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Are there adventure games bigger than


Thimbleweed Park?
Nor_Treblig
Nor_Treblig
Oct '17

Another factor is the playtime which is in TWP relatively constant because you aren’t that likely to
get stuck while in other adventure games it’s more likely to wander around for hours, also making it
feel like a bigger game.
In today’s world people would more likely resort to using a walkthrough quite quickly, making
“hard” games feel much shorter than back then because it’s likely they will look up any other puzzle
too as soon they are stuck for some minutes.

Nor_Treblig
Gffp
Oct '17

all happens in one night

Basically yes. Maybe it would have helped to have flashbacks during different times of the day?
(which wasn’t possible due to budgeting reasons)

Gffp
1
Nor_Treblig
Oct '17
Another factor is the playtime which is in TWP relatively constant because you aren’t
that likely to get stuck while in other adventure games it’s more likely to wander around
for hours, also making it feel like a bigger game.

Totally agree with that. When you got past a location with all its puzzles, it loses significance to
you, and seems “compressed”, not big as it was before.
Maybe it would have helped to have flashbacks during different times of the day?

Yes. That woul have helped in create a feeling of a bigger game. But that’s not a statement about the
quality of the game. In ancient greek dramas, to keep the unity in time, other important actions of
the plot were reported by the actors of the plot that is somewhat contemporaneus to the actual time
of the viewer, exactly as it happens in the story of Thimbleweed Park. Agent Ray in the moment of
now, talks with Sandy, which reports NOW what happened then. The more you put on the screen a
scene that is different from now, the more the game seems bigger.
But while unity in time, space and action on stage have their reason in the fact that viewers and
actors share the same place, the same time, and they are so close, for a videogame there’s always
the media in between. You cannot establish the same connection.
So if you depict a greater world, with different times, locations, and actions, you put the viewer in
the distance and that’s not bad, because he is already in the distance.
I’m not saying that a unity and contemporaneity with the viewer doesn’t work, no. It enhances the
drama component towards the exploration one. (What a terrible english )

Guga
Oct '17
What is an objective measure of “size” in such a game?
I mean, if you had the very same puzzles in MI2 but all in the same island, would the game have
been smaller, or just felt smaller?
TWP is big and complicated, but it’s restricted to the same N (albeit with a big N) locations which
are also strongly separated - A Street and B Street only connect to Main Street, and all other
locations are only reachable by map, which in addition shows a single road, making the whole
universe feel quite “linear”. For this reason, I think the game feels way smaller than MI2, where you
feel more the sense of exploration and adventure.

LowLevel
Nor_Treblig
Oct '17
We could do both compare them with and without counting template rooms (like mazes
in Zak).

I think that we shouldn’t count template rooms unless the player can do different things in them. For
example, I would count only 4 hotel rooms (Boris’, Franklin’s, Guest’s and the room with the easter
egg).
it’s just this one podunk of a town and doesn’t feel like a big world.

Yes, I agree. Our feeling is highly influenced by how distant we perceive the locations or how much
time it passes from a location/scene to another.
For sure it is bigger, and it felt even bigger, for the reasons above.

It felt bigger to me as well, the authors did a great job to help the player perceive those 4 years.
I’m still unsure about the quantity of Grim Fandango locations, though. I have not played the game
recently and I suspect that the quantity of rooms is about the same or slightly more.
What is an objective measure of “size” in such a game?

I don’t think that there is an objective metric. We could just choose a characteristic (e.g. locations,
size of the backgrounds, etc.) and count/measure them.
I mean, if you had the very same puzzles in MI2 but all in the same island, would the
game have been smaller, or just felt smaller?
I would say both: if you reduce the quantity of locations you get for sure a smaller game from a
“spatial” point of view, and probably you also affect how the players will feel about it.
Counting Thimbleweed Park rooms would be tricky, anyway. I’m not even sure how I would count
the sewer rooms.

Nor_Treblig
Oct '17
I think that we shouldn’t count template rooms unless the player can do different things
in them.

Yes, this makes sense, those hotel rooms are actually a different thing than normal mazes.
The mazes like in Zak need to be traversed and for a normal playthrough you likely see most of
them and not just the optimal path (which shouldn’t make such a big difference count-wise
anyway).
Counting Thimbleweed Park rooms would be tricky, anyway. I’m not even sure how I
would count the sewer rooms.

