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Troels Pleimert

Back Seat Designers

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I think I forgot to mention it here, but Frede and I are doing a little podcast on the side where we bitch and rant about adventure games in general.

 

It's a phenomenally low-effort kind of affair, so you may have to get used to the audio quality. It is quite literally produced by me calling up Fred, recording the call on my phone (using the Record My Call app) and then throwing the whole thing online without any editing.

 

It does, however, boast a pretty kick-ass chiptune intro theme by MusicallyInspired.

 

Check it out: http://backseatdesigners.podbean.com

 

RSS feed: http://feeds.feedburner.com/BackSeatDesigners

 

It's on Stitcher, too: http://www.stitcher.com/podcast/back-seat-designers

 

(Sorry, no iTunes yet. Because I suck.)

 

Please, feel free to comment on episodes here, or suggest new topics for us to cover!

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An idea for an episode, although you may have already covered it to some extent. But it was something we were discussing at the Phoenix Online forums, and I thought it could make an interesting topic for your podcast.

 

Trends of difficulty in adventure games. It seems that modern adventure games that have come out in the past 15 years are significantly easier than the games of the late 80's and early 90's, which in turn were considered to be significantly easier than the text adventure games of the 70's and early 80's. What do you think? Are games getting easier? Is this a good thing or a bad thing? Are there current adventure games that are being released that rival the difficulty of the classic adventure game era, or does the new generation of gamers not have the patience to try to spend a few weeks figuring out a puzzle? Has the easy access of online walkthroughs and message boards made games less difficult?

 

Talk to you later!

 

JDHJANUS

Josh

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Thanks for the suggestion! In my original proposal document for Fred (that sounds almost romantic), one of the suggested topics was "Walkthroughs: Cheating or not?". The subject of game difficulties in recent years would be hard not to broach in that regard.

 

We haven't gotten around to covering it yet, though.

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I think we're doing Monkey Island next (that sounds almost romantic). After that, we could tackle that subject. It is definitely a relevant one. Thanks for the suggestion, Josh! :)

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Loved the newest episode! Frederik did a fantastic job of getting it recorded and up! :D

 

I agree. Although I'm not generally a fan of death in gaming, I can see how it can definitely add a lot of tension to a serious situation, in games like Gabriel Knight. At the same time, I think that it can be really funny to see some of the deaths, if done in the vain of games like Space Quest VI or King's Quest VII, where you get to see some of the funny death scenes and allows you to start over from right before you died. VSB and Incinerations both do a great job with death, allowing it to be a part of the game, but not making you have to save every five minutes just to make sure you aren't going to die around every corner.

 

To me saving a game is useful for being able to stop the game and come back to it, not as a fail-safe to make sure that you don't die. I also feel like it is becoming more common in games lately. The Kingdom Hearts games, for example, if you die, have a try again button, saving you the heartache of having to fight a long dungeon again from your last save point (although RPGs *usually* put save points right before boss battles, it is not always the case).

 

And I definitely agree that if you ARE going to make the players work to stay alive, then it had better be a great game that makes you want ot keep playing. Codename: Iceman, for example, is a game I forced myself to finish simply because I want to play through all of Sierra's adventure games, although I'm pretty sure Jim Walls was inspired by Leisure Suit Larry 2 in trying to come up with deviously horrible dead-end situations and death looming around every possible corner...

 

I guess in the end, if you are going to put death into an adventure game, at least put it in such a way that you don't have unwinnable states. I think unwinnable states in gaming are just pointlessly cruel and frustrating, especially if you save over that one crucial save, or you miss something easily missable at the VERY beginning of the game that isn't even used until the very END of the game. Having to start over the game from the very beginning and play through it all over again is incredibly annoying and frustrating.

 

Hope you feel better soon, Troels!!! Any idea when you're going to get your computer back?

 

Talk to you later!

 

JDHJANUS

Josh

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Trends of difficulty in adventure games. It seems that modern adventure games that have come out in the past 15 years are significantly easier than the games of the late 80's and early 90's, which in turn were considered to be significantly easier than the text adventure games of the 70's and early 80's. What do you think? Are games getting easier?

 

 

Short answer: yes. Why? Internet, mostly. There's no real point in trying to stump players with puzzles when they're less than 60 seconds away from hopping on GameFAQs.com and looking up the answer. In that sort of environment, it works better to design more accomodating puzzles that don't disrupt the game's pace.

 

Also, there's the fact that the age of smartphones, social media, and the like has reduced the average IQ of the target audience by bringing an influx of intellectually lazy persons into the computer-using community. But that's a whole 'nother rant.

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I'd say the root of the problem is the amount of games out there today. The games themselves don't need to last for months and if they stump people for too long they migrate quickly to play other games. And if someone has stopped playing your game, it is likely they won't be returning customers to your next game.

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I agree it's easier. And I agree the world has changed, and the culture around games. I'd argue, though, that this change doesn't represent us getting better or worse. It just is.

 

I just roll my eyes every time people make the whole "we were smarter in my day" schtick. People have been saying it for thousands of years. Either they're wrong, or we were super intelligent ubermensch as cavemen...

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I blame consoletardation.

 

250px-Xbox-Console-Set.png

 

Makin' dis shit accessible since 2001!

 

I just roll my eyes every time people make the whole "we were smarter in my day" schtick.

There is at least one Roberta Williams interview out there that will make your eyes shoot out through the back of your head.

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Hey ... The year is coming to an end, and so is season 1 of Back Seat Designers.

 

To commemorate this dubious occasion, Frede and I are having a grand ol' blast of a season finale live on Hangout/YouTube on December 20th at these times: http://www.timeanddate.com/worldclock/fixedtime.html?msg=Back+Seat+Designers+Season+Finale+Hangout&iso=20141220T20&p1=69&ah=2

 

We will be joined by a roundtable of illustrious peeps in the adventure gaming community to talk about all the topics we've covered during the season, including moon logic, death in adventure games, pet peeves and "what the hell is an adventure game, anyway?". Currently confirmed guests are Steven Alexander (Infamous Quests), Joe Mastroianni (Upper Memory Block podcast) and Scott Murphy (some dude who wrote this game, I forget what it was, maybe Galaxy Quest or something).

 

We'll post the link to watch live on our Twitteries (@torbenfrost and @frederik_olsen) shortly before the broadcast begins, and you can tweet us your questions, comments and stupid remarks with the hashtag #BackSeatDesigners.

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The season finale we did yesterday can now be watched here:

 

 

And listened to here, if you're more into a traditional podcast.

 

Apart from Steven, Joe and Scott, we were also joined by Natalie "Resulka" Juhasz (ReVenture Games) and Francisco Gonzalez (Wadjet Eye Games). I personally had a great time and I can only hope that the episode is as hilarious to watch/listen to as it was to make.

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