Foray into Adventure Games

Being born at the start of the nineties and not really getting into gaming till the Dreamcast era I seem to have missed the days of Sierra and Lucasarts battling for adventure game supremacy. Recently however, my love of Back to the Future has thrust me into the world of adventure games leaving me with a few thoughts on the genre.   
 

My First Adventure Game 
 My favourite part of gaming has always been being directly involved in the story and adventure games seem to centre themselves around this idea. In most games the      gameplay is the primary component  and story comes later trying to weave itself into the gameplay with varying degrees of success. Adventure games seem to build the story and find a formula that works for it which is especially prominent in Telltale's work with various licensed products. Playing through the first 3 Back to the Future episodes has given me great respect for Telltale's ability to make something quint essentially Back to the Future with a Telltale twist. I love everything about the way stories are told in the genre however, I think gameplay can sometimes suffer as a result. 
 
During gameplay Back to the Future puts you into a small area of a world for you to explore. In common open world games a lot of issues that come with an open world have been fixed. If you are in liberty city and want to get to a mission fast you can get a cab and be there instantly. If you do a mission wrong you can quickly jump back to the start. My issue is if I am in an area and can't figure out what to do I will leave and check there isn't something else I am missing. I have everything in my head and know what I want to do but before I can carry it out I have to walk to the right spot and sometimes sit through a loading screen. This may be  my own impatience that causes the problem but I can't help thinking that the process could be streamlined a bit. 
 
I am thoroughly enjoying my time with BTTF but some issues are very apparent. I am interested to hear your thoughts on this area. 
 
Are these constant problems in the genre? 
Am I getting a skewed view of the genre playing a Telltale game? 
Am I being unfair? 
 
Let me know.    
2 Comments
3 Comments
Posted by Tofford

Being born at the start of the nineties and not really getting into gaming till the Dreamcast era I seem to have missed the days of Sierra and Lucasarts battling for adventure game supremacy. Recently however, my love of Back to the Future has thrust me into the world of adventure games leaving me with a few thoughts on the genre.   
 

My First Adventure Game 
 My favourite part of gaming has always been being directly involved in the story and adventure games seem to centre themselves around this idea. In most games the      gameplay is the primary component  and story comes later trying to weave itself into the gameplay with varying degrees of success. Adventure games seem to build the story and find a formula that works for it which is especially prominent in Telltale's work with various licensed products. Playing through the first 3 Back to the Future episodes has given me great respect for Telltale's ability to make something quint essentially Back to the Future with a Telltale twist. I love everything about the way stories are told in the genre however, I think gameplay can sometimes suffer as a result. 
 
During gameplay Back to the Future puts you into a small area of a world for you to explore. In common open world games a lot of issues that come with an open world have been fixed. If you are in liberty city and want to get to a mission fast you can get a cab and be there instantly. If you do a mission wrong you can quickly jump back to the start. My issue is if I am in an area and can't figure out what to do I will leave and check there isn't something else I am missing. I have everything in my head and know what I want to do but before I can carry it out I have to walk to the right spot and sometimes sit through a loading screen. This may be  my own impatience that causes the problem but I can't help thinking that the process could be streamlined a bit. 
 
I am thoroughly enjoying my time with BTTF but some issues are very apparent. I am interested to hear your thoughts on this area. 
 
Are these constant problems in the genre? 
Am I getting a skewed view of the genre playing a Telltale game? 
Am I being unfair? 
 
Let me know.    
Posted by Vodun
@tofford:
Telltale games are a LOT easier than the oldie adventure games. Quite often puzzles were completely illogical and you solved them by pixel hunting (hadn't been able to get through a door because the key was two yellow pixels on a table), exploration (hadn't even been to the area you need to go to next because there was no clear indication you could go there), trial-and-error (using everything with everything, resulting in a deluge of "that doesn't work" comments from the protagonist) and sometimes skill (use more of it). 
 
Personally I preferred the LucasArts games. A large part of this was that you could die in Sierra games. Combining mind bending and illogical puzzles with random death is a nice paved road to frustration city (still love me some Sierra goodness though). 
 
Do yourself a favour and get the special editions of Monkey Island 1&2. They're excellent games and you shouldn't feel bad about needing to use hints (which they now come with built in thankfully). It took me 8 years from the day I got Monkey Island 2 to finish it, because I couldn't figure out I needed to use the "Pick up" verb on a sign to get a shovel. It's very similar to a puzzle a friend told me about from a text adventure (I think it's from Zork); The door is ajar. "Pick up door". You get the jar.
Posted by Grumbel
@tofford said:
 I have everything in my head and know what I want to do but before I can carry it out I have to walk to the right spot and sometimes sit through a loading screen. This may be  my own impatience that causes the problem but I can't help thinking that the process could be streamlined a bit.
Most modern PC-based point&click adventure games allow you to run by double-clicking and double-clicking on an exist will often lead to an instant-room switch, without having to wait for the character to finish walking. Some rare ones even have a map that allows quick travel between locations. With console ones you will often have direct character control and thus no instant-room switches. Older classic adventures also often lack instant-room switching and running (in some Sierra ones you can however increase the run speed).