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#387968 - 09/07/08 05:06 PM Re: The Lost Crown review. [Re: Tomer]
Jenny100 Offline
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Sonic Boomer

Registered: 10/24/00
Posts: 38396
Loc: southeast USA
Originally Posted By: Tomer
- The voice acting of Nigel voice acting, in my opinion, is terrible. For some reason, this guy uses commas and periods in the most unrelavent cases. His voice acting is very unrealistic, very slow.

You know there may be an ingame reason for it, as was brought up in one of the threads about this game in the Discussion forum
Click to reveal..
The whole world of Saxton may be a simulation in a computer, created out of old black-and-white photos. This explains the "tears" in the graphics near the churches -- the tears that look like the edge of a torn photograph. So the Nigel character may not be human, but only be an AI or avatar. Have you ever phoned up a "time and temperature" service on your telephone, where the times and temperatures are recorded separately from the main message? Or have you ever endured one of those automated phone menus? Ever notice how the speech breaks up when it's reading information back to you (especially when asking confirmation of something you told it? Does it remind you of the way Nigel talks?

This was Jonathan Boakes' first 3rd person game, so maybe Nigel's walking animation was the best he could do. But I have a hard time accepting that Nigel's blatantly odd speech patterns weren't a deliberate clue about his true nature.

For some reason the idea that you're playing as a computer simulation within a game instead of as a human character within a game doesn't occur to many people.

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#387996 - 09/07/08 07:00 PM Re: The Lost Crown review. [Re: Jenny100]
looney4labs Offline
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Registered: 04/05/04
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Jenny100, I love that idea. I know there have been console games that flirted with that. When I finally play it, I'm going to keep that in mind wave
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#388835 - 09/09/08 10:57 AM Re: The Lost Crown review. [Re: looney4labs]
Tomer Offline
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Registered: 06/12/07
Posts: 799
Loc: Tel Aviv, Israel.
This theory has been suggested before in this thread, and I responded that it could be it.
Many of the shortcomings I've mentioned regarding this game could be "excused" using this "theory". However, I must admit that I am a very open minded gamer and very fond of the term "artistic liscense". I adore originallity and I love it when games aspire to be special in all means. And still, the fact is I found this element in the game disturbing and tiring at the very least. Even if I were to play it knowingly of the theory suggested, I would still feel it is tiring more than anything.
Have you guys ever seen a David Lynch film? Maybe even his last one (I think) - Inland empire? The fact is I do love his works, but I just couldn't stand the last movie. It was simply toooooo exhausting. I never fall asleep in films and I did on that one. So, what I'm saying is, that it might be true that Jonathan wanted to create this nightmarish-slowish atmosphere, but it simply feels missed in the game, mostly because:
1) Many players don't actually feel it (at least not voice-acting wise)
2) It is very tiring and exhausting.

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#389355 - 09/10/08 02:08 PM Re: The Lost Crown review. [Re: Tomer]
oldmariner Offline
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Registered: 01/29/07
Posts: 1513
Jenny that may be true about the simulation idea speculated on.I had not previously heard that theory. However, even if it is true the effect still wrecked the game. Why I say that is because the character's affect both in banal tone of voice and physical reactions to events failed to generate any indication the character was the least bit concerned or cared.

Any story be it movie, book or game requires an interest in the characters. This apathetic approach clearly spoke to me that Niles had no interest in what was happening. If he did not care why should I? If he generated no amount of surprise, apprehension or fear why should I react in kind? A few simple inflections might have changed that. Instead we got voice acting that was abysmal. Perhaps if the creator of the story showed some awareness of this I would have finished the game instead of getting completely frustrated with it. Perhaps I would have considered his clever twist proposed in the above theory. This theory would have resonated and I could applaud it. But as the presentation undermined the game causing frustration and anger with the player, the author's unique twist completely failed.

So many things were done right and this game could have been a masterpiece, however, for me it goes into the pile of failures.

Tomer, you are correct. The "nightmarish-slowish atmosphere" utterly failed because Niles did not convey any sense of a nightmare or pending doom. Niles came off as a bored uninterested tourist waiting for the tour guide to lead him to the next scripted event.


Edited by oldmariner (09/10/08 02:15 PM)

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#389455 - 09/10/08 06:03 PM Re: The Lost Crown review. [Re: oldmariner]
Tomer Offline
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Registered: 06/12/07
Posts: 799
Loc: Tel Aviv, Israel.
Originally Posted By: oldmariner

...
Any story be it movie, book or game requires an interest in the characters. This apathetic approach clearly spoke to me that Niles had no interest in what was happening. If he did not care why should I? If he generated no amount of surprise, apprehension or fear why should I react in kind?...


