What was it that made it so special?

General chat related to ScummVM, adventure gaming, and so on.

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MusicallyInspired
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Post by MusicallyInspired »

I already have the first season of Sam & Max and have enjoyed it thoroughly. I'm looking forward to getting season 2 and SBCG4AP!
billeke
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Post by billeke »

SBCG4AP is so awesome on the wii!
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marticus
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Post by marticus »

I found Dreamfall disappointing.
While the story and environments were really nice, a lot of the game (especially in arcadia) was just fetch quests interspersed with lame combat.
Collector
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Post by Collector »

marticus wrote:I found Dreamfall disappointing.
While the story and environments were really nice, a lot of the game (especially in arcadia) was just fetch quests interspersed with lame combat.
I, too was disappointed with Dreamfall. While I thoroughly enjoyed TLJ, which was pure adventure, grew weary of all the sneaking and action bits in Dreamfall and quickly lost interest in the game. I was never able to finish the game.
manias
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Post by manias »

Collector wrote:
marticus wrote:I found Dreamfall disappointing.
While the story and environments were really nice, a lot of the game (especially in arcadia) was just fetch quests interspersed with lame combat.
I, too was disappointed with Dreamfall. While I thoroughly enjoyed TLJ, which was pure adventure, grew weary of all the sneaking and action bits in Dreamfall and quickly lost interest in the game. I was never able to finish the game.
the sneaking and action are suuuuch a smaallll part of the game (and yeah it's stupid of them to put it in there)
sequal is in the making btw
Collector
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Post by Collector »

manias wrote:the sneaking and action are suuuuch a smaallll part of the game (and yeah it's stupid of them to put it in there)
It felt like every time I got through with it in one scene I was having to deal with another one in the next.
Ceri Cat
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Post by Ceri Cat »

What makes a good game?

Graphics? Nah, they contribute to the appeal for the visually inclined but aren't vital to the enjoyment of a quality game. Look at how popular Roguelikes still are despite being (for the most part) ASCII or ANSI character based.

Audio: Speech and music are always dangerous in a game, what seems good at first can become downright irritating after half an hour, see Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace, and see how long it takes Jar Jar to get on your nerves. Good atmospheric music can add to a scene effectively if done well, I've always found the best example of this to actually be the original Alien movie, the music builds up the tension you feel without being intrusive.

Bells & Whistles: 'Yay I can destroy big chunks out of the landscape but does it actually do anything for me?' The example is Red Faction's Geo-mod capability, nice feature but actually not that useful when you're actually playing the game beyond the first level as after that most of the place is indestructible so there goes the concept of blasting through walls. OTOH Vangers a truly odd game if any of you have ever even heard of it has deformable terrain as well, and also allows you to set the damage to be persistant, so you can actually tunnel out shortcuts across the map between cities, or seriously screw yourself by destroying a bridge you needed to cross before you have other means to go through there. So yeah tech demos like most FPS these days are a pain, but sometimes the bells and whistles can be a good part of a game that makes it work better. Oh and the persistence for Vangers goes between games, meaning if you start a new game all your holes are still there, including that crater where you lost that rig...

Storyline: You'd think this was vital to the enjoyment of a game... Well it's not really, I remember the backstory for the original Doom, but most people that enjoyed it didn't even know there WAS a story. However in Adventure games a well written story and script is essential to the enjoyment of the game IMO, even some of the crummiest adventure games I've played like the Adventures of Willy Beamish had a better plot and script than many of the newer games. In fairness to Halflife it's one of the few FPS that has a storyline worth paying attention to, it's just a shame OpFor and Blue Shift weren't as well done.

Characters: Ok the biggest problem with most games is actually the characters some very good games are often let down by lousy character design, they might have visual flaws in some cases (FFX from the wrong angle there's actually a hole in the backside of the big blue guy as an example), or they aren't fleshed out enough, it's sad when you see RPGs that are billed as something special where half the NPCs you meet have exactly the same lines, they don't even have a spin based off their supposed personality, it's sometimes called deadline syndrome, the assumption that the amount of effort deteriorates as you get closer to the deadline as you rush to get the game finished on time. Good character design can make a game work better than it should otherwise, Odium (aka Gorky-18) as an example has a preety standard run of the mill scenario, however the characters in your team and the people who occasionally hook up with you for a while have a well established personality, the French Scientist member of the team having hysterics at the sight of all the impossible creatures, the no nonsense team leader, and the foul tempered Pole who advocates the fine tradition of shoot it till it's dead and then just add another round to the head to make sure.

