[All Games] A Question of Dependency

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Carter Taps Linn

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Feb 21, 1997, 3:00:00 AM2/21/97
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I've been playing games, as a general rule, since I was a little
child...board games clean up to the most sophisticated computer
applications. All through it, there's been a sense of challenge that
kept driving me onwards.

I have to say, my gusto is gone. I played SeaStalker back in
1986...and I pounded for 4 solid years to beat that game. I was 8,
and most of the concepts were flying totally over my head. But I
finally scored all 100 points, and beat the snark, all without any
outside help...because there wasn't any to be had.

I sold that TRS-80 of mine in '90, and for a few years, rode the waves
of Nintendos that every kid was on. But with that came a problem.

Every game on the market had some sort of 'back-door' cheat in
it...controller codes, secret passwords, shortcuts...anything possible
to make life easier. Well, I got in with the crowd, firing all kinds
of ammunition against the challenges that someone worked years to
make.

In 1994 I finally got a PackBell, and I'm back again. But here's the
rub. All those years of cheating have left me in one fix.

I can't do jack, without cheating. Walkthroughs, cheat codes,
hexedits, patches, shortcuts...I can't think the way I used to.

I have to wonder if this is a worldwide phenonmenon, or a localized
thing. I can't even beat SeaStalker anymore...without a walkthrough.
I feel so pitiful. :P

On that...anyone know how to make me weam myself back off?

Taps
-----------
Over in the corner, reading his Wishbringer cheat-sheet.

Jason Compton

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Feb 21, 1997, 3:00:00 AM2/21/97
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Carter "Taps" Linn (mit...@internetland.net) wrote:
: Every game on the market had some sort of 'back-door' cheat in

: it...controller codes, secret passwords, shortcuts...anything possible
: to make life easier. Well, I got in with the crowd, firing all kinds
: of ammunition against the challenges that someone worked years to
: make.
:
: In 1994 I finally got a PackBell, and I'm back again. But here's the
: rub. All those years of cheating have left me in one fix.
:
: I can't do jack, without cheating. Walkthroughs, cheat codes,
: hexedits, patches, shortcuts...I can't think the way I used to.
:
: I have to wonder if this is a worldwide phenonmenon, or a localized
: thing. I can't even beat SeaStalker anymore...without a walkthrough.
: I feel so pitiful. :P

Unfortunately, I can't help you solve the problem. But I think you've
identified a real phenomenon in modern gaming, the intentionally-built-in
cheat codes. Without them, Contra would have been just another game, Doom
would have been a difficult first-person game with far too little light at
all the wrong times...I'm convinced that built-in cheats have been one of
the biggest contributors to successful games, and not incidentally has fed
a huge print industry of magazines and books largely dedicated to
exploiting these "accidents".

Don't get me wrong--if you try hard enough, you're bound to find a way to
cheat in most types of games. I'll admit to exploiting the potentials for
cheating in lots of games (RPGs are generally very easy to mess around
with, at least to turn your characters into gods. Wasteland has a neat
way to allow you to replay most of the game as often as you like) as well
as hitting "idspispopd" and "dnstuff". And yeah, the tomes of IF hints at
ready reach are a handy temptation. So I can't help you, just empathize.

--
Jason Compton jcom...@xnet.com
Editor-in-Chief, Amiga Report Magazine (847) 741-0689 FAX
AR on Aminet - docs/mags/ar???.lha WWW - http://www.cucug.org/ar/
The path is clear... ...though no eyes can see.
There is always a choice. Alternative Computing Now!

Mary K. Kuhner

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Feb 21, 1997, 3:00:00 AM2/21/97
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>I can't do jack, without cheating. Walkthroughs, cheat codes,
>hexedits, patches, shortcuts...I can't think the way I used to.

>I have to wonder if this is a worldwide phenonmenon, or a localized
>thing. I can't even beat SeaStalker anymore...without a walkthrough.
>I feel so pitiful. :P

>On that...anyone know how to make me weam myself back off?

Try programming a game instead of playing one. The challenges are
similar in many ways, but there's no real way to cheat. Yet you
can't get completely stuck, because you determine your own goals--
if you absolutely can't get a pocket into the overalls, you can
always make a backpack instead.

