I Keep Playing Puzzle Games, Like 'Gorogoa,' Even Thought I Want to Cheat

Open Thread is where Waypoint staff talk about games and other things we find interesting. This is where you'll see us chat about games, music, movies, TV, and even sports, and welcome you to participate in the discussion.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://waypoint.vice.com/en_us/article/mbp3gp/i-keep-playing-puzzle-games-like-gorogoa-even-thought-i-want-to-cheatd

Gorogoa was basically the perfect level of puzzle game for me, I think (also my boyfriend and I played it together, which I think helps - you can bounce ideas off each other and each remember different things) but generally speaking, I’ve only relatively recently come to terms with the fact I’m not very good at puzzle games.
Seeing my friends on twitter talking about spending an hour on an opus magnum solution and I… would never have the patience, I couldn’t do it. I’d start the game, enjoy the first few levels, and get frustrated once it actually got challenging. I know I would. That’s how these games always go, for me.

please give me baby puzzles, for babies. thanks.

I have a similar relationship with puzzle games, and hearing your struggles with the Witness is a bit reaffirming. I wanted to enjoy that game so badly, and in theory, I loved the premise of teaching myself the mechanics.

In practice, I spent over an hour trying to figure out a puzzle that required aligning tree branches against a perspective properly. I was so sure I had the right solution, but I finally gave in and searched up the solution only to find out that I had the right idea with an imperfect angle.

The Talos Principle really gripped me without similar frustrations, however, frequently layering on mind-bending solutions with a far more interesting framing device of the cheeky philosophy-spouting AI. Perhaps a compelling shell is the main driving force behind keeping me away from cheating?

Because nothing about the narrative or thematic “shell” of The Witness wound up being terribly compelling, even though I loved the art style and the concept of seeing puzzles everywhere in the world around you.

I haven’t played Gorogoa yet - how does it fare in this regard?

I adore puzzle games and end up regularly cheating. (Though if I can, before cheating I’ll try just brute-forcing a puzzle because it feels less like cheating than just looking up the answer.)

There are more than a few games that I love so much that I wish I was better at. English Country Tune and most Zachtonics games are right up my alley but I can never get past like the first third or so of the game without cheating heavily. I want to play and enjoy these games but I end up hitting a wall and just, that’s it, either I cheat or I’m stuck.

I would love to see more puzzle games have not only hint systems, but more effective hint systems. There’s a sudoku app I played for a bit that had a sort of three-tiered hint system. When you hit the hint button it tells you to look for a rectangle, or at a certain row. Press it again and you get a more specific hint about what you need to do. Press it a third time and it does the move it knows you can make, and you can read the steps of logic involved in making that move.

If some harder puzzle games had hint systems even half as good as that I’d feel way less inclined to cheat on them.


Similar to that sudoku hint system you described, the 3DS “Picross e” games (and the Switch “Picross s” game) have a system that, when enabled, highlights the rows and columns that you have enough information to do SOMETHING in. It doesn’t tell you what that something is, whether it’s marking a space or crossing out a space, just that there is at least 1 space on that line which can be determined without any guessing.

Ahhhhh, I love this article/thread, Patrick.

Ever since I was young, I’ve been drawn to puzzle-adventure games. It all started the first time I watched a friend play Sam and Max Hit the Road. I was so jazzed about it that I immediately got home and asked my mom to get a copy of it for me. Must’ve been a week, maybe months later, my parents handed me a multi-pack of LucasArts games including Day of the Tentacle, the Indiana Jones series, and of course Sam and Max was in there as well. I set the game up, and since our computer wasn’t top-of-the-line, there was no sound. “No matter, the subtitles work and that’s fine by me!” I thought.

It was incredibly difficult for my young mind to wrap my head around my first puzzle-adventure experience. My friend seemed so good at solving the puzzles with basic logic, why was I struggling with getting my characters to go to their next destination? Why couldn’t I progress the story?

It turns out I wasn’t doing something that seemed so… illogical. I had to click on a specific item using a specific action that just didn’t make sense. I didn’t know this at the time, and didn’t learn until I watched that same friend years later when he decided to revisit Sam and Max during one of our hangouts.

Shortly after my struggles with the game, and it couldn’t have been more than a day or two of my parents watching me struggle with the early part of the game, that they decided to return the game to the store while I was at school. I was so bummed.

My bad experiences with Sam and Max never deterred me from the genre; maybe kids are just more forgiving about these struggles than adults. One day, that friend burned a copy of Hit the Road for me (it was definitely not available at retailers at this point in time). I plugged away, definitely using a walkthrough for its trickier parts, asking my friend for help with others. After that, I found myself using a walkthrough for almost every point-and-click game instinctively, as though my struggle with Sam and Max suggested that I was incapable of solving puzzles using my own wit and attention to detail. And that stuck with me. It stuck with me through my first few playthroughs of Grim Fandango. It stuck with me when I finally went back into Day of the Tentacle (years before the remaster). While I had this strong urge to play these games, it’s like I was doing it for reasons other than the mental challenge. It’s fair to say that the artwork for LucasArts games from the early-to-mid 90s were a huge draw for me. I’ve always been drawn to cartoons, bright colors, silly-yet-lovable characters.

When the Day of the Tentacle and Grim Fandango remasters came out, I swore that once I got copies of them, I would play without any assistance. I wanted to really push myself this time. With both of them, I managed to get by with basic logic, but there were a lot of areas of the games that I vividly remembered and was able to use that to my advantage. It wasn’t until Thimbleweed Park was released that I was able to really put myself to the test, and boy oh boy did I fail! I think I made it a little more than an hour in before having to consult my Twitch chat for suggestions. OOF. Even still, I love that Ron Gilbert and the rest of his team were able to make a game like Thimbleweed Park. There is still so much love and support for the point-and-click adventure genre, and I expect we’ll be seeing more in the future.