MarkN writes "It seems like whenever broad topics of game design are discussed on Slashdot, a few people bring up examples of Adventure Games, possibly owing to the age and interests of our members. I'd be interested to hear the community's thoughts on a piece I wrote on Adventure Games, talking about the evolution they underwent in terms of interfaces, and how the choice of interface affects some aspects of the puzzles and design. My basic premise is that an Adventure Game is an exercise in abstract puzzle solving — you could represent the same game with a parser or a point and click interface and still have the same underlying puzzle structure, and required player actions. What the interface does affect is how the player specifies those actions. Point and click games typically have a bare handful of verbs compared to parser games, where the player is forced to describe the desired interaction much more precisely in a way that doesn't lend itself to brute force fiddling. It's a point Yahtzee has made in the past; he went so far as to design a modern graphic adventure game with a parser input to demonstrate its potential."
Read on for the rest of MarkN's comments.MarkN continues:
"In addition to talking about the underlying concepts of the genre, the other main thing I touch on are the consequences of the simplification of interfaces — puzzles are more likely to be cracked by trying everything until it works since there are fewer possibilities for interaction. There are a few simple alternatives: requiring a number of actions in sequence, or requiring the player to achieve a more complex configuration or state to demonstrate their intent. But that can reduce the world of puzzle solving to explicit logic puzzles in order to get around the problems that more creative types of puzzles run into, since they depend upon actions that are simpler to specify. It's a topic I'd be interested to get the community's thoughts on, and what they see as the best way to craft a puzzle solving experience."