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PostPosted: Sun May 18, 2014 3:10 pm 
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I have never played a lot of IF, I have always been much more interested in the idea of writing some myself, but I though that since I am writing one now I should maybe play a few to see what they are like.

After reading some threads here I decided to start with Wishbringer, and it has been nothing but an infuriating and frustrating experience. It is full of archaic and enormously punishing mechanics and fail-states that more or less force you to restart the game from scratch if you do something wrong at some point during the game. The fact that it's archaic is of course partly because it's almost 30 years old and I understand that.

What I want is something that doesn't stress you out, something where you can't prevent yourself from finishing the game by unwittingly leaving an item in a place that you can't get back to or walking into a room that you are trapped in if you don't have a certain item. Something that is calm and methodical and lets me play at my own pace, without having something chasing me and without dying just because I stood in the same place for 2 or 3 turns. Something that is in concept more like a Lucasarts game if you know what I mean.


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PostPosted: Sun May 18, 2014 3:17 pm 
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Lost Pig!

Edited to not be two words: I'd say this is the closest I've played to a Lucasarts-esque sense of humour in IF. The puzzles are challenging but well-clued and never unfair, and it's not too long, which is a plus for me at least.


Last edited by mostly useless on Sun May 18, 2014 6:18 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: Sun May 18, 2014 3:21 pm 
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Try browsing games rated merciful at the IFDB. Being "merciful" should guarantee that there's no way to die or end up in an unwinnable situation. See also this and this and this poll.


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PostPosted: Sun May 18, 2014 4:33 pm 
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You're in luck: there's been a general trend away from punishing the player and now the norm is for games to be impossible to get into a unwinnable situation.

You're trying to write in Inform, right? Here are some of my recent favourites made in that language:

Six - A smart character-driven puzzle game in which you play a six year old trying to catch their friends in a park. It's richly drawn, funny and engaging, makes neat use of sound, and the solutions all make sense.

If you like fantasy (you chose Wishbringer of all things), you might like Harry Potter? If you do, then you might like Muggle Studies, which is a puzzly fan game where you explore Hogwarts, doing magic stuff, and experiencing flashbacks and making choices about your future.

PataNoir: the concept is, you're a private investigator who sees metaphors and similes everywhere, and can interact with those metaphors to solve problems. So, for instance, your gun is metaphorically a trusty is servant and so for you he is literally a trusty servant who can assist you in various ways.


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PostPosted: Sun May 18, 2014 5:02 pm 
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I'd like to suggest Beet the Devil. I'm fairly biased (having written it), but I hope it fits your criteria for a non-stressful game. It's a religious comedy about rescuing your dog from Hell, and it has a fairly linear, puzzle-by-puzzle flow, with an extensive hint system and walkthrough system if you should get stuck.

There is one timed puzzle, but it's exceedingly late-game, and in the game's context, I don't think it will cause the kind of frustration that you experienced with Wishbringer.

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PostPosted: Sun May 18, 2014 6:05 pm 
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Perdition's Flames can't be put in an unwinnable state, so it might fit the bill for you.


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PostPosted: Mon May 19, 2014 5:09 am 
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Looking at the Interactive Fiction top 50 (by the way, people, remember me to run this again this year in August / September): http://ifdb.tads.org/viewcomp?id=oymvom4wrawhd4hr, I think the following certainly or kind-of fit the bill. With "forgiving" I mean that there are no unwinnable states.

Spider and Web (this is actually a relatively difficult game, and sometimes quite peculiar about the commands you can use, but the longest part by far doesn't allow you to get into an unwinnable state)
Lost Pig (a forgiving puzzle game)
Photopia (puzzleless)
A Mind Forever Voyaging (maybe -- didn't play, but it is supposed to not really have much in the way of puzzles)
The Baron (puzzleless)
Blue Lacuna (in story mode -- you can choose this after the introduction)
Shrapnel (puzzleless, if I remember correctly)
Shade (though it's not always easy to see how you must progress, you can't screw up)
Slouching towards Bedlam (maybe -- can't remember precisely)
Vespers (maybe -- can't remember precisely)
Violet (a puzzle game, but forgiving)
Galatea (puzzleless)
The King of Shreds and Patches (a forgiving puzzle game)
LASH (maybe -- can't remember precisely)
Rameses (puzzleless)
Aisle (one-move game, I think winning is not the point)
Gun Mute (very forgiving puzzle game)
Aotearoa (forgiving puzzle game, I think)
Everybody Dies (forgiving puzzle game, I think)
Hoist Sail for the Heliopause and Home (somewhere between puzzleless and forgiving puzzle game)
Mentula Macanus: Apocolocyntosis (forgiving puzzle game)
Suveh Nux (forgiving puzzle game)
The Warbler's Nest (more or less puzzleless)

As you can see, that's the vast majority of them! (And I didn't list a few of the ones around the bottom of the list simply because I don't know them.)


Last edited by VictorGijsbers on Mon May 19, 2014 7:19 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Mon May 19, 2014 5:50 am 
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I haven't played the majority of the games on that list, but I definitely wouldn't call Spider and Web friendly. It's downright hard in places. And The King of Shreds and Patches isn't friendly either what with timed puzzles and the hoops you have to jump through to perform simple tasks (firing the pistol, I'm looking at you here). Both decent games, but not friendly.


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PostPosted: Mon May 19, 2014 6:20 am 
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David Whyld wrote:
I haven't played the majority of the games on that list, but I definitely wouldn't call Spider and Web friendly. It's downright hard in places. And The King of Shreds and Patches isn't friendly either what with timed puzzles and the hoops you have to jump through to perform simple tasks (firing the pistol, I'm looking at you here). Both decent games, but not friendly.

From the opening post, I got the impression that Ozric especially hates games that can be put in an unwinnable state. I'm pretty sure King cannot be put in an unwinnable state, and I believe Spider can only be brought in an unwinnabe state near the very end of the game, I believe (and it's pretty obvious when the transformation from forgiving to now-it-is-for-real takes place). So, yeah, they're not necessarily easy -- though I think King is generally quite friendly and relaxed -- but they don't have the feature that Ozric especially hates.


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PostPosted: Mon May 19, 2014 6:25 am 
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As David is observing, "Can't get stuck" and "Not super difficult" aren't the same thing. If you're mostly looking for "can't get stuck" there will be a lot of games that work for you.

If you're also looking for a LucasArtsish sense of humor... well, I've never played any LucasArts games so I'm not sure exactly what's going on there. But you might try Dinner Bell, Taco Fiction, or, for a real puzzly experience, Hoosegow. (Hoosegow has a time limit but I think it's near-impossible to breach -- I thrashed around with it an amazingly long time, and broke the hint system, but I wasn't close to the time limit. If you do feel stuck, there's a hint system, which I think is now unbreakable.)

Oh, and you might try Captain Verdeterre's Plunder; it's possible to screw yourself up here but the point is that it's impossible to get a perfect score.

Spoiler: show
To abandon ship just go to the capstan and get in the lifeboat.


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