which do you prefer? long games or short?

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FemaleDeer

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Jul 25, 1997, 3:00:00 AM7/25/97
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Which do you prefer, a short game with only a few tricky puzzles, or long
game with lots of puzzles? (Let's say, the same number of tricky ones as
the short one, the difference is the length of the game and the NUMBER of
puzzles.)

I realize this is an over-generalization, you probably prefer whatever is
well-written, but I am curious.

FD - author of a long game, "Stuck Mid-Game: An IF Player's Worst
Nightmare", a science-fiction mystery, which will be released by the end
of this year or early next year (after play testing)
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Femal...@aol.com The Tame Computer
"Loyalty to petrified opinion never yet broke a chain or
freed a human soul." Mark Twain (or won a game)

Ben Chalmers

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Jul 25, 1997, 3:00:00 AM7/25/97
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In message <19970725172...@ladder02.news.aol.com>
femal...@aol.com (FemaleDeer) wrote:

> Which do you prefer, a short game with only a few tricky puzzles, or long
> game with lots of puzzles? (Let's say, the same number of tricky ones as
> the short one, the difference is the length of the game and the NUMBER of
> puzzles.)
>
> I realize this is an over-generalization, you probably prefer whatever is
> well-written, but I am curious.
>

I prefer a story, puzzles are there to make my interacting with the story
fun. As such, I loved the babel fish puzzle, which is a tricky FAIR puzzle
filling in what wouldotherwise be a fairly boring part of the story (since it
can be assumed everyone playing hitchhikers knew why they wanted a bable
fish)

What I don't like are puzzles which either irritate me or stop me from moving
around too much. If someone was going to, say, put a lot of easy puzzles, I
would imagine there would be a stong temptaion to inset the same puzzle
several times (Oh look, the oil in my lamp is running out again, Hmm, will
this red key unlock the red door?)

if given the choice I like

Puzzles which fit into the game, and are not just there for the sake of
being a puzzle
Puzzles which are clearly there (I don't want to have to drop a magazine
at Wits End to succeed unless I have been advised of this somewhere else)
Puzzles which challenge me and do not irritate
Puzzles which are fair

The number of puzzles doesn't bother me, just as I read a wide variety of
genres I play a wide variety of games - what you write will be an issue of
style and art, not a technical problem

Ben

--
--
Ben Chalmers @ Home
bc...@cam.ac.uk
Ben - Thinks of gadgets as friends but forgets to send family birthday cards

Jay Goemmer

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Jul 27, 1997, 3:00:00 AM7/27/97
to femal...@aol.com

femal...@aol.com (FemaleDeer) wrote:

> Which do you prefer, a short game with only a few tricky puzzles, or long
> game with lots of puzzles? (Let's say, the same number of tricky ones as
> the short one, the difference is the length of the game and the NUMBER of
> puzzles.)

It depends on how much time I've got to burn. If I don't want to
start a middlin'-to-good-sized game, something like "Pick Up the Phone
Booth and Die" is just about my speed. ;-> (Although the MSTing of
"Detective" produced about half an hour's worth of uncontrollable
giggling before I quit playing the first time. Thank you, Mr. Forman!)

> I realize this is an over-generalization, you probably prefer whatever is
> well-written,

Considering the alternative? You *betcha!*


>but I am curious.

You are a promising young woman, indeed. I salute your inquisitivity!

--Jay Goemmer


Brandon Van Every

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Jul 27, 1997, 3:00:00 AM7/27/97
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FemaleDeer <femal...@aol.com> wrote in article
<19970725172...@ladder02.news.aol.com>...

> Which do you prefer, a short game with only a few tricky puzzles, or long
> game with lots of puzzles? (Let's say, the same number of tricky ones as
> the short one, the difference is the length of the game and the NUMBER of
> puzzles.)

I hate getting stuck. As a professional I don't have time to spend getting
stuck anymore. Getting stuck is about as pleasurable as debugging kernel
drivers, and I get paid to do that. If the puzzles are going to be tricky,
there needs to be a way to get out of 'em. Could be hints, could be
alternate solutions. Maybe if you solve the puzzle the "clever" way you'd
get more points, or just the satisfaction of having done someting clever.
But still allow a simpler solution to the puzzle so that the game can keep
progressing.


