Updates Wednesdays

Comic 435 - Play it 'til you win it

Posted on Wednesday, the 11th of November at 12:00 AM, 2020 in 2020

Author Notes:

DanVzare Wed, 11. Nov 12:00 AM, 2020 edit delete
So I thought I'd try my hand at trying to play through and complete all of the old Sierra adventure games, starting with the AGI games. Working through the release order of all of their games, rather than through the release order of a particular series.
I gave up at Police Quest. The one I hated most though was by far King's Quest III.
Any game which requires waiting long periods of time, having to enter and leave rooms to get certain items to appear, or requires luck to succeed, are by far the absolute WORST possible adventure game. King's Quest III had these in plentiful supply. From that damn bandit hideout, that I had to enter, reload, and enter again, countless times until the bandit was alseep when I entered, to that damn ship where you had to wait a ridiculous amount just for it to reach its destination. It's just horrible. Police Quest seemed like more of the same, hence why I gave up.

Now my only real problem with Space Quest was the slot machine. I can ignore the arcade sequences and timed puzzles. The game came out in 1986, I've got to cut it some slack somewhere. But a damn slot machine! Which you have to win multiple times! And which takes ages just to win once!
It brought the whole game to a standstill, and I suspect that the only people who managed to pass that point without a walkthrough, were those that wanted to see just how much money you could potentially win through save-scumming. If there had been a way to somehow rig the slot machine, perhaps at least giving you a higher chance of winning each time you use it, then I wouldn't have minded as much. But as it is, it's just mindlessly pulling a lever and reloading whenever you don't win. The game quickly becomes one of the most boring activities in the world, and forces you to stick with it for ages just to progress.

The thing is, Leisure Suit Larry came out a year later, had a similar mechanic, and fixed it entirely. How? By including the option of playing Blackjack instead. A game which you have a much better chance of winning! (They also took out the option of getting killed from gambling, except of course running out of money, so there's that as well.)
Surprisingly, out of all of the AGI games I did play, Leisure Suit Larry was the only decent one. Sure it has dead-ends, as well as quite a few other problems Sierra's adventure games were known for. But it has aged much better than those other games by far. I guess it's no wonder it got a modern remake.
Funnily enough, the only other AGI game that I played that I thought was somewhat decent was The Black Cauldron. That and Leisure Suit Larry were both designed by Al Lowe, so I get the feeling he was the only guy at the company who had any kind of inkling of what constituted as good game design.


Geeky Meerkat Wed, 11. Nov 9:52 AM, 2020 edit delete reply
Sounds like the guide you used for Space Quest forgot to tell you that you could hook a magnet up to the slot machine and cheat at the game to win.
DanVzare Wed, 11. Nov 4:26 PM, 2020 edit delete reply
Seriously? You can do that in the AGI version?
I've just taken a look at a few walkthroughs, and the only version that mentions it are the walkthroughs for the VGA version.
Not only that, but I managed to get the maximum score.

If you can do that in the AGI version, then SCREW THOSE BLOODY CRAPPY INCOMPLETE WALKTHROUGHS!!!
Guest Wed, 11. Nov 8:59 PM, 2020 edit delete reply
Just looked it up and ya AGI version didn't have the magnet but I did find this quote on the differences between the AGI and VGA version: In the AGI version, the player must play the slot machine as a game of luck (except in later versions where typing "HOLY SHIT" at the slot machine screen will enable a cheat).

Still, ya playing the slot machine as a game of luck sounds like the worst game design idea ever.
DanVzare Tue, 17. Nov 5:57 PM, 2020 edit delete reply
At least they figured out it was a terrible game design idea in all of the later version.