Friday, 16 March 2012

Weekly Poll Discussion

Rather unsurprisingly, last week’s question (should Psycho be added to the list of 1988 games The Adventure Gamer will play?) has ended up with a positive outcome. The results of the poll are below:

Yes, it’s a really great game that shouldn’t be ignored!                         3 Votes (6%)
Yes, it’s the little known games I enjoy reading about most.                 33 votes (66%)
No, for the love of God, don’t play that terrible excuse for a game!         6 votes (12%)
No, I’d rather The Trickster not waste his time on little known games.    8 votes (16%)

I’d love to know who chose option 1 and whether they’ve actually played the game (anyone want to own up to it?). Regardless, that’s 36 positives to 14 negatives, which is pretty comprehensive. I’ll be playing Psycho!


Can anyone tell me which scene in Hitchcock's Psycho had a ghost in it?

This week’s poll is going to be a little more fun and will have no ramifications on the blog. I previously had a poll asking which setting people enjoyed the most in their adventure games, but that particular poll turned out to be fundamentally flawed. This time I’m going to be a little more specific and I wouldn’t be surprised if some of you find it challenging to commit to an answer.

What’s your favourite classic Sierra adventure series? Keep in mind that the question is about the full series', not one particular game in each.


It seems a fitting question, given that I’m playing through Police Quest right now. I know which series I’d personally like to see come out on top (can you guess?), but I’ll be very interested to see what everyone else thinks.

27 comments:

  1. Since Gabriel Knight isn't in the list, I voted for Quest for Glory. It's an RPG of sorts, which is a bonus for me.

    Also, I think it's the only series in the list which doesn't have the "Oh, you forgot to pick up this item at the start of the game? Too bad, you die inches from the finish line!" thing. I could be wrong on this, someone correct me.

    It might not be the most interesting setting out of the list, but it's definitely the least obnoxious.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I thought the first QfG was great, but IIRC in the second one you had a maze and a few puzzles of the incredibly unfair kind, specifically one where you had to be at a certain place at a certain time to trigger an event, and failing to do so meant you couldn't finish the game, except you weren't warned about it. My memories are fuzzy but I remember getting frustrated enough that I didn't bother with the third one...

      Delete
    2. The second one was my least favorite. The fourth is my favorite if I remember correctly.

      Delete
    3. Charles:

      It’s true that, in the second game, the city was a maze, but, fortunately, AGDinteractive (http://www.agdinteractive.com/) has an option in their remake of the game to play it with a city without so many streets. The remake is really good, so maybe you can give the series a second chance, at least from one to four, which is not only the best QFG game, imho, but also one of the greatest adventure games ever made.

      Delete
    4. I never did finish the second one, so that might have had a similar problem, but it looks like the third may be the one you're talking about Charles. There was an event that you could miss, making the game unwinnable. Apparently, this was due to a bug though, and not intentional if that makes you feel any better.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quest_for_Glory_III:_Wages_of_War#Technical_information

      Delete
    5. You know, I never played QfG3, but I was convinced that in Trial by Fire you could miss one of the many scheduled events that made the game unwinnable. Hmmm... I can't find anything on the Internetz so maybe my memory's playing tricks on me.

      I did find information about unwinnable states in later Sierra games, and oh boy. I'll second my own suggestion that Trickster should be warned beforehand about a few of these beasties. King's Quest V is simply nasty. Check out the Cruelty Scale (made for IF, but applicable here):
      http://jeremydouglass.com/images/forums/2007/if-cruelty-redux.png

      Delete
    6. I think you could miss the caravan, which would make QFG2 pretty much unwinnable.

      Delete
    7. @Charles: I'm simply too scared to even look at that list! You guys are just going to have to help me out when we get to these beasties.

      There I was thinking dead ends would become less regular as adventure games evolved.

      Delete
  2. I've always loved less King's quest (yeah, I know, sorry about that) and Manhunter than the other series. I agree that Gabriel Knight is missing, but considering the first game is much more recent, it would maybe have been unfair to the other series.

