Sunday, 20 May 2012

Weekly Poll Discussion

First things first...I’ve finished King’s Quest IV! I’ll save any feelings and thoughts I have about the game for my Won! and Final Rating posts, which I’ll get to shortly enough. In the meantime, let’s look at what rating the readers are predicting I’ll give the game.

Above 60                     8 Votes (19%)
Between 55 and 59      20 Votes (47%)
Between 50 and 54      13 Votes (30%)
Below 50                     1 Vote (2%)

So nearly half of the voters expect the game to finish up somewhere around the mark Leisure Suit Larry hit, the current Sierra leader. Only one expects the rating to be below 50, so there’s obviously a fair amount of respect out there for this addition to the King’s Quest series. More interestingly, I gave the readers the chance to make their own specific predictions, with whoever gets it right gaining themselves 10 Companion Assist points. Given the response, I’m going to make this a regular feature, but in future people will be able to choose the same rating as other voters. The first person to choose the correct rating (or closest to it) will get 10 points, the second gets 9, and so on. Here are the voters’ predictions for King’s Quest IV.

Chumazik – 52
Larry P. – 53
Lars-Erik – 54
Nicolaj – 55
Killias2 – 56
JosephCurwen – 57
Ilmari – 58
Klaoth – 59
Canageek – 60
16k – 61
Andy_Panthro – 62
Fenrus – 63

Rosella realised how valuable Companion Assist points could become!

This week I’d like to discuss Companion Assist points on The Adventure Gamer. I’ve had numerous ideas about how to put them to use and how readers can earn them, but I wanted to run an idea past you to see what you think. I will also be releasing an official Companion Assist page in the coming days which will describe all the ways points can be earned and used. Currently readers can earn points by assisting me when I get stuck in one of the games on the list, by helping me with some of the technological aspects of playing retro games, and by making suggestions for how to make the blog better. Some other ways to earn points have naturally arisen, and given what I’m about to suggest below, I think it’s pertinent that I make it clear how points can be earned.

Right, onto my suggestion! One of the things I’m aiming to do in future is make it harder for games to be added to the list. It’s not that I don’t want you guys to have any say in the matter (I do). It’s just that the way it is now, whenever any game goes to a vote, it always ends up with a positive result. I highly doubt the readership will ever vote for a game not to be played (it seems you actually enjoy torturing me anyway, so the worse a game is, the more you want me to play it), which will result in the list growing exponentially as the years go on. I can see myself getting bogged down in little known and little cared about games and possibly burn out if I don’t tighten the criteria. To avoid this, I intend to make the readers sacrifice Companion Assist points to make me play games that I otherwise wouldn’t.

For anyone unsure as to how I currently decide on which games to play, this is the criteria I’ve been using (you can see it in action here):

Automatically Added: For a game to automatically go on the play list, it must clearly be a graphic adventure game, it must have over 20 votes on Moby Games, and it must be on the Wikipedia List of Notable Graphic Adventure Games list.
Borderline: If a game has at least one positive result using the above criteria, but not all three, it will go to a vote.
Automatically Disregarded: If a game has no positives, it will be skipped.

Taking the above into consideration, what do you think of the following suggestions for how to handle games that are not automatically added?

Suggestion 1: For borderline games, individual readers can sacrifice 50 of their Companion Assist points to get it added to the list.
Suggestion 2: For borderline games, readers can pool 100 Companion Assist points to get it added to the list.
Suggestion 3: For disregarded games, readers can pool 200 Companion Assist points to get it added to the list.

I’m not going to put it to a poll because there are a hundred different ways someone could see it. You might like the suggestions in general, but not the amount of points I’ve specified for each. You might like the idea of sacrificing points for borderline games, but not for disregarded ones. You might not like any of the suggestions and prefer to go to a vote for each individual borderline game.

At some point in the next week or so we’ll discuss what games I’m going to play from the year 1989, so the results of this discussion could come into play pretty quickly. As usual, I’d love to hear any thoughts or suggestions any of you might have to make this blog more interesting and interactive for you guys. I pass the microphone to the floor...


  1. I am excited that you beat KQIV!!! Nice work. I also like this interactivity you are fostering. This blog is getting intriguing...

  2. Not sure I'd use my precious points on borderline/disregarded games!

    On that subject, did I get any points for my unicorn hints?

  3. I'll distribute points shortly. I haven't even read most of the rot13 comments yet. being at the top of the table is more important than seeing the games you want played through! I may have underestimated how competitive gamers are. :)

    1. A solution: If someone spends their points they keep them for the leaderboard, but it's noted somewhere how many they have left for voting purposes.