Another possibility is to try to distract yourself from the
goal-oriented feeling that is probably leading you to cheat.
Pick a game with good esthetic values, and concentrate as much as
you can on something *other* than getting to the end. Try to
explore the breadth of the parser, or see as many plot threads
as you can, or work out a personality for your character, or just
sightsee. (From all accounts, I-0 might be a good game for this.)

One last possibility: think about what you are playing *for*.
I play the harder games with walkthroughs, and this doesn't bother
me; I'm not playing primarily for challenge but for other things
(story and setting, mainly). It's possible your tastes have
changed but your expectations haven't caught up with them yet.

Mary Kuhner mkku...@genetics.washington.edu

Matthew Amster-Burton

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Feb 21, 1997, 3:00:00 AM2/21/97
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>Try programming a game instead of playing one. The challenges are
>similar in many ways, but there's no real way to cheat. Yet you
>can't get completely stuck, because you determine your own goals--
>if you absolutely can't get a pocket into the overalls, you can
>always make a backpack instead.

What a marvelous suggestion--I never thought about it this way. Of
course, my game is stillborn, but I'll probably get up the guts to
start over one of these days.

Matthew

Matthew Daly

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Feb 21, 1997, 3:00:00 AM2/21/97
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>Every game on the market had some sort of 'back-door' cheat in
>it...controller codes, secret passwords, shortcuts...anything possible
>to make life easier. Well, I got in with the crowd, firing all kinds
>of ammunition against the challenges that someone worked years to
>make.

Yes, it's a trend that upsets me to no end. Descent 2 is an very
playable game -- you don't NEED to type in the "Invulnerable" code
or the "Get the Plasma cannon on Level 1" code in order to beat it.
Just be patient and play well. And it gives kids entirely the
wrong message. Do they think that they're going to be able to type
in a cheat code when they're working in Big Business and the boss
wants the report on his desk tomorrow morning?

But, let's not rule I-F out of that. I can think of a half dozen of
Scott Adam's games where friends and I had to crack the vocabulary
list to "find the hidden verb".

>I can't do jack, without cheating. Walkthroughs, cheat codes,
>hexedits, patches, shortcuts...I can't think the way I used to.
>
>I have to wonder if this is a worldwide phenonmenon, or a localized
>thing. I can't even beat SeaStalker anymore...without a walkthrough.
>I feel so pitiful. :P

SeaStalker is something you should be able to beat. For heaven's
sake, they give you hints along with the game on those little cards.

A bunch of other games have a harder case to make. I really think
that the majority of Sierra Games are not designed to be solved by
a clever person without a walkthrough, preferably one that is sold
by Sierra.

>On that...anyone know how to make me weam myself back off?

I wish there was some good way of rating the difficulty of a game.
Some people think that Spellbreaker was a cakewalk, and some people
are still trying to figure out how to cross the lava to that
d@mned cube. :-)

I think that you want to find a game where you KNOW that there are
no "bad" (i.e. surprising, illogical) puzzles, and really dedicate
yourself to working your way through it. When you do get completely
stuck, you should resist the urge to get a walkthrough and post to
rgif asking for GENTLE spoilers, even to the point of saying "This
is my inventory -- do I have enough to solve this problem?"

Off the top of my head, I would say that Enchanter is such a game.
So is Hollywood Hijinx, although it can get tricky, I think you
always know what you have to do to solve the problems. I'm sure
that there are games in the gmd archive that are similarly "fair",
but I will leave it to others to name those.

-Matthew
--
Matthew Daly I feel that if a person has problems communicating
mwd...@kodak.com the very least he can do is to shut up - Tom Lehrer

My opinions are not necessarily those of my employer, of course.

Joe and Bonnie Aultman

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Feb 21, 1997, 3:00:00 AM2/21/97
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In article <5el5ff$1...@kodak.rdcs.Kodak.COM>,
Matthew Daly <da...@PPD.Kodak.COM> wrote:

>SeaStalker is something you should be able to beat. For heaven's
>sake, they give you hints along with the game on those little cards.

Agreed. Seastalker practically forces you into winning. I take it the
original statement was hyperbole.

>I wish there was some good way of rating the difficulty of a game.

