Friday, 2 March 2012

Weekly Poll Discussion

I've decided to conduct a weekly poll from now on, with the only exception being polls I feel should really run for more time. You can expect polls to end on Friday's and new ones to start on the same day.

Last week’s question was “what setting do you prefer your adventure games to take place in?” The results are below:

Detective / Mystery                             2 votes (3%)
Horror                                                4 votes (7%)
Medieval / Fantasy                              9 votes (15%)
Sci-Fi / Futuristic                                12 votes (21%)
Don’t care as long as it’s good             30 votes (52%)

OK, so that was perhaps a bit predictable. In hindsight it would have been better to not have “Don’t care, as long as it’s good” as an option and instead force people to choose a genre. Anyway, it does suggest that the majority of readers don’t restrict themselves to any particular setting, which I see as a positive. It also might suggest that more people will enjoy playing Space Quest than Tex Murphy (or Mortville Manor for that matter), but the looseness of the poll doesn’t really give a clear picture. I’ll try to be more specific with future polls and not give too many “capture all” style answers.

This week’s poll is the first of what I assume will be many based around whether or not a particular game should be considered an adventure game. As I’m making my way through the agreed list of games for 1987, I’ve already started looking ahead to 1988. I’ve got a preliminary list of games to discuss shortly, but the one big question mark sits over a game called Captain Blood. It sure sounds like an interesting game and appears under numerous genres on various sites. I’m putting it to the readers to see whether I should play the game or not. Please be aware that for me not to play the game, option 2 will need to outnumber options 1 and 3 combined. This may result in me playing more games than not, but I don’t have a major issue with that. Please use this post to discuss the game’s merit / genre and use the poll when you’ve made your choice.

Just remember…my destiny…is in your hands!


No wonder people have trouble putting the game in a box. That interface is out of this world!

31 comments:

  1. For anyone wondering, I'll have a Mortville Manor post up in around five or six hours.

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  2. Based on the screenshot I take it that this is NOT based on the excellent Errol Flynn movie of the same name?

    Also I can't really vote until you tell us something about the game.

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  3. You can indeed vote Canageek. All you need to do is select option 4. ;)

    The truth is that I don't want to persuade anyone's decision and I don't really know all that much about it anyway. All I'll say is that Moby Games has it listed as an adventure game with a high rating, but other sites list it as a simulator or even a strategy game. I'm hoping someone has played it and can advise on whether it really should be consider an adventure game, or that people will read about it and decide whether they want me to play through it or not.

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  4. BTW: It's nice to find another fan of one of movie's finest eras. I'm a big fan of 1920s and 30s films, particularly the silent ones (think Metropolis, Nosferatu, The Cabinet of Dr Caligari etc.).

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    1. What is The Cabinet of Doctor Caligari about? I've seen a reference to it in Doctor Who (one of the aliases the First Doctor uses is Dr. Caligari ("Dr. Who?" "Exactly.")), but know nothing about it beyond that. I have seen Metropolis though, and it was awesome.

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    2. It's a kind of mystery/horror-story involving crazy doctors, sleepwalking murderers and an asylum (more would be spoilerish). Very unique in style

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    3. Also used in a great Abney Park song! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iySJykzz7Dk

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  5. Captain Blood was a remarkable game in its time, mostly for its seemingly open world, but I would absolutely not classify it in the "Adventure game" category.

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    1. Thanks Cedric. Do you feel it has been labelled as adventure purely because no-one really knows what to do with it?

      I just found three other sites that list the game as an adventure, yet when I read about the mechanics of the game, I struggle to find much that fits the blueprint.

      Hence the poll I guess...

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    2. It was a confusing game even back then. It came out on the Atari first and all of us, Amiga owners, were very jealous because it was such a popular game. It eventually came out on the Amiga but by then, the hype had somewhat faded. Still, its communication system and fractal landscape was definitely impressive at the time.

      I'm not sure how popular it was outside France, though, maybe explaining the miscategorization.

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    3. Maybe we should have a real debate about genre theory and its relevance to video games.
      Genres in the gaming industry tend to have exclusively marketing purposes, so creative atempts don't fit in the categories. It's high time structuralist academics start to consider our beloved hobby is a relevant research subject.

