Archive for category Design
It’s often astounding, given modern titles like The Walking Dead, that adventure games used to all be about puzzles. Well, no, scratch that. Adventure games were about exploring interesting people and places at a pace that you would never find in any other genre of the day. Puzzles were how they filled the time.
That’s not meant as an insult (not entirely). One of the key elements of storytelling is pacing, and puzzles are an effective way to break up all that talking and put the forward motion on hold for a while. It gives the story a chance to breathe, or to mull over what just happened, or to delve deeper into the setting, or just to make you feel like you’re a meaningful part of this experience. But there’s no getting around it: adventure games can have some really terrible puzzles. The impossible, the illogical, the ones that can’t be solved because you missed that one object ten screens back that was two pixels in length. Yes, that one. You know which one I mean.
They really could be the worst, couldn’t they?
Now, the puzzle I want to talk about isn’t one of those puzzles. It isn’t on the level of the cat hair moustache or the wallet-fetching rat. It isn’t absolutely terrible; in fact, it’s rather clever and can be solved through simple logic. No, the reason I’m writing about it is because it’s downright deceptive.
It was a dark day in the lonely city. A day like any other, and the worst day of my life. A man like me looks his whole life for that one dame, the one who takes your love, caresses it, and then squeezes it into an ashtray like yesterday’s cigarettes. She might be lounging in a smoky bar, or waiting at the corner of Lionel and 3rd street. She might be that song you heard on the radio or the rain leaking through the ceiling of your downtown apartment. For me, she was L.A. Noire.