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Author Topic: Adventure Games Design Research Project - Need Opinions - Thanks ;)  (Read 18587 times)

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virtualpsycho

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Hello my name is Sean Brady. I am a student researching the reason behind the recent (1990's - present) unpopularity of point and click graphic adventure games.

I was wondering if it was possible to get your opinion on the whole matter. I am dealing with both the development/commercial reasoning and consumer/player interest. If it is possible to get your opinion on both sides that would be fantastic.

I appreciate the time given and thank you sincerely.

The question ultimately is "what factors account for the unpopularity of point and click graphical adventures?"

NOTE: The opinions expressed will be transcribed within the research dissertation with the names of the suppliers beside them but it can be arranged to remain anonymous if required.

Any indication about individuals who from your knowledge would provide a valuable viewpoint, please don't hesitate to say, thank you.

Thank you once, again.

Any opinion / voice is greatly appreciated.
« Last Edit: August 23, 2009, 11:38:31 AM by virtualpsycho »
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Spellbreaker

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Re: Adventure Games Design Research Project - Need Opinions - Thanks ;)
« Reply #1 on: July 13, 2009, 05:20:39 PM »

Unpopularity? Sorry, but thats simply not true. Adventure Games are selling very well for a quite long time. Examples? Black Mirror, Sam'n'Max Season 1 & 2, Tales of Monkey Island, Still Life, Post Mortem, Ankh, Secret Files I&II, etc etc etc.... The "feeling" that Adventures are unpopular simply came up with LucasArts shutting down their Adventure "department" ( But in two days, Monkey Island Special Edition will come to Live, I don't know if thats a single project, or if LA wants to bring back more of the games or create new ones ).

What definitively gave Adventures a bad Image are the early tries of bringing them to 3D, like Simon the Sorcerer 3D, which was incredibly bad in points of Gameplay. ( Also I really don't know why Telltale Games gave "Tales of Monkey Island" this totally stupid click'n'drag movement. That really sucks in my opinion. ).

There were always good Adventures since 1990, and the sales weren't that bad.

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virtualpsycho

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Re: Adventure Games Design Research Project - Need Opinions - Thanks ;)
« Reply #2 on: July 13, 2009, 05:24:41 PM »

Thank you, keep em comin.  ::rock

Spellbreaker, I am focusing on the fact that their hold on the majority of the market reduced significantly, thank you that opinion was extremely helpful and surprisingly different to the ones I have so far, thanks again.

 8)
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odnorf

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Re: Adventure Games Design Research Project - Need Opinions - Thanks ;)
« Reply #3 on: July 13, 2009, 05:54:30 PM »

Unpopularity is probably not the best chosen word. There are no official sales numbers so we can only claim we know things from experience. It's a known "secret" that action titles sell much more but that doesn't mean that adventures sell less than they used too (they might, they might not). A possible explanation is that the market has grown much much bigger than it was 10-15 years ago and new players seem to turn to other genres (= less % in total sales but unrelated to number of copies). As an interesting sidenote, the last 2-3 years there are more adventures in production than the (wrongly imo) so-called "golden age of adventures".

The most important aspect of your question(s) is why many new & old players turn to other genres. I don't think I'm qualified enough (not enough game design & behind the scenes knowledge) to claim I have a definite answer but I can share some fast thoughts of my gaming habits. Adventures are usually much slower while other titles (action, strategy etc) are much faster and you get "into the action" instantly. Another thing is that, although in most genres the more you play the more progress you make in adventures that's not always the case. Getting stuck for sometime, thinking and try new things is always in the agenda. There are of course fundamental changes in all genres which have an impact on the choice (if I don't want to play a game based on reflexes I won't choose an action etc).
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virtualpsycho

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Re: Adventure Games Design Research Project - Need Opinions - Thanks ;)
« Reply #4 on: July 13, 2009, 06:17:08 PM »

Thank you, keep em comin.   ::rock
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Akusa

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Re: Adventure Games Design Research Project - Need Opinions - Thanks ;)
« Reply #5 on: July 13, 2009, 11:45:45 PM »

I think unpopularity is a little bit harsh, they are not anymore the focus point in the industry but Adventure Games still sell good at germany (not every one, even good ones get slapped and its a hard world but still, you can develop games and make profit). You will most likley know but Adventure Games where pioneers for graphic technology in their golden age.
For today, other genres took over, in the 90', the FPS began to take this task and other genres began to develop very nicely while adventures stopped more or less in their development. You could argue adventures reached their design zenith but it would miss the point and i will tell you why i think so.

