You could probably make a poptarts are sandwiches alignment style thing out of this.

Basically, any video game with an explicit goal, or set of goals is just a puzzle game with extra steps.

What buttons do you push, when do you push them, what does this accomplish, how does that lead you to your end goal, etc.

You could even argue that multiplayer tactics constitute a puzzle, a more social puzzle.

Yes, this is reductive, but this is a dumb showerthoughts post.

  • alkheemist@aussie.zone
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    20 days ago

    Going to submit my probably-not-a-puzzle-game-game: rhythm games. The game tells you exactly what to press and when you’re supposed to press it, it’s just up to you to actually press the buttons. See: DDR, Rhythm Doctor.

    Note that there are rhythm games that have more decision making like crypt of the necrodancer (rhythm roguelike)

    • neo@lemy.lol
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      20 days ago

      Wow, so the “x” on screen means I have to press the “x” on my controler while it’s highlighted!?

      Damn, thanks for spoiling that puzzle!

    • sp3tr4l@lemmy.zipOP
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      19 days ago

      I will grant you that, I agree.

      If there is no thought required to determine the difference between a correct and incorrect choice, if its purely just ‘do this’ and the only difficulty is in execution, then yes I would agree this is not a puzzle.

    • abbadon420@lemm.ee
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      20 days ago

      Also, mobile idle games like clash of clans or simcity. Maybe some tactics like “I’ll build this now so I can do that tomorrow” but that’s not a puzzle, that is just choices.

  • warlaan@lemm.ee
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    20 days ago

    It’s not reductive, it’s misrepresentative. A puzzle game is only a puzzle game as long as coming up with the solution is the main task. There are more than enough games where coming up with the right solution is not difficult, but performing it is.

    Also the name puzzle game implies that there are designed puzzles. Any game where you have to make decisions in generated situations aren’t puzzle games. For example if you take a specific chess situation and ask which move would lead to check mate in x moves then that’s a chess puzzle. That doesn’t make the game of chess itself a puzzle.

    • sp3tr4l@lemmy.zipOP
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      19 days ago

      By your definition, Tetris is not a puzzle game.

      Its generated and execution difficulty is a major factor.

      • olafurp@lemmy.world
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        19 days ago

        According to his interpretation of the genre it would be an action-strategy game which arguably fits tetris better. Your underlying point implies that all strategy games are puzzle games which this guy doesn’t agree with I think.

    • VindictiveJudge@lemmy.world
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      19 days ago

      Speaking of chess, you might be able to argue that some old RTS games are puzzle games when playing campaign, such as the first Command & Conquer. You often have very limited resources, the AI will do specific things at specific times or with specific triggers, and you’re often given specific constraints, like a time limit or keeping a specific thing alive. In this case, though, it’s mostly because the AI is so primitive that almost every action is scripted in advance for that specific map.

  • neo@lemy.lol
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    20 days ago

    I mean, technically, I guess (insert Futurama technical correct meme), but with that defintion everything is a puzzle.

    I just breathed in, what do I do next? I can’t inhale more air. I have to think fast! Maybe if I breath out, I can then breath in again… It worked! Amazing!

    • sp3tr4l@lemmy.zipOP
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      19 days ago

      A very simple puzzle which our brains and bodies usually perform automatically, yet there are quite a number of situations and conditions that make breathing significantly more difficult, or where precise breathing or certain ways of breathing are skills that require mastery.

      Swimming, diving, circular breathing for wind instruments, controlling your breathing while shooting, trying to calm yourself down from a panic attack, etc etc.

  • TheDoozer@lemmy.world
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    20 days ago

    Okay, but pop-tarts are raviolis, not sandwiches. That doesn’t even make sense. What kind of sandwich is enclosed on all sides?

  • TranquilTurbulence@lemmy.zip
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    20 days ago

    Ok, so games that revolve around superhuman perfect timing are kinda pushing the idea of being a puzzle game. What about gambling games, where it’s all about the RNG instead? All you do is pull the lever and hope for the best.

