The 2024 what are we playing thread

Finished The Will of Arthur Flabbington. Not a bad start into 2024, I must say.

I really liked the mechanic around Arthur, although at the beginning of Act 2 it took a while before it dawned on me that he could do some useful things. The ending was also fun, although the revelations about Ada, John and Arthur soured the mood a bit.

Graphics were not spectacular, but at least it was always very clear what might be a usable object; usually my #1 reason for getting stuck! I did nearly miss the entire hardware store, though.

Most of the time I also had at least a general idea of what I should do next, just the how wasn’t always so obvious. Sometimes things played out differently than I was expecting. Like when hearing about the Red Beast, I was fairly certain I had to make Kimberly stick her head into the fountain, or walk her into the barbershop for a radical haircut. Now that would have been fun!

Also loved some of those references, especially the one to Baelin’s Route. That was unexpected, but well played :slight_smile:!

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Played Chants of Sennaar, a puzzle game centered around the translation of language, with a striking art-style. Very minimalist in the story-telling department, though.

The language puzzles are mostly nice and surprisingly varied, and the game provides the means to record the best guesses for each word before eventually revealing its true meaning. No need for pen and paper! There are also a few traditional puzzles that are fairly easy to solve, once the instructions have been translated. All in all there isn’t much to learn though, mostly the same 3 dozen words in each of the 5 different languages, thus limiting what the game can convey to the player. Compared to Heaven’s Vault, where the translation mechanic is much more in-depth, revealing more and more background information as the game progresses, what you learn here is strictly tied to what’s needed for progressing through the levels.

In addition to the languages, there’s a stealth mechanic, where you need to cross certain rooms without being noticed. This is also handled via pointing and clicking, and while these type of puzzles require an evermore precise timing, they are not really difficult to solve either.

My biggest issue, perhaps, is that even when all words are translated and all areas explored, the game still goes on for quite a while, making it feel like busywork without payoff in the form of new insights or discoveries. All in all, a fun game as long as there are new words and new rooms to unlock, but a bit boring during the final hour or two.

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I finished The Will of Arthur Flabbington yesterday. I had an extremely heavy cold, so I was out Thursday, but Friday I was able to play the game to some degree. I probably can’t say much that hasn’t been said already. Excellent game.

What I was probably stuck on the longest was the fish. Not in the way that seems to be common mind you, but rather getting the umbrella. So I suppose I should be saying it took me a long time to get into Ada’s house, but even when I finally got in there I figured there was no relation to that puzzle. And then when I left, suddenly the solution was just handed to me!

On Friday I found all that very challenging. On Saturday with a less sick brain the ending went surprisingly smoothly. And I loved the post-credits scene!

PS I funded the game so I’m probably extremely biased etc.

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After a break of a month on the final puzzle I picked up the Will of Arthur Flubberjohn again and finished it.
It only took me 17 hours in total. :grin:

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Thanks to the help of @Paul I finished Pirate Theme Park: A Short Adventure. It’s a very nice little adventure game. I loved the humor and the characters. If you haven’t played it you should do it immediately. (And I hope that @Paul’s next game will be out this year… :smile: )

Still to solve (this year):

  • Return to Monkey Island (yeah, I know, I’m very very late at the party :see_no_evil:)
  • The Will Of Arthur Flabbington
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Thanks, glad you enjoyed it!
I’m hoping my next one will be out by summer…

I just replayed MI1 and MI2 for the umpteenth time, mainly to make a list of all the types of background animation they have.
Having finished them back-to-back I feel like they both have excellent art and music, with MI2 just winning out on those, though I feel like MI1 is a lot better paced and has better locations.
Something random I hadn’t noticed before is that MI2 re-uses several of the inventory items’ art from MI1, like the lens, wine bottle, grey book, telescope, money, shovel, banana, etc.

Adventure games I’ll be playing next -

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Same here. I still think that MI1 is the best game in the series.

Which versions have you played? AFAIR only the M1 CD edition had the icons. This version was released in 1992 and thus after MI2. So MI1 has borrowed the artwork from MI2. :wink:

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Yeah, it was the CD edition of MI1, good point about it coming out after MI2…
I like how they feel very “related” to each other, with the verbs, the icons, the general look/feel, makes it feel like they flow into each other.

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Didn’t the original MI1 releases only have a text-based inventory? The Amiga version did for sure.
So it might actually be the other way round :slight_smile:.

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Yes, indeed. They had also more verbs.

