Brass Lantern
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Making Better Puzzles

by Stephen Granade

Table of Contents

Guaranteeing Satisfaction

[Warning: I'm going to make reference to the Babel fish puzzle from The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. There are no explicit spoilers, but I do hint at the solution pretty strongly.]

What makes puzzles satisfying is even more subjective than what makes a puzzle fair. I had a lot of difficulty coming up with a list that could lay claim to even living in the same town as "definitive."

Ah, well. What follows is a list of elements which have made me feel satisfied when solving puzzles. Hopefully your list and mine will overlap.

In my ideal adventure game world, authors and designers would think carefully about what they enjoy about puzzles and then keep that knowledge in mind while designing puzzles. Or, as Dan Shiovitz succinctly put it, think like a player.

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This article copyright © 1999, 2008, Stephen Granade

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