Author Topic: Encyclopedia of every adventure games puzzles ever  (Read 2769 times)


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Re: Encyclopedia of every adventure games puzzles ever
« Reply #20 on: 18 Nov 2018, 09:12 »
This sort of thread tends to provoke me to particularly snarky responses aimed at pointing out the folly of the project (which I think is no more possible than "let's list all the stories there are" at any useful level of specificity).

However, let me just say that I think most of the ones listed so far aren't actually puzzles or puzzle types, but puzzle elements or puzzle motifs, before adding a few of my own (I have a bad memory for games, so I don't have specific examples of all of these):

Just a classic riddle. A cryptic description makes it hard to identify what it describes. You must realize the correct response to the riddle and provide it.
Examples: Conquests of the Longbow (tons of them)

Just Do It
A problem has a straightforward, "obvious" solution, but the game makes you overlook it by misdirection (distracting you with other apparent solutions) or making you assume it won't work or is somehow outside the game parameters. Usually requires lateral thinking to realize.
Examples: Fate of Atlantis (push Sophia), Secret of Monkey Island (pick up idol), Trilby's Notes (die)

Spot the Pattern
For challenges based on repeated choices (e.g. mazes, dialog puzzles, in-game contests), here the right option is always hinted in some subtle but systematic way. If you are observant and recognize the pattern, you can make the correct selection every time. "Listen to the noises" is a subtype of this.
Examples: The Shivah (rabbinical boxing)

You have to "manually" conduct certain (trivial or only mildly challenging) operations, through special UI controls that often attempt to mimic the haptics of the actual actions. If dexterity/skill is required and time pressure is added, it may turn into a quicktime event or arcade challenge. If the simulation is very realistic, it may turn into a physical puzzle.
Examples: Fahrenheit (many instances, e.g. mopping the floor), Resonance (e.g. cutting wire)

Coded Clue
A puzzle requires some arbitrary series of actions to solve. Instructions are provided in cryptic form, encoded e.g. as a song, recipe, painting... The encoding may be as a riddle or hidden somehow (e.g. the first word of each line), or just consist of spotting the connection.
Examples: Monkey Island 2 (skeleton song), Frostrune (tapestry)

Combinatorial Gate
A way to ensure that the player has mentally solved a puzzle (come to some realization) without needing the character to do so explicitly. Require 100% correct responses to a series of choices; because of combinatorial explosion, brute-forcing or lucky-guessing your way through is effectively impossible if you don't know the solution. ("Did you read the book?" will often be an example of this.)

Dragon's Lair
You must carry out a sequence of actions precisely, without any deviation (and often timed). Any failure to do so results in instant death or a reset of the puzzle. There is no way to know what the correct action is at each step except by trial and error, so you must try repeatedly, gradually memorizing the correct sequence.
Examples: Dagger of Amon Ra (end chase)

Needle in the Stacks
The game presents you with a large collection of items. Most of them are irrelevant, only one is the thing you're looking for. Often the setting is a library, where you have to find the right book from a large selection of titles. Solution may involve reducing the search scope (e.g. to a certain shelf) based on some characteristic of how it's organized (alphabetical, genre) and then simply brute-forcing it.
Examples: Heroine's Quest (library), Thimbleweed Park (library)

Magic Lens
You have a tool like a scanner, which allows you to see or detect otherwise hidden things in the environment. Often you must sweep it over the backgrounds to scan for clues.

Hot or Cold
You must reach a certain end-state. Along the way, you get feedback after each step as to whether you are moving in the right direction (warmer) or the wrong one (colder) so that you can find the right approach/path. This can be physical movement, but also something like a dialogue puzzle (e.g. character's facial expression changes). Compare insult sword fighting (advance/retreat).

