7 dirty ways to lengthen your game without losing the player: a “Don’t do this at home” article

Introduction. Almost every time I play an amateur adventure game and finish it, I say “Was that it?” It is a common question, since most of the amateur adventure games last less than 5 hours. Here, I give you seven dirty ways to lengthen your game without losing the player.

Number one. Make the text unskippable. If you want to get really dirty, set the text speed to slow. Even slower. Anyway, your game should be worth playing if you do this.

Number two. Make the character move as a slug. As a wounded slug (a.k.a. Gilbert Goodmate). In that case, it would be nice to make double-click exits possible, but have a lot of scrolling rooms. Anyway, if you set the character’s speed to too slow, the player may get pissed off and quit the game.

Number three. Make a crappy GUI with 1001 menus or commands. Light version: 5 days a stranger, where you had to right click and select the command. Full version: Curse of enchantia or the scroll, where the GUI had more than 15 actions. For Curse of Enchantia, they were more than 30. Now this will drastically lengthen your game. Use with care.

Number four. Make a timed puzzle. But not your run-off-the-mill timed puzzle. The kind of timed puzzle that involves fooling around for 10-40 minutes until the thing the player needs appears(For example, after a player talks to someone, he tells him to get a hot dog. But only after 20 minutes of fooling around, the player finds a hot dog somewhere). Dirty, eh?

Number five. Make an illogical puzzle. I know that these have been overused, but it is a classic. If only one or so, the player will not get much frustrated solving them (…right?). The amount of illogical puzzles you can add in your game without losing the player depends on the quality of the other components.

Number six.  A really dirty one: make cool background music. This will get the player to just stand in one place without doing anything just to listen to the music. They certainly didn’t overuse these!

Number seven. Do not do a map of the region or something. Let the player travel through the beautiful lands of your game!

Conclusion. Use all of the above with care. If you just put all of them in a game, the player will almost certainly quit it after the fifth minute of gameplay, and instead of lengthening the gameplay, you will drastically shorten it. I hope I helped you with designing your game!


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