IF without puzzles

Archived from groups: rec.games.int-fiction (More info?)

Hi all,

I haven't been actively playing IF since quite some years. So just a
question about recent developments related to story-oriented vs.
puzzle-oriented IF.

I prefer games that focus on the storyline. It's not that I dislike
puzzles, but I do like a good story better.

Has anyone attempted to write IF that has no puzzles all, but just focus
on a good story? If yes, any recommendations?

Kees
13 answers Last reply
More about puzzles
  1. Archived from groups: rec.games.int-fiction (More info?)

    Kees Wiebering wrote:
    >
    > Has anyone attempted to write IF that has no puzzles all, but just focus
    > on a good story? If yes, any recommendations?
    >
    I believe the canonical answer to your question is Photopia. It does
    have a couple of trivial puzzles (including the most beatiful I've
    seen in IF), but 95% of it is story. AFAYK, there aren't many others
    like it.

    But, you may want to check out the IF Art Show at

    http://members.aol.com/iffyart/gallery.htm

    - though it is not about stories, but plain interactive experiences.
    For a good recent example, see The Fire Tower, a trek in the
    mountains "captured" in .z5 format.

    Hope it helps,
    Felix
  2. Archived from groups: rec.games.int-fiction (More info?)

    Kees Wiebering wrote:
    > Hi all,
    >
    > I haven't been actively playing IF since quite some years. So just a
    > question about recent developments related to story-oriented vs.
    > puzzle-oriented IF.
    >
    > I prefer games that focus on the storyline. It's not that I dislike
    > puzzles, but I do like a good story better.
    >
    > Has anyone attempted to write IF that has no puzzles all, but just focus
    > on a good story? If yes, any recommendations?
    >
    > Kees

    Most of the story driven games of recent times have at least some
    puzzle content.

    http://www.carouselchain.com/if/statistics.php?genre=32&type=genre&limit=20

    Stephen Bond's Rameses is one good story-based game that has none at
    all (it can rather famously be finished by typing nothing but 'z').

    --Steve
  3. Archived from groups: rec.games.int-fiction (More info?)

    Hello Kees,

    This link will get you to the top 10 games called "puzzleless" in the IF
    Ratings:

    http://www.carouselchain.com/if/statistics.php?genre=32&type=genre&limit=10

    You will want to check out Photopia, and Shade is another very good
    choice. There are also quite a number of games that have a lot of story
    and only a few moderately difficult puzzles; Anchorhead immediately
    comes to mind, and Slouching towards Bedlam.

    Have fun,
    Victor


    Kees Wiebering wrote:
    > Hi all,
    >
    > I haven't been actively playing IF since quite some years. So just a
    > question about recent developments related to story-oriented vs.
    > puzzle-oriented IF.
    >
    > I prefer games that focus on the storyline. It's not that I dislike
    > puzzles, but I do like a good story better.
    >
    > Has anyone attempted to write IF that has no puzzles all, but just focus
    > on a good story? If yes, any recommendations?
    >
    > Kees
  4. Archived from groups: rec.games.int-fiction (More info?)

    O, and let's not forget the winner of Spring Thing 2005: Whom the
    Telling Changed.

    Victor
  5. Archived from groups: rec.games.int-fiction (More info?)

    On Tue, 23 Aug 2005 09:41:38 +0000, Victor Gijsbers <victor@lilith.gotdns.org> wrote:
    > Hello Kees,
    >
    > This link will get you to the top 10 games called "puzzleless" in the IF
    > Ratings:
    >
    > http://www.carouselchain.com/if/statistics.php?genre=32&type=genre&limit=10
    >
    > You will want to check out Photopia, and Shade is another very good
    > choice. There are also quite a number of games that have a lot of story
    > and only a few moderately difficult puzzles; Anchorhead immediately
    > comes to mind, and Slouching towards Bedlam.

    And Mercy is completely missing, even if you increase the limit. Why
    isn't it classified as puzzleless?


    --
    ------------------------
    Mark Jeffrey Tilford
    tilford@ugcs.caltech.edu
  6. Archived from groups: rec.games.int-fiction (More info?)

    Mark J. Tilford wrote:

    > And Mercy is completely missing, even if you increase the limit. Why
    > isn't it classified as puzzleless?

    Probably because nobody has put that in as 'genre' when they rated it.
    If you rate it and put 'puzzleless' in there, I think the problem will
    be solved. (Although I'm not 100% sure; I have not delved into the inner
    trappings of the IF Ratings scoring system.)

    Greetings,
    Victor
  7. Archived from groups: rec.games.int-fiction (More info?)

    City of Secrets and Shrapnel are a couple I can think of just off the
    top of my head. (Shade is excellent as well, but it's already been
    mentioned.) A Walk at Dusk and The Fire Tower are both short and
    puzzleless with nice scenery, though they're not exactly typical IF.
  8. Archived from groups: rec.games.int-fiction (More info?)