    When you think about it, it's crazy how many long adventuring hours, in so many different settings, we had thanks to the same guys. Personally, I prefer the Lucasarts games overall, but our world would definitely have been different without Ken and Roberta Williams!

    ReplyDelete
  3. That's a difficult one, I have the fondest memories about KQ4 and 6, but overall, I guess I like SQ's dumb jokes more...
    PQ was kind of intriguing/interesting, but dying so much when you need to juggle with Atari ST disks and suffer from long loading time was a bit of a turn-off.

    ReplyDelete
  4. It was a tough choice, but in the end the tip of the hat went to the Two Guys from Andromeda - I just loved the humor in the SQ games (I played the first four, so I'm looking forward to finishing off the whole series once we get to the 90s).

    ReplyDelete
  5. Quest for Glory gets the number one spot for me, since it only has one poor game in the series (QfG5, the only one I never completed, and to put that in perspective, I must have completed the others at least a half-dozen times each!).

    Space Quest would get the second spot, since I love the sci-fi humour (which is also why I like Futurama, which is almost SQ: The TV show). The fourth and fifth games are personal favourites.

    And finally in third spot, it has to be King's Quest, it was a bit hit-and-miss though.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Like Panthro, I voted QFG. I played 1-4 about ten times each, and also loathe the fifth game, which tried to pay lip service to the fans who demanded it, yet somehow satisfied no one.

    The QFG games aside, my fondest memory is actually with King's Quest 4, as it's the first game (1) I completed and (2) I was able to play with my sister without fighting so much our dad had to kick us off the computer. KQ4 had us totally enraptured.

    I was too young to fully appreciate the humor in Space Quest (though I loved SQ3 tremendously and was old enough to enjoy IV and V), so the early two games were largely lost on me. I was never allowed to play the LSL series, so I've only dabbled vaguely with the first game, for about 30 minutes, just to see what the big deal was.

    The Sierra games, in particular, are really burned into my formative years as THE computer game experience that still resonates with me. Not Wing Commander, not SimCity, not The Bard's Tale, not Wizardry VII, not even Neuromancer (which also had a huge impact).

    My first intense feelings of envy might be from the times I would go visit a family friend whose father believed the Sierra games fostered good problem solving skills and boosted intelligence - so he bought them all for his sons. I would go over to play, and be treated to/teased with amazing scenes from SQ3, the original EGA version of QFG1, KQ3, several of the Dynamix games, etc.

    It's also very strange looking back and seeing these games as primitive or anything BUT cutting edge. I vividly remember the entire process of playing one of these. You would boot up the computer, which was faster in the DOS days. You had a black screen and a flashing command prompt, at which you'd make your way to the Sierra directory. You'd start up a game, and a few seconds later that famous mountain logo would appear and the ascending music would swell. Those games were amazingly artistic for their time, and I endlessly marveled at them.

    But a special place in my heart is held for the QFG games, which are pseudo-RPGs, have that neat "three different playstyles!" thing going on, and have perhaps the most balanced humor of the various franchises.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The problem with QFG5 is they decided to throw all the old characters in, whether it made sense or not. It felt like a funeral, everyone coming to see the end of the series. And it was a pretty poor funeral.

      Delete
  7. Difficult question, because Sierra series have their high points and low points. If I have to think in the best Sierra series I have played (I haven’t played Manhunter and Conquest games, and neither the second Ecoquest), my vote have to go to the Larry games. I really like the humor of Al Lowe and how the series change over time to finish with two excellent games that return to the design of the first game, but better. The Quest for Glory could have been in this place if not for the fifth game: it’s one of the worst adventure games I’ve ever played. I finished it only because it was a Quest for Glory.

    Even if they don’t figure on the poll, I think the Gabriel Knight games are also great and on par with the Larry and Quest for Glory series, even if the third game was, in my opinion, inferior to the first two.

