Over at brainygamer, Michael Abbott ponders the decline of the puzzle. Puzzles as they were in the old, traditional adventure games.

He wonders if today’s gamers don’t have the patience to work through the conundrums. You know, the “combine tree branch and twine with bent nail to make a fishing pole” type of solution.

He’s probably right about that. Of course, there is still an audience for adventure games, but the typical young gamer of today isn’t part of it. Modern games don’t focus particularly on what might be called “creative contemplation”: taking your time to consider possible answers to a tough puzzle.

Everything is speed today. Even strategy games have moved into real-time (not all, but many). I posted about this last year in The Need For Speed, how many genres are being affected, one way or another, by an increase in pace.

Aside from that, the classic adventures required a lot of thought. True, some of those old puzzles might have been obscure, or off-the-wall. For the most part, though, solutions made sense in the context of the game.

Since everything is so “speedy” these days, I can’t see people sitting through one of those Infocom adventures. And not just because they’re all-text. One has to read carefully, and think. I suspect a lot of players would soon be bored by that. Even the later graphic “point and click” games would not hold their interest for long.

There is another factor to consider, as well. We’ve discussed this before: a lot of players don’t finish games, even ones they like. This is especially true with consoles, which have so many games available. One game is hardly started when another “hot product” shows up. The “old” one is tossed aside in favor of the newer. That, more than anything, is an indication of the lack of patience today.

As I mentioned earlier, there is still an audience for adventure games. There are still people who don’t mind thinking. However, not for long. Message boards, game faqs, and walkthrus are just a click away. I suspect that many players don’t spend too much time on a puzzle that stumps them.

Then again, there’s no way of knowing how many of those “golden oldies” were put aside unfinished because the player ran into an unsolvable puzzle. So perhaps the wealth of information isn’t all bad.

I haven’t played an adventure game myself in some time, so I don’t know what the puzzles are like in the current crop. Easier, maybe; there aren’t a lot of questions being asked over at Just Adventure, for instance.

If you play adventure games, what do you think? Are they up to the “gold standard” of yesteryear? Or have they become easier, and is that a good thing?

Puzzles Are For Geezers on brainygamer