Cheers,
--
Brandon J. Van Every <vane...@blarg.net> DEC Commodity Graphics
http://www.blarg.net/~vanevery Windows NT Alpha OpenGL
------------------------------------------------------------------------
The anvil upon which you hammer another's words is as hard or as soft
as you care to make it. Wherein lies insight?


Tim Hunt

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Jul 28, 1997, 3:00:00 AM7/28/97
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Ben Chalmers wrote:
> I prefer a story, puzzles are there to make my interacting with the story
> fun. As such, I loved the babel fish puzzle, which is a tricky FAIR puzzle

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
> [snip].

>
> if given the choice I like
>
> Puzzles which fit into the game, and are not just there for the sake of
> being a puzzle
> Puzzles which are clearly there (I don't want to have to drop a magazine
> at Wits End to succeed unless I have been advised of this somewhere else)
> Puzzles which challenge me and do not irritate
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
> Puzzles which are fair

I found the babel fish immensely irritating. It's clearly designed to
irritate you to death. However it is also fun and fair, so I guess that
that's all right then.

But back to the original question. Whether I want a long or short game
depends on my mood. In the same way that sometimes I just want to read a
short story and on other occasions I want to spend a couple of weeks
reading through 800 pages of a Dickens novel. Ideally there should be a
choice of good IF of all lengths. Authors should just do what they do
well, a piece of IF should be as long as its plot.

Tim.

--
Tim Hunt, PhD Student, Department of Applied Maths and Theoretical
Physics,
Cambridge University, U.K.
Member of the Cambridge Go Club and 2 kyu.

Ben Chalmers

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Jul 28, 1997, 3:00:00 AM7/28/97
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In message <33DC7B...@damtp.cam.ac.uk>
Tim Hunt <tjh...@damtp.cam.ac.uk> wrote:

> Ben Chalmers wrote:
> > I prefer a story, puzzles are there to make my interacting with the story
> > fun. As such, I loved the babel fish puzzle, which is a tricky FAIR puzzle
>
> ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
> > [snip].
> >
> > if given the choice I like

> > Puzzles which challenge me and do not irritate


> ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
> > Puzzles which are fair
>
> I found the babel fish immensely irritating. It's clearly designed to
> irritate you to death. However it is also fun and fair, so I guess that
> that's all right then.

Ah... the fun & fair part outweighed how irritating the puzzle was, but that
wasn't my point - anyone could, with the help of a walkthough solve the bable
fish puzzle once they had got too irritated / wound up about it. What I
dislike is the 'you get hungry and die if you don't eat every x turns' type
of puzzle which inhibits how far I am allowed to explore my characters
interaction with the world (especially if there are only a finite number of
food items in the game)

There are, as ever, exceptions. Ensuring you drink enough water to survive
in a 'Crossing the desert' game might be acceptable - The 'Dennis through the
drinking glass having to drink every few turns' puzzle (Which I have only
heard about, not played) sounds funny enough in the context of the game
(Where I believe you were playing Dennis, the prime minister's husband who
liked the odd tipple or two)

>
> But back to the original question. Whether I want a long or short game
> depends on my mood. In the same way that sometimes I just want to read a
> short story and on other occasions I want to spend a couple of weeks
> reading through 800 pages of a Dickens novel. Ideally there should be a
> choice of good IF of all lengths. Authors should just do what they do
> well, a piece of IF should be as long as its plot.

AOL!

--
Ben Chalmers @ Home
bc...@cam.ac.uk

Ben - Disdains people who use low baud rates

Neil Brown

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Jul 28, 1997, 3:00:00 AM7/28/97
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In article <19970725172...@ladder02.news.aol.com>, FemaleDeer

<femal...@aol.com> wrote:
>Which do you prefer, a short game with only a few tricky puzzles, or long
>game with lots of puzzles? (Let's say, the same number of tricky ones as
>the short one, the difference is the length of the game and the NUMBER of
>puzzles.)

I tend to prefer medium to large games in enclosed or semi-enclosed
environments (such Theatre, or Christminster), where the playing area is
big enough for a good bit of exploration, but not so big that getting
around the place takes ages. I'd be a bit put off if, for example, I was
presented with 12 tower blocks, each containing 15 floors, with 20 rooms
per floor. It would be too much of a chore to get round them and search
every room for objects or clues.

I went through Time (ATCTAE) with the walkthrough a while back. It took
me a whole evening to complete it, with the solution right next to me. I
would never have completed that on my own - I wouldn't have had the
stamina. (Still, the story was interesting, if a little too heavily
inspired by the Doctor Who New Adventures and Jigsaw.)

