Your ideal adventure game

My ideal adventure game is a mix of Ace Attorney / Professor Layton / Zak McKracken.
The exploration world of Zak McKracken (open game), the puzzles of Professor Layton and the trials/characters of Ace Attorney.
Voice acting not required.

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I want a mix between the comedy adventures of the 1990s (Monkey Island, Sam & Max, Discworld, Toonstruck, etc.), and psychological thriller movies like Mulholland Drive, Secret Window, Jacob’s Ladder, etc. I. e. something that starts really upbeat and cartoony, with a dorky but loveable protagonist like Guybrush or Bernard from DOTT and some surreal characters like the Green and Purple Tentacle and mummy cousin Ted, and then gradually gets darker and darker (maybe even with the change of visual style to more realistic). And eventually it would turn out that the protagonist is actually mentally ill/is in a coma or afterlife, the whole plot is in his mind, and the cartoony surreal characters are either his hallucinations or supernatural apparitions from the other side; in other words, deconstruction of all the adventure game clichés the same way “Mulholland Drive” deconstructs the noir detective genre.

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My ideal adventure game would definitely be of the Lucasfilm variety, i.e.

  • 2D, preferably a pixel art or a painterly style, with bright and colourful environments.
  • No dead ends, no death, no twitchy game mechanics

The setting could be anything that’s not playing in our time or immediate past, with a story that’s more focused on personal issues of the protagonist(s) and less of a save-the-world from evil epic. More than one playable character would be appreciated, but not required. There wouldn’t be any last-minute world-shattering revelations, but a somewhat bittersweet ending that gives you plenty to think about, yet also provides a modicum of satisfaction seems appropriate.

The game world would be fairly open, with plenty NPCs to talk to and several independent puzzle chains. Puzzles would be mostly logical, with some laterally thinking required. They’d be closely tied to the story progression and no arbitrary obstacles that are otherwise of little relevance. No pixel hunting either.

Controls could be as simple as a look and interact (i.e. LMB and RMB), with an inventory that’s usually hidden, so that no UI distracts from the lush and beautiful graphics.

Play time would be around 15 hours, and the sequel would be even better :slight_smile:.

And of course, it’d be available DRM free on Linux!

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my ideal adventure game, as of today:

  • graphics like monkey2.

  • no look verb, like zak. descriptions are boring. If you miss a clue, you read the diary.

  • no talk verb, like zak. you can still talk about by combining object with characters. if you miss a clue, instead of talking you read the diary.

  • there is automatic small talk like greetings between NPCs and PCs.

  • no “pick up” verb, but you see in the inventory all movable objects you have seen. You can combine an object even if you haven’t picked it up.

  • after you combine two objects, the game wants you to click an objective, to make sure you know what you are doing.

  • no goddamn mazes

awesome uh?

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It might be nostalgia talking, but: it needs to be VGA, 320x200, 256 colors. I’ve always loved the “hard” shades and big pixels in 90’s graphics. Characters in MI/MI2/Indy style, backgrounds I don’t care, but probably more MI2-style.
Tone: humorous. I like to laugh. The plot can be serious, but the character and the set up must be funny.
Interface: 9 verbs. And there must be dialog trees.
The plot should be adventurous. This is probably the thing I liked less in TWP, while I love the game and the story is wonderful, it didn’t feel like an adventure, there’s not much exploration. I should play only one character (maybe sometimes more than one, but basically only one protagonist) and I need to grow, travel, discover.
Obviously no dead ends, fair puzzles… but a bit of “videogame logic” will be allowed. The best puzzles are the ones where you understand secondary, unintended, unexpected uses of something. Even if it means using a magnetic card to attract a key in the ghost pirate captain’s room.
Music: Michael Land.

So… uh… I think I described Monkey Island 2.

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Maniac Mansion

That’s what I missed the most in TWP. When the set up turned to funny, well, I was super happy. I think it would have been so great: I mean, an even more serious subject treated in a funny way most of the time, while avoiding to lose consistence and substance. Why thinking about nature of existence and death (as we did in the other thread) should be sad?

