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Monkey Island's Grossman: Adventure Game Puzzles Can Be 'Hard [But] Not Cruel'

Talking to Gamasutra about Tales Of Monkey Island, Telltale design director Dave Grossman has commented that "lack of cruelty is an important feature if adve
Talking to Gamasutra about the new Tales Of Monkey Island franchise update, Telltale design director Dave Grossman has commented that "lack of cruelty is an important feature if adventure games are going to be palatable to large audience." The update of the classic LucasArts franchise is initially debuting for PC and WiiWare, with the PC version due out tomorrow,. Grossman, who worked on the original Secret Of Monkey Island at LucasArts in 1990, has notable views on how the adventure genre can go forward: "I think what it really comes down to is whether [a particular] aspect of the game is something that's going to affect how the characters in this story feel, and what the moment-by-moment experience is like. Is it something that's going to affect your kind of broader experience with the form? Where we've been trying to go with adventures games -- maybe someday we won't even call them that anymore, but this style of game storytelling that we do -- is towards something that is a more casual experience. The "sofa experience" is the way I like to think of it. You're going to be sitting on your couch or with your browser, browsing through stuff. You go, "Oh, look. The new Monkey Island is out. I'm going to play that right now." You download it, play it right away. You might even finish it right in one sitting. And then you move on to something else. You probably have your family there with you. It's a little bit different from the old experience." The Telltale design director also has specific views on what should not be repeated from the early days of adventure games, commenting: "I remember my own childhood playing these kinds of games -- you know, I'm alone, stuck up in my bedroom, and I'm just thinking a lot and banging my head against the wall. "Curse those designers! What do they mean by this puzzle?" Whereas with this, there are some puzzles in the episodes that I think are hard, but they're not cruel. I think that lack of cruelty is an important feature if adventure games are going to be palatable to large audience. You just can't be that mean. I'm trying to give people a little fun and let them do some things to make them feel clever, but let them get through the game so that they will be ready for the next one when it comes down." You can now read the full Gamasutra interview with Grossman, including lots more on how the game got made, plans for its roll-out, and design underpinnings for the franchise continuation.

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