Puzzle

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   For the game by Andrew Schepler, see Puzzle (by Schepler).

A puzzle is anything that impedes a player's progress towards a goal. One element of a "good" IF game is puzzles that seem integrated into the plot; if the player finds either the puzzles or the prose too difficult to wade through, the gaming experience suffers.

Puzzles are often solved by manipulating items in the inventory, figuring out how a simulated machine works, or performing some task to defeat or befriend an NPC. Puzzles are sometimes solvable only by blind experimentation (see babel fish puzzle), and some poor puzzles make no sense (see soup cans). Usually lateral thinking is required and puzzles are layered on top of each other, getting harder as the game proceeds. Clues for solving puzzles are usually given in the game, but hints are available online. Puzzles are sometimes unsolvable or make no sense.

A puzzle may be considered solved when the player is given a reward. Rewards can be in many forms, for example: a new inventory object, new important information, a new skill, the removal of a barrier or dangerous object, or transportation to a new area.

In games with a complex plot, a puzzle may provide motivation for the PC, or it may be the means by which the designer divides the story up into separate sections.

Types of puzzles

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