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PostPosted: Fri Apr 13, 2012 9:03 am 
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You are right.
Infact I think a red herring must NOT point in the wrong direction but just distract you from the right one.

Anyway: that waste of time you talk about is sooooo 80s. Bad design, nowadays.


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 13, 2012 9:09 am 
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stadtgorilla wrote:
there was a 'real' red herring in monkey island, but it served a purpose.


Yeah, I know:
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An example of a useful red herring, though, can be found in Monkey Island - I suspect it's one of the (many, many) things that put that game on the map.


Jamespking: I wouldn't know about "bad design". Red herrings make the overall game harder, generally speaking, but it's not as tedious as, say, unoriginal mazes. Well-designed and implemented red herrings (again, Sorcerer) do stick in your mind, and you remember them as well as the main game itself.

Maybe we don't see them so much any more because IF and adventure games have become much more linear (generally speaking). Red herrings don't make sense any more, unless it's to intentionally trick a player into going down a wrong path of reasoning when, if he chooses to explore further, he'll be able to make the right choice instead (case in point: Heavy Rain, near the end).

Red herrings may be part of bad design, yes - in very open games with puzzles that don't even look like puzzles, lots of red herrings will confuse to the point where one just can't take it anymore. But the RH in themselves are hardly bad design.

Really, "waste of time" is par for the course in an open game with lots of exploration: you have to experiment, and waste some time, and flush a lot of good ideas that just didn't pan out. RHs just made the matter a bit more devious - and more realistic - by forcing you to accept that not everything has to have a use.


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 13, 2012 9:17 am 
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sorry for not reading thoroughly and coming up with that monkey island stuff again...oops


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 13, 2012 10:27 am 
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The Monkey Island red herring was special because in order to solve a puzzle, you were told to use a "totally useless item that serves no purpose". By definition, that's a red herring. The funny part is the resulting paradox; since you now use that useless item to solve the puzzle, how can it be useless to begin with?


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 13, 2012 12:41 pm 
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The red herrings in The Egg and the Newbie are in fact quite useful.
Spoiler: show
You can sell them.


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 13, 2012 12:49 pm 
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Peter Pears wrote:
Really, "waste of time" is par for the course in an open game with lots of exploration: you have to experiment, and waste some time, and flush a lot of good ideas that just didn't pan out. RHs just made the matter a bit more devious - and more realistic - by forcing you to accept that not everything has to have a use.

Again, you are right. Let's say that it depends on the kind of story you are playing. If it is a puzzle-story then it is part of the game. If it is a story-story, then it would take away from the flow, and that is a mistake imho.

I think IF may be the right place (as opposite to a regular novel, i.e.) where to add things that are not part of the story and to that story don't even add anything, just an additional course or diversion. Nowadays, tho, it seems that having just the right number of things useful to complete the game is rarely seen as a bad thing. But I guess this is no universal law...


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 17, 2012 5:05 pm 
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Jamespking wrote:
I think IF may be the right place (as opposite to a regular novel, i.e.) where to add things that are not part of the story and to that story don't even add anything, just an additional course or diversion. Nowadays, tho, it seems that having just the right number of things useful to complete the game is rarely seen as a bad thing. But I guess this is no universal law...

My personal theory, for what it's worth, is that a game should have (not MUST have, just, "it's a nice idea"):

A single object that can be used to solve two puzzles.

A puzzle with two alternate solutions (preferably using different objects).

An optional puzzle -- something you don't have to figure out in order to finish the game.

An object that appears to be possibly useful, but that in fact does nothing useful.

These criteria make the solution "map" less linear. They're a way of avoiding "find-X, use-X" syndrome.

Apropos of which, I believe it was John Barth who said that a novel should always have exactly one significant coincidence. If there are no coincidences at all, the fictional world will seem too rigid and deterministic. But if there are two or more coincidences, the reader will begin to suspect that the novelist is cheating.


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 17, 2012 7:10 pm 
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Jim Aikin wrote:
My personal theory, for what it's worth, is that a game should have (not MUST have, just, "it's a nice idea"):

A single object that can be used to solve two puzzles.

A puzzle with two alternate solutions (preferably using different objects).

An optional puzzle -- something you don't have to figure out in order to finish the game.

An object that appears to be possibly useful, but that in fact does nothing useful.

These criteria make the solution "map" less linear. They're a way of avoiding "find-X, use-X" syndrome.

Apropos of which, I believe it was John Barth who said that a novel should always have exactly one significant coincidence. If there are no coincidences at all, the fictional world will seem too rigid and deterministic. But if there are two or more coincidences, the reader will begin to suspect that the novelist is cheating.


The game Calm is actually designed with the first three in mind and includes the fourth.

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 19, 2012 10:30 am 
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Last game(s) reviewed.

I'd like some feedback (on the reviews themselves, not the games) cause I'm still dizzy with such a job. I don't know if I'm fit to.

Although I don't think any bad review of my reviews will make me stop reviewing.


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PostPosted: Tue May 08, 2012 12:11 pm 
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Regarding my red herrings: I thought it would be fun to put physical red herrings in a game that were actually useful instead of misdirecting, a misdirection in its own right so to speak. That said, I am learning a lot by tuning into comments like these. Thanks.

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