So the biggest problem i see for today adventures is, they simply stopped to develop at some time and the fundamental gameplay did not change very much or new gameplay developed during the golden era where simply overlooked AND the huge amount of bad games flooded the market (exspecially the live action video era with 16 CD-ROMs) and killed adventures as a dominant genre more or less. While adventures lost slowly their momentum, at some point the RPG genre began to addopt gameplay parts from adventures. Dialog trees, simple item puzzles, etc. Modern Bioware games are more or less the modern reincarnation of adventure game in my eyes. Take down all the battle aspects of Biowares games since KotOR (while Planescape Torment started this development) and you get an very rich modern adventure. Bioware even said the time for action slowly fades away, so i think maybe Bioware could give the adventure genre new impulses. Instead of one predetermined path, you get several possible ways of solving puzzles or quests, while your action will change the outcome of the story and behaviour of NPCs.

Personally, i see the future of adventures not in Telltale games, Still Life or Secret Files, and while they are fun, i see the real future in games like Knights of the old Republic, Mass Effect and The Witcher. Sleeping, developing, waiting for someone to free them and rebirth in a new way.

This is my analysis why they lost popularity, i could be totally wrong but at least im very sure we stand at a turning point for adventures:
http://www.gamesindustry.biz/articles/bioware-mature-industry-can-drop-violence-from-games
« Last Edit: July 13, 2009, 11:50:38 PM by Akusa »
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virtualpsycho

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Re: Adventure Games Design Research Project - Need Opinions - Thanks ;)
« Reply #6 on: July 13, 2009, 11:51:36 PM »

Cheers that very helpful and good article, keep em comin ::thumbup
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virtualpsycho

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Re: Adventure Games Design Research Project - Need Opinions - Thanks ;)
« Reply #7 on: July 16, 2009, 04:48:59 AM »

Just an update,

so far I have some members of Cyanide Studios submitting opinions along with some of the development team working on the second title in the witcher games series.

Any other companies want to help out?

All submissions are greatly appreciated, thank you.

 ::rock
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messman

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Re: Adventure Games Design Research Project - Need Opinions - Thanks ;)
« Reply #8 on: July 16, 2009, 05:07:45 PM »

Well,
I'm not really into business but did researches on this topic some years ago when getting my master degree.
According to what I pointed out, its just as Akusa wrote. Everey technological Ära got its Game. Games like Monkey Island and Indiana Jones came out with VGA-Graphics and IMuse-Sound-Systems - things that moved the computers 20years ago like todays 3D-Graphic-Physics-AI-Stuff - when many PC's didnt hab a soundcard at all. Besides the "Syberia"-Adv no modern Adventure has been broadly appreciated for its presentations in the last 10-15 years. As Hardware evolutes, its needs a killing-Application. The (from 2009's view) old Adv fitted these shoes at the late 80s, but after 3D-Action took over in 1993 the were no longer needed. Does Adv need a DirectX10-3D-Card? Besides that, theres is a missbalance between real sellings and the impact games get in the media. Many people think "Shooter" when they hear Computer Gaming, althought this Genre sells (at least in Germany)  less than 10% off total.
And Technik developed in other ways. Many daytime Games get a lot of Popularity at network-Play. I dont think I'll ever play Tales of Monkey Island on a LAN-Party. Adv an the Internet - when do get together? Can they even - yes they could? Is Adv to stay a lonesome story-experience like reading a book?
Another issue: the glorious games, especially early Lucasarts, were bad and attracive. Wired at a degree most common Adv today wouldn even try - things like putting your pet into the microwave, getting a chainsaw working ... industries changed a lot in the past 25 years from freaky developers to major mainstream companies, the games changed and the players changed, too. The late 80-nerd with his nerdy-humor beeing replaced by housewifes and seniors.
I read the article from the Bioware-guys but dont agree with them. There's no camera-thing to be found. Movieindustry evolved with changes of their media, too: getting sound into cinema, get the camera off and into the crowd - this opened new dimensons. But: the technical foundations of Gaming-Industrie changes more in 1 year than cinema changes in 7 years.

A personal point: I got myself a little bit upset when all Advs started to bring the words into dialogs. Its not the same; I dont care whether  a prominent persons lending voices - the lines loose their magic. I like to read. But not too much. I dont like modern Adv when they all keep talking and talking and telling and yelling and wrting and - this is just boring. It's too much talk but nothing pointed out. Maybe this is only a personal approach. If you like beeing covered in very long Blah-Blahs - I do not. It keeps me away from playing. Its a game, not a book-reader-thing.
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Juan Bonair

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Re: Adventure Games Design Research Project - Need Opinions - Thanks ;)
« Reply #9 on: July 16, 2009, 11:11:16 PM »

My opinion is based in two completely subjective points:
a) the key factor for quality in art is complexity;
b) adventure games are best and more complex than any other games.