This I missed less. I mean I was aware it was a design choice. Maybe just some more vibrant settings. But it was fine to me.

I’ll leave all the other aspects and focus on just one, which would be in my ideal adventure game. A living environment, where characters are responding to changes and the world doesn’t revolve around the player. This is hard to describe but it’s something that was present mostly in MM and Zak (so maybe it’s David’s thing?). It’s a lot of small things - turning off the faucet by the NPC when it’s on, newspaper headlines change, the cutscenes start when they want to (not triggered by player), in Zak the player is treated differently if he is in disguise and it matters even in the small thing like paying a phone bill, which is not even a part of the plot, just a thing you can do.

All this stuff is very subtle and it’s been a long time since I’ve played MM, so maybe you guys can help me define what I’m talking about? Or maybe I’m just imaging things?

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That’s something I’d love to see in my ideal RPG. But perhaps my ideal game would be something of a hybrid between RPG and P&C Adventure.

It’s often that attention to detail that makes the difference between a good game and a great one. Even more impressive if it’s done in 64k on hardware 1 million times slower than today’s average PC.

It´s interesting to look at all those suggestions and thinking “well, that´s a feature basically every RPG has”. So I guess people want point and click adventures with more RPG elements or maybe an RPG without combat?

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to achieve what you are looking for, I think one big feature is crucial: characters (both non-playing and playing characters) should do small talk that is aware of the current situation.

For example, if one of the PCs is hurt: they need to change the tone of their greetings; and when they change location they need to say things that are relevant to that situation (poor X, how can we help him?).

Similarly if someone is locked in a prison.

Or if an important event occurred, then, when they later meet the NPCs, they need to tell the NPC about it. And the NPC must remember. so on.

This does not mean all this dialog must be interactive. Automatic small talk is enough. What matters is that they must seem aware of the current situation.

little text, but context-aware. Instead, most games seem to focus on adding a lot of dialog options , expecting me to ask questions about things I don’t care about.

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Skyrim has all of that(they call it “Radiant AI”). So it´s not like it´s impossible to do at all.

interesting…

RPGs may have non-static worlds, but as far as my experience goes, all change is basically driven by player activity. Take the civil war of Skyrim, for example. If the player never sides with either faction, nothing will ever come of it.

What I would want is a world where events occur regardless of what the player is doing. Of course, player actions should be reflected where appropriate, but they shouldn’t be the major source of change. Simply put, I’d want a better simulation.

However, I don’t necessarily care for that in an adventure game, hence my comment that this would rather be a feature for my ideal RPG.

I always thought Radiant AI was purely a marketing label slapped on the piece of code that caused the population of towns to run rampage after the player tripped over somebodies chicken.

But Dragon attacks can happen in places you´re not present at for instance and sometimes you find bodies that come from conflicts you were never there to witness. Sure people comment on what you do, how you look like, which factions you joined etc. but they sometimes also fight and kill each other without you having been there. NPCs that are not essential even quest givers can die when you weren´t there in the village to save them.

In general I agree that all those features are great for RPGs and not needed in adventure games (afterall the puzzles in Skyrim are simple: find the hidden combination snake-whale-eagle etc somewhere around you, basic stuff) but then again I think adventure games are fine the way they are.

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don’t forget to add “and it’s just a game after all”

That would me bothering too much again.

Guess my ideal RPG would also feature adventure game style puzzles. :slight_smile:

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Well, I dunno… I played many Bethesda games and found them incredibly stiff and artificial when it comes to interaction with humans. Slightly better with the changes in the world but even that I don’t remember as something correctly implemented. And most RPG’s are even worse. I haven’t played Witcher 3 yet, but part 2 had a ridiculous unchanging world.
When it comes to these things, I remember fondly Fallout 1 & 2 and Plane Scape Torment. I’d argue the second one is an adventure game with combat actually.

And BTW, not that it matters but when adventures had a trace of living, interactive world, RPG’s were still dungeon hack’n’slash games. So I don’t think the creators need to borrow stuff from RPG’s, it was always a part of the adventure genre.

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What’d you think of Entomorph?