243: Misadventures in Role-playing

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Misadventures in Role-playing

Most people play computer role-playing games in order to find out what happens at the end of the story, but one gamer chooses to exploit every digital loophole in such games to create his own wacky narratives. Alan Au shows us the man behind the anti-walkthrough.

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Very cool article. I've often thought about things like this but have never had the patience to really go after it, never mind to the point where I could write an entire walkthrough on it.

I don't like doing stuff like that in games.

Which is why I NEVER will kill off Vivec in Morrowind.

http://www.uesp.net/wiki/Morrowind:Vivec_%28god%29

Very interesting article. Now I want to go find some of these "anti-walkthroughs" and try it.

this is making me want to do an anti walkthrough for oblivion...

I've read the Ultima 8 one, very funny.

It helps if you know the game well, because you can find out so much that you didn't know! It's amazing to see peoples different approaches to situations.

Really interesting bit of gaming history. Was hoping you'd mention some of the back door ways to beating Morrowind's mainquest though... so funny.

In a game without a good story, there seems little to interest me to try something like that, and if the story is good, no point in changing it.
Don't see the attraction, Unless it's simply an extended version of taking screenshots of bugs.
Like the time i managed to park a car on the underside of a bridge in GTA:VC stories on my psp.

I remember using powder kegs in U7: Serpent Isle to break through locked doors I wasn't supposed to 'unlock' just then. Several per door, one wouldn't do. Fun. Got me to the endgame zone way too early and the story didn't make much sense, and got me double companions. Really, it's the game's fault for putting unpickable locks on wooden doors.

And that is why Deus Ex is the greatest game ever. Because there was no way to break the story and no way to act that didn't produce consistency later on in the game.

rembrandtqeinstein:
And that is why Deus Ex is the greatest game ever. Because there was no way to break the story and no way to act that didn't produce consistency later on in the game.

Almost. It's possible (though very difficult and it actually depends largely on luck) to complete Deus Ex without killing Anna Navarre. The game does not account for this possibility and will continue as though you had killed her.

Still the greatest game ever, though.

Intriguing article - and I do see the amusement the anti-walkthrough can offer /after/ numerous normal plays. It's sort of like playing Dungeons & Beavers, I guess. Still, I'm more interested in completing the story the old-fashion way.

This is great. It's like griefing the AI. Good article, I'm reading through that site and it's awesome.
I remember doing something similar in the Command and Conquer 3 campaign. Many events were triggered by very specific effects or actions, and it was often possible to work ahead of the AI to make your life a little easier, if you knew what and what not to do. I can recall one instance where the enemy had set up an ambush for a vital transport vehicle that moved on its own, and I kept failing, getting the vehicle destroyed, and having to restart. Eventually I sent a bunch of my troops to the ambush point at the beginning as soon as the game started. Sure enough, no enemies. I kept them there until the transport was in range, at which point the ambushers appeared for the first time--surrounded by my troops. It was an easy (and ironic) win.

Yeah, this reminded me of Deus Ex and how surprisingly hard to break it was. It had an answer to almost everything. The only bug I recall finding in it was an infinite skill point glitch when Gary Savage tried to give you a reward when your inventory was full. Man, I love that game...

Pickpocketing key NPCs in the Black Isle games is a classic, I remember pickpocketing the ruler of Baldur's Gate which would have allowed me to skip almost all of Chapter V. And Stalker allows you to go backwards through certain sections of the game if you're prepared to brave some severe radiation.

This is pretty much the only way to win at Supreme Commander if you're me -- you work out what direction the game will expand the map in once you meet the mission criteria by failing once, then you deploy your troops and turrets in that direction to counter the inevitable army that will fall upon your base from that direction.

JPM (or Doug the Eagle Dragon as he's also known) is a legend - I've read all his stuff at ithe.org, hilarious!

Shame the article didn't mention his anti-walkthrough for Ultima V Lazarus (free Ultima 5 remake), as that's the most recent Ultima one he's done :) http://it-he.org/lazarus.htm

great article. i used to do that kind of stuff in fable all the time.