Short games tend to be over far too quickly and lack depth. Moreover,
their puzzles tend to be fairly trivial. Two exceptions to this are 'A
Change In The Weather' and 'Tube Trouble', where the puzzles are
complex, but provide a high satisfaction factor when finally solved. On
reflection, their relatively small sizes probably work in their favour.

>I realize this is an over-generalization, you probably prefer whatever is

>well-written, but I am curious.

I was going to say that it depends on the quality of the puzzles, but
then I thought of I-0 and the emerging 'puzzle-less interactive fiction'
sub-genre. So it's probably the quality of the writing (and to an
extent, the programming) that matters.
______________

Neil James Brown
ne...@highmount.demon.co.uk
http://www.highmount.demon.co.uk

Matt Ackeret

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Jul 28, 1997, 3:00:00 AM7/28/97
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In article <19970725172...@ladder02.news.aol.com>,
FemaleDeer <femal...@aol.com> wrote:
>Which do you prefer, a short game with only a few tricky puzzles, or long
>game with lots of puzzles? (Let's say, the same number of tricky ones as

I like short games.. I think it's because I don't have enough patience to
play the long games.

For example, I liked game Paper Chase (something like that?). It's the
game I've come closest to solving. (I think there's one puzzle I couldn't
figure out..)

But I bet that short games are proportionately *more* work for the authors.
(As in the longer the game, the "grunge work" evens out over the whole
time making the game.)
--
mat...@area.com

Stu042

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Jul 29, 1997, 3:00:00 AM7/29/97
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In article <4767c9b047%B...@bench.demon.co.uk>, Ben Chalmers
<B...@bench.demon.co.uk> writes:

>There are, as ever, exceptions. Ensuring you drink enough water to
survive
>in a 'Crossing the desert' game might be acceptable - The 'Dennis through
the
>drinking glass having to drink every few turns' puzzle (Which I have only
>heard about, not played) sounds funny enough in the context of the game
>(Where I believe you were playing Dennis, the prime minister's husband
who
>liked the odd tipple or two)

It's amusing for the first 30 moves or so, then it quickly becomes
irritating -- drink too early and you die, leave it too late and you die,
and this goes on *all through the game*. Also, being written with The
Quill on the Spectrum, there wasn't an UNDO function, which would at least
have made it slightly more bearable.

Stu

Carl Muckenhoupt

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Jul 29, 1997, 3:00:00 AM7/29/97
to

Long games certainly get a better chance to develop their subject
matter. In my Guide (http://www.escape.com/~baf/if), most of the
five-star games are very large.

However, lately I've been finding that, of the latest crop of games,
I've been enjoying the smaller ones more. Not because they're small, but
because they tend to be a lot more detailed than the larger games.

Ultimately, I suppose that long games have more potential than short
ones, but short ones are more likely to fulfill the potential they have.

--
Carl Muckenhoupt ca...@earthweb.com
EarthWeb http://www.earthweb.com/

Carl Muckenhoupt

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Aug 5, 1997, 3:00:00 AM8/5/97
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Neil Brown wrote:
>
> I went through Time (ATCTAE) with the walkthrough a while back. It took
> me a whole evening to complete it, with the solution right next to me. I
> would never have completed that on my own - I wouldn't have had the
> stamina. (Still, the story was interesting, if a little too heavily
> inspired by the Doctor Who New Adventures and Jigsaw.)

Ye gods! Another person who's read that particular Doctor Who novel? How
many of us are there out here? Is there a high incidence of Doctor Who
fans among text adventure players (or vice versa)? It wouldn't surprise
me at all - there's probably something similar about their appeal. The
idea of the thinker-hero, perhaps?

Come to think of it, I can think of more specifically Doctor Who-based
text adventures offhand than, say, Star Trek-based ones. But that may
have more to to with trademark and copyright issues than anything else.
(Who are you more afraid of, Paramount's lawyers or the BBC's lawyers?)