I think soliciting opinions on r.g.i-f is a good way. As a side note
I think it's also fair, when stuck on a puzzle, to ask simply if the
solution is logical. And don't feel bad about needing hints where the
author did a poor job of writing a puzzle.

>I think that you want to find a game where you KNOW that there are
>no "bad" (i.e. surprising, illogical) puzzles, and really dedicate
>yourself to working your way through it.

That's the key. Dedication and commitment will see you through most
situations, if much slower than a walkthrough. I found plenty of
opportunities to test this theory with Zork Zero and it saw me through.

>Off the top of my head, I would say that Enchanter is such a game.
>So is Hollywood Hijinx, although it can get tricky, I think you
>always know what you have to do to solve the problems.

IMO, those above are right, as are Wishbringer, Leather Goddesses,
and Lurking Horror, although I truthfully don't remember that
much about LH. Oh yeah, I think Infidel is pretty fair and logical,
too.

On gmd, the new I-0 is good, and I've heard Uncle Zebulon's is good
and fair, although *I'm* still working on it. Also I've heard good
things about John's Fire Witch, but I have no experience with it
as of yet.

That is all,

Joe -- redirecting followups to r.g.i-f

John Wood

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Feb 22, 1997, 3:00:00 AM2/22/97
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[...]

> >On that...anyone know how to make me weam myself back off?
>
> I wish there was some good way of rating the difficulty of a game.
> Some people think that Spellbreaker was a cakewalk, and some people
> are still trying to figure out how to cross the lava to that
> d@mned cube. :-)
>
> I think that you want to find a game where you KNOW that there are
> no "bad" (i.e. surprising, illogical) puzzles, and really dedicate
> yourself to working your way through it. [...]

>
> Off the top of my head, I would say that Enchanter is such a game.
> So is Hollywood Hijinx, although it can get tricky, I think you
> always know what you have to do to solve the problems.

Hmm. A friend of mine got *completely* stuck in Hollywood Hijinx,
trying to get into the house (he had bought the game, BTW). He
eventually gave up after a week or two - I borrowed it, and got in
within half an hour, despite being generally worse as a player.

I don't think you can ever say that there will not be "surprising"
puzzles, because everyone thinks differently (I'm still stuck in
Spellbreaker, for instance). OTOH, Enchanter is *more likely* to
be a good candidate than (say) Trinity or Hitchhiker's Guide.

> I'm sure
> that there are games in the gmd archive that are similarly "fair",
> but I will leave it to others to name those.

Why not start with some of the shorter games (such as competition
games)? You stand a better chance of sticking with them if there
is an end in sight, and you can work up to longer games. I think
"Uncle Zebulon's Will" could be a good choice - enough substance to
keep things interesting, without being really hard. Avoid "A Change
in the Weather" until a *lot* later...

Other suggestions, anyone?

John


Drone

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Feb 23, 1997, 3:00:00 AM2/23/97
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Mary K. Kuhner wrote:
>
> One last possibility: think about what you are playing *for*.
> I play the harder games with walkthroughs, and this doesn't bother
> me; I'm not playing primarily for challenge but for other things
> (story and setting, mainly). It's possible your tastes have
> changed but your expectations haven't caught up with them yet.
>

That's the most well-put nugget of wisdom I have read in a long time.

Drone.
--
"Esse est percipi."
foxg...@globalserve.net

Drone

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Feb 23, 1997, 3:00:00 AM2/23/97
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Matthew Daly wrote:
>
> Some people think that Spellbreaker was a cakewalk, and some people
> are still trying to figure out how to cross the lava to that
> d@mned cube. :-)
>

Yeah, there were three of us working on Spellbreaker in tandem, and we
were stuck on the lava for quite a while.

But when just two of us tackled Sorcerer, we did it in three days.

And of course, when same two tackled Enchanter, we frotzed ourselves
good.

It sounds above like we played them in reverse order, but that was just
me digging further and further back into the mists of time.

Erik Hetzner

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Feb 24, 1997, 3:00:00 AM2/24/97
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: Mary K. Kuhner wrote:
: > One last possibility: think about what you are playing *for*.
: > I play the harder games with walkthroughs, and this doesn't bother
: > me; I'm not playing primarily for challenge but for other things
: > (story and setting, mainly). It's possible your tastes have
: > changed but your expectations haven't caught up with them yet.

