Thursday 19 March 2015

What's Your Story - The Brown Dragon

Answers by TBD
Introduction and Captions by Ilmari

I can with all honesty say that without TBD this blog might not have continued after Trickster's stepping down from active blogging duties. When I made the call for a fellow admin, TBD was the lone brave warrior volunteering for the task. I myself have grown to depend on my trusty comrade, who has often been the voice of reason more than I could have ever been. But enough eulogising, let's hear TBD himself!

If you didn't know, he works usually as a PI...

...but from his love of riddles I deduce this is his secret identity!

I actually wrote my answers a few years ago but never sent them in because I was stuck on the last question. Now that I'm about to blog my way through King's Quest V I thought I'd better get my act together and submit my What's Your Story now. So let's get to it...

My home country is… Australia.

My age is… 43.

The first adventure game I played was…

Now we know why he got into detective business!

[Original answer] The Secret of Bastow Manor 64. I have extremely fond memories of this game and my life's goal is to save up enough CAPS to make Trickster fire up a C-64 emulator and play Bastow Manor. For the time it had great music and amazingly complicated graphics considering they were just done using the keyboard.

Now that I can't make Trickster play the game no matter how many CAPs I earn, I'll have to settle for playing it myself as a Missed Classic at some point. Stay tuned...

My favourite adventure game is…

Just to warn you there's some mischief going on...

[Original answer] Tough call. I'm going to go with Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Fathers, but if you ask me tomorrow my answer's likely to be different.

That was my answer two years ago, but seeing as I'm editing these answers now I'm going to double dip and say The Pandora Directive! Who says you can't answer the same question twice?

Shame on you! BTW, have you noticed that detective theme continues?

When I’m not playing games I like to… Play or watch sport or watch TV/movies – and sometimes when I've been playing a game I'm really immersed in I'm often thinking about the game while not playing it – there's been a few times when I've solved an adventure game puzzle while on the bus on the way to work and had to wait 10 hours before I can see if my plan works or not.

I like my games in (a box, digital format)… Like a lot of people here I used to love the boxes but seeing as the last few times I bought a box it just had a CD in it and no manual, I've switched almost purely to digital - I'm loving the ability to simply download and play games without having to grab the CD from a box and look for the latest patches, and love not having to put the right CD in the drive whenever I want to play something different. Thumbs up for modern technology.

The thing I miss about old games is…
[Original answer] I really can't think of anything. I love old games, and even play old games I missed at the time, but I can't think of anything that was in old games but doesn't still appear today. No, wait, I thought of something. Detailed manuals written in the style of the game's world. I'd sometimes read the manuals as entertainment even when not playing the games. These days it doesn't happen so much.

Now, two years later, I have a new major thing that I really miss about old games – not having to deal with various monetization strategies. I'm going on a bit of a rant for the next few paragraphs so feel free to skip to the next question if you don't want to read my personal peeves.

I miss just being able to buy a game based on if I think it will be enough fun to justify the price. These days I have to study the store page, reviews and forums to find out what DLC is included in which versions of the game, and which DLC adds stuff to the game that I like and which DLC are just multiplayer-only or just a different outfit or weapon that I don't particularly want to pay for.

Special bonus negative points for any game that never comes out with a complete edition after a few years that contains all DLC (I'm looking at you Mass Effect series!)

It's good that there's a parody of the concept

And super bonus surely-you-can't-be-serious negative points for any game with microtransactions to do things that used to be, and should be, controlled by different difficulty levels, cheats and/or mods (Yes, NBA 2K series, there's a reason I'm pointing in your direction – if you set up a system to charge money to make the game more fun, it seems you're acknowledging that many people would find your default levels of progression frustrating, so how about giving them options to increase the amount of VC earned from each game played via the settings menu instead, eh? Otherwise I might be tempted into thinking that you're deliberately making your game less fun in order to make more money, and no self-respecting game developer would do that, surely.) Fortunately this trend hasn't taken over the industry at this point, so we're still safe apart from some outliers. I don't like the trend though, and if it spreads to most games I might become one of those grumpy old gamers who whines about how great the old days were – and get off my lawn!

The best thing about modern games is… 

Atmosphere. In the past each game brought me into a new world but as time's gone on games have immersed me more and more into their worlds, with physics, better graphics, 3d, better music and sound effects, writing and voice acting, and more.

I know some people will hate this example, but I can't go past Skyrim to show how modern games can be so much more atmospheric and immersive than older ones (and Skyrim manages to avoid all the negative points of some modern games that I just finished whingeing about.)

