Bad Adventure Game Design

sonneveld Hi!

This is taken from Grahem Nelson's Bill of Player's Rights.

I'm assuming you guys have played a lot of adventure games. What's the worst design flaw you've encountered?

If you've played Kings Quest 5, you'll know there's a few horrible puzzles in there that require you to die to find a solution and you can arrive at a few deadends.

- Nick
Kon-Tiki Most frustrating thing I've encountered was that you'd need a genie at the end of KQ V (according to all the walkthroughs I used when getting stuck there). That genie had to be found somewhere earlier in the game (somewhere in the middle), but never even saw it >:(

sonneveld The lamp was in the giant vault in the desert. You needed some special stick to open it though.

Finding the oasis in the desert required trial and error. You can feed the wolf the wrong thing and realise you need the other object later on in the game. That bloody owl cedric can get killed and you can't finish the game.

- Nick
Kon-Tiki Uhhmm, think I've been talking 'bout KQ VI there.
In KQ V, it's a pain in the blatter to figure out where to use which item. You can, for example, give the golden needle to the baker for bread, to the weaver for a cape, etc. Also, I couldn't get the boat pushed nor the staff out of the guy's tent. Seems like you forgot to put 'copy protection' in it. Can't even start playing PQ II anymore, since I lost that book where those heads were in :( (the book of the PQ-collection, where the Swat-signs were in as well)

gpm Hmm.. tough choice between these two.

- Need to know exact words to do something
- Cannot understand solution to puzzle (after you're solved it!)

I ended up voting for the exact wording because that one has burned me a number of times. One memorable example was Leisure Suit Larry 2 where you have to make the Molotov cocktail and drop it into the crevasse - I tried solutions from no less than 4 walkthroughs for that final puzzle, after solving the rest of the game without any help... even now I don't remember the exact wording I used.
rwfromxenon [1: Cannot understand solution to puzzle (after you're solved it!)][2 - Need to know exact words to do something][3 Dead ends (use an item up before you need it) Damn you KQ6- (sending poem to Cassima)]
Eero R I think that the worst is the need for exact words. Other problems are not so big, with these and saving feature can game be finished.
Joel I'm going to say dead ends, because there's nothing I hate more than having to go back and play through a portion of the game that I've already done simply because I accidently used something before it was needed. It's fine if you know you needed the item almost immediately after you waste it, but in many cases you don't find out until way down the line. And sometimes you still don't know you need it even when you get to the puzzle where it's needed, but that probably falls under bad puzzle design as well.

A close second I'd say is having to know exact words, because it's really frustrating to know exactly what you need to do to progress in the game but you just can't figure out how to tell the game what you're thinking.
gpm The reason why I don't mind dead-ends (unless they're way down the line as you said) as much as exact wording is because, in a strange twisted way, it simulates real life. The choices we make now reflect on the fortunes of our lives later...

But then again, this is adventure gaming. It isn't supposed to simulate real life! Or is it? :P
rwfromxenon Hmm... The Sariens are going to blow up the Universe....
Sounds a bit like Bush, huh? :P
But, king Graham's castle in a jar... hmmm.....
Tricky :)
df puzzles i hate are localised ones.

ie: in zork 2 there was a maze... it was an american baseball diamond...

if you were not american, you would not have understood it! (lots of europeans, brits, aussies didnt get that maze!)