Play it Again for the First Time - King's Quest I (AGI): Day 3 (Final)

Chris Kennedy's picture

King's Quest AGI BoxTonight, we completed King's Quest I.

Our approach was quite different. We didn't know what to do about a giant in the game - how to defend ourselves, kill him, etc. We knew this from the previous night. Before starting the game tonight, Laura said that she wanted to discuss what to do next in the game. I was a bit shocked and said that I didn't really do "pregame." Rather, I just load up a game and play. So we loaded it up.

...but perhaps having a pregame exercise is a great idea when it comes to adventure games...

1/25/2011 -

(Obvious spoiler alert here)

Blog entry:
==============

We were trying to find something to kill the giant and ...stumbled upon a dragon. We decided to try to go down a well that we found earlier, and that is where we found the dragon. After tossing some water on the floor with "use bucket" or "throw water at dragon," we tried again after reloading and defeated the dragon. This was done by throwing the water in his mouth while standing a lot closer than we did the first time.

It's funny how there are so many ways to fail in an adventure game simply because of your syntax or you aren't standing close enough. I don't mean when the parser says, "I don't understand" for bad syntax or "get closer" for bad location. I mean....we knew what we wanted to try, we typed in what we wanted to do, and the game made us feel like idiots by saying something along the lines of "you throw the water at the dragon...and it goes all over the floor."

If this were an animated comedy, the dragon and Graham would have just sat there looking at the pool of water on the floor like..."Yep...that just happened...and now we know who is screwed."

We stumbled upon this puzzle and managed to defeat a dragon only because we were trying find the right item that would allow us to defeat the giant. These adventure games have their hazards!

We wandered (and wondered) around trying to find rocks to use with a sling. Surely that was what we needed to take down that giant. We couldn't find any. Then we randomly typed "take pebbles" and the parser answered "you have to find them first." Knowing therefore that we most likely needed pebbles, we began checking our map for bodies of water to try to find pebbles. We finally found the pebbles, returned to the giant...but not without problems!

There is a dwarf in this game that likes to steal your stuff, and what do you know but he shows up on the tall, ever so difficult to navigate staircase inside a tall tree. Yes. You can't even run, really. We just kept leaving the screen and coming back until there was no sign of him and then continued our ascent.

We killed the giant. We had trouble developing the syntax for the giant. Did we need to kill the giant? If we did, how do we do it? Use pebbles with sling on giant? Use sling? Kill giant? We finally typed use sling and killed the giant. I was happy that it took our syntax with just two words, despite us having guessed that we needed to really spell things out.

Isn't it times like those in adventure games that what you type naturally gets longer? If you are thinking like a word parser, you really want to just type as few words as possible. Yet out of frustration caused by lack of communication (between user and parser), the commands get long. What ultimately ended up being "use sling" at one point was "Put the pebbles in the sling, pull back, release, and kill giant." I think the interpreter is still trying to craft a response to that one...

After obtaining the last item, we went back to the king and completed the game.

We enjoyed the game. We did not score all of the points. We didn't use quite a few items in our inventory. We figured that most of them should have been used as an alternative way to solve a puzzle here and there. We didn't do anything about the ogre, the sorcerer, the wolf, the dwarf, or the witch.

Overall, and enjoyable game.

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Final thoughts -

I still love King's Quest. It was neat playing the original AGI version since most of my "replays" had been with the SCI version over the years. I remembered most of the puzzles, but not all of the puzzles are the same in one version of the game (AGI) vs. another (SCI).

I am continuing to play through Sierra games this year. I have already played through and completed King's Quest II. I am now working on Space Quest I. I'll try to keep the Armchair Arcaders up on my progress via Twitter and blog entries.

By the way - If you see that I have just completed a game and would like to discuss it, by all means send me an e-mail or better still - post on our forums.

Comments

Hammer
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Joined: 03/23/2008
And if I remember correctly...

You cannot do anything about the ogre, sorcerer, wolf, or dwarf. You can take care of the witch. Dealing with the witch gives a clue to the main alternate pathway through the game, where you guess the gnome's name correctly.

You should definitely play KQ2+ from AGDI.

Chris Kennedy
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Joined: 08/31/2008
Hammer!

So glad you mentioned KQ2+ from those guys. I believe KQ3 was actually *just* released as well.

