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#123290 - 06/23/03 04:10 PM Conversation with characters as puzzles?
esube Offline
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Registered: 05/07/01
Posts: 2500
Loc: Central Pennsylvania
The discussion initiated by johnboy about Broken Sword provokes the following question: when is a conversation a puzzle?

Let me put this another way. We all know what to do in an adventure game when faced with a conversation with a game character. Talk to them about everything we can. There often isn't very much to do but sit back and listen.

I am trying to think of situations in which the conversation itself takes on puzzle-like qualities

The best example of what I am thinking about perhaps is in Egypt II, where the conversation choices involve a complicated series of trades with various merchants in order to come up with just the right item(s) at the end.

I think another is in Broken Sword with Kahn on the cliff, though game-stopping dialogue choices are not so much puzzles as just bad choices laugh

Any other examples?
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#123291 - 06/23/03 04:27 PM Re: Conversation with characters as puzzles?
MrLipid Offline
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Registered: 12/30/00
Posts: 1946
Loc: Land of 10,000 Lakes
Getting into the wireless room in Titanic: Adventure Out of Time.

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#123292 - 06/23/03 06:05 PM Re: Conversation with characters as puzzles?
fov Offline
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Registered: 12/28/01
Posts: 2964
Loc: San Francisco
i just finished the X-Files game... there are a few instances there where you have four conversation choices and only one of them will allow you to advance (i.e., the other three choices get you killed). it wasn't a very hard choice (for me), but i guess you could call this a puzzle...

-emily

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#123293 - 06/23/03 07:56 PM Re: Conversation with characters as puzzles?
JonathanBoakes Offline
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Registered: 10/14/13
Posts: 623
Loc: Saxton
I'm with Mr.Lipid, Titanic had loads of converse triggers. Good fun though, especially with the more camp passengers. But, TLJ wins hands down when it comes to listening to monologues before you can "progress".
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#123294 - 06/23/03 08:29 PM Re: Conversation with characters as puzzles?
Becky Offline
The Medieval Lady
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Registered: 02/16/00
Posts: 26894
Loc: Stony Brook, New York, USA
Insult sword fighting in the Monkey Island games. Salaambo has some dialogue choices that will get you captured and possibly killed. There are also puzzles in some games where you have discuss something before an item becomes useable or before you can find something -- Beyond Atlantis for example.

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#123295 - 06/23/03 11:59 PM Re: Conversation with characters as puzzles?
gatorlaw Offline
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Registered: 11/01/99
Posts: 10308
Esube,

I was just thinking about this from another thread. smile

To me a puzzle in a game is any obstacle or challenge that you have to figure out how to get past to advance the story. So many times it is a person to get past or securing their cooperation/help. This can be done by doing something for them, giving them an item, using an item on them. But many times you have to ask the right questions, give the right response or ask a question of a particular person to trigger game advancement. If so to me that is a puzzle. There is a lot of that in the Tex Murphy games. The whole plot changes in Pandora depending on the responses you make or what you pursue in dialogue. Many of the old Lucas Arts are the same way as is Syberia and Post Mortem.

I actually like more intuitive based puzzles. More challenging in many ways. I enjoy a good mix and also classic inventory based games. But I think in many ways the emphasis on plot based challenges is one of the nice developments for me in newer games.

Laura
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#123296 - 06/24/03 04:12 AM Re: Conversation with characters as puzzles?
Kickaha Offline
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Registered: 03/27/01
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Loc: Cambridge, England
In "Planescape Torment" (I know this is a RPG but RPG's have Adventure game elements) there are a number of conversation puzzles where you need to make the right dialogue choices to navigate through to solve the puzzle. If you don't make the right choices you start the conversation again.

This feels unnatural to me - you wouldn't in real life replay conversations like this. In a pure Adventure it also feels unnatural to me to have a dialogue choice which alters the plot - less so in a RPG (but games are most interesting when they break the rules.)

Regards, Peter.
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#123297 - 06/24/03 06:32 AM Re: Conversation with characters as puzzles?
acornia Offline
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Registered: 06/24/01
Posts: 3805
Loc: Kentucky, USA
Mystery of the Druids. If didn't make the right conversation choices, the cat wouldn't show up.
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#123298 - 06/24/03 08:53 AM Re: Conversation with characters as puzzles?
Singer Offline
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Registered: 09/04/01
Posts: 2521
As Becky said, MI's insult fights are the only true example of dialogue "puzzles" I can think of.

Blade Runner and Shadow of Destiny both included dialogue options that altered the course of events, but those are really plot devices, not puzzles.

It's hard to win with this one. Often the most direct route through a conversation is the dullest one, which is why the developers add options. But then going through the options causes unnatural results.

Personally, I feel this is a definite weakness in games that better scripting could so easily enhance. The "exhaust the options" method is a snooze, and the "right and wrong" method is restrictive. As with ALL puzzles, developers should be exploring ways of creating branching dialogue puzzles that all work back to the desired result - whether or not that would qualify them as "puzzles" still remains to be seen, but the degree of interactivity would certainly be improved.

Jack
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#123299 - 06/24/03 11:22 AM Re: Conversation with characters as puzzles?
burpee Offline
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Registered: 12/14/00
Posts: 4516
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I sure felt like Post Mortem's hotel clerk was puzzling mad He never wanted to share info with me and I wished heartily for a weapon to threaten him with (not that I'm violent, of course) laugh

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#123300 - 06/24/03 03:10 PM Re: Conversation with characters as puzzles?
Jenny100 Offline
GB Reviewer Glitches Moderator
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Registered: 10/24/00
Posts: 35281
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Talking to the old people in Shambala at the end of Beyond Atlantis 2 was a puzzle that could only be solved by trial-and-error - a very obnoxious and boring way to have to solve a "puzzle." It's similar to the scissors puzzle in Mystery of the Druids in that you don't immediately lose and can try again, but you have to listen to the same lot of %$#@! over and over again to figure out what to say and when.

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#123301 - 06/24/03 10:14 PM Re: Conversation with characters as puzzles?
esube Offline
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Registered: 05/07/01
Posts: 2500
Loc: Central Pennsylvania
I agree that the MI insult duels are the best examples of this. I guess that they are so good that I had put them into a separate category altogether. laugh

I agree with what Laura and Jack said.
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#123302 - 06/24/03 11:50 PM Re: Conversation with characters as puzzles?
Glynn Offline
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Registered: 03/03/01
Posts: 3143
Loc: Virginia
I agree Jenny..that old couple in Atlantis 2 was the pits!! If you played the the first Atlantis..you will remember there were a lot of conversations in it where ....."you ask the wrong question, you were dead!" Glynn

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#123303 - 06/25/03 07:36 AM Re: Conversation with characters as puzzles?
Becky Offline
The Medieval Lady
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Registered: 02/16/00
Posts: 26894
Loc: Stony Brook, New York, USA
In Star Trek: A Final Unity there was a place where Wil Riker had to answer several questions in order to pass a diety-type being. It was interesting because
Spoiler
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all the correct answers were the answers that were the least specific and the most flowery. The diety seemed to think that namby-pambiness showed deep insight.

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#123304 - 06/26/03 08:04 PM Re: Conversation with characters as puzzles?
CNW400 Offline
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Registered: 11/30/01
Posts: 93
Loc: Batavia, Illinois
Two unusual games I can recall were ROBOT WORLD & STARSHIP TIATANIC. You had to ask a question at just the right time or the next step didn't become available. Then you had to determine if what you were told was really a clue. Most times I dislike conversations in games because the choices given are either not the questions I really have and would want to ask, or else they are questions I had not thought of and in themselves have just become a "spoiler"

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