Discussion point: What kind of game deserves a high score in Interface and Inventory?

By The TAG Team

Interface and Inventory

We have seen many different kinds of interface in adventure games, starting from parsers and ending with various mouse driven setups. We are accustomed to complaining about interface problems, like incomprehensible controls and outright bugs, but criteria for good interfaces are not as easy to find. So far, the best score has been given to the Lucasarts style “select the verb” -interface, but is it the objectively best interface? Or are there other possible forms of a good interface?

Is this the ultimate adventure game interface?

Other questions you might consider:
  • At least one reviewer has suggested that a parser game should not get a high interface score. Is it truly so or could there be a really excellent parser?
  • Is ease of use always positive or can an interface be too simple?
  • Should we consider how universally usable an interface is? Would that mean that a Sierra style system of icons trumps Lucasarts interface with verbs, because the meaning of icons can be understood even if one does not understand the language used in the game?
  • Come to think of it, should a perfect interface come with a tutorial teaching how to play the game? Or is this something that we shouldn’t expect from adventure games?
  • Instead of or in addition to ease, should we consider it positive that an interface allows various, complex actions? Or is such complexity a negative point?
  • Considering the second element of the category, is inventory an equally important factor or should we give more weight to the interface? Taken to its extreme, could an adventure game with a good interface, but no traditional inventory get a high or even perfect score?
  • What makes a good adventure game inventory? Does it need to have graphical images of the items? Are descriptions of the items a necessity?
  • Is the number of inventory items to be considered or could a game with only a few items get a high score?
  • CRPG Addict considers it negative if a CRPG has only adventure style inventory items. Should we similarly consider it negative if an adventure game has only a CRPG style inventory?
Let the discussion begin!

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