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#119313 - 01/23/03 08:16 AM Useless things in games
ThunderChild Offline
Settled Boomer

Registered: 08/13/02
Posts: 303
Loc: My own little world
Just wondered what anyone else thought.....

Currently playing Post Mortem and I noticed (so far) that there is nothing in it that's irrelevant or useless. I don't mean red herrings though (and if anyone's read Laura's wonderful review of this game you'll know there are none of those either)

I mean the really trivial things such as being able to turn the taps on in a bathroom or flush a toilet. A good example in PM is drawers: there are millions of drawers in this game and yet only the ones with something useful in them can be opened. I want to be able to open them all.

I seem to remember a game (Black Dahlia maybe?) where if a room had a light switch then you could turn it on and off. It had nothing to do with the game and didn't suddenly reveal a new clue or anything like that, it was just there.

So, am I odd (OK, odder than usual) or does anyone else like these things?
There's a lady who's sure
all that glitters is gold

#119314 - 01/23/03 08:43 AM Re: Useless things in games
nolalou Offline
BAAG Specialist

Registered: 02/10/00
Posts: 5096
Loc: New Orleans, LA. USA
I know what you mean! Some games give you very little to interact with, for example: maybe only one drawer in a desk with 4 drawers can be opened. (or worse, no matter what drawer you click on , the same drawer opens).

Those extra touches add some realisim to the game (and can make games last longer, as you try every room and drawer, etc looking for clues. The problem I suppose is that it makes the development time longer, as you have to add all the extra graphics and code to handle things that have nothing to do with progressing in the game.


#119315 - 01/23/03 08:44 AM Re: Useless things in games
Jen Offline
Settled Boomer

Registered: 08/20/02
Posts: 394
Loc: Hampshire, UK
I like these types of things..if a draw opens you think oh it might be a clue but it really is just a useless draw...or doors that open and take you into rooms that aren't relevant at all!Its all part of the game!
Touching earth lightly.

#119316 - 01/23/03 08:44 AM Re: Useless things in games
MacDee Offline
Adept Boomer

Registered: 06/06/99
Posts: 14887
Loc: Battle Creek, Michigan
Me, Me, Me! happydance

I love to play around with all kinds of things in a game. I want to open all the doors, drawers, boxes and be able to pick up the things inside them. Actually, it makes the game more interesting to me because you don't know if it is important or not. wink

I want to enter all the rooms too. I was so disappointed that I couldn't check out all the staterooms in Titanic. frown

I also enjoy contact with animals, like the sunners in Riven and the cute little burping bug in Amerzone (can't think of the name right now).


#119317 - 01/23/03 11:03 AM Re: Useless things in games
gatorlaw Offline
Adept Boomer

Registered: 11/01/99
Posts: 10323
I am on the fence with stuff to check out in games. If it isn't presented as red herrings or keeps you from advancing if you don;t mess with it - Then I like it as the exploration is there but optional. Sometimes I am running hot and heavy with the plot, pushing through the game and don't want to slow down.

Black Dahlia (which is one of my favorite games for other reasons) had non-essential places and things to look at - but even though opening that dresser drawer didn't advance the game - if you missed it - you didn't go onto the next chapter.

But I love it where at your option you can just amble about and check things out - like in Riven and such. smile


#119318 - 01/23/03 11:12 AM Re: Useless things in games
mbc841 Offline
Settled Boomer

Registered: 03/29/01
Posts: 384
Loc: Annandale, VA USA
You can turn the lights on and off in "Harvest". (even though this is not part of the plot - but I thought it was a neat touch that adds realism). It's good to see that players appreciate those types of added touches. laugh

Visit The Fate Of It All website for demo and updates.

#119319 - 01/23/03 12:31 PM Re: Useless things in games
nickie Offline
Grand wizard of high mucky muck
Adept Boomer

Registered: 01/08/02
Posts: 13453
Loc: Texas
A really funny touch to the game "Foul Play:Mystery at Akward Manor" is that when you are searching for clues, if you hit the light switch (as you inevitably do) the game goes dark, and a droll Butler's voice says "May I get that for you madam/sir?" and turns the light back on. Or if you click on the mirror, laughing voices say "They're looking at themselves again!"
"How could drops of water know themselves to be a river? Yet the river flows on."
- Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

#119320 - 01/23/03 02:27 PM Re: Useless things in games
Jenny100 Offline
GB Reviewer Glitches Moderator
Sonic Boomer

Registered: 10/24/00
Posts: 38836
Loc: southeast USA
I always like fooling around with the plumbing in games. I'll try to turn on the water in the sinks and flush the toilets. Labyrinth of Time had a working toilet and Faust had a sink and a tub that worked. But I don't think I've ever seen a game where you could turn on the shower. Not that I remember anyway.

