed through the game! The game easily takes 10 hrs to complete. And is memorable enough for grown men to pretend they are lawyers on slashdot 0 clearly implying it is worth every penny!

            I call the parrot as a witness!

            • Honestly, no exaggeration. It came in the mail at 11am. By 1:30pm, the game was beaten and I was sleeping for work.

              You're right though, it is definitely memorable enough to be worth it. :)
  • What about Knights of The Old Republic (not 2), Planescape Torment, Baldurs Gate, Fallout, DeusEX (not 2), System Shock, Oblivion just to name few?
    • Well, only 4 or 5 of the games you mentioned even had a good story. KOTOR's writing was just terrible, as was its voice acting. Compared to even something like Kings Quest VII (The Princeless Bride), everything about it was pretty mediocre... and the gameplay was pretty boring. Oblivion had a pretty neat story, but that wasn't the point of the game so much as it being a sandbox (plus, because it was developed by a huge name in the CRPG genre, it didn't take much to sell it to publishers I'm sure). I haven't
  • I would be a grumpy gamer if the other guys took off without me to play "house" with Snow White.
  • I can't believe that the slashdot crowd hasnt even mentioned Myst, which is going to make a comeback via GameTap
  • Why do game companies spend so much time and effort designing very complex game scenarios that are only used for 2 minutes of gameplay? IMHO the focus should change from ultra-complex money sucking graphics to exploring new ways of gameplay and more interactivity with the envirnment. Just check some of the old ZX Spectrum games and how much fun can be pulled out of so little computing power - http://www.worldofspectrum.org/ [worldofspectrum.org]. Keep the graphics, but don't forget it should be entertaing even without them.
  • And honestly the games suck right now. http://www.wowdetox.com/ [wowdetox.com]
  • GS: And what would you say the next evolution will be? Where would you take something like a Maniac Mansion or a Monkey Island in order to bring it into the mainstream, assuming all these other financial issues were in place?

    RG: The thing I'm trying to do with the game right now is kind of meld it with an RPG. So what you've got is the kind of large world exploration that you have in an RPG that you don't really have with an adventure game. You've got the action, some light combat, you know, Diablo-style

    • It's "when".

      And the answer is: somewhere around 1999.
  • by SmallFurryCreature ( 593017 ) on Tuesday July 04, 2006 @02:00AM (#15654978) Journal
    What went wrong with the lucasarts adventure games. He himself was there when lucasarts changed from the adventure company into the "let's milk star wars until the cows come home" company.

    So why did Lucasarts stop with adventures?

    To be honest I think this guy might be too blame with his "getting adventures into the mainstream" crap. Now its RPG he tries to bolt ontop of it to create some frankenstein monster, back then it was 3D.

    Yes I know some people loved Grim Fandango and the last monkey island but can it be a coincedence that these were also the last adventures? A long line of 2D adventures, a handfull of 3D and bam, the end of the adventure era.

    I am not totally against 3D but that one MI game didn't really do anything with 3D just made it a bitch to control. The sleeper hit The Longest Journey also used 3D but in a 2D world so that 99% of the time it behaved just like a old 2D game but with 3D models. Mmm, 3d April in her undies.

    Adventures worked when they were adventures. Easily controlled puzzle games that were fun to play. Who here really thought the fighting scenes in Full Throttle were fun? The 3D world in the last monkey island. For that matter any of the mini arcade games that Sierra always tried to squeeze in?

    If the adventure is going to make a comeback it is going to be in the form of the old adventure. Just the adventure and nothing but the adventure. If you look at the small successes that is exactly what happened.

    Stop listening to game reviewers who laud every game that does something unusual and simply rely on your gaming audience.

    This guy says it himself, there is a market for old scumm games but then totally fails to realize what this means by saying he wants to add RPG elements. Hello! There is a market for old scumm games. That is it! The OLD scumm games. So any new game should NOT try to add anything new. If people wanted that they would be playing the new games.

    The whole adventure debacle reminds me of the new coke crap. Except that game developers like this guy seem unable to grasp the fact "people upset with new product, lets give them old product back". Instead he keeps coming up with new recipes while the customers just want their old coke back.