Although we share the same feeling towards the game, oldmariner, I still feel this statement isn't exactly accurate.
How would you, as a creator of a game, would build a character which would both reflect the eerie and bizarre sense of the game, but would also provoke interest and motivation in the player? Jonathan didn't want (according to the "theory") to disconnect Nigel from the whole atmosphere there. He wanted him to be a part of it. And that's creative, and hard. We're so used to get characters which are "against" the world they are in, and we as their spirits immediately sympathize with them. That's easy. It's hard to get the player to act as someone he doesn't really appreciate, or sympathizes with.
It's easier to do this in a movie. We're talking about a few hours. I believe that these days, a movie doesn't have to consist a character which would be easy to sympathize with. A movie these days can (luckily) afford to be highly creative and not to "feed" the viewers with the convenience of a realistic, humane character.
If you wish as a creator to manifest Such a vibe of an "avatar", or some kind of half ghost, half man (men? man? smile ), nouns such as apathy automatically jump to mind. I understand that the figure of Nigel was a "classical" way to build such a character.
I'm just saying that perhaps the medium of adventure gaming isn't ready for that yet. People still see games as games mostly. When a game becomes too tiring, people dismiss it, albeit it may consist the most profound, artistic ideas.


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#389599 - 09/10/08 11:05 PM Re: The Lost Crown review. [Re: Tomer]
oldmariner Offline
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Registered: 01/29/07
Posts: 1513
As you say Tomer, "Jonathan didn't want (according to the "theory") to disconnect Nigel from the whole atmosphere there. He wanted him to be a part of it. And that's creative, and hard. We're so used to get characters which are "against" the world they are in, and we as their spirits immediately sympathize with them."

I think it comes back to transmitting the feel of the character and story to the audience. The writer must connect to a reader, viewer or as in this case player. The supposition or theory is Mr Boakes may have added an unusual twist illustrated in Jenny's thread. No spoiler here. If in fact the creator intended this I agree he is to be applauded.

But as Mr Boakes only managed to infuriate me with his disaffected character I was not around at the end to draw any conclusions. The idea presented above only works if the writer draws in the player. I submit he failed because I could care less about a character with no affect. If Niles did not care why should I? That was my point about the awful voice acting. If you infuriate players and drive them away before delivering the punch line the writer failed.

It is not that Adventure Games are not ready for this yet. I think they may be but you need a connection between character and player and Boakes never made that connection.

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#389666 - 09/11/08 05:37 AM Re: The Lost Crown review. [Re: oldmariner]
Tomer Offline
Settled Boomer

Registered: 06/12/07
Posts: 799
Loc: Tel Aviv, Israel.
I just feel that movies, for example, can afford to be much more experimental and much less easy to experience than games, much like the painting can. Don't you agree?
I mean, these days, I can pretty much paint or draw whatever I want, and as long as I define it as art, I would probably have audience for it. I can also film falling dishes smashing in the kitchen for 15 minutes and call it an artistic movie, and I would probably have audience for it. I'm not thiking low of these things, and of course I'm exaggerating, but generally, you see much more experimenting in movies than in games. This high level of freedom is very distinct from the artistic level of freedom we see in games.

However, I do agree that since both you and I need to *read* this theory on posts like this and then think "oh, now that sounds different", then the author indeed "fail" (at least in our case). No matter what, or how experimental the work is, one who experiences it must feel a sense of curiousity, of wanting more, of facination, at the very least. I'm not even talking of "enjoynment" per se anymore.... but these basic qualities drifted in the wind somewhere in the middle of the game and left me wanting to finish it....

Funny how most people probably didn't even bother thinking about why Nigel speaks strange etc... (you must admit that this theory isn't exactly obvious), and weren't really bothered by it, while I found it terrible. More terrible than that, I found the whole repetetive use of the same sentences in every scene (which could also be explained with this theory).

To sum it up - I think realizing that Jonathan maybe wanted to create this atmosphere does change my attidute towards the game a bit (I appreciate it a bit more), but I still wouldn't want to replay it (and I do replay games I like).