I also like it when appliances work - when you can use a phonograph to play LP's (as in Zork Nemesis) or tune in a radio (as in Faust), etc. It may not be essential to playing the game but it makes the gameworld seem more real.

#119321 - 01/23/03 02:28 PM Re: Useless things in games
kat165 Offline
Addicted Boomer

Registered: 08/23/00
Posts: 1737
Loc: Northern New Jersey, USA
Have I got a game for you, Thunderchile! Have you played Watchermaker? Most of the stuff you can fiddle with is non-essential to the game. You can go in all of the room, open all the draws and cabinets, click on almost everything for some sort of comment. Sometimes it got annoying, hearing lame comments about every single thing, but for the most part I also enjoy clicking on/interacting with everything I see.

#119322 - 01/23/03 04:12 PM Re: Useless things in games
Cynch Offline
Addicted Boomer

Registered: 03/05/00
Posts: 1159
Loc: Arlington, WA, US
I especially liked listening to that radio in the "40's" segment of AMBER. While fiddling around with it to get that dumbwaiter to go up and down I had great fun listening to all the old commercials and WWII bulletins. smile
"Life is not measured by the number of breaths
we take but by the moments that take our breath away."

#119323 - 01/23/03 04:45 PM Re: Useless things in games
Quandary Offline
Settled Boomer

Registered: 10/27/99
Posts: 453
Loc: Fremantle, Western Australia
Great topic, and one of my hobby horses laugh

For me, being able to interact with the gameworld even in seemingly meaningless ways contributes to that feeling of 'being there'. To open drawers, look behind doors, turn lights on and off, makes the location 'real'. I also like to get the character's (or game) description of objects and paintings etc as it gives those items a physical presence and they exist for the character and the player. You can also learn quite a bit about your character based on her/his responses.

Too many of the latest 3D games seem to ignore or restrict this interactivity. Oh they may have beautiful graphics but for me they are as lifeless as a stage backdrop if you can't interact with them.

Often it's the little touches that make a game memorable...

Rosemary & Gordon

#119324 - 01/23/03 04:52 PM Re: Useless things in games
Witchen Offline
True Blue Boomer

Registered: 05/26/99
Posts: 22381
Loc: Seattle Washington USA
As long as these characteristics or peculiarities in the game add warmth, color and definitely help engage the gamer, I think they are just terrific. Love the feeling of being able to snoop around here and there for little tidbits. If, in fact, this exercise is a "red herring" in its truest sense; that is, a distraction that leads the gamer off down the wrong trail, then I don't like em'. lol

Love, Witchen =O)

#119325 - 01/23/03 06:25 PM Re: Useless things in games
audrey522 Offline
Settled Boomer

Registered: 03/31/01
Posts: 602
Loc: Gillette, Wyoming
I'm with the "fiddlers" on this one. I feel cheated if I cannot enter all the rooms or open all the drawers just to see what's there. BTW, Darkfall was great that way...I could go into every wonderfully creepy room in that hotel. And then I got the goggles and found more new stuff. This was a small (very small) gripe I had with Syberia. "No point in going down there." <img border="0" title="" alt="[Confused]" src="confused.gif" />

Does wine count as a serving of fruit?

#119326 - 01/23/03 09:05 PM Re: Useless things in games
Witchen Offline
True Blue Boomer

Registered: 05/26/99
Posts: 22381
Loc: Seattle Washington USA
Hi Marion.......... smile I'm with you on the dead end doors/gates/streets. Hopefully this won't show up in the sequel. No message at all is better than "No point in going down there," it denotes to some gamers that at some later point, there just might be a point in going down there. lol wink

Love, Witchen =O) wink

#119327 - 01/23/03 09:59 PM Re: Useless things in games
fov Offline
Addicted Boomer

Registered: 12/28/01
Posts: 2964
Loc: San Francisco
i like playing with things, and if i'm not allowed to play, i want a good reason. laugh

it bugged me in syberia that i would click on something and kate would say "I don't need to do that yet," or "I don't need to do that again." #1 -- in some cases, i just clicked to see what the object was... i didn't even know i was telling her to do something! #2 -- how does *she* know she doesn't need to do it yet/again?! it took away from the realism for me because i felt like kate knew something i didn't... which meant i wasn't *really* controlling her after all.


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