Poll: Would Zak McKracken be better if it had "look" and "talk"?

Playing Zak, I am starting to believe that the absence of “look” and “talk” improves the gameplay significantly (though of course not the storytelling).

Since there are many Zak fans here, I ask you: do you think Zak would be better with “look” and “talk”?

  • Yes, it would be better with look and talk
  • No, it would be worse with look and talk
  • It would be better with look but not with talk
  • It would be better with talk but not with look
  • Other (specify below)

0 voters

Back in the 80s I haven’t missed the “look” verb - but the talk verb. :slight_smile: So IMHO they would improve the gameplay - but not significantly.

did you miss talk with playing characters (e.g. “what do we do now?”) or with NPCs?

Note: in zak you can still talk with NPCs about objects. (e.g. give the shard to the shaman)

Both. For example I would have loved to talk to the “man” from the telephone company, the passengers in the airplane, the people at the airports or just with Annie (about what to do next).

I don’t agree with that: It doesn’t feel like talking - at least for me. :slight_smile:

I’ve never been able to get into Zak McKracken and this is the reason why.

where’s @ZakPhoenixMcKracken? patiently awaiting his vote :eyes:

And where explains @Sushi his vote? :eyes:


expectations are growing…


Uh. This is thrilling. My nerves! :grimacing:


I understand. But in practice if the game allows you to chit chat, suddenly you must chit chat with everybody about everything, because it could be necessary. Or maybe not… hmm…


yes and I love that. It adds yet another layer to explore.


But this is valid for all verbs: If the game allows you to read everything, you have to read everything, because it could be necessary… :wink: But in a good adventure game this shouldn’t be necessary - and I agree with @uriel. :slight_smile:

btw: Was your question meant to add these two verbs to the existing ones or would you like to change the puzzles too? This is a huge difference because in the latter case you would change the game …


It’s complicated… I think a good game needs to have so many combinations that it becomes clear that you are not supposed to try them all. But in practice with dialog options this is difficult; they won’t be many; so people tend to assume they are supposed to try them all. (And then the developer starts assuming people will try them all…)

I don’t think Zak has an absence of “look” per se. It felt like a half-way point between the “read” of MM and the “look” of MI/Indy4/whatever.

The main problem with a lack of a talk verb is that you can’t easily get a repeat of what you need to do if you drop the game for a week or two. But this isn’t a problem with the lack of the talk verb per se. Various characters (like the shaman) spontaneously say things, just not necessarily all the pertinent things.

In the talk implementation you’d have, e.g.:

  • ask about the crystal
  • ask about the dance

But he might just as well have blurted out two short sentences instead of one. Don’t come back until… and btw I’ll take $1000.

I didn’t really miss talk, perhaps because I played the game in 2018 with an annoyingly small but nevertheless not unreasonable number of 99 save slots. It could’ve been fun to have a dialog puzzle with the King, I suppose. But one doesn’t need a talk verb to do dialog puzzles!


right: you can have a diary, or a notebook like in twp.

or you can have “talk” only restricted to PCs, with “what do we do now?”

If I may… is there a dialog puzzle that doesn’t suck? :slight_smile:

Except the insult fighting in monkey1, of course (which as you say does not need the talk verb).

Maybe the Indy 4 scene with Sophia and Trottier… where you have the alternative to act or to keep talking.

Oh, and in Monkey 2 there’s the drinking contest, but here also you have the choice between talking or acting. it’s not just a dialog puzzle.

To me, it feels unnatural to walk up to a character and not be able to talk to them, especially when they’re already saying things in my direction. Can you spare a debit?

Also, being able to get little remarks on objects using a Look verb would make the objects feel more like part of the game world, and less like just an assortment of things to find a use for.


The Longest Journey had a good one.

I didn’t find it particularly useful.

Puzzles are just a fancy word. I suppose you could call them the quick time events of adventure games, but surely going through all the dialog trees in games like Monkey Island and Discworld was an extremely large part of the appeal? You could just go straight for the finish line, but that’s like playing Rise of the Tomb Raider without doing the “optional” challenge tombs. Those are an extremely big part of why we play the game in the first place. :slight_smile:

(An awful lot of the modern Tomb Raider games is just filler between the “optional” parts.)

With the way those older games work, i can already imagine looking at hieroglyphs and getting “a bunch of hieroglyphs” but “the hieroglyphs say…” when you read instead.

Look instead of read… fine, why not. :stuck_out_tongue:


Right. But I can’t help thinking that it was then that adventure games took a major shift that changed their nature and eventually led nowhere. (because ultimately the people that want to be entertained by witty dialogue and the people who want a mental challenge are different, and their intersection is very small)