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#390105 - 09/11/08 07:24 PM Re: The Lost Crown review. [Re: oldmariner]
Jenny100 Offline
GB Reviewer Glitches Moderator
Sonic Boomer

Registered: 10/24/00
Posts: 38396
Loc: southeast USA
Originally Posted By: oldmariner
But as Mr Boakes only managed to infuriate me with his disaffected character I was not around at the end to draw any conclusions. The idea presented above only works if the writer draws in the player. I submit he failed because I could care less about a character with no affect.

I can't say I "cared" much about Nigel either. But I rarely "care" about characters in adventure games anyway. Most of them just aren't "real" enough for me to see them as anything other than objects to be pushed around the screen. "If" Jonathan Boakes "failed," I'd say it was because
Click to reveal..
people didn't pick up on the fact that Nigel was not a real person in the game -- and ascribed his speech to an atrocious job of voice acting. In fact, perhaps Nigel didn't sound mechanical enough. If he had, maybe more people would have realized his odd speech was deliberate, and started thinking about a reason for it.


Quote:
If Niles did not care why should I? That was my point about the awful voice acting. If you infuriate players and drive them away before delivering the punch line the writer failed.

I'll agree with your last sentence there, but not the first. There may have been a reason Nigel sounded the way he did, but he was still annoying. (I'd give the same argument against action sequences in a game. They may "make sense" to the plot in some way, but I still hate them and don't want them in my games.) As for your first sentence,
Click to reveal..
surely you don't expect a mere avatar to "care" or show empathy -- or do you? Jonathan Boakes was trying to give you a clue about Nigel's nature with his speech mannerisms. There are a few other clues about Saxton's nature in the game, but how many of them relate to Nigel? How would you have done it?


Quote:
It is not that Adventure Games are not ready for this yet. I think they may be but you need a connection between character and player and Boakes never made that connection.

The strength of The Lost Crown is in the story, not the characters. The story itself is a puzzle. Unfortunately a lot of adventure game players did not pick up on the clues that Jonathan Boakes left. Even so, most adventure gamers seem to enjoy The Lost Crown despite its problems.

How many adventure games have you played where the character isn't a stereotype of some sort?

Originally Posted By: Tomer
Funny how most people probably didn't even bother thinking about why Nigel speaks strange etc... (you must admit that this theory isn't exactly obvious), and weren't really bothered by it, while I found it terrible.

I was bothered by it. It wasn't until after I finished the game that I read Ivinia's theories and realized the reason for it. I also wondered about the tears near the churches and the rusty spot when it rained, though again I didn't realize the reason for them until I read Ivinia's comments.

Quote:
To sum it up - I think realizing that Jonathan maybe wanted to create this atmosphere does change my attidute towards the game a bit (I appreciate it a bit more), but I still wouldn't want to replay it (and I do replay games I like).

I can understand that, and feel much the same -- more because of the slowness of getting around than because of Nigel's speech patterns.

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#390224 - 09/11/08 11:56 PM Re: The Lost Crown review. [Re: Jenny100]
oldmariner Offline
Reviewer
Addicted Boomer

Registered: 01/29/07
Posts: 1513
Just to clarify as to why I reacted this was

Quote:
The strength of The Lost Crown is in the story, not the characters. The story itself is a puzzle. Unfortunately a lot of adventure game players did not pick up on the clues that Jonathan Boakes left. Even so, most adventure gamers seem to enjoy The Lost Crown despite its problems.

How many adventure games have you played where the character isn't a stereotype of some sort?


I regard the characters in the story as part of the story. How they perceive what is unfolding is vital to the story. The story is built around a conflict that effects people. It can be built around many possible themes but it always comes down to how a character or characters resolve the issues. We all knew that April was confused and concerned about the events in Newport though she did not know what was going on. April's voice, facial expression and body movements all revealed her confusion and concern. That helped sell the story. We could see and feel the tension. With Niles none of that existed. There was no concern, no tension and NO CARING! Therefore if Niles shows no concern it conveys the message there is nothing here to concern me. How can you present a horror story when no one shows any fear?

Yes there are many cases of characters being a stereotype. That is a limitation of story telling. There are just so many types of character and plots. It is virtually impossible to create a theme and characters that have not been done before.

Click to reveal..
surely you don't expect a mere avatar to "care" or show empathy -- or do you? Jonathan Boakes was trying to give you a clue about Nigel's nature with his speech mannerisms. There are a few other clues about Saxton's nature in the game, but how many of them relate to Nigel? How would you have done it?


How would I have done it? Good question, I don't know but then I did not create this mess, Boakes did. He has to give us a reason to continue. Perhaps have the clown jump or flinch once in a while. Perhaps show some surprise. I don't know I only know he failed to sell it.