So...what you're telling me...is that what these guys do is kick reason to the curb and go beyond the impossible?

Are you sure that name shouldn't be spelled K-a-m-i-n-a?

And I may check that "anti-walkthrough" thing out for some of my open-world RPGs...

Maybe things like this are the reason that games are becoming more and more linear.

I just had a fun thought, Metal Gear Solid 4, it is largely played how Hideo Kojima wants you to play it, I wonder if there is a way to free yourself of those shackles...

minor SPOILER WARNING
I did this on fallout 3 when my Xbox finally got live - If you look on my acheivments [ listed by date ] and I DO[!!!] make people look through my acheivments!!! I completed the game before I even aquired the quest scientific pursuits [ I think ] because I went straight to the washington memorial and found my dad's holotapes saying he was at vault... whatever. XD
Also did this in oblivion, sorta - I knew all of the dark brotherhood quests - so I did them [ the majority of them ]- before joining - that was funny, just standing there talking to the two poeple like "yup done that... and that...yeah did that too."

Yeah I've done stuff like this before in lots of games, ESPECIALLY Morrowind and Oblivion. I didn't realize that the fish quest in Oblivion only spawned one fish at a time. Good thing I got fed up with it in five minutes and proceeded on with doing whatever I wanted rather than worry about how the story wanted me to go. Fun article; brings back memories :D

I did something like that in Half Life 2 once. There's a scene later on when you get to set up some turrets to defend against incoming enemies. I took one of the turrets and carried it along, which was sometimes difficult because the obstacles weren't meant to be tackled with a turret in hands. Then later, there's this scene where Eli Vance comes down, strapped into some kind of metal holding device. I had the turret with me at that point, of course. There were some other turrets you could get just minutes before Eli appears, but the one I carried was a bit different. =P It didn't recognize Eli as friendly and started shooting him. And unlike the player, it could actually hurt and kill him, and he fell down from his metal pod and dropped dead on the floor. This wasn't even intentional, but that made it even funnier I guess. Of course it broke the scripts and all the other characters were just standing there and staring at me, so I had to reload. But yes... quite a funny discovery, I think.

Very interesting artcile, never thought to ever do something like that. Only time I came close to something like this would be in LOZ: Orcarina of Time when my whole file was erased so I put on my gameshark and put in something like all items mode. Then upon reaching the castle after defeating the doku tree dungeon you would see the ganon cutscene where he is riding away on his horse, and then see him later in the castle. Yeah, using gameshark disqualifies it, I think that what was done here is much cooler and ingenious.

It reminds me of how in HL2, you could take turrets from previous parts of the game, and keep them with you up to the point where


The Combine are supposed to take the room after that, but the turrets killed all of them.

Or at a certain boss in Guild Wars: Factions who is supposed to kill you in a cutscene. Players figured out a way to lay enough traps that when the boss appeared in the cutscene, he would die.

On the subject of Half Life 2, There are a number of ways to break the game (making it impossible to continue) by using the console.
Examples include Giving yourself the Gravity Gun before the NPCs Give it to you and Giving yourself a magnum and shooting Dr. Breen when you transport into his office.

LTK_70:
Yeah, this reminded me of Deus Ex and how surprisingly hard to break it was. It had an answer to almost everything. The only bug I recall finding in it was an infinite skill point glitch when Gary Savage tried to give you a reward when your inventory was full. Man, I love that game...

Almost. But it's one of the few games that take into account your breaking character. You can't kill most of the main cast in the beginning of the game, but towards the end everyone is up for grabs.

For example in the Hell's Kitchen Bar:

On going into places you shouldn't reach:

On the captured NSF soldiers.

And don't forget Jock. You know what I mean.

The endless possibilities are also something from the Black Isle/Interplay days of Fallout that I cherished. I'm not in the crowd that spouts "OMG! Fuck Bethsada, they ruined Fallout. It should have been an overhead dungeon crawler," though I enjoyed Fallout 3, I was indeed disappointed that there are so few games like Fallout, Deus Ex, and Vampire the Masquerade.