I've actually been planning on talking about those versions a bit in the future - either via podcast or blog post.

I am glad you brought them up.

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Hammer
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Joined: 03/23/2008
KQ3 Redux

I believe it's coming out tomorrow night, I am so eagerly awaiting it you can't imagine.

But I'll tell you right now - Play KQ2+, you will love it.

This is coming from someone who played the original KQ2 on an original IBM PC back in the day.

Chris Kennedy
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KQ2+
Hammer wrote:

I believe it's coming out tomorrow night, I am so eagerly awaiting it you can't imagine.

But I'll tell you right now - Play KQ2+, you will love it.

This is coming from someone who played the original KQ2 on an original IBM PC back in the day.

Ahh that's good! I did read they made some significant changes.

The remakes are on my slate - I just have many many more Sierra games to get through first. Ha! Perhaps I will try to cycle them in before I complete all the King's Quests though.

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Matt Barton
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Good stuff. So, you were able

Good stuff. So, you were able to complete it without help?

The reason I ask is I re-read an old review I did of the game back in 2005 (GOOD LORD, it doesn't seem that long ago). Mat Tschirgi (remember him?) also posted one. Those were good times slogging through all those old adventures.

I'm sorta glad that style of adventure game is dead (to be honest). I just never thought it was fun struggling with a bad interface and incoherent puzzles. A lot of adventures STILL get this stuff wrong, leaving players absolutely stuck if they can't figure out they're supposed to drop a hairpin so that a gorilla will find it, drop it, and then strangle a penguin so you can get the penguin's shoes. I'm exaggerating, of course, but that's the level of incoherence I've come to expect from bad adventures. That cat and mustache puzzled in GKIII is just classic.

I think what adventures have always failed to do is get a gameplay formula down so you can streamline the gameplay across games. It's not like other genres where you have a recognizable set of challenges and methods to overcome them. Adventures are starting to get there now, particularly in the casual market, where you know you're going to see staples like the Tower of Hanoi, the thing where you're pouring different amounts of liquids (or setting weights), sliding tile puzzles, etc. It'd be nice if someone could get it down to the point where you could truly get through a game by doing the type of puzzles you enjoyed or were good at, rather than just get stuck. This isn't a problem with the casuals, because their stories are so weak anyway, but it's hard to justify in a story why you're suddenly doing a Tower of Hanoi.

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Chris Kennedy
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King's Quest
Matt Barton wrote:

Good stuff. So, you were able to complete it without help?

The reason I ask is I re-read an old review I did of the game back in 2005 (GOOD LORD, it doesn't seem that long ago). Mat Tschirgi (remember him?) also posted one. Those were good times slogging through all those old adventures.

We did complete it (KQ1) without help. There are a couple of advantages that helped - I had obviously played through the game (AGI version) once before. I think the last time I had played it through was... somewhere around 1988. (SCI version came out in ~1990). Also - At this point, I have logged so many of those Sierra adventure games under my belt that there are Sierra cliches in regard to puzzle solving. It is quite possible to encounter something and solve the puzzle simply because you solved it with a similar puzzle once before. This can't be all that true when playing King's Quest I since it was among the earlier GAGs, but it can hold true when you have logged numerous other Sierra adventures and come back to play an old one once again.

Condor -

You mentioned the condor in your review. Unfortunately (in this case), I remember grabbing the condor from when I played KQ1 a couple of decades ago. Therefore, I didn't really have an instance where I had to deal with figuring that puzzle out. That said, they usually give you hints to encourage the correct syntax if you are close to typing what you should do. I can't recall anything specific with the condor.

I would like to take a moment to point out that the manuals for these games typically contain a set of verbs or actions. When all else fails, a simple glance at the manual might give you a verb you haven't tried and then a solution suddenly snaps into your head.

That is something people probably don't think about much when playing these old games - the manual. I mean a single 256k download and you are good to go, right? They were good for more than just copy protection back then (although KQ1 used a key disk)

Stairs -

I think a lot of people don't realize that the best way to climb diagonal stairs is to use the numeric keypad and the 7 or 9 keys. You can tell graham to "execute the 45 degree maneuver!" you know. :) It makes it a lot easier.