And speaking of parodies...

The one TV show I never miss is…

There's not really one show I can't miss at the time. With the ability to record and series link shows I never have to watch them when they're on so I record quite a few shows. The Walking Dead and Game of Thrones are some of my favourites, but everyone's already mentioned those so I'll go with my favourite unsung show - Eureka. It's really fun light entertainment that generally doesn't take itself too seriously even when tackling serious subjects.

It's now two years later and I'll add that partly due to people's answers to this question, I started watching the new Doctor Who about a year ago and am now fully caught up, and have enjoyed it immensely. So thanks everyone who mentioned it – you've created another fan!

Yes, we have soon enough fans to take over Cardiff!

And considering your love of riddles, you will love our initiation rituals.

If I could see any band live it would be… The Beatles, no question. I assume a time machine would have to be involved somehow but I'm up for it. I might need a better car - I doubt mine can even get up to 141.62 km/h?

I am sure we can get a time machine for you somewhere...

My favourite movie is… Raiders of the Lost Ark. Non-stop action with humour and a great heroic character.

One interesting thing about me is…

My inability to think of a good answer to this question is why I never submitted my answers years ago. But here goes...

Though I've been a frequent reader, commenter and now an admin of The Adventure Gamer blog, adventure games aren't even my favourite genre. My favourite genre is very much RPGs, with strategy games and adventure games playing clear second-fiddle when it comes to enjoying my spare time.


  1. I finished The Pandora Directive for the first time earlier this year, having anticipated it a lot due to how high it was rated on Adventure Gamers' top 100 list. To be honest I didn't like it much. The plot was just a bit too much of a standard "gather all plot coupons and beat the bad guys to the macguffin" one, few puzzles were particularly engaging and there were many annoying gameplay sections (air duct maze, I'm looking at you). Most interesting thing about it was probably the subplot about Tex's relationship with Chelsee, which was reasonably well written. How your various choices affect the ending does have a certain coolness to it, but why bother replaying the game when you can watch the endings on YouTube? :-P

    1. I'd like to think you're on your own in not liking Pandora, but I know it may well be nostalgia clouding my judgement. I'd like to know the thoughts of anyone else who only played it recently.

      I'm definitely with you on the duct maze - last time I played (2012) I walkthroughed most of that maze myself but I still loved the game enough to give it a 10 out of 10!

    2. To be fair, my low opinion might also have been influenced by playing it concurrently with YU-NO, which pretty much makes everything else pale in comparison.

      I also finished Overseer today. It was nice having to wait a mere few minutes instead of 16 years for starting the next installment in the series. >:-)

  2. You mention the NBA series, but I recently started playing PES2015 (football/soccer game) and was annoyed to find it has a similar mechanic. I kinda feel like they should be free-to-play games, and make their money from those microtransactions. It annoys me that they expect people to buy the game every year and then put things in place to try and convince you to spend extra money.

    1. Yeah. Seems to be a problem with sports games - I'm pretty sure I'm not going to buy NBA 2k16 this year for that reason.

      If King's Quest V was made with this design philosophy I'm sure there'd be a "Desert Automap" DLC for only 3000 Silver Daventry Coins (Equivalent to $4.63 but only sold in lots of 10000 Silver Daventrys) - and let's not ignore the "Griffinskin boots" item exclusive to the Collector's Edition pre-orders that gives Graham a 15% increase in walking speed.

    2. Alternate voice acting for Cedric would be the big seller!

    3. Oh, just wait for the worst part: They turn off the multiplayer servers faster and faster, pretty much as soon as the new one comes out. This also deletes any multiplayer capable games you had going, which often have hundreds of hours of play sunk into them.

  3. Zak McKracken released on GoG:

    1. And it's the previously-rare and 'best' 256 colour FM-Towns version!

      Also, Loom, The Dig and Monkey Island 2 special edition now available on GOG.

  4. The thing about Adventure games and western CRPGs... I'm not sure how to put it. All early Western CRPGs lets you create your own character and it's only when JRPGs and COYA (Choose Your Adventure) books stepped in that shifted the CRPG line closer to the feel of Adventure games.

    Adventure games are always about pre-defined characters in controlled settings. Thus, this apparent lack of freedom is probably why it has a lesser fandom than CRPGs. I mean, we can imagine The Nameless One from Planescape: Torment being a character from an Adventure Game but Les Manley as a CRPG?

    Wait a minute... I'd play the hell out of Les Manley if it's an RPG.

  5. Those pony voices are going to haunt my nightmares. Thanks, Ilmari! :)