In the last year I have become even more interested in adventure games, to the point that now I rarely abandon a game that I have started playing. But in the past it was very different and my rate of adventure games started and never finished was quite high.
How often do you abandon a game? And why that happens to you?
Sometimes it happened to me because the game was boring, other times it was because the game used some mechanics (e.g. action sections that required dexterity) that I’ve never liked in adventure games.
I also remember at least one case in which the game was so completely uninteresting to me that I never tried to solve its puzzles, using a walkthrough just to see how the story would evolve.
What’s you personal experience about this aspect?
For the sake of argument, let’s define “abandoned” any unfinished adventure game that you have ignored for at least one year.
My approach to AGs is basically the same as with books: if I manage to get past the first 10 minutes, I try my best to stick to it till the end.
However, I tend to use walkthrough as soon as my expectations are not met.
An example: Full Throttle. I had never played it till the end, and I tried it again a couple of weeks ago. However the “arcade” parts like the motorbike sequence were really not my cup of tea and I found no logic in how you defeat some of the enemies. I used a walkthrough for that and I’m still wondering why a particular enemy is defeated only by a particular weapon.
Now I started Woodruff and the Schnibble of Azimuth, and I’m not sure I want to keep playing, since 1) I really don’t like its style, neither in animation nor in controls, and 2) it sometimes seems to just f**k with me, I click on a person and he punches me, I click again and they speak, I click a third time and he punches me again. I had to use a walhtrough because I had already used everything with everything (quite easy, I only had two objects) only to find out I had ALREADY tried to use X with Y, but got nothing in return. I tried it a second time and it worked.
So, when the game feels unfair, if I already played much of it I might resort to walkthrough to see how it ends. If I just started, I might give up.
I finish most of them. Sometimes I find the humor so forced and annoying, I don’t feel like playing anymore. This happened with Kaptain Brawe and A Vampyre Story (sidekick bat was just too much). I barely finished Deponia, but didn’t continue with the series.
Sometime the game is not engaging enough. There was a great looking noir style game with a detective that was just painfully boring and it felt like a job to go on.
A few times I encountered a bug that would force me to replay a large part of the game and I didn’t feel like it. Unfortunately this happened to me in Zak on my last replay (Zak got stuck or something like that). In such cases usually I think I’ll return to the game sometime later, but most often I don’t continue.
When I was a pupil, I finished only very very few adventure games, because
there were so many other games and
some adventure games were boring to me and
I compared every adventure game with my favorite SCUMM games (which was an unfair comparison) and
multi-player games became more and more popular.
Over the recent years, I finished several adventure games which I always had wanted to finish since the 90s (Full Throttle, Loom etc.). I have learned not to compare every adventure game with MI 1 or MI 2.
In addition, I bought new games and I’m sure that I’m going to finish most of them (TWP is already finished! ). I’m hardly interested in multi-player sessions any more, so I’m more able to concentrate on adventure games nowadays. Furthermore, I know better now which games I’m interested in.
By the way, I started to play Gabriel Knight some time ago and I doubt that I will ever continue to play it. It just didn’t convince me, as it felt boring somehow. Therefore, it still depends on the game.
I finished The Whispered World today for the first time. A few times, I used a walkthrough - without regretting it, because the respective puzzle was very far-fetched and I would have spent too much time for nothing, if I hadn’t used the walkthrough at that point. Also, there were a few bugs and flaws. Though, as Ron once mentioned as well, there is no game without bugs out there. But, at the same time there are many creative/funny ideas in the game, which kept up my motivation to finish the game!
While I was playing the game, I often thought that the entire story was actually too fantastic to me, but, (spoiler!!) there is a big twist at the end, which unexpectedly made the entire game way more profound. It is nearly the best ending I could have imagined for this game. All in all, I think that it is a nice game. Not perfect, but nice.
I never let an adventure game unfinished. I may put it on hold for a while, even a month or two, then I resume playing it and, magically, it happens that the obstacle or the tricky puzzle becomes easy to remove or solve.
Only two times, I “surrended”: I finished the game using the walkthrough: Maniac Mansion and Woodruff and the Schnibble of Azimuth.
But if I start a game, I want to see its ending.
I left a lot of games unfinished as a kid, mainly because if I got stuck there was no internet, walkthrough or funky in-game hintline to help.
But as an adult I’ve gone back and completed some of those games (mainly the Space Quest series) with online help. I don’t like resorting to that (and I’ll always give it a proper go myself first, having a mini hiatus if that helps) but I also don’t like abandoning things I’ve started. I tend to squint cautiously at a walkthrough and learn just the next step, and then continue on my own again.