Click to reveal..
This falls squarely on the shoulders of Mr. Boakes. No I do not expect a mere avatar to "care" or show empathy.
But I do expect more than a few obscure hints to sell that idea. What I witnessed was a horror game character who did not believe there was any danger. A character who was completely unaffected by events around him and displayed the affect of a bored bystander.

You said "The strength of The Lost Crown is in the story, not the characters."

My response is, you cannot have a story without characters. If your character development is so thin that they have no emotion, no concern about events or the world around him, no inflection in their voice, no hint of surprise, disgust, excitement or fear then as a writer you fail to create any investment from your audience. He is asking me as a player to invest thirty hours without giving me any reason to hang around. The punch line may have been original but he failed to sell it because of weak character development. No you can't have a horror story without showing some emotion. Masterpiece? No a long way from it.

I'm not trying to be difficult here I'm just stating why I felt this was a bad game. There are plenty of authors in all forms of media that have turned their story upside down and surprised you at the end. The common element was they all fleshed out interesting characters the player, viewer or reader invested in on many levels. I firmly believe that Boakes failed in this most important area.


Edited by oldmariner (09/12/08 12:13 AM)

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#390477 - 09/12/08 11:22 AM Re: The Lost Crown review. [Re: oldmariner]
Jenny100 Offline
GB Reviewer Glitches Moderator
Sonic Boomer

Registered: 10/24/00
Posts: 38396
Loc: southeast USA
In general I might agree about the importance of characters to a story. However there have been some cases where I've enjoyed a game despite not liking the character. With The Lost Crown, I didn't care much about Nigel one way or the other. With Black Mirror I absolutely despised Samuel. Yet I enjoyed both games overall. I enjoyed the mystery and the atmosphere and (at least up to a point) the story -- even though the story in Black Mirror fell apart at the end and The Lost Crown left many questions unanswered.

Considering that most people who've played The Lost Crown enjoyed it (even listing it among their favorite games of the year), I'd say you're wrong about the necessity of a character you can empathize with. What you say may be true for you, but it clearly doesn't apply to everyone. And I don't think you can call it a "bad" game. Flawed yes, but it has a lot more going for it than you are giving it credit for or it wouldn't have so many fans.

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#396849 - 09/25/08 12:13 AM Re: The Lost Crown review. [Re: Jenny100]
Benedict Offline
Addicted Boomer

Registered: 06/02/99
Posts: 1053
Loc: Singapore
Wow... This is turning into a debate, proposition versus opposition. Let us not get too serious, ok? After all, gaming is meant to be entertainment, not parliament.

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#406326 - 10/15/08 11:17 AM Re: The Lost Crown review. [Re: Tomer]
ron.etti Offline
Addicted Boomer

Registered: 06/10/01
Posts: 1345
Loc: McClure P.A. USA.
Tomer if i would write a review it would be just like yours.
You have said it much better then i could have.THANKs
ron.....

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#408027 - 10/18/08 01:36 PM Re: The Lost Crown review. [Re: ron.etti]
Tomer Offline
Settled Boomer

Registered: 06/12/07
Posts: 799
Loc: Tel Aviv, Israel.
Thanks Ron :-)
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#412189 - 10/26/08 01:33 AM Re: The Lost Crown review. [Re: Tomer]
HeavenlyJoy Offline
Settled Boomer

Registered: 11/07/05
Posts: 785
Loc: usa
I was thinking it would be interesting to list
the things in Games, that are important to different Gamers
I Imagine this has been done before.

I am not disagreeing with anything you have said,
but HONESTLY, I didnt see the Characters that way,
or the Voice acting,

Truth is, I think I may be a bit tone deaf LOL

I was thinking also before reading this thread, and also
reading many reviews, how much I have heard about Voice acting
and realizing, if I had a scale of 1 to 10, would problably
give it a 1 or 2,

Maybe that is why I reacted so differently to The Lost Crown than others, smile

I did find your post interesting, and maybe like any Good Critic.
I need to develope my eye, or EAR smile

Marcia

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#412348 - 10/26/08 11:48 AM Re: The Lost Crown review. [Re: HeavenlyJoy]
looney4labs Offline
Moderator
Sonic Boomer

Registered: 04/05/04
Posts: 47241
Loc: Alabama
HeavenlyJoy, it is interesting and yes, it has been done before but that doesn't mean it can't be done again.

We are all so different in the elements that are important to us and also in what we consider good, bad, indifferent, etc wave
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