Tschirgi -

I guess this illustrates the frustration with the game mechanic. There are certainly multiple ways past the dragon, but it sounds like he managed to drop down into the well without any way out of the cave despite there being two options. In my opinion, diving into the water from the top of the well should have just killed him rather than let him proceed and get stuck.

I don't mean to be an apologist, but there are two things here -
1: Always save a new game before doing something...crazy. Heck - Save it before doing something logical
2: Note that the game always asks if you want to restart when you die. We even restarted the game at one point. I understand that a lot of people think of graphic adventures as "epic," but they are honestly pretty short. Restarting might make perfect sense given a situation, but it probably feels monotonous to today's gamer.

What? Start over? Well...yeah. That's just what you did back then. Nowadays, the developers hammer home progress and prove that you cannot fail by giving you trophies, achievements, whatever.

An adventure game was an adventure...but really it was one large logic puzzle that required you to be compatible with the pieces.

Quote:

I'm sorta glad that style of adventure game is dead (to be honest). I just never thought it was fun struggling with a bad interface and incoherent puzzles. A lot of adventures STILL get this stuff wrong, leaving players absolutely stuck if they can't figure out they're supposed to drop a hairpin so that a gorilla will find it, drop it, and then strangle a penguin so you can get the penguin's shoes. I'm exaggerating, of course, but that's the level of incoherence I've come to expect from bad adventures. That cat and mustache puzzled in GKIII is just classic.

I think it is a really tough tug-of-war, honestly. If the puzzles are intuitive, then what is the point of playing the game? You just walk through it - heck - some people even bought the hint book for the game and literally just "walked through it." Are you playing a game or are you copying a BASIC program out of the back of a magazine? You're just streaming input from a book to a machine. Where is the fun?

I understand the frustrations that come with these puzzles. Goodness knows that certain games have "got me," however the games (especially the earlier ones) were really designed to challenge one's mind. They could put out a game only to have a gamer say "man! This stuff is just too darn hard! This is ridiculous!" while another gamer would say "This game is way too easy. No challenge at all."

They had to find even ground between the two sides, and the pendulum would sometimes swing to the extremes.

n/a
Carmine
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Joined: 09/05/2010
Has anyone here played Heavy

Has anyone here played Heavy Rain? I heard it was an attempt at the next major step in adventure type gaming, but know little about it.

Bill Loguidice
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Joined: 12/31/1969
Heavy Rain
Carmine wrote:

Has anyone here played Heavy Rain? I heard it was an attempt at the next major step in adventure type gaming, but know little about it.

I have it and played it with Christina using Move controls. It's a heck of an achievement and certainly can be seen as one possible next step in adventure gaming, but you're probably better off playing it with the traditional controller rather than the added-well-after-the-game's-release Move controls, which I found quite unnatural and frustrating. In any case, it's well written, very adult and quite compelling. It's almost, but not quite like an adventure game in a living world, in OUR world. Quite the achievement.

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Carmine
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Joined: 09/05/2010
Gosh I wish I had a PS3. The

Gosh I wish I had a PS3. The game has been back on my mind because I recently saw that a Jurassic Park adventure game is in the works for the PC. The author of the preview article reference Heavy Rain.

Nathaniel Tolbert
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Joined: 11/06/2010
Did you see what else they announced?

Not only did telltale games announce a Jurassic Park adventure game, but they announced that they have acquired the rights to make new King's Quest games as well. So we will be seeing new KQ games in the future. I really hope they keep the opening music bit from the original games, I loved that. What's interesting to me is this. If they can continue the King's Quest Series, what's to stop them from a true Leisure Suit Larry sequel, or more Space Quest, or dare I even think it, Quest for Glory? I know Quest for Glory technically ended in the 5th game, but there is a whole world to explore, so why not start off with a new character and go from there? Hell, even a new Police Quest game that followed the original format, not SWAT or Open Season would just be fantastic. I miss this style of adventure game. One giant puzzle that wasn't always logical that caused you to have to think outside the box. The newer adventure games, just don't seem the same. I love TellTale games, but Sierra was what I grew up on, like I said earlier. I played King's Quest oh so long ago with my dad.

Oh and they announced a follow up to Puzzle Agent. So I will be buying that one too. I hope the King's Quest game they make isn't episodic. I would love to just purchase the whole game at once and not have to wait while the episodes are published.

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