You would wander around in the sewers in a normal playthrough and see most of those rooms,
although there is a chance of finding the important stuff early and then just leaving it (but why
would anyone choosing hard mode do that anyway?). I would probably count them.
I don’t think that there is an objective metric. We could just choose a characteristic (e.g.
locations, size of the backgrounds, etc.) and count/measure them.

There are a lot of other metrics we could also use like object count in rooms, inventory objects,
spoken dialog lines/words. Those indicate if there are a lot of interactions possible and how much
story time is there.

Nor_Treblig
LowLevel
Oct '17
I’m still unsure about the quantity of Grim Fandango locations, though.

The DOD 6 has a list of rooms you can jump to using debug mode. There are 129 rooms listed
including some special ones (like the first 9 ones).

LowLevel
Oct '17
Should a long scrolling room count as just one room? (e.g. TWP “A Street”, the highway, the
graveyard, etc.)

Nor_Treblig
Oct '17
For determining the complexity of a room the object and NPC counts could be incorporated.

LowLevel
Oct '17
The more I think about this and the more I’m inclined to consider this comparison impossible or
meaningless. The games are just too different.

Nor_Treblig
Oct '17
Another way is to look at actual play times, e.g. Grim Fandango 2 is about 12 hours for main story
line.
Sadly this site doesn’t differentiate between different game settings (like casual/lite vs. hard/normal)
as you can see when looking at TWP 2, MI2 1 or MI3/CoMI 2.
From my experience I’d say TWP casual vs. hard is about factor 2 in time length.

Paul
Gffp
Oct '17
If I have to answer which one I felt was bigger, for sure I’ll say Monkey Island 2. And I
think I know why. As I said back then on the blog, Thimbleweed Park design is similar
to Maniac Mansion: all happens in one night. Complexity is more related to characters
and their stories. In Monkey Island 1 for example, just the fact that we switch from
night to day creates a feeling of flow of time, that grows the sensation of the lenght of
the game.

Yeah, to me even the first MI seems bigger than single-location games like TWP, MM, DOTT, etc.
because you explore two entire islands, as opposed to one general place. It’s kind of a psychological
trick, but it works really well.
To me that was a big part of the appeal of the Monkey Island games and things like Fate of Atlantis
and Grim Fandango… also things like Sam & Max where it’s across the whole US. I’m not a fan of
the Broken Swords games (mainly because of the story/gameplay), but I know that people do enjoy
the globetrotting aspect of it.
I think all the Space Quest and King’s Quest games benefit from having this kind of spread of
locations, they really feel like you cover a lot of ground.
In SQ5 you go to a bunch of different planets, and even if they’re mostly only a couple of rooms, it
still feels like a really large game because of it. Same with Fate of Atlantis, some countries are just a
couple of screens, but it’s a lot more effective than if those were just two more rooms at the
university.
I really liked Beneath a Steel Sky, but it felt like it was all in one place… I was hoping during the
game they would take us further afield… it could have even been the same exact room art, but with
a transition showing a train or whatever, just to give that feel of expansiveness and “going
somewhere else”.
I feel like it refreshes the player when you move on from an old location and go to a brand new one
somewhere different, like you kind of “start afresh” in a new location. There is a point where you
get tired of going round the same area, so it helps to move on (eg. travelling to Monkey Island in
MI1, eventually leaving Rubacava in Grim Fandango).
DOTT does get around it a bit by taking us back and forward in time, so it feels like there is some
sense of travel even if it’s one location.
I assume Fate of Atlantis is a big game, in terms of actual room numbers as well as feel.

Someone
Oct '17
Yeah, to me even the first MI seems bigger than single-location games like TWP, MM,
DOTT, etc. because you explore two entire islands, as opposed to one general place. It’s
kind of a psychological trick, but it works really well.

First: I agree with you, but there is a “but”. This trick doesn’t work in every game. For example in
Nelly Cootalot: The Fowl Fleet 1 the player explores several different locations and islands. But for
me it felt extremely short and small.
So, just adding more different locations does not necessarily make an adventure “bigger” in your
head.

DZ-Jay
Oct '17
Yeah, to me even the first MI seems bigger than single-location games like
TWP, MM, DOTT, etc. because you explore two entire islands, as opposed
to one general place. It’s kind of a psychological trick, but it works really
well.