    2. That could be interesting, a kind of "voting power" tied to the assistance points... anything but losing places on the leaderboard!!! ;-)

  4. I have no Companion Assist points, so I have no opinion on this. :)

    There's an article about the Quest for Glory series (I still think it's weird to call it by that name -- I only played the first iteration when it was called Hero's Quest!) up on Hardcore Gaming 101 that will probably interest many of you:

  5. Wow, I said it would be a breeze after the whale, but I still didn't expect you to finish so quickly. Congratulations!

    I think using the points for "buying games" is a perfect idea. I suppose pooling the points should be possible so that people with few or even no points would have a chance of getting their favourite games on the playing list, if they can just gather enough support from the other readers. I'd also suggest that the "prize" for the borderline games need not be completely fixed - you might want to give us "discounts", if you find some games or at least our "sales pitches" intriguing.

  6. I like the idea of buying games too, but you're right about the fact that nobody would ever risk the leaderboard in order to buy a game. Maybe you could go with Andy_Panthro's idea of having the points spent noted somewhere else, but you might lose clarity over it.

    1. I second Andy's suggestion. And to keep it simple, you could just easily format the leaderboard like this:

      Fenrus 130 points (30)

      Meaning 130 total points accumulated, and 30 points left that can be spent.

    2. Yeah, I'd go for that. Also, I'm hoping to find more ways to get points. I wonder if I could hunt down old games for Trickster or something?

    3. Yes, I think what Fenrus has suggested makes sense. Clearly I need to have a way for people to spend points, but not lose their place on the leaderboard. I'll tinker...

  7. I'm fine with it, but 50 is a lot of points; I'll never get that many, not being a CRPG player. Could we make it so that we can 'pool' points, so that 5 of us with 10 points each can chip in to put a game on the list?

    Also: How many points to get you to play a non-graphical text adventure? >.>
    *Cackles evilly*

    Also, while the CRPG Addict got me to do this, but I am on a Quest for the Magic Candle; That is, a quest to find the game The Magic Candle in my Dad's basement. I've come across a number of adventure games while down there, so I thought readers here might be interested:

    1. One of the suggestions is for exactly what you've asked for Canageek. The ability to pool points. As for interactive fiction, you know my stance on that. ;)

  8. Going further, you could expand the "buying" concept. With x points, readers could request a special feature posting from you. E.g. a comparison between Sierra & Lucasarts styles; Characteristics of a good puzzle, etc.

    At least I would be interested in hearing your insights on other related subjects as well, than just playing through the games. In the same way that Mr. Addict occasionally makes special topic postings.

    1. I do plan to do this sort of thing. I've intended to do it after a couple of particular games but then I just keep getting excited to jump into the next one.

      It's on the to do list. :)

  9. Although I love the idea of the companion points, I see this also as a potential threat: I fear that the focus of this blog could shift to a competition of collecting points, instead of discussing the games.

    I think already can be seen, that many readers (myself included) like to give hints in advance for the games, even when Trickster is not needing them. I think it makes it more difficult for Trickster to read and answer the comments, as there are more potential spoilers which he is trying to avoid.

    I don't know what my point is - maybe I just wanted to open the discussion, or maybe we need to have clear rules on how and when hints should be given for collecting points. Or maybe I am just nitpicking :) In any case, I am enjoying this blog a lot!

    1. I have to agree. I hope this won't shift this blog too much in the direction of a meta-game, which might take focus away from the games themselves.

      I guess it's worth a try, though, it could always be changed later, if it doesn't work out.

    2. I also have the same concerns. Ultimately the blog should always be about the games, so if something is threatening to shift that focus in an unbalanced way, I won't be afraid to remove it.

      One of my main reasons for starting to discuss this stuff is that I'd like to put some specific rules in place about leaving spoilers. You're absolutely right Fenrus that I'm losing the ability to read comments on posts until I finish games because they contain too many spoilers, so I plan to tighten this up.

    3. ROT13 for all! Can I have points for introducing that? :D

    4. Rules for giving spoilers are sorely needed. I myself would like to know what to be considered too spoilerish. Outright giving solution to a puzzle, of course, but how about more vague hints or even general statements of the characteristics of a game (like, there will be random or timed events, possible dead ends etc.)? Without any guide lines, I've been few times quite lost whether I should have ROT13d something I wrote - and probably been too uncareful in my decisions.

      You might consider taking away points as a reprimand for too lavish spoilering - that could make us more careful in the future :)

    5. Taking away points for misbehaving readers is very much on the agenda. ;)