Friday, January 29, 2010

Adding a plum to a top hat is not a puzzle that is intellectually challenging.

Adventure games are supposedly intellectual less violent etc. than shooters, and that is only logical. But there is nothing intellectual in any way about stupid people making equally stupid games where, like the borderline autistic masturbators they are, they imitate the form of a puzzle without understanding the nature of a puzzle.

Add X to Y to escape room Z could describe:

Use key on lock to unlock jail cell

Give potion to wizard so that he gives you scroll in return

Tell the guard to let you on the ferris wheel

Give the monkey a banana and it will run off, triggering the option that lets you follow it.

Then there's the other kind of "puzzle" which fits the same pattern:

Drop a plum into the upturned top hat. The top hat will then turn into a wrench.

Give cheese to the monkey. He will get very ill and a doctor will appear out of nowhere.

Push the red button to open the hatch, then ignore what you've just done and walk out through the door.

What is missing in the last few examples:



Common sense.

Puzzles in adventure games are part of the mechanism to draw people into the world, get them to suspend disbelief, and become involved in the narrative. Game wankers like to call this "immersion". This is the incorrect game industry term (no doubt used quite deliberately wrongly by the megacorporations who first used it) to describe involvement in the story. There is no true immersion in any typical game of any kind... Yet. The big companies use the term solely to manipulate the gamesheeple so that when real immersion occurs it isn't scary for the punters. But anyway.

Lack of logic, lack of intuition and basically lack of professionalism distinguishes amateur from indie. Just as in film or any other branch of art. This also explains two other phenomena that are staggeringly common particularly in the AGS community- the "Gunnar" and the "parody / tribute".

Now one of the games I am currently doing is arguably nothing more than a parody / tribute itself- the one this blog is devoted to. But there is at least one key difference- I bothered to read and understand the sources first. My game is an informed attempt at pastiche. Insofar as it succeeds, it's in good company. The entirety of the comicbook industry is nothing more than a self-consuming pastiche factory at this point in history.

The AGS revenant class of creator however, choose "parody" as shorthand for saying either or both of the following:

1. the creator lacks confidence and doesn't want to the peanut gallery on the forums to criticise them;

2. the creator is ignorant- of the source, of the coding required, and almost certainly lacks any artistic talent.

So rather than let the above two points trigger an educational ramping, the AGS peanut gallery is quite happy to continue a cycle of encouragement of mediocrity, which is little more than levelling behaviour. Perennial failures of the peanut gallery can at the same time heckle, and keep everyone at their own level. Hence also the deliberate use of a term such as "amateur" rather than "indie". "Amateur" to me can only mean one thing- not for profit ever. If any of your work is saleable or for sale, or if you are or are going to be selling work, or being rewarded for it on a contra basis, or anything similar- you're indie, not amateur.

Further, since to the best of my knowledge even the most "expert" coders in the AGS community frequently dump modules and code fragments littered with egregious errors, and since there is no diploma in AGS programming or AGS game design, "amateur" in any sense is a term loaded with implausible logical consequences.

The AGS community is an active community of indie game designers, with unfortunately a large section of not so much amateurs as time wasters.

And when one considers that compared to the other game design communities AGS is actually remarkably active and productive... Wow.

1 comment:

  1. Someone mailed to ask what I meant by Gunnar.

    As in, "I'm gunnar finish this game I started in 2004. Some time."

    Gunnar gunnar gunnar... But never does.