So if I get stuck but I’m enjoying the game, I’ll look up a hint. But if it’s a case of not enjoying the game (like Obduction, which I just found boring) I’ll stop wasting time and play something I’ll enjoy more.
I also have a habit of playing more than one game at once, which can slow me down and breaks the continuity, so I’m trying to stick to one at a time!
In the case of The Witness I’ve come close to ‘completing’ it but the style of the game (it’s very open) is such that I can’t quite get there, or figure out how to, and I’ve come so far that I don’t want help (< stubborn). Not getting that sense of completion has made me turn to other games in the meantime to complete those instead.
This is how it should be indeed. It really helps to have a break and play it on later. It has worked for me in most cases, too.
But, sometimes I lose my patience and I just use a walkthrough. In my opinion, that’s okay, provided that you don’t keep on using the walkthrough subsequently. I only check out a walkthrough until I get a minimum idea of how to proceed. Then I close it immediately.
Sometimes there are puzzles which are designed pretty weird, in my opinion. For example, in The Whispered World, a few puzzles were hard just because they were extremely unrealistic. Also, you can do things there before you understand what it is good for. That’s why I use to prefer games which are a bit more realistic and logical. For example, Monkey Island is more realistic and logical, in my opinion, even though there are also many fantasy elements.
Yes, it was more difficult to get a walkthrough before there were some in the internet. I remember that there were a few cases in which I was stuck and the walkthrough didn’t help because it was insufficiently detailed. Nowadays, you would simply look for a different walkthrough and move on.
Indeed. And while I don’t like resorting to them they’re quite important for games where you’ve unwittingly gone past the point of no return, having missed a vital inventory item or something. Back in the day I’d go out of my mind trying to work out where I went wrong.
I know that. It’s frustrating indeed if bad puzzle design forces you to spend hours of additional play time with looking for what you have missed. Well, sometimes it was just my own blindness, though. However, it can become frustrating.
I tend to play obsessively until the end. The same happens with movies: it takes a truly awful, unbearable movie for me to walk out of the theater or turn off the video.
The problem is when I get interrupted. If the game hasn’t gotten too tight a hold on me, then it’s easy to disconnect when something else catches my attention – be it work, life, or anything else that pulls me away from the game. In such cases, I rarely go back to it, haven’t freed myself from its spell.
Sometimes this happens with games that interest me too, but in those cases I always intend to go back to the game later. It’s just that the longer I wait, the more I realize I will have to start from the beginning to fully enjoy it, and so the more I procrastinate.
Did I say I am a master at procrastination? It’s like my super-power. No kidding!
If we talk about adventure games: not very often. In fact, I can’t remember an adventure game that I haven’t finished.
But if the game is boring, unfair, has a weird puzzle (that I don’t like) or if I got completely stuck, I consult a solution.
Another exception is time: I have started some few adventures and hadn’t the time to solve them (due to my work, TWP came out, etc.). But I don’t forget them, they are still on my list and I’ll play them. So if you define “abandoned” as “ignored for one year”, then I have abandoned some games, yes. But just because I hadn’t enough free spare time.
Beside that, I have to fall into line with DZ-Jay, especially:
Was that a reply to me? If so, well yeah, I felt bad, but it was nearly an end of the game anyway and I’ve completed it before. Actually I remember abandoning Zak at least once before due to some stupid mistake involving the Mars girls and an oxygen level. I played for a long time with Zak and when I had to get back to Mars I realized there’s a dead end there. It was bit too much to repeat.
"An adventure game is at most as good as its worst puzzle"
Not sure who said this (maybe Ron Gilbert). If you know the solution of a puzzle and you wonder why it is a solution, that’s a bad puzzle.
For example, Sam & Max started really promising, it had a very nice theme and style, but after the 3rd stupid puzzle I stopped bothering about it.
In TWP a really bad puzzle IMO was to use a tube to the stop water from a hydrant. IMO, this logic is so far off that after this puzzle one can assume that any technical problem in TWP can be solved by connecting it with a tube.
I have yet to finish any of the Wadjet Eye games I bought. Though for the purpose of this topic, the only ones I actually started are Technobabylon, Shardlight and Resonance. I mostly stopped because I got stuck, and then had other things to do, except for Resonance, where I happened across a major story spoiler, that sort of made it pointless to continue. Damn internet!
My excuse for not continuing the former two is that the time I spent with them already was well worth the price I paid. They are also pretty dystopian, which isn’t quite my thing.
Other than those, I finished all adventure games that I have bought (often right at release, because I was actually looking forward to playing them.) I may look up a walkthrough if I’m absolutely stuck, but usually leaving for a day and coming back with fresh ideas works just as well, and feels more rewarding.