Over on Joystiq this past Friday, Rowan Kaiser wrote up what makes the Quest for Glory franchise so amazing. Which led me to further thinking on the game series, and how it has influenced other games. Which is to say, in my opinion, I can see influences in a lot of places (particularly in BioWare titles). That is the topic for another post, however, as today I am more interested in figuring out what games have come closest to this particular RPG and adventure hybrid.
Recently I have been trying my hand at writing using ChoiceScript, which is used to make those lovely Choice Of games (Dragons, Vampires, and Zombies, oh my!). In reading up on how they handled choice and advancement, I came across this page, which describes their use of stats.
While the Choice of Games folk want you to make meaningful decisions, they came up with a method that seeks not to have them creating a labyrinthine novel with which you interact. Which is very similar to the QFG style: use stats to deterine a pass/fail option. What that means is your decisions matter in that they determine how your stats will increase, which in turn affects what you will succeed or fail at in future endeavors.
Despite my liberal arts degree, I am a chap enamored with numbers. If you give them to me in a game, I am likely to stare at them lovingly and obsess about increasing or decreasing them as the situation merits (like the fact that my Nightmare-Act 2-running Witch Doctor is currently sitting around 1200 damage). The one downside to QFG that does not invade on my nostalgia is the ennui that would develop while grinding for my stats to be the absolute maximum to import into the next game. This was particularly wearisome in the second game, where you have a time limit that is much more stringent than the other games.
The wonderful aspect of the Choice games is that while I know those stats exist, and I will consult them while making decisions (though sometimes I am not opposed to failing, particularly in the titles where it does not end the game, but adds curious consequences), but I do not obsess over them, how to game them, and what it all means. This entire method reminds me a lot of the QFG series, whose choices were entirely limited by what you could do based on ability (which is opposed by the BioWare method).
In fact, it's the early tropes of adventure games that holds QFG back in the regard of having an outcome failing and then not being able to continue. Which is what makes the lack of plentiful of titles that more closely emulate the series somewhat disheartening. Had the fifth entry been more successful, and not been weighed down by the shenanigans that were happening at Sierra at the time, I wonder if we would have seen this hybrid model succeed more in the 3D game realm. Ah well, perhaps it's just wishful thinking.