    After writing this and reading the others comments, I was thinking that maybe, in the future, you could make polls were people could vote for the best entry in one series or something like that. It would be interesting seeing what Police Quest or King’s Quest some of us prefer.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My guess is that Quest of Glory V was the game the designer wanted to make all along. While the others were released as adventure games because that's what Sierra was best known for, Lori Ann Cole had little interest in adventure games, she wanted to make role-playing video games.

      Seeing as how it was scheduled to be the last in the series, and the development team was laid off after its release, it's possible Lori saw this as her last shot to make the game she wanted. Funding was also short for this game, which caused features to be cut. I'm sure this led to little to no playtesting.

      Wikipedia makes me know things:

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lori_Ann_Cole
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quest_for_Glory_V:_Dragon_Fire

      Delete
    2. Thanks for the links. I haven’t read them. Maybe you’re right about the fifth game being what Lori Ann Cole really wanted to do. But I always felt the change had to do more with Sierra policy of trying to appeal to action gamers than to Lori herself. But, if that’s the case, it’s pretty ironic that in QFGV you feel that the world doesn’t addapt to the “role” you’re playing as well as in the others four. In V, from what I can recall, many of the quests could only be solved with action. And that was terrible to me, playing as a magic user.

      Delete
  8. I chose option 1 in the Psycho poll. Psycho is an all-time classic game, one of the very finest examples of the entire adventure game oeuvre. It is to adventure gaming what Half Life is to the FPS, or Baldur's Gate to the cRPG - a seminal work, defining the genre while also representing a massive leap forward in terms of presentation and storytelling. To ignore Psycho would be akin to ignoring The Secret of Monkey Island, or Day of the Tentacle and would make a mockery of the whole premise behind this blog*.






    * Obviously I've never played it and had never even heard of it before its first mention on this blog. Still think Trickster should play it though!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. For a minute there you had me! Right up until the Half Life and Baldur's Gate comparisons. :)

      Delete
  9. No contest for me, it's got to be Quest for Glory.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Laura Bow -series (Colonel's Bequest + Dagger of Ammon-Ra) is also missing from the possibilities, I might have voted it as the number one (and this has nothing to do with Laura being one of the cutest heroines I know). As it is, I voted Larry, just for the fair level of quality in overall wittiness the series managed to maintain.

    The second place would probably go for Space Quest, mostly for nostalgic reasons: these were the voyages where my adventure gaming began. Unfortunately the later episodes just didn't have the same magic as the SQs I - IV did.

    I've already commented that the Police Quest is my least favourite series, although it does have its moments (I quite liked the second game).

    The rest of the Sierra series I find very difficult to put in any order. The first Kinq's Quests feel quite outdated, but the series got better and seventh is a real classic. Quest for Glorys are quite decent games, but I am not really a RPG fan and e.g. get really bored of grinding. Manhunter might have been an interesting series, but why did they have to keep using Sierra's first game system?

    ReplyDelete
  11. You forgot the "I don't play graphical adventure games" option, so I'm writing that one in. ^^

    ReplyDelete
  12. I purposely left Gabriel Knight off the list as the first game was released in the 90s. I decided to make it a fair fight by including only series that began in the 80s, the golden age of Sierra adventure games.

    I guess the Laura Bow series could therefore be considered an oversight, although I'm not convinced that series would have topped the poll. I'm going to have to start creating polls to see what will be included in polls soon!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You should create a poll about this idea.

      Delete
    2. Weekly Poll

      What games should I include in my next weekly poll?

      1. It doesn't really matter what you include, we'll find something that you missed!
      2. I don't care, just make sure it includes my favourite!
      3. See answer 1.

      Delete
    3. When you hit FMV games I think you should start screencasting them, or at least recording the majour cutscenes (Or linking to existing recording)

      Delete
  13. I haven't played any of these games, but based on your posts, my favorite so far is King's Quest, mostly because of the setting (and maybe because you've played three of them so far, so I have the best sense of how they work).

    ReplyDelete