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zeogold: More modern PnC games immediately transport you back to the point before you died
I think in most modern P & C adventures you can't even die in the first place. Many went with this LucasArts formula of letting the player try everything without risk of dying or screwing up and consciously rejected the Sierra way of killing your character at every possible opportunity. It still can't hurt to save often in them, too, just in case you move on too quickly and wanted to explore or experiment some more.

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Wishbone: (a rope and a hook, for instance)
Rope & hook is a classic, almost every P&C adventure has you combine these two things. Also, if you find a locked door, chances are there's a key stuck in the keyhole on the other side and you need to slide a piece of paper under the door, then push the key out so that it falls down on it and retrieve the paper with the key. Works every time. XD

So, if you get "better" at p&C adventures it's probably also because you've become familiar with the tropes and you've seen it all before. Not every puzzle design is creative, many just imitate other adventure games that came before them.
Post edited June 11, 2017 by Leroux
Adventure games are not really my preferred genre, for exactly the reasons that I'm supposed to guess how the game creator thought when inventing puzzles. I played more adventure games back then when there were less options (genres). I kinda see adventure games as a archaic dying genre, even if it is revived once in a while. Maybe an undead genre then, a zombie.

I guess one thing that helps is having played other adventure games from the same developers, then you have some rough idea how their thinking goes regarding puzzles (also regarding dead-ends, sudden deaths etc.). For instance, with LucasArts adventures I learned quite quickly that they like quite unconventional and non-apparent solutions to puzzles (monkey wrench, yeah right...) which might make (some) sense only after you know the solution, but on the flipside their games don't usually seem to have dead-ends so you don't need to be careful of not proceeding further.

Sierra adventure games, on the other hand, seemed to have more obvious puzzles that are easier to guess using normal logic, but at the same time they might have those darn dead-ends (like not taking certain item with you from the space ship in Space Quest, before it blows up... then you are screwed for the rest of the game) etc.

And then there are adventure games like Darkseed when you might be screwed for just not being at the right place at the right tme...

For some older adventure games (like old Sierra games, Darkseed etc.), I guess they are a bit like "roguelikes" in that you might be expected to replay the game several times from the beginning, before you can beat the whole game. So you missed that one item in the beginning of Space Quest, or missed that scheduled event in Darkseed? Fine, just replay the game from the very beginning, and try to play differently.

Yes, I quite often resort to walkthroughs when playing adventure games, if I feel I am just wandering aimlessly around with no idea what to do next, or even stuck in one point.
Post edited June 11, 2017 by timppu
Remember that adventure games--particularly early ones like Sierra games--often don't adhere perfectly to the logic of the real world. For instance, if you are at the top of a mountain and need to get down quickly and you have a rope and a blanket in your inventory, you might combine the items to make a parachute. In real life, of course, this course of action would get you killed, but in adventure game logic, it works. However, as others have said, sometimes the right solution to a puzzle is completely nonsensical (a problem which more modern adventure games usually don't have).

For Sierra games specifically, I would recommend looking for walkthroughs and reading anything bolded/ in caps/ etc. If these highlighted sections tell you not to do something, DON'T DO IT! Many old Sierra games, particularly in the King's Quest series, can be rendered unwinnable through certain actions. It is best to find out what these actions are so you can avoid them. You don't want to spend 20 hours playing a game you're not able to win because you fed a Yeti the wrong inventory item or something. Once you know what to specifically avoid, you can then safely ignore the rest of the walkthrough (though you may want to read through the whole walkthrough after you're done with the game to see if you missed anything interesting).
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infinityeight: You don't want to spend 20 hours playing a game you're not able to win because you fed a Yeti the wrong inventory item or something.
To be fair, the games in question probably just take 2-4 hours to play through, but that's still a lot of time to waste and there's no point in replaying them just because of some stupid mistake.
I played the first two KQ games recently (and SQ1) and didn't find them particularly difficult, apart from getting stuck a couple of times (mostly due to my own stupidity and impatience). Here are some suggestions:

1) Draw an annotated map of the world, as the manuals to these games explain. This really helps.

2) Read location and item descriptions carefully, they usually explicitly mention objects that can be interacted with (or give some other hints). The first command in a new location is always LOOK AROUND. Also examine each location carefully, there may be some salient objects that play a role (trees, rocks, cliffs, holes etc.) One needs to be observant.

3) Take notes. There was a door you couldn't open? Write a note, maybe you'll find a key later.

4) If stuck, take a break. I often find a solution to a puzzle on the next day I play.

