I’ve finished another computer game, which makes the second this week, and indeed the second this year, and third in the past two. Generally, I either don’t buy games that get “Completed” (SimCity, for example, where you just play until you stop) or play games until a) I get bored and buy a new game (common when I have an income) or b) I get to a point/mission I can’t pass without cheating. Since I won’t cheat on any game I paid for unless it’s just fate (For example, saving when I have 5% health and no ammo, then encountering a room full of enemies just before the save) or bad design (If I get stuck on a puzzle with absolutly no progress for over 45 minutes, I find out what I do next. This is Game Enjoyment rather than cheating). So tend not to cheat at games.
That wasn’t the point of the post. This could be, it depends on how the digressions go:
I have this affinity for worlds outside stories. This may be a common thing – I don’t know, most of my social circle I met though literary preference which means they tend to share this trait, so isn’t a random sample – but I tend to enjoy any book with a complete world outside the story more than I do worlds that live around the story in progress. A case in point would be my own stuff – unhelpful, since nobody besides LoneCat has ever read any of my worlds-based stories, but nevertheless – where I have two interconnected worlds, distantly related, one of which has a couple of thousands of years history, with absolutly no stories that touch upon any of it.
Er, better example. David Eddings’ Belgariad and Elenium worlds both had histories, worlds, stories within stories and fine detail down to the grain. He published an entire book of his writings about the world that he had used for writing the histories. The history bore the ten books of the tales well, and a volume of prehistory excellently. (Polgara The Sorceress, fact fans, doesn’t exist in this timeline. I’m charitably ignoring it) (It’s not that I hate PtS with a passion unholy, or anything, it’s just that… ahh..).
Robert Jordan’s universe is holding up nicely, too. Or was, the last time I looked at it, which may have been book six. If Jordan’s going to die before finishing the bloody saga, I’m not going to start it. If he doesn’t, I’ll read it if I can get back to book six without wanting to strangle the female characters (Don’t care which one, they’re all the same).
But the plot has to hold up too. The Eddings’ last-book-but-one was a five book epic in a single volume, and managed to get through an entire epic plot without touching the sides. Somewhere behind it was a detailed, well-thought-out magic system, a rather interesting prophacy system, some nice politics and some great battles. None of which you saw in the book, because they had a macguffin to save Eddings writing the “wandering along travelling” bits that he did so well the previous 19 books.
That wasn’t the point of the post either, hang on a second, it’ll get here. Wrong sort of digressions on the lines, apparently.
So, I just completed The Longest Journey, which was hailed (as every Adventure Game for the five years previously and the three years – so far – since have been) as the Final Swan-Song Of The Dying Point And Click Adventure Genre. This time, however, they could have been right. TLJ was the last (As far as I’ve seen, and I’ve been looking damn hard) true point-and-click adventure game professionally published, which it was in 2000. Adventure games since then have been 3D turn-and-point (Escape From Monkey Island) or 3D turn-and-click (Syberia, Cryo’s entire hateful catalogue), and this doesn’t seem to be likely to change (Full Throttle 2 and Sam & Max 2 will both use the Grime (Grim Fandango-style, sucessor to Scumm (Script creation utility for Maniac Mansion) which powered every Lucasarts adventure game from 1987 to 1998) engine (Fear the brackets in that sentance)), and (We’re back to TLJ now) enjoyed every minute of it.
Partly (Warning, fast point approaching, please step away from the pointer) because it mixed an engrossing and very much classic fantasy-style storyline (Overuse of words “Destiny” and “Prophacy”) with a less classic future-based storyline and a overarcing world architecture that made everything fit logically at the end. Which it didn’t.
Oh, the story ended. Role resolved, apocalypse averted, Plot pointed, heroine hooray, but the world was left open for more stories within it, and hints of the story that wasn’t told, and possibly never will be. That’s kinda an interesting point, there. It has everything beyond a notice at the end saying “We’ll make a sequel if this sells”, whilst leaving you satisfied that the story is over, almost. And they will make a sequel. They (FunCom, who later created Anarchy Online) have said they want to. And they can, because the world didn’t close with the story like it does in most games.