I didn’t know who “Lee in Limbo” was until I read a terribly insightful post by him on the AdventureGamers forums where I really should spend more time.
Forgive the long quote, but there’s lot’s of good stuff in here:
I know that folks who play these games are kind of conditioned to expect puzzles, but frankly, I could live without them. Now, don’t misunderstand me; I’m all for problem solving. By ‘puzzles’, I mean that I could do without what I refer to as ‘arbitrary problem abstractions’, where the designers decide that the logical solution to an immediate problem is too mundane to feel like an accomplishment in the virtual world.
Personally, I think the reason Adventure Games are still in a sort of cultural ghetto is because the developers don’t trust interactive storytelling. It’s understandable that interactive storytelling has such a bad rap, because a lot of games in the last twenty or thirty years were written by programmers, and thus lacked finesse and narrative shape. It takes a lot of resources to create an interactive plot, and no two gamers can agree point for point on what makes good interactivity in a game. We all like and focus on different things, and ‘good story’ is still this foregone conclusion, but is often treated as an afterthought by game developers.
[P]uzzles have their place, but I don’t believe that place should be at the front of the line. I think Adventure Game devs need to learn other ways to create conflict in their games, if the story/immersion factor is ever going to win folks over who didn’t come just for the puzzles. I’m not calling an end to puzzle gaming as a whole. I just think it’s a poor substitute for conventional problem solving, and it breaks the immersion for anyone who was actually interested in the story as opposed to just looking for the next puzzle. There has to be a better way to do this.
It takes a well-written post like this to kick a wanna-be designer like me in the nuts and make me reexamine my own games.
Anywho, the point of this post is that this Lee Edward McIlmoyle is hooking up with the fab Deirdra Kiai to work on a new and interesting looking piece of interactive storytelling called Stage! And yes, the exclamation point is part of the title.
Lee has posted two posts so far to their development blog which I will be watching with interest. And so should you.