And it’s likely that it is the other way around (see my answer above). :slight_smile:

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One other thing I just remembered with MI2, was that there was more pixel-hunting than I remember, with things like the knife, monocle, martini glass, crowbar, etc., which is mostly a result of the graphics being more detailed than MI1.

The way I’m planning on handling that in my next game, is having a character mention it if you haven’t already interacted with it.
Eg. if you haven’t picked up a knife on a kitchen table, there is an option to ask the chef about the knife, to draw your attention to it. But if you’ve already picked up the knife, that dialogue option is turned off.

I feel like this will be subtler than having a “hotspot highlight” button, and will also allow for more jokes from characters.

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Just finished playing Loom, I had played the start of it before, but never completed it… mainly because I played it at a library when I was about 10, and then the next week I went back to continue playing it but I’d lost the bit of paper I had written the notes down on.

Really nice locations and atmosphere (I played the VGA version, but also checked out the EGA original on youtube), the first island in the EGA version has those nice blues/purples that Melee has.
I thought I wouldn’t like the interface, but it was ok, the main issue I had was Bobbin walks so slowly and in the first half of the game often has to walk quite far.
Feels like the game is sort of truncated once we get past the shepherds, and has less space/time to build the sort of atmosphere the first half has. Still very enjoyable though.

Shame they didn’t make the sequels to it, would have been nice to see a sequel in the same sort of style the LucasArts games from 1992 had.

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I also thought the story felt a bit rushed towards the end, especially the first time I played Loom. I did appreciate it more the second time 'round, though that’s also been quite a long while ago. If you know what you’re doing it’s not a very long game overall, and the first half also takes much less time in that case, so there isn’t such a stark contrast anymore.

But I do wonder if it’s intentional, or if development simply ran out of time and had to cut corners. Seems symptomatic for a lot of games that they get more threadbare the closer you get to the end.

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My guess: This :point_up:

They planned three games, so IMHO the end of Loom isn’t the end of the (whole) story, but just a “cliffhanger” for the next game.

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The second half seems to jumps from one small scene to the next in a more linear way than the first half, it feels like they’re trying to prod you along to get you through the plot.

In contrast, the first island is quite developed, with the hill top, forest, tents, and pier, then on the second island the glassblowers building is also well developed, and you can explore and get to know the location.
Once we get past the shepherds though, we get just one hut of the shepherds, the dragon’s room, the little cave maze, couple of mountain rooms, few Forge rooms, it becomes more “one puzzle per screen before moving to the next screen” kind of like Gobliiins.

It might just be a result of having to get through the plot they had planned combined with the limitations of what you can do with the interface.

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Well, there is this demo for an unfinished fan sequel that was probably too ambitious for its own good. Which means it is at least interesting to look at, as it doesn’t just reuse the original’s resources like many fan games would.

Whole books and PhD dissertations have been written on why the EGA version is actually way better.

Here’s a nice one if you quickly want to quickly compare the graphics:
Loom EGA/VGA comparison - superrune.

And some advice from Brian Moriarty himself:

And then there’s the really rare FM-towns version that mixes the original and the GOG PC-CD release. Both are compared here:

And as a bonus here’s the tape you should normally listen to before playing the game

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From what I heard in interviews, it was intentional. At least that they wanted to make a game for a broader audience who could enjoy the story and actually finish it (so no mazes or monkey wrench puzzles). That and the fact it was intended to be the first of a trilogy.

(Sorry @Someone - just saw you replied something like this already. So must be true then😁)

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That’s another thing of the PC-CD version: The tape was missing there too. Maybe that was because of the lack of a box in the physical release. The CD and the manual were shipped as a compact package that was sealed in foil and looked like it was meant to be bundled with a (new) PC. But I still wonder why they hadn’t put the audio drama on a second CD…

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Thanks for the links… I watched the Brian Moriarty postmortem of Loom from 2015, he mentioned the fan game in there, also at the time he said he was hoping Double Fine or Wadjet Eye or Tell Tale would make a sequel, though Double Fine had the option at one point but had let it lapse and someone else then optioned it.
Also I just watched Daniel Albu interview Mark Ferrari and Daniel was trying to get in touch with Brian to see if something could happen with a sequel still, would be cool if something did eventually happen.

I haven’t listened to the audio drama, I felt like the game itself already had a bit too much exposition :laughing:

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I’ve got my copy of PC-CD Loom from a magazine cover, and I could have sworn it came with the audio book included. If there’s interest, I can check when I make the next trip to the basement.

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