A character tells you a number of things. Some of them are lies. You must find and present the evidence or conflicting testimony that contradicts their untruthful statements.
Examples: The Ace Attorney series (cross-examination mechanic), Contradiction (contradiction mechanic)

Break the Cycle
A certain chain of events repeats on a loop in the background, always with the same outcome. By changing some condition, you can interfere with one of the steps and create a different one. (In a variation, the chain of events doesn't go on all the time in the background, but only when you trigger it.)
Examples: Day of the Tentacle (Edna/chair/statue)

Divert the River
By damming or diverting a river upstream, you can affect which areas are flooded or dry downstream, potentially causing destruction. Can also be e.g. a conveyor belt, electricity in a grid, etc.
Examples: The Secret of Monkey Island (rock in stream)
« Last Edit: 18 Nov 2018, 09:14 by Snarky »


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Re: Encyclopedia of every adventure games puzzles ever
« Reply #21 on: 18 Nov 2018, 10:38 »

Use only the horse on chessboard
seen in 7th guest and Gabriel Knight 3.


also in the whispered world


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Re: Encyclopedia of every adventure games puzzles ever
« Reply #22 on: 18 Nov 2018, 13:16 »
A few more:

Examine Crime Scene
Certain scenes in the game are signaled to be of special importance, requiring particularly careful examination. Pixel hunting, use of special instruments (magnifying glass, swab, fingerprinting kit…) and other exhaustive methods that would be tedious to use on every screen are accepted as fair game here.
Examples: The Dagger of Amon Ra (various murder scenes)

Ask the Oracle
Certain types of information can be fed to a machine or person that will (often) provide further information about it. This can be a search engine or database where you can look up e.g. names, addresses, or an NPC with exhaustive knowledge on some particular subject. A variation is the Lab Analysis, where you can run an analysis on certain items to find out more about them (e.g. a DNA test, blood test, mass spectrometer, etc.).

Zoom and Enhance
You need to closely examine a picture using some sort of zoom tool (either digitally or with a magnifying glass) to uncover otherwise hidden details.
Examples: Blade Runner (Esper machine), Kathy Rain (scanned photos)

Break It!
An inventory item is useless until it is broken, which requires a specific deliberate action. (E.g. a bottle, where you need the glass shards.)

Special Skill
Your character has an unusual special skill, which is useful in certain situations. The puzzle consists of remembering that you can do something that wouldn’t normally be possible, and recognizing that the situation calls for it. (As a matter of game design, if you give the player character special skills, you should also provide plenty of occasions to use them.)

Right Person for the Job
In games where you control multiple characters, and where they each have distinct abilities. Some actions are only possible (or will only be successful) with a certain character.
Examples: Two of a Kind, Blackwell series, Unavowed (wow, Dave Gilbert really loves this one!)

Constraint-Based Reasoning
A type of logic puzzle where you have incomplete information about a finite universe, and use the information you have and the constraints of the world to deduce further information (e.g. by process of elimination), until you have the answer you need.
Examples: Return of the Obra Dinn (matching identities to victims)

Dial-A-Pirate (Mix and Match)
You construct something by combining pieces from at least two distinct sets. The resulting construction has different properties depending on the combination, and you need a particular combination with the right properties.
Examples: Technobabylon (AI mind fragments)

Copy from Examples
In order to solve some complex problem, you first must solve a number of simpler problems (or study already-solved ones), in order to acquire the tools you need for the actual puzzle.
Examples: The Secret of Monkey Island (learn insults and responses through lesser fights), Gabriel Knight (decode messages to learn voodoo symbols, apply to other messages)

Right Place, Right Time
You must be in a certain place at a certain in-game time in order to witness an event. You may have a hint in advance, or you can tail an NPC, or it may be down to trial and error or clues only available after the fact, requiring a replay.
Examples: The Last Express, The Colonel’s Bequest

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Re: Encyclopedia of every adventure games puzzles ever
« Reply #23 on: 19 Nov 2018, 12:02 »
Well, you say it's a folly, and you challenge the vocabulary (patterns, motifs, elements...) and yet you give a perfect answer and you perfectly understood the idea.;-D (roll)
Well done and thank you!!!