    Kees Wiebering wrote:
    > Has anyone attempted to write IF that has no puzzles all, but just focus
    > on a good story? If yes, any recommendations?
    >
    > Kees

    Steve has already mentioned Ramases which is probably the most extreme
    example of that type. Most games tend to have at least a few required
    actions which could be considered puzzles even though they're meant to
    be obvious and natural. Games that fall into that category include The
    Cabal, Photopia, and Unraveling God. More common (and encouraged by
    the Art Show) are games with no fixed goal like Galatea, Whom the
    Telling Changed, Exhibition, and the like which are meant to be
    'experienced' rather than 'played'.

    On the other hand, what I might call the "modern mainstream" attempts
    to blend story and puzzle into a single seemles experience. Rare is
    the game (like the nonetheless excellent Isle of the Cult) where plot
    has been clearly relegated to the second (or even third) place of
    honor. My favorite recent games that intertwine story and puzzle in
    this way include City of Secrets, Scavenger, The Dreamhold, Mingsheng,
    Gourmet, and The Atomic Heart.

    Cirk R. Bejnar
  9. Archived from groups: rec.games.int-fiction (More info?)

    Interesting to note, most games which focus on story
    actually do have puzzles, and not always easy ones
    (ok, puzzle difficulty is a very subjective thing;
    I wouldn't qualify the puzzles in Anchorhead as
    "moderately diffcult", but that's just me).

    Apparently, it's not that easy to make an interactive
    story whitout some pacing device. In IF it's puzzles,
    in story-oriented RPGs it's character advancement,
    and in story-oriented FPSs (don't flame me!) it's
    enemies, plain and simple. There must be something in
    there to turn a mess of characters and events into a
    coherent story.

    I know this topic has been over-discussed already,
    but people keep asking about puzzle-less IF, so I
    think it's worth saying: evidence shows that story
    and puzzles are very hard to separate in IF. Not
    impossible - it's been done - but hard. So I don't
    think we'll see much "true puzzle-less" IF in the
    future either.

    On a final note, let me mention another one of my
    personal favorites: Pytho's Mask.

    Cheers,
    Felix
  10. Archived from groups: rec.games.int-fiction (More info?)

    Kees <c.wigant@hetnet.nl> wrote:

    > Hi all,
    >
    > I haven't been actively playing IF since quite some years. So just a
    > question about recent developments related to story-oriented vs.
    > puzzle-oriented IF.
    >
    > I prefer games that focus on the storyline. It's not that I dislike
    > puzzles, but I do like a good story better.
    >
    > Has anyone attempted to write IF that has no puzzles all, but just focus
    > on a good story? If yes, any recommendations?
    >
    > Kees

    Thank you all for your remarks, links and recommendations! Enough things
    to do for the time to come :) For now I am strolling around in
    Anchorhead.

    Kees
  11. Archived from groups: rec.games.int-fiction (More info?)

    felixp7@yahoo.com wrote:

    > Apparently, it's not that easy to make an interactive
    > story whitout some pacing device. In IF it's puzzles,
    > in story-oriented RPGs it's character advancement,
    > and in story-oriented FPSs (don't flame me!) it's
    > enemies, plain and simple. There must be something in
    > there to turn a mess of characters and events into a
    > coherent story.

    I wonder what you mean by a 'pacing device'; or rather, I think I know
    what a pacing device is, but I don;t see how it can turn a mess of
    characters and events into a story - a pacing device is rather something
    that controls the flow of exploration, by giving information to the
    reader at a higher or lower rate.

    Puzzles slow a piece down, this is true, and therefore are in a sense a
    pacing device. But as such they are highly unpredictable: any given
    puzzle may take your reader between 10 seconds and forever to solve. So
    controlling the pace of your story with puzzles is very tricky indeed,
    and it is hard to believe that this is their primary use. (Less tricky
    ways to pace your story is by adding more or less description, by
    introdducing more or less events of lesser importance inbetween the main
    events, and so forth. mostly just the tools one uses for pacing static
    fiction, actually.)

    Generally, what turns a mess of characters and events into a coherent
    story is a plot, or a theme, or both.

    > I know this topic has been over-discussed already,
    > but people keep asking about puzzle-less IF, so I
    > think it's worth saying: evidence shows that story
    > and puzzles are very hard to separate in IF. Not
    > impossible - it's been done - but hard. So I don't
    > think we'll see much "true puzzle-less" IF in the
    > future either.

    What evidence are you refering to?

    Greetings,
    Victor
  12. Archived from groups: rec.games.int-fiction (More info?)

    You think Anchorhead has only "a few moderately difficult puzzles"? I
    play it right now, am at the beginning of day three and had to look in
    the walkthrough at least three times until now. But perhaps it's only
    me...

    Bob
  13. Archived from groups: rec.games.int-fiction (More info?)

    I did use a walkthrough, but I don't think I used it very often.

    May be my memory deceiving me, though. :)

    Victor
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