The second sequel to this was famously considered the nail in adventure games’ coffin.
While the puzzle in question is a particularly good example of adventure game moon logic, I’m reluctant to blame GK3 for having any major part in the collapse of the genre. More than anything tastes changed and new gamers had less patience for being stuck. That’s why this remake added the hints system.
I wonder how the changes to the interface change the game.
It could be frustrating how little the original did to highlight important pieces of information or objects, but on the other hand that made it game feel more “open” than it really was.
It definitely makes the game less of a pixel hunt, which was probably one of the main sins of the original. You still have to figure out what to do with everything, and there are plenty of objects that are just nice to look at.
Many adventure games were ludicrous years before that:
I always liked the idea, but other than the LucasArts games, Beneath a Steel Sky was the only other one I enjoyed back in the day.
Nooooo! Bring back Tim!
Meh! I like the actors who portrayed Gabriel and Grace in the sequel.
Done in one! It’s worth remembering that, although Old Man Murray didn’t last very long and wasn’t infallible (I think that one post complaining that the end boss of Return to Castle Wolfenstein wasn’t Hitler would have been enough), its creators went on to write for Valve and specifically worked on Portal, which involves actual valid problem-solving.
Well, gamers lost patience for getting stuck with the advent of widely-available walkthroughs, which enabled adventure game designers to continue including sloppy batshit puzzles. “They’ll just look it up on GameFAQs anyway” became an excuse to skip playtesting.
Universal Hint System does Invisiclues for modern games. Unlike full-on walkthroughs, it gives you different stages of obscured hints; if you’re looking for how to open a door the first one might be “You need a keycard,” you click on the second one and it says “Have you searched the ship?” then #3 is “Have you searched the captain’s quarters?” and then you uncover the fourth one that explicitly tells you the keycard in the captain’s desk drawer. It’s a clever way to nudge players along without necessarily holding their hands through a script of “Do this thing, now do that thing, now the other thing, presto! Aren’t you proud of your accomplishment?”
Machinarium has a pretty effective in-game hint system too; you have to play a moderately pain-in-the-ass little minigame to open the “hint book,” which consists of a wordless and sometimes ambiguous comic about how to solve the particular puzzle you’re stuck in.
While the prevalence of GameFAQs probably didn’t help, I think PC gamer’s taste in games changed with the advent of the first person shooter and 3D accelerated graphics. Or at least the market widened so munch that adventure games became less profitable and got pushed out. Only recently with indie games and small publishers are adventure games really making a comeback.
The hint system in GK1 20th is very much like UHS or a traditional (either with the special marker, or red filter) hint books. The first hint is very broad, usually “What do I need to do in Day X?” and it moves on from there depending on what you’ve already done. You have to wait a little bit between hints so you don’t just burn through them and they’re generally hints, not outright solutions.
I didn’t know that Machinarium had a hint system. I’ve been stuck in that game for ages.
I’ve read at least one review suggesting that the remake detracts significantly from the original, particularly in the sense that the large, brightly-colored environments fail to capture the same atmosphere.
At the early and mid '00s and with the expansion of “abandonware” I collected 4-5 CDs of 90s adventure games in their full DOS glory, most of which I never had the opportunity to play. Still have them somewhere as well as a pentium desktop I planned to use. Never actually got to it though.
There is a handful of areas where the graphic don’t quite capture the same charm but they are few and far between.
The thing is that the original still exists, for sale on GoG.com even. If that’s the route you want to go then there it is. But there are some issues with it that require patching or modifying the virtual clock speed of dosbox. The interface is also clunky. Point being that the remake can’t possibly take away from something that still exists. You are free to play either.
I approached the review from the point of view of someone who fondly remembers the original despite never having finished it (I ran into the aforementioned issue before there was a patch). Many of the reviews I read (after writing my own) seem to come at the remake from the point of view of a diehard Knight fan who played the original a week ago. It’s a valid point of view but not one that I think is terribly useful to the typical consumer.
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