Finally somebody else! :) I thought I was the only one who had trouble
with these games... :) Seriously, I resorted to the walkthrough in
probably 3/4 of the parts of Jigsaw -- yes, I feel a little guilty for
it, but no, I don't feel that bad. I /loved/ the atmosphere of that
game, but I got frustrated at times with the way the puzzles were
designed. On the other hand, it was better than most -- at least
each section was mostly self-contained, and I wasn't wondering if
I'd forgotten some item in another section of the game.

I recently finish _The Lurking Horror_, and I only used the hints a
few times, so either I'm getting better, or it was easier. :) I think
some of both. And I won't deny that the more you play games like this,
the better you get -- most authors seem to take things from other
games, consciously or unconsciously, it happens. So the more you play,
the better you get. Sometime I'll play a game though in it's entirety
without cheating. I've started _Trinity_, and passed the beginning
pretty easily -- but I /liked/ the puzzles -- I found them
sensible. Well, there were only two, so I suppose it was easy, but...
--
Erik Hetzner | `I'm celebrating my love for you;
e...@uclink4.berkeley.edu | with a pint of beer and a new tattoo.'

Adam Dawes

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Feb 24, 1997, 3:00:00 AM2/24/97
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Hi John!

>> I'm sure
>> that there are games in the gmd archive that are similarly "fair", but I
>> will leave it to others to name those.

JW> I think "Uncle
JW> Zebulon's Will" could be a good choice - enough substance to keep
JW> things interesting, without being really hard.

I'll perhaps nominate Theatre. It's a very nicely written game with a lot of
atmosphere, logical and interesting puzzles, and yet not so easy you can win it
in 10 minutes. I'm still stuck, despite the online hints..

Should this thread perhaps be moved to r.games.int-fiction?

.\dam. [Team AMIGA] //\ Ad...@darkside.demon.co.uk \//
> http://www.rdainfotec.demon.co.uk/adam/
> http://www.geocities.com/TimesSquare/1225/


-

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Feb 25, 1997, 3:00:00 AM2/25/97
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Carter Taps Linn wrote:
[snip]

| I can't do jack, without cheating. Walkthroughs, cheat codes,
| hexedits, patches, shortcuts...I can't think the way I used to.
[snip]
Maybe someone should set up a Cheaters Anonymous:

Excerpt from a CA meeting:
Hi everyone, I'm Brian and I (sniff) am a cheater
>
> HI BRIAN
>
>I've been cheating in computer games for four years now.
>It started inoccently enough. At first I just used one or two codes when I got stuck, but pretty soon I >couldn't play Doom without IDKFA or IDDQD (everyone else gets out there notebooks to write them down). And >when codes weren't enough for me I resorted to HexEdits and patches and ...

Well you get the idea.
--
Nicholas Daley
<mailto:dal...@ihug.co.nz>

Everyone agreed it was a splendid funeral, but no one enjoyed it more
than the deceased himself.
--Pt1 C11 Red Dwarf Grant Naylor

sharvey

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Feb 26, 1997, 3:00:00 AM2/26/97
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Carter "Taps" Linn (mit...@internetland.net) wrote:
: : I have to wonder if this is a worldwide phenonmenon, or a localized

: thing. I can't even beat SeaStalker anymore...without a walkthrough.
: I feel so pitiful. :P

Carter, I feel your pain!

In my admittedly twisted eyes, the problem is not gamer's ability to think
- it's the DESIGNER's inability to come up with games capable of holding
our interest.

I must admit that I've been living among the heathen, playing... (augh!
the shame!)... graphic Myst-like adventures... for a few years now.

So many of these games are SO derivative and pointless that the only way
to stay sane and not feel totally guilty for wasting $50 is to... download
a walkthrough. Text adventures have their share of hated derivations
(i.e. the maze, too many "locked door" puzzles), but it's allin the
design. I remember solving the Zork I maze and how amazingly cool I felt
(I was 13). Then came more mazes. And more mazes. And even more mazes.
Mazes with glass floors. Mazes with evil critters that took the objects I
tried to use as markers.

I think you get the point.

: On that...anyone know how to make me weam myself back off?

Find a good game and cut your modem cable. You can do it.

Scott

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