Carl Muckenhoupt

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Aug 5, 1997, 3:00:00 AM8/5/97
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Brandon Van Every wrote:
>
> I hate getting stuck. As a professional I don't have time to spend getting
> stuck anymore. Getting stuck is about as pleasurable as debugging kernel
> drivers, and I get paid to do that. If the puzzles are going to be tricky,
> there needs to be a way to get out of 'em. Could be hints, could be
> alternate solutions. Maybe if you solve the puzzle the "clever" way you'd
> get more points, or just the satisfaction of having done someting clever.
> But still allow a simpler solution to the puzzle so that the game can keep
> progressing.

This is one of the strengths of RPG's or adventures with RPG elements.
If you get stuck, you can usually just go kill some monsters or
something - something that improves your position in the game, by giving
you experience points or money or exercising your stats, thereby
granting a sense of progress despite the fact that you haven't solved
any puzzles. The better examples also make this into an alternate path
by providing a brute force solution - ie, when you've raised your
Strength score to some ungodly level, you can force the door open
instead of figuring out its intricate locking mechanism.

James Trischman

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Aug 6, 1997, 3:00:00 AM8/6/97
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I'll cast my vote for short, say 2-6 hours or even very short (i.e.
lunch hour) with
the option to replay several times as a different character or character
type or with
a slightly different mission.

I quess I have a short attention span unless the writing is SO good that
I don't
want it to end.


Morgan Wajda-Levie

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Aug 7, 1997, 3:00:00 AM8/7/97
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I guess I would say that I like medium games. I don't like short tiny
little games, because then I don't feel like I've done anything. Being
able to replay a game does lower the "minimum pleasing size" as bit. :) On
the other hand, a huge game just takes too much time. I have other things
to do with my life, and I can't afford to get sucked into a game for
months. Of course, there are always exceptions. Some short games can be
very good, and the same with long ones.

Morgan Wajda-Levie
"Remember, the enemy's gate is down."
http://www.worldaxes.com/wajdalev

Matt Ackeret

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Aug 8, 1997, 3:00:00 AM8/8/97
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In article <33E764...@earthweb.com>,

Carl Muckenhoupt <ca...@earthweb.com> wrote:
>Come to think of it, I can think of more specifically Doctor Who-based
>text adventures offhand than, say, Star Trek-based ones. But that may
>have more to to with trademark and copyright issues than anything else.
>(Who are you more afraid of, Paramount's lawyers or the BBC's lawyers?)

How can you be afraid of grown men wearing poofy wigs?!
--
mat...@area.com

Justin Hawkins

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Aug 13, 1997, 3:00:00 AM8/13/97
to

mp...@locke.ccil.org (Morgan Wajda-Levie) writes:

> I guess I would say that I like medium games. I don't like short tiny
> little games, because then I don't feel like I've done anything. Being
> able to replay a game does lower the "minimum pleasing size" as bit. :) On
> the other hand, a huge game just takes too much time. I have other things
> to do with my life, and I can't afford to get sucked into a game for
> months. Of course, there are always exceptions. Some short games can be
> very good, and the same with long ones.

Are there any examples of games which are short in playing time, but
high in replayability stakes, because of many varied ways of getting
through the game?

Kind of like a 'Choose you own adventure' book <ugh> with hopefully a
lot more interaction :)

- Justin

--
Justin Hawkins --> jhaw...@tardis.apana.org.au
"Don't sweat it -- it's only 1's and 0's"

Michael Feir

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Aug 14, 1997, 3:00:00 AM8/14/97
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Although I've played many excellent short games, such as Delusions, Sherbet, Wearing the Claw, etc, i ultimately prefer
longer games. Provided that the author doesn't sacrifice quality for quantity, longer games can
provide a depth of experience that shorter games usually cannot. The competition seems to make current trends tend towardes shorter works, and I find
the less frequent longer works, such as Spiritwrahk and Jigsaw, most welcome indeed. fortunately, the competition means that quality is usually
packed into the shorter works, making them as enjoyable as the longer ones while they last. Of course, since they are short, the
experience ends sooner than one might wish. After playing delusions, I was left wondering what reality held in store for the two former adversaries.


Stephen Granade

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Aug 14, 1997, 3:00:00 AM8/14/97
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On Wed, 13 Aug 1997, Justin Hawkins wrote:

> Are there any examples of games which are short in playing time, but
> high in replayability stakes, because of many varied ways of getting
> through the game?

For me,_ Interstate Zero_ best exemplifies this.

Stephen

--
Stephen Granade | Interested in adventure games?
sgra...@phy.duke.edu | Check out
Duke University, Physics Dept | http://interactfiction.miningco.com


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