    • To be honest I think this guy might be too blame with his "getting adventures into the mainstream" crap.
      ...
      This guy says it himself, there is a market for old scumm games but then totally fails to realize what this means by saying he wants to add RPG elements. Hello! There is a market for old scumm games.


      THANK YOU for saying the obvious!! This really pissed me off when I read it. I got about 8 hours into Dreamfall, the sequel to The Longest Journey, and I can't stomach another second. They made it
    • If the adventure is going to make a comeback it is going to be in the form of the old adventure. Just the adventure and nothing but the adventure. If you look at the small successes that is exactly what happened.

      Well, personally I think that adventure games have a great chance at a comeback now.

      Everyone talks about how the new thing is all of the "non-gamer" gamers. The people that play Bejewelled and such. It seems to me that those people could be perfect for playing adventure games. And particularly adven

    • The main problem with the Grim Fandango and even worse with Monkey Island 4 was, that they tried to shoehorn an analog dual gamepad control into a mouse keyboard interface. With both adventures it was clear that the controls were made for the console generation of its time, but never were ported to those machines. When I started Grim I just asked myself WTF were they thinking, the game easly would have worked 1o times better with a normal point and click interface even with the same graphics. It is the qual
    • To be honest I think this guy might be too blame with his "getting adventures into the mainstream" crap. Now its RPG he tries to bolt ontop of it to create some frankenstein monster, back then it was 3D.

      I'd love to see a good RPG/Adventure hybrid. The Hero's Quest/Quest For Glory games were a ton of fun.

  • Two words (Score:3, Interesting)

    by MemoryDragon ( 544441 ) on Tuesday July 04, 2006 @03:52AM (#15655235)
    Nintendo DS, this platform already within the last months has had two higly successful adventure game releases one being Phoenix Wright the other one Another Code by Cing. The next one, Hotel Dusk already is in the line, adventure games fit perfectly into the lineup of the machine, which also has a very high emphasis on adult puzzle games like Dr. Kawashis Brain Jogging,and also the stylus is a perfect blend to point and click mechanisms.
    • Yep, just what I was going to suggest. The DS is quite ideally suited to point and click adventures with it's touch screen for pointing and the top screen for displaying close-ups of what you're inspecting.
      • Actually also recommendable from the homebrew site, is the DS scummvm port, this thing is close to perfect to play the old lucasarts adventure games, lower screen touchpad point and click upper screen automatic closeup of your characters position.
  • by Flyboy Connor ( 741764 ) on Wednesday July 05, 2006 @04:46AM (#15659110)

    From TFA, Gilbert describing what he would want to do with a game: You've got the action, some light combat, you know, Diablo-style combat going on with it, but it is also infused with really good adventure-game-style puzzles and adventure-style sensibilities to the storytelling. So what you can do there is take those puzzles and that storytelling that really appeal to people on a certain level, but you can fuse it with the kind of action and mindless play mixed in.

    While I pretty much like what Gilbert says in TFA, here is going completely in the wrong direction. He does not seem to realise that the people who want stories and adventure-style puzzles are turned off by mindless action sequences. Mixing up different styles is a surefire way to make a game fail miserably. Try to please all, and you wll please none.

    • He does not seem to realise that the people who want stories and adventure-style puzzles are turned off by mindless action sequences. Mixing up different styles is a surefire way to make a game fail miserably. Try to please all, and you wll please none.

      Most people don't have any problem with action sequences, the problem why action isn't much liked in the adventure community is that the action sequences in adventure games are *extremly* badly done, Fahrenheit so far was the only game that made action actual

      • I am currently playing Psychonauts, and I have precisely this problem. I love the look of the game, I love the characters, I enjoy the humor, I think I will like the story -- but I get stuck on the action sequences because I simply am unable to do those. I am not a twitch gamer. Especially with a mouse and keyboard these sequences are much too hard for me. So this game will probably get deleted out of frustration. Which is a really sad conclusion.
  • umm.. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by kazilin ( 802304 )
    Has no one played Dreamfall: The Longest Journey??? (Note: I did not have time to read prior comments, apologize if this was already mentioned...) I finished that game recently, it came out April of this year, and I was thoroughly impressed. Yes, it's an adventure game...and it was awesome. I'm just sitting here waiting for the sequel...and I find this article. *shakes head* It makes me sad. Adventure games are wonderful.

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