      Anyway, just so you know, the original French title was "Captain Blood's Ark", but I guess some marketing guy (them again...) felt the religious reference could be a problem for the US market.

      And I still think "adventure" would be the closest genre it can relate to.

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    4. Has this debate taken place as of my writing this comment? I also find myself dissatisfied with video game genre labels.

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    5. Not in any definitive sense, I think, although there has been occasional comments about the difficulties of picking up a genre for games.

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    6. I've ranted about it a few times, which probably doesn't surprise you as you know of my love for tight labels.

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  6. Interestingly enough, I own a boxed copy of Commander Blood, the sequel in the trilogy (the third one, I read on MobyGames, was released only in France). I confess I've never played it - the manual always weirded me out. Based on what I've read about it I'm inclined to lump it with other titles from the same company which I DID play back in the day: Dragon Lore & Lost Eden.

    Not sure if it's a good approximation, but I'd say all of those French games are adventures alright, just VERY quirky (even Eternam, a more conventional approach, was quite perplexing IMO). Think dialogue + puzzles + action sequences in nearly equal parts. My opinion is that if other departures like Myst or Shivers make the list you should give Cpt. Blood a chance. You can always drop it if you see it's going elsewhere.

    Just to account for the uncertainty I didn't vote option 1 but 3. :-)

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  7. So... it's not about the pirate?

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  8. Hello, Trickster:

    I have recently seen your blog and is really cool. I've been playing adventure games since 1992, but I have missed a lot of them. So I have a project similar to yours, but príivate, and is nice to see how we can see the games in different manners. For example, to me, Deja Vu is an excellent game and I would rate it better, but I have played the Amiga version. The same with The Black Cauldron and Kings Quest III. This three games, to me, are better than various actual ones, like Black Mirror 2, for example.

    Regarding Captain Blood, when I did my list, I consulted various sites about the game, because I have the same doubts you do. At the end, even if the game looks interesting, I think it isn’t really an adventure game, and, from what I read, it isn’t a good game either. An hibryd like this can also take you to play games that aren’t “pure” adventures, like Star Control II or Dune or Alone in the Dark. And the list could go on and on… So my vote is no, don’t play Captain Blood.

    Are you still accepting sugestions regarding games? Because a 1987 adventure game that looks really nice is Legend of the Sword (http://www.mobygames.com/game/dos/legend-of-the-sword). I haven’t played it yet but it not only looks good, but also interesting and different.

    Well, I will follow your blog, but I’m only reading about games I haven’t played yet. I haven’t played Mortvile Manor yet, so I will wait for your Police Quest I playthrough.


    PS: hey, I see you like metal too. You have some of my favorite albums in your list. I recommend to you Final Holocaust, from Massacra, a french band, if you haven't listened to it yet. It's excellent. One of the best death metal albums derived directly from the Reign in Blood.

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    1. Correction: "... but I'm only reading about games I played...". Sorry about that.

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    2. Metal fans? Any fellow power metal fans? (Hammerfall, Demons & Wizards, Therion (kinda), Manowar, really Dio and Rainbow though they were never called such)

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    3. I'm afraid power metal is not something I appreciate. I like my metal dark and heavy, so it's more about black and death metal for me, with some of the more extreme doom as well. :)

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    4. Canaageek:

      I haven’t listened to many bands of power metal. I, like Trickster, prefer death and black, and also the heavy metal of Black Sabbath. But I like some power metal albums like Nightfall in Middle-earth, from Blind Guardian. I recall liking Into Glory Ride too when I listened to it years ago, but I don’t remember it much.

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    5. I remember finding Blind Guardian through their Lord of the Rings song on Napster. I downloaded more of their songs, and eventually bought the albums. I also turned my brother onto them, and he's attended quite a number of their concerts in Germany. Who says downloading music is bad? It's probably the only way I would have learned about them.

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  9. One problem with the previous poll was that a) some games might fit into many categories (like Tex Murphy, which is a combo of scifi and detective game) and b) many good games wouldn't fit into any of the categories available (there was no slot for westerns like Freddy Pharkas or for pirate games like Monkey Island).