5) In some games, you need to repeat the same action multiple times to achieve an effect, which is annoying. Also in some Sierra games there are places where you need to use action keys (swimming and jumping), so don't forget about such keys.
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zeogold: More modern PnC games immediately transport you back to the point before you died
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Leroux: I think in most modern P & C adventures you can't even die in the first place. Many went with this LucasArts formula of letting the player try everything without risk of dying or screwing up and consciously rejected the Sierra way of killing your character at every possible opportunity. It still can't hurt to save often in them, too, just in case you move on too quickly and wanted to explore or experiment some more.
My quarrel with a lot of modern PnCs is that they tend to replace this with some sort of point/achievement system. In other words, you can't die, but you can easily miss things which you'll have to go allllll the way back through the game to get if you didn't save in the right spots. I remember Botanicula in particular suffering from this, there were a whole slew of other examples I can't think of at the moment.
What I hate is when the solution to a certain problem not only is absurd but does not work the first time you try it.
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Themken: What I hate is when the solution to a certain problem not only is absurd but does not work the first time you try it.
I still have nightmares about a certain rubber duck.
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onarliog: Is it even possible to get "good" at this genre?
Yes it is, and it is also possible to get worse. I often play adventure games in parallel with other people, and I really measure the difference that m experience with "adventure game logic" makes. These games demand a certain mindset, a certain approach, that is less natural than acquired by encountering the same kind of puzzle many times over the years. What sort of thing to seek, or what sort of solution might work, becomes comparatively more obvious with time. Adventure games often re-skin the same clichés.

And on the other hand, I realised that I used to be better at some games than I am now. So, training is not acquired forever, thoughts habits may get lost with time and lack of training.

So, two advices maybe not given yet (not sure, only skimmed through the thread) :

1) Multiplayer. This point has been cleverly risen by Tim Schafer in his Full Throttle videos : Point and click adventure games were the first multiplayer games. Most of their fun derived from conversations and hints (and experience) sharing between concurrent players. It makes the games easier and more amusing. This was, paradoxically, killed by the internet, and its impersonnal walkthroughs.

2) Revisit locations. One annoying mechanism that plagues man aventure games is that you can visit a place, and some element may be missing or present depending on completel unrelated triggers (have you advanced the plot elewhere, talked to this character, picken up that item, visited a given area, encountered another puzzle, etc). It's expected when your adventures take place in a living breathing village as in Hero Quest/Quest for Glory, but it also happens with a tool present or absent from a corridor in Post Mortem. The consequence is that you can not rely on your memory or notes to know if, in front of a puzzle, there is something elsewhere that could help. Your memory or notes may be simply outdated, and you might have to go revisit each location.

Also, don't avoid deaths. These older games were less focused on senses of accomplishments than nowadays, they were playfully killing you and those were the jokes, it was part of the fun. Their deadends were often fun experiences (again, partly as experiences to share with other players).
Post edited June 11, 2017 by Telika
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Telika: This was, paradoxically, killed by the internet, and its impersonnal walkthroughs.
I would argue that it's also due to a change in personal circumstances and a huge increase in the range of titles to play. Back in the days I still knew several people (that is classmates) in RL that would play the same games at more or less the same time. Nowadays I know so many more gamers online, but hardly anyone my age in RL anymore. And the few I know play different games than me. Even among a group of P&C adventure enthusiasts it's not very likely that they play the same titles at the same time, with so many alternatives nowadays.

The release of Thimbleweed Park changed that a bit, for a short time many adventure gamers turned their attention to the same game, even one of my siblings who doesn't play a lot anymore got interested in it and we both played it at the same time, exchanging hints just like back in the days, despite the existence of walkthroughs and the internet. So I think the more important factor here is the difficulty in finding someone playing the same adventure game at the same time.
Post edited June 11, 2017 by Leroux
If you can pick up an object, that's usually because you will need it later. But some games have different paths or alternate solutions to a single puzzle, so it is possible to carry an object until the end of the game without finding its purpose in the world. It would be good to know what type of game you are playing -I don't have enough experience with Sierra games to know if that's their case.
For me, I remember how helpful it was to get someone else to have a look at the game. Often that happened just because others were wondering what I was experiencing and would watch over my shoulder. Or it'd come up in conversation and I'd mention I was stuck. Talking it out in person, trying out someone else's ideas, saving my progress and letting someone else play it on their own, or starting a second time and doing things a bit differently.

Nowadays, it comes down to mostly setting it aside and coming back to it later, maybe the next day. Starting a second time and switching back and forth with the first save as I learn something in each is also still helpful.

I have tried walkthroughs and that has always spoiled it for me. I now only go to a walkthrough after I've completed the game myself, and then only if I'm not going to play it again so as to see what I missed. I really do enjoy the discovery on my own more than listening to someone else's discovery, and I appreciate someone else's discovery more readily when I have my own personal experience for relating to it.

With that said, I have stopped reading books part way through just because I didn't care to finish them. So, I don't mind not knowing what happens right away, if ever at all. I mean, I usually have other interests, too, so either it's fitting in with my flow or I'm moving on to something else that hopefully will. That, too, can be helpful because it gives me chance to get into a different mindset, one that could be more attuned when (or if) I get back to what I've set aside.