We play video games for many reasons including for their storylines, gameplay, and puzzle solving. Discussions often occur regarding gameplay additions or graphics, but one of my favorite reasons to play games is the sense of satisfaction I have when I discover the solution to a tricky puzzle. It’s that “AH HA!” moment that makes you feel smarter than anyone else and no other player could ever figured out the answer.
All types of games include various types of puzzles; they are not limited to the obvious “puzzle type” of game such as Tetris or Picross. Puzzles that have a trial and error sense of solution are fairly common in action/adventure games including Uncharted and Resident Evil series. These puzzles include color matching circles or lining tiles in a particular way. Environmental puzzles including the floating block in The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time or glass tube in Super Metroid provide the perfect sense of discovery while the solution was hidden in plain sight. The spatial awareness involved in the latter example are the types that can make it worth the frustration felt leading up to the solution.
My favorite example of this feeling comes from a game which it’s sole purpose is built around the “AH HA” moment, Portal. Portal takes environmental puzzles to the next level by locking the player, Chell, in a test chamber which will need to be solved in a particular manner. The main gimmick for Portal is that portals can be placed throughout the chambers and serve as means to access the exit. The process starts off simple enough, but the applications introduced in subsequent chambers build upon the those lessons you learned from the start. The culmination of Chell’s training is put to the test towards the end in Test Chamber 18. All of the skills you have learned from your journey are put to the test including momentum, spatial awareness, and pinpoint timing. Discovering the proper method to tie all of my skills in this section has provided me with the best sense of satisfaction I have felt in a game and truly made me feel clever.
What types of puzzles do you prefer in video games? Have any puzzles led you to quit the game mid playthrough? Let us know in the comments below or join our Discord and share your “AH HA” moments you look fondly upon.