First: I agree with you, but there is a “but”. This trick doesn’t work in every game. For
example in Nelly Cootalot: The Fowl Fleet the player explores several different
locations and islands. But for me it felt extremely short and small.

So, just adding more different locations does not necessarily make an adventure
“bigger” in your head.

That is true, it also depends on how the beats of the story fit in with the locations. In Thimbleweed
Park, at first it seems that the entire world is constrained to the downtown and the story seems to
mostly concern the murder investigation, for instance. Once you open up the vista, however, the
story gets much bigger and all the new locations seem to take it in different directions.
That, I think, is the magic. I’ve played other games that do that as well.
There are a few of the Space Quest and Leisure Suit Larry games that, when I first played them at
least, felt sprawling and epic – by the end of the game they felt like a completely different story
from how they started. After multiple play-throughs I notice that it’s only three or four different
locations, but they are unlocked slowly throughout the game, as the story evolved, that it feels
larger.
dZ.
seguso
Oct '17
Maybe Fate of Atlantis and M2 feel so big because you know you are travelling. To test this theory,
what about Zak, where you travel to many places, but each one of them is small? Does Zak feel
“big” or “small” to you guys?

Ignacio
Oct '17
Well, it felt way larger than Maniac Mansion to a younger me back in the 80ies.

LowLevel
Nor_Treblig
Oct '17
From my experience I’d say TWP casual vs. hard is about factor 2 in time length.

That’s my perception too. I have described “Casual” to other people as “half the game” even if it
probably doesn’t have half the “rooms” of “Hard”.
I’m not a fan of the Broken Swords games (mainly because of the story/gameplay), but
I know that people do enjoy the globetrotting aspect of it.

Yes, from that perspective, Broken Sword games apply the same technique of Indiana Jones or
“Lost Horizon”. The protagonist travels all around the world and the game feels bigger.
For example in Nelly Cootalot: The Fowl Fleet the player explores several different
locations and islands. But for me it felt extremely short and small.

One reason for that sensation might be linked to the graphic style of the game. Locations in MI or
TWP are very differently depicted by the graphic designers but in “Nelly” every location feels very
similar to all the others. The colors are quite the same everywhere.
Once you open up the vista, however, the story gets much bigger and all the new
locations seem to take it in different directions.

That, I think, is the magic. I’ve played other games that do that as well.

That technique is used also in MI2: during all the first chapter you are confined to a specific island
and your goal is to find a way to escape from it and visiting other islands. You should try the game,
it’s very good.
To test this theory, what about Zak, where you travel to many places, but each one of
them is small? Does Zak feel “big” or “small” to you guys?

I’m still at the beginning of it and it already feels a big game. It gives me the sensation that I have a
large world to explore.
Paul
Oct '17
One reason for that sensation might be linked to the graphic style of the game.
Locations in MI or TWP are very differently depicted by the graphic designers but in
“Nelly” every location feels very similar to all the others. The colors are quite the same
everywhere.

I kind of had this feeling when playing MI3… it seemed smaller somehow than MI and MI2. From
what I remember, even though it opens up to a new set of rooms at some point, I felt like they were
similar in feel to the previous bunch… like there wasn’t enough of a contrast of locations.
That technique is used also in MI2: during all the first chapter you are confined to a
specific island and your goal is to find a way to escape from it and visiting other islands.

Also happens in Flight of the Amazon Queen… once you get to the vista, you can see all around
and go to different places.

Someone
seguso
Oct '17
Maybe Fate of Atlantis and M2 feel so big because you know you are travelling.

But that’s valid for Nelly too.


Does Zak feel “big” or “small” to you guys?

Yes, it felt bigger.


One reason for that sensation might be linked to the graphic style of the game.
Locations in MI or TWP are very differently depicted by the graphic designers but in
“Nelly” every location feels very similar to all the others. The colors are quite the same
everywhere.

Hm… yes, I agree. But the locations in TWP have a similar graphic style. For example, even if you
reach the hotel or the circus it’s still dawn. In Monkey Island you reach the island at daytime.

ZakPhoenixMcKracken
seguso
Oct '17
Does Zak feel “big” or “small” to you guys?

Zak is wide. A medium user who has already finished it, can take 2~3 hours to finish it again.

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