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  10. @Manny: Glad to have you along, even if you'll only be joining us for games you've already played. Feel free to make your own comments on games I'm playing through. After all, my opinion is just that...my opinion. :)

    Regarding Captain Blood, I'm going to see where the poll goes. I don't have a problem with playing games that sit on the border, particularly as I've never played games like Dune and Alone in the Dark. I'm going to try to let the readers decide as much as possible.

    As for suggesting other games, I think I'd like to stick to the games that are decided upon prior to kicking off each year, unless there's a really obvious game that was missed. While Legend of the Sword does look interesting (ugly though), I'm not sure it demands to be added.

    Finally, I know Final Holocaust has it's fans, but I find it to be fairly average. Each to their own though! Am I right that you're French? I'll be at Hellfest this year in Clisson. Can't wait! :)

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    1. Did you get my email? It was about a game by Al Lowe you may have missed called Troll's Tale.

      Also, checking out my stats page I see your blog as the number referring site to my own, so thank you once again for the side bar link.

      I don't think we'll ever cross games, but once you're past Shadowgate, I'm going to start up my attempts at speedrunning the NES version again. I was getting it down to 14 minutes before I lost interest.

      My Google wasn't working, so I was just kind of hoping Captain Blood was based on the pirate (my favorite pirate), and I'm a little disappointed it isn't. Now that I've repaired that part of my Internets, I see that Wikipedia says the game's main character uses that nickname because he liked the Errol Flynn movie. I guess I can't blame him for that then.

      In any case, I'd really like you to take a look at the title, and based on the poll so far, it seems you'll be doing just that. I'm not sure who else would go through something like this in blog form for this game, so I'm glad you're open to the proposition of taking on more games.

      I hope you're feeling better soon. It's very disappointing to have to spend the weekend outside of good health. At least you have the games to keep you company.

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    2. Trickster:

      I know that the poll is going to decide if you play Captain Blood, and from the results up to now I think you’re going to play it. But, even if I vote no, since it´s not in my list of adventures to play, it will be nice to read what you think about it.

      Too bad Legend of the Sword doesn’t attract you enough to add it to your list. I´ve played the beginning and it’s a very original game in its presentation. But I understand your decision. After all, you already have a titanic project with the games you´ve selected. In any case, if you don’t mind, I can suggest some titles I think could be interesting but aren’t in your list before you begin a new year. For now, I think you could play Alone in the Dark (1992). Even if it is now considered in another category, when it first came out it was considered an adventure game with new elementes that were to revitalize the genre (how many times I have heard that phrase now!). And, if you’re not sure because of the action elements, maybe you could make a poll ;).

      I know that Final Holocaust is an album that may not be very much liked by many people. To each his own, like you said. To me, it´s one of the ten best death metal albums. But, hey, at least we coincide about Reign In Blood and Hvis lyset tar oss.

      And no, I’m not french. I’m peruvian, but yeah, I’m not a native english speaker, but a spanish one (If my writing and not the Massacra reference gave me away).

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    3. I think Alone in the Dark would be an interesting addition, although survival horror leans more towards action after that point.

      @Manny, your English is pretty flawless.

      @Trickster: I think I agree with you, keep it moving forward. Once you're at the end, then maybe you could look back.

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  11. I do intend to play Alone in the Dark and I doubt I'd even put it to a poll. It's a game that caught my eye when I first got a PC in 1995, and yet for whatever reason I've never played it. It's a few release years away yet though.

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  12. @Manny: It certainly wasn't your English that made me think you might be French. It was the combination of Mortville Manor, Captain Blood and Massacre, plus the fact there seem to be quite a few French readers around at the moment (which is great if you ask me). :)

    If this blog is teaching me anything though, it's to never assume anyone's nationality. I've already suggested that Canageek was American, despite the obvious reference to Canada in his nickname.

    From now on I'm checking profiles out before making any comments on the topic.

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  13. I must say, it sounds like an adventure game to me. *Ka-VOTE*

    I bet we could make all the French speakers on this blog go crazy if we found an adventure game written in Quebec French and asked them to translate it.

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    1. Sadly it sounds like the PC version is teh suck. http://argnet.fatal-design.com/bluddian.php#TwoVersions

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