Well I do link to other blogs pretty often, but the post I want to link is kind of old so I don’t feel like searching for the post. Anyway, if you play a game especially an RPG, but other genres can use them as well, usually to a lesser degree, eventually you will come to a place where you can’t go any further, there is an obstacle of some sort, and you have to go on some mini quest just to get something that will get you past this obstacle. The most common is to have a locked door that you need to find a key to.

Running around looking for keys seems like a pretty lame game, so developers usually try to jazz things up with story related reasons why a door can’t be opened. Like there is a magic spell holding a door shut and you have to travel the world collecting magic stones to break the spell. Entire games can be devoted to just collecting keys, even if they aren’t actual keys in the game they serve the same purpose, to open a single plot door.

Bard’s Tale, from 2004 not the much older game by the same name, actually parodied this common RPG cliche of sending  players on random quests just open a single door. Every time he thought he was getting to the end of his quest he was disappointed to find that he had even more work to do before he could save the princess. When he finally got to the end he expected even more stuff to do.

Unless you want to give the player free reign over the entire game world right at the start, some plot doors are necessary. You might try using really tough monsters to block peoples progress, but that tends to piss people off just as much. As I said before developers are coming up with more creative ways than simply looking for keys to open a door. If the obstacle and solution makes logical sense in the game world, and especially if the obstacle is an important part of the story, than plot doors usually don’t bother people too much.

So why am I worrying about plot doors? If you’ve been following the blog recently I’ve started developing a game recently. So far its got, semi decent combat, a few simple puzzles, a flimsy story, and some plot doors. I said before that plot doors are good if they make logical sense and/or are important to the story. Well the since the story is so bad, there’s really no way to come up with decent justification for running around collecting items. You can play for yourself and see what you make of my justification, but its pretty weak so far.

If you’ve never played one of my prototypes, just use WASD or arrow keys to move the guy to the help sign to get instructions on how to play. You can find the game here.


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