Thursday, December 6, 2012

puzzle games

We were talking today about puzzle games, specifically Limbo ( These are games where there are generally no rules other than how to play, and you as a character are basically on your own when it comes to getting to the next level. This reminds me of the game(s) that I am playing for my book review paper, namely the games in the Oddworld series. For anyone who has never heard of these games, the first in the series was Abe's Oddysee (1997) which followed Abe, a humble Mudokon who worked at a Rupture Farms, the biggest slaughterhouse on Oddworld.
(sexy, no?) The innocent floor-waxer Abe accidentally overheard the evil Glukkons plotting to use Mudokons as their next treat (oh yeah, Rupture Farms is akin to a candy/snack factory)! Basically the premise of the first game is Abe getting out of Rupture Farms. The interesting thing about it is that there are few directions and you have infinite lives. (I'm not sure if this is a thing in other puzzle games, but narratively it seemed like an interesting choice. or rather, it was a choice that went outside the narrative) I love puzzle games, and I feel like I'm better at them than fighting games, but I was wondering what people thought about classifying such a game. It is a puzzle game with a heavy narrative and very much time spent on aesthetics--so like art-puzzle-casual maybe? Is it casual? It's on a serious console, (XBox, PS2, etc), and it takes a certain amount of skill to move through the world, or else you just get stuck on trying to get a damn door open for hours and hours. here's a little gameplay teaser, let me know your thoughts!


  1. I'm not so sure about your classification question. I probably wouldn't be the best candidate to answer, but along the same topic as puzzle games, I thought i'd comment anyway. I tried to play a game at the video game archive that was called Portal. I'm not too familiar with puzzle games, but the game was pretty hard to master for a video game beginner. I think that puzzle games definitely take a whole other skill set to play than shooter games. They seem, from what I experienced, to be more slow-paced and more thought provoking than most other video games, which can be fast paced games with a lot of blood and death. Anyway, I don't think that puzzle games should be overlooked as anything less than other games because they are just as intense, only in a different way. They require intense concentration and thought and downright intelligence to figure out the puzzles. You have to be very perceptive and pay attention to details and clues intently, which many people have trouble dong, like myself. Well, now that I think about it, I have trouble playing any video game, but Portal was especially difficult. Anyway, I commend you for being able to get through a puzzle game because I was extremely frustrated after the fourth level of Portal. I hope you get an answer to your classification question. Sorry for being off topic.

  2. Portal is a classical example of a puzzle game, but the element of problem solving can be seen throughout many different genres of games, particular in the action adventure. If you play games like Uncharted 2, God of War 3, Metal Gear Solid etc. these aren't typically classified as 'puzzle games', but a significant part of its gaming experience is to try and solve a problem or overcome an obstacle to progress in the game. So perhaps there are more pure forms of a puzzle game, but I don't think it's ever a mutually exclusive genre; the elements of problem solving is seen in all kinds of games.