I found out the last time I played Mass Effect that there's a sequence of events on Noveria that make sense.

I always had a problem with the sequence of events on Noveria... I always ended up getting the cure for the bioweapon, getting assaulted by the asari.. then going straight to Benezia from the the maintenance bay.

The other option I found was to break into the restricted area, which absolutely shattered the flow of the game, as all of the people you were just recently being friendly with attacked you, and then you were left with a ghost town.

But then, after beating Benezia, I would go to the Hotlabs.. and the PC responses to the fact that *gasp* the Rachni are still alive are completely incongruous with the rest of the mission to that point.

However, in my last playthrough, I discovered that if you go to the Hotlabs after getting the Cure made, you get a scene with the guard captain saying he sold you out to Benezia and you have to kill his guards.. and then you get a scene with an asari commando and that one surviving Volus (I forget his name)...

Everything seems to flow much better that way, and the discussion with the Volus seems to indicate that that's the way Bioware intended the mission to be played.. He mentions how the captain sent you down to the Hotlabs hoping you'd end up dead.. but he didn't really, he just mentioned that his men weren't going down there... but I had played the game through 9 times without even attempting it that way.

So in a sense, because the game isn't clear, the most clear way of doing the mission is to inadvertently break the continuity of the scene.

The Youth Counselor:
Almost. But it's one of the few games that take into account your breaking character. You can't kill most of the main cast in the beginning of the game, but towards the end everyone is up for grabs.

For example in the Hell's Kitchen Bar:

On going into places you shouldn't reach:

On the captured NSF soldiers.

And don't forget Jock. You know what I mean.

The endless possibilities are also something from the Black Isle/Interplay days of Fallout that I cherished. I'm not in the crowd that spouts "OMG! Fuck Bethsada, they ruined Fallout. It should have been an overhead dungeon crawler," though I enjoyed Fallout 3, I was indeed disappointed that there are so few games like Fallout, Deus Ex, and Vampire the Masquerade.

I knew about the interrogation, did that every time just to piss Simons off. The ladies' room, rather than a place you shouldn't reach by mean of game mechanics, is a place you shouldn't reach because of social norms. Although I didn't know about the bartender, that's cool!

Uh, Jock? What about Jock?

I remember doing this in Morrowind, purely by accident. I had killed someone important to the main quest, and decided to see what happens when I continue anyway. I had to work the hard way to actually complete the main quest.

Of course, there were some great things you could do with stacking effects that let you create potions and spells far more powerful than should ever be allowed.

I never knew there were whole groups of people dedicated to that sort of thing. Thanks for such an informative article!

This was a really cool article. Mostly because it's what I love to do in games, especially RPGs. Anytime I play a game and something seems impossibly hard or it's one of those "you're not meant to win battles" I don't rest until I know for 100% certainty that it is indeed impossible. I've actually paused games and stopped playing to go do something else just because I couldn't win but neither could the other guy, and I didn't want to lose. I've been rather surprised at some stuff that turned out to be doable though and actually had consequences for doing it.

Hey, welcome to Quality Assurance! Seriously, the idea of the anti-walkthrough is something that anyone involved in QA *should* (but often are not) be well versed in. :)

StriderShinryu:
Very cool article. I've often thought about things like this but have never had the patience to really go after it, never mind to the point where I could write an entire walkthrough on it.

Yeah, it was really quite nice to read something on this! Great job!

Altorin:

This was actually quite enlightening, as I could never figure out what I was doing wrong on Noveria that made the story there feel like it was in the wrong order. Maybe I'll be able to make the Noveria story progress as intended the now...

The article was interesting as well. I knew about some things like this, but I didn't imagine you could exploit things to such an extent in so many games.

Great story. Me and my friends are fans of "game breaking", lately I've been thinking about making my 10th Fallout 3 character to see if I can shoot Mr. Burke's pistol from his hand to stop him from murdering the sheriff.

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