Realism: Ok, the number of games that feature a lot of real world equipment that get the details wrong always frustrates me personally, Fallout Tactics as an example features the US army's knock off of the Lee Enfield .303 used by Commonwealth troops in WWII, a shot to the head at an approximate range of 200 metres from a jacketed hollow point is not going to stop a human being dead in their tracks... They might keep on moving another step or two before their brain registers it's been removed from their head, unlike many of these games where headshots as an example are not very effective for knocking down targets another example is again Odium, the scenario of NATO investigating a situation in a Polish city is a possibility, but the team is the wrong size, and the equipment is woefully inaccurate to what a fireteam would take into operation anyway, one clip for a rifle and sidearm each is not right.
Games that focus on real things should put an effort into getting the facts right. Games that don't it's a different matter, however if you're going to allow headshots from sniper rifles, allow headshots from all weapons, even if it's only a x2.0 damage modifier.

Oh and on the note of sniper rifles, if you're going to have a glare reduction on the scope of one, how about you actually look at the real thing first so you can see it doesn't make you see everything through an impossible orange tint, Killzone is the only game I can't snipe properly in due to both the fog, and the impossible glare on nearly all the maps.

AI: Good artificial intelligence always helps a game, even if the characters are idiots, it helps the players believe in the game when they don't see the "smart" idiots stuck in a corner jumping up and down trying to move. There's been one or two games where I've actually had moments I believed the billing of smart enemies when they've actually worked together and outflanked me. OTOH Killzone sucks when you fired one shot and all the bots suddenly rain down mortar fire on your well concealed position. It's pretty rare in real life to spot a sniper off a single shot, particularly at a range where he can barely see you, let alone the other way around.

Basically there's no single thing that makes games good or even memorable. What makes so many adventure games seem good to us is they have a combination of features that work together and immerse you in the game. I personally like the original AvP game where playing as a Marine had your heart racing as the motion sensor went wild, the screeching of an Alien as you fired bursts from your pulse rifle, while in the background the soundtrack worked on your head as well. There were lots of flaws in the game, but it was capable of drawing you in if you let it. Roleplaying games where you see the individuals living their lives and actually interacting add a dimension of reality to the game, you know the people are around somewhere, but they might have crossed town to have a chat with their sister just before you got to their house. In the end it's little details that take a good game to the level of a great game, small touchs that handled properly add to the appeal, rather than feel like a demonstration of all the techniques available at the time.



On the matter of sneaking I found the original 2 Thief games to actually be a decent challenge with the AI, story, sound, and overall design being quite well done, but then Looking Glass were good at making games that grabbed you, though I was never a fan of System Shock. I just couldn't ever get into it the way most people did.
manias
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Post by manias »

I'd say the requirements of a good game are different for each genre.
Graphics are less important in point 'n click adventures, but the story is.
In games like mass effect, ie. 3d explorer/shooter/rpg games, graphics are important (to me).

Just two examples of why I think you can't say anything about games like that in general. And other people really do think graphics are more important, which si fine. We all play games to get something out of em, regardless of what is the norm :)
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Vinterstum
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Post by Vinterstum »

It all boils down to your personal likes and dislikes.

For guys who grew up preferring mostly adventure games, of course the oldies are still going to be the best, since there's, well, very few new ones to enjoy :).

For most other genres though, there's plenty of great games from the last few years.
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LogicDeLuxe
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Post by LogicDeLuxe »

Ceri Cat wrote:'Yay I can destroy big chunks out of the landscape but does it actually do anything for me?'
Worms comes to mind. It's part of the concept that you really can destroy everything. Not a very inovative game, as this was done before, but a very well done game, imho.
Also Lemmings is such a "can destroy almost everything"-game. Part of the challenge is, that you have to do it economically there.
An of course, also Boulder Dash is a game where you can destroy everything except titanium walls.
An interesting aspect in both, Lemmings and Boulder Dash is, that you don't use firearms and alike to do this.
Storyline
Sure, it depends much on the kind of game. It is even somewhat curious that games like Tetris even have a story.
Games that focus on real things should put an effort into getting the facts right.
That actually a problem I more often notice in movies and television shows.
AI: Good artificial intelligence always helps a game, even if the characters are idiots, it helps the players believe in the game when they don't see the "smart" idiots stuck in a corner jumping up and down trying to move.
On the other hand, the appeal of a game can be totally predictable (ie. no AI) opponents. Fireflies and butterflies from Boulder Dash come to mind.


And of course, about audio and graphic quality, I don't think it's that much a question of if the game benefit from them or if they hurt the game. It's more a matter of the developers got the priority right, ie. don't let the other aspects of the game come to short due to overprioritize these aspects, which seems a frequent problem these days.

Also bugs are a similar problem, where the priorities apparently got wrong. They won't make the customer happy, so better invest in quality insurance instead of releasing the game too early. On the other hand, Duke Nukem Forever didn't make any profit so far.
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