my problem with if is there's often a difference betwene puzles that require
cleverness or thinking around a problem to solve, and puzles which are just
problems with the language or weerd actions in game.
In shade from Andrew plotkin for instance, the first puzle is to get a
drink. there is a sink and turning the tap on yeidls the message "yep, the
water hasn't been cut off yet, you turn the tap off" typing "drink from tap"
gives you "you haven't druk from the forsit sinse you were small"
You find a cup, but the game simply refuses to recognize the command "put
cup under tap"
this just frustrated me to the point where I gave up, sinse there was no
logical reason why the stupid character if he was thirsty shouldn't fill the
blasted cup, ---- yet he couldn't!
Contrast this though with the really nice puzle in earth and sky part to by
You are trapped on a small asteroid with different bio environments, which
you can travel betwene by jumping from place to place in your powered earth
suit (you are a superhero in that game afterall).
you discover a button in the tropical zone covered with slugs next to a
locked elivator door, and a flask with some white christals. putting the
white stuff on the slugs kills some of them, but more slither on top, so you
need to get more salt.
one zone is sea, so you go to the sea zone. one item you have is a large
dome (actually a broken observation shelter), which you can fill with
water. You then need to take the full dome to the desert and leave it in the
sun. In the desert is a y shaped cactus (this confused me a bit at first),
and another item you have at this point is a lense from a broken teliscope
which you slot into the cactus to focus sunlight onto the sea water.
A couple turns later and bingo, you have salt, which you can then collect in
the flask to take to the tropical area to kill the slugs.
This was a puzle I took some time on, exploring, working out what needed
doing and what item did what, but the solution just required an application
of logical principles and a use of what you found.
No weerd commands, no instances of your character being stupid, just
streight forward looking at the problem and considdering a solution which
imho made for a good puzle.
I think this is my problem with a lot of if, particularly the early zork and
collossal cave type affairs.
"oh, so I was supposed to open the rusty lock by using the grane to lure the
mother ostridge away from her nest, stealing an egg, taking it to the
construction site and putting it under a steam hammer, annoying the monkey
in a tree until it throws a coconut at me, smashing the coconut in half with
the steam powered gillertene then picking up the yoke in the half coconut,
piling the lose news paper near the sparking ellectric lead until it catches
fire, then cooking the ostridge egg yoke in the half coconut until it turns
to fried egg which I can then smear on the lock to grease it" ---- how
stupid of me not to guess!
A made up example this is, but I have seen games with puzles just as
convoluted as this, and while I love explirng a world and history, meeting
it's characters and interacting in it's plot, having this type of
frustrating, convoluted riddle which most of the time just stops me frome
xploring and causes me frustration I find actually puts me off games.
I suppose it's a balance and a fine line, but a lot of If I've tried does
seem to get it wrong.
If I find is one of these things that is fantastic when it's good, but
really quite dire when it isn't.
This is also why I'm a fan of limited parza or commands, sinse that insures
the player can experiment more easily and thus is likely to be able to find
the solutions to complex puzles just by trying things out, where as having
to specifically type instructions just seems to make such experimentation
more and more difficult given how imprecise english is.
Beware the Grue!
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