What Type of Adventure Gamer are YOU?

by Becky Waxman


Gamer A -- Story:   I like exciting stories that maintain dramatic tension and don't have plot gaps or character inconsistencies. The game should make important story elements obvious, leaving speculation for minor story points.

Gamer B -- Story:   The story should unfold gradually, and parts can remain in the background. Not all the plot threads need to be tied up by the game's end. The story should be told via characters, texts, puzzles, and the gameworld itself. Ideally, the game should leave you thinking, make you reanalyze things that happened early on, possibly even make you want to replay to see the story unfold now that you know more.

Gamer C -- Story:   The story is what makes or breaks an adventure game.  I like games with plenty of character interaction and multiple cut scenes, giving a cinema-like experience. The story should be fresh, original and deep. I like plot twists, and have no trouble keeping track of multiple subplots. I identify with characters so much that sometimes I even dream about them.

Gamer D -- Story:   The most important thing about a story is that it not get in the way of the gameplay. If the story enhances the puzzles and makes sense of the gameworld, then it's a plus. If cut scenes or dialogs or diary/journal entries are too frequent or too long, the story has become a hindrance.

Gamer A -- Puzzles:         Puzzles should fit the plot and the gameworld. They should advance the plot or reveal information about the characters. I like to know why I'm solving a puzzle -- the appearance of the puzzle itself should make sense, just as the puzzle should be logical. If they fit the story, a few timed puzzles and mini-games are fine.

Gamer B -- Puzzles:            Good puzzles are innovative, don't require the gamer to undergo a lot of repetition, and are fairly clued. They should start out easy and then become more difficult as the game advances. I like puzzles that require pattern analysis, especially the kind that involve color or sound, and I also enjoy mechanical puzzles. It's a bonus if the puzzle fits into the gameworld and story, but the cleverness of the puzzle itself is more important than how it happens to "fit in."

Gamer C -- Puzzles:          The puzzles should suit the story. I favor inventory puzzles over other types. If puzzles slow progress down too much, they destroy the game's sense of flow. None of the puzzles should be gamestoppers -- if gamers have to abandon a game because they can't solve a specific puzzle, the game has failed. All adventure games should have hint systems and "show all hotspots" features, and all timed puzzles should be skippable after a certain number of failures.

Gamer D -- Puzzles:                   Puzzles should be challenging -- if they're too easy, the game is disappointing. I like variety and innovation in puzzles, but I also like traditional puzzles, especially if they have a new "take" or are approached in a slightly different fashion. I actually prefer a poorly designed puzzle to a puzzle that's too easy. I don't mind being stuck for hours, and love the feeling of accomplishment I get from finally figuring out a wickedly difficult challenge. I like sliders, tone-matching, decoding, and classics like the Tower of Hanoi puzzle. I don't like timed puzzles -- I want to test my brain, not my reflexes, at least when playing an adventure game.

Gamer A -- Environments and Exploration:     Exploration is okay if it doesn't disrupt the game flow. Back-and-forthing through the gameworld should be kept to a minimum. Environments should help to immerse the gamer in the game. They should suit the story and the puzzles, add interest and depth to the overall experience. They should make the gamer feel that s/he is a part of the game.

Gamer B -- Environments and Exploration:     The environments should provide an alternate reality that's fun to explore. The more exploration the better. The environments should be eye-catching, detailed, and compelling.  I like to observe the surroundings, and prefer a large environment with fewer hotspots (or a way to tell which hotspots are essential), rather than a smaller environment loaded with hotspots. Stylized graphics, cartoon-like graphics, photorealistic graphics -- they're all enjoyable. I drink it all in. The best gaming reward is a new area opening up to explore.

Gamer C -- Environments and Exploration:      The environments should suit the story and help the gamer learn more about the characters. They should blend smoothly with the cut scenes. I enjoy cartoon-like graphics where the story and characters are engaging. A gameworld map that cuts down on back-and-forthing, and the ability to double-click to get a character to run or to transition to the next area should be standard features. I prefer a smaller gameworld with lots to interact with -- rather than huge, empty environments without much interaction.

Gamer D -- Environments and Exploration:     The environment should be fully integrated into the puzzles, so much so that often it IS the puzzles. I like labyrinths and I don't mind back-and-forthing if it's logical and adds to the challenge. Show me an environment with intricate paths, locked doors, tunnels, rail switchbacks and underwater caverns -- and I'm in paradise. I have a great sense of direction and seldom get "lost" in the environments. Photorealism is much preferred to cartoon-like graphics.

Gamer A -- Atmosphere:   Everything about a game should contribute to its atmosphere. Story, graphics, puzzles, music -- all should be integrated and working together to evoke a specific type of emotion or dramatic effect, giving an overall sense of flow. I sometimes encounter a character or an element in the story or environment that "sticks out" and disrupts the atmosphere, and this can significantly affect  my enjoyment. Music that is overly repetitive is a distraction, and I tend to turn it off if I have the option. Puzzles that are random obstacles having nothing to do with the story, or that have been "stuck" randomly in the environments, also destroy the game's atmosphere.

Gamer B -- Atmosphere:   A game with a compelling atmosphere is one that gets all the details right, so the game feels authentic. When designers pay attention to the details, this increases the chances that the gamer will experience a sense of immersion in a time, a place, or in the unfolding events. "Atmospheric" is not the same thing as "dark." For instance, historical details add to a game's historical atmosphere, or give-and-take among wacky characters adds to a game's comedic atmosphere.  I can be just as drawn into the atmosphere of a colorful, quirky gameworld as I am drawn into the atmosphere of a somber, threatening gameworld.

Gamer C -- Atmosphere:    Atmosphere should suit the "genre" of the story. A game has atmosphere if it has evoked an emotional response. If a game makes me scared, or makes me sad, or makes me laugh -- these emotions show that the atmosphere has been effective.

Gamer D -- Atmosphere:   I notice the atmosphere most in dark, brooding games. The scenery contributes to a game's atmosphere, but even more, the game's background music and/or ambient sounds contribute to the atmosphere. I'm not always consciously aware of atmosphere, but I do notice if the game lacks atmosphere.         

Some of us have multiple personalities when it comes to gaming -- others of us may fit these categories with more precision. All of us will enjoy different games depending on our mood and situation.

I'm curious as to what you think about the idea of an adventure gaming "type." Below are game series that I thought might apply to each style of gamer -- of course, the games can also be enjoyed by many different types of gamers, not just the category into which I've placed them. Can anyone recommend other games?

If you are a lot like Gamer A you might enjoy:

The Syberia series

The Still Life series

The Broken Sword series

The Return to Mysterious Island series

If you are a lot like Gamer B  you might enjoy:

The Dark Fall series

Uru: Complete Chronicles (or the online version MOUL again)

The Agatha Christie series

The Sherlock Holmes series

If you are a lot like Gamer C you might enjoy:

The Monkey Island series

The Runaway series

The Secret Files series

The Art of Murder or Chronicles of Mystery series

If you are a lot like Gamer D you might enjoy:

The Myst series

The RHEM series

The Mysterious Journey series (Schizm and Chameleon)

The Last Half of Darkness series

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