For me, this comes from a debate much older than videogames. The better art is the one that has more information, because it enriches the intelligence of the (in this case) gamers. It makes the gamer a better, more smart and sensitive person. In Literature, for example: no book can change your life, but a guy who reads a lot of (good) books in his life will end up being smarter and his perception of art will be more profound. This happens with Literature, Music, Drama and every form of art you can imagine, of course, even videogames.

The problem begins when the best works of art come to be so complex they require much more complexity from the audience. So, some big beautiful book is so complex most people (who didn't read much in their lives) think it's boring. Some movie is really touching and wonderful, but most people don't understand it. And there is where art divides itself in popular and intellectual.

This doesn't applies to every masterpiece. There are good books which are complex and easy to entertain all kinds of people. There are spectacular movies and games and songs acclaimed by almost every person who saw/played/heard them. But the hollowest works keep getting the attention of not-so-interested-in-art people. Action movies keep getting worst and they're still succeeding. Games with bad storylines and bad dialogues and bad characters keep selling.

As the game industry wants to expand to all ages, it needs less mind-challenging products. People tend to put their money where they can be entertained without the effort of thinking too much.

I don't want to sound too elitist, that's just my opinion.
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messman

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Re: Adventure Games Design Research Project - Need Opinions - Thanks ;)
« Reply #10 on: July 17, 2009, 07:19:42 AM »

getting better through complex-cultural-stuff is really an old issue but somehow still up to date. The question remains, whether the complexity of an Adv must collapse since there's no market for a real complex game. Many RTS an RPG Games feature a degree of complexity (starting with bounty-hunting in Diablo for example), that Advs kann only dream about.

it's quite interesting to focus game-design on different things than presentation. What me botheres most with "modern" Advs is the usability of 3D-Controls. When Lucasart put out Grim Fandango, I didnt like it not because of 3D - the keyboard-control and the permanent Viewpoint-changes drove me nuts. It was the first Lucasart-Adv I stop the play before finish. So the 4th Monkey Island was therefore annoying, but this time I stayed brave and made it. A point-and-click-control is somehow simple, but effective. On the other hand it leads to things like pixel-hunting und hot-spot-spotting - things that, in my opinon, have less in common with play and shouldn make the heart of it all.
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Juan Bonair

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Re: Adventure Games Design Research Project - Need Opinions - Thanks ;)
« Reply #11 on: July 17, 2009, 08:57:26 PM »

Oh, and I guess you already know about Ron Gilbert's Why adventure games suck and Old Man Murray's Who killed adventure games. Not very up to date, but still good.

And Messman, even tough I never played it, what you say about Diablo might be right (just don't confuse complex with complicated), and that's probably the reason why that game has captured Ron Gilbert's attention.
And one more thing: Grim Fandango does have some kind of pixel hunting and/or hot spot spotting. It's not an only with point-and-click thing. Love the game, but I have to admit it. Escape from Monkey Island (I need to take it out of my system: horrible, horrible game) solved that problem with the subtitles that showed you what object were you looking at (a solution much more annoying than the problem, in my opinion).
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Spellbreaker

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Re: Adventure Games Design Research Project - Need Opinions - Thanks ;)
« Reply #12 on: July 17, 2009, 09:02:01 PM »

Diablo is as complex as a slice of Toast. It's a simple hack'n'slash game (nethack anyone? ;) which would never have sold that well without the multiplayer part, which was pretty unique these days in that genre. Only because you can collect thousands of different Items, a Game isn't complex.
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Mnemonic

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Re: Adventure Games Design Research Project - Need Opinions - Thanks ;)
« Reply #13 on: July 17, 2009, 09:14:19 PM »

and Old Man Murray's Who killed adventure games. Not very up to date, but still good.
I have to say I really hate this article. While it may have a good point, demonstrating this on GK3, the very game that came up with the most complex and original puzzle ever used in an adventure game (Le Serpent Rouge) just seems wrong.
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virtualpsycho

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Re: Adventure Games Design Research Project - Need Opinions - Thanks ;)
« Reply #14 on: July 18, 2009, 01:41:30 PM »

Sorry for late response, absolutely excellent stuff. Keep em coming.

Thanks alot, I can't believe the traffic this thread is getting with really useful viewpoints;

+(all will referenced to their appropriate owners within research paper).


Uuuh yeah!  O0

NOTE: The deadline for the submission of opinions which will be considered in the research paper is the 4th of August. Upon Completion (7 September) the paper will placed here for the viewing of participants and other adventure gamers/gamers alike. Thank you.  ::thumbup
« Last Edit: July 18, 2009, 01:53:56 PM by virtualpsycho »
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