    • sp3tr4l@lemmy.zipOP
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      19 days ago

      What game involves super human perfect timing that does not include some other kind of puzzle to be solved?

      Fighting games? Micro Heavy RTS or MOBAs? Bullet Hell Shooters?

      All of these have strategy and can thus be reduced to puzzles.

      I suppose if a game was purely just, click button as fast as you can after something happens, then ok, you got me, but add even one more element, and technically this is an extremely simple puzzle, albeit brutally unforgiving in terms of getting your human body to solve the puzzle.

      Is there something different you have in mind?

      EDIT: Alkheemist answered this later, with rhythm games (that have no elements of strategy ie, GuitarHero is not a puzzle but NecroDancer still is). I agree those are not puzzles. Skipped my mind as I have not played one in a very long time.

      I would say you also have got me on a pure RNG slot game. Theres no gameplay, theres no puzzle, theres no strategy.

      At least, within the game itself. If youre going to somehow exploit or hack or something, arguably thats now a real world puzzle of how to do it and not go to jail, but excepting that… yeah, there are lots of online ‘games’ with literally no puzzle element, just do thing and then random output happens, with a bunch of flashy graphics that have 0 bearing on what the outcome will be, whether its a digitized horse race or slots or whatever.

      I would argue those are not really games though.

      The player cannot make any choice that is more or less likely to achieve the goal, thus its the illusion of a game. No meaningful choices.

        • sp3tr4l@lemmy.zipOP
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          19 days ago

          You think that pushing a button that generates a purely random outcome is a game?

          To me, those are neither games nor puzzles.

          There is nothing one can do, in terms of thought or execution, to influence the outcome.

          Other than I suppose choosing to play or not play.

          To me, a game must include some capacity of the player to influence whether they succeed or fail, within the game itself.

          • (I didn’t downvote you - it wasn’t me!)

            Yeah. I think anything that passes time by giving you dopamine hits qualifies as a game. However, that wasn’t my point. I was saying, you declared a statement, and then when given counter-examples, declare they aren’t really games because they don’t meet your previously declared statement. It’s a logical fallacy.

      • Coelacanth@feddit.nu
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        19 days ago

        I think your definition of puzzle games is pretty flawed, to be honest. A puzzle does not provide additional difficulty once you’ve identified how the pieces go together, consequently a game should behave similarly to qualify as a puzzle game. The dichotomy is between conceptualisation versus execution.

        Puzzle games can be solved or “won” by identifying the solution. Not-puzzle games require execution.

        Guitar Hero and OSU! are not puzzle games. Games like RTSes and MOBAs can be argued to have puzzle elements in terms of strategy and meta, but knowing the optimal thing to do will still not give you victory which imo disqualifies them as outright puzzle games.

        • sp3tr4l@lemmy.zipOP
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          19 days ago

          Puzzle games can be solved or “won” by identifying the solution. Not-puzzle games require execution.

          If you have 2 minutes to solve a puzzle, is it no longer a puzzle game?

          If moving certain colored pieces requires a button combo or sequence, instead of a simple action, is this no longer a puzzle game?

          EDIT:

          Also, by this logic, Tetris is not a puzzle game.

          …but knowing the optimal thing to do will still not give you victory which imo disqualifies them as outright puzzle games.

          Knowing the optimal thing to do can be seen as but a higher order puzzle.

          • Coelacanth@feddit.nu
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            19 days ago

            If you have 2 minutes to solve a puzzle, is it no longer a puzzle game?

            Yes, clearly. It still behaves the way a puzzle - or puzzle game - would: knowledge of the solution trivialises the content. It’s just a puzzle game with a timer.

            If moving certain colored pieces requires a button combo or sequence, instead of a simple action, is this no longer a puzzle game?

            Depends on how the combo works. Is there an element of skill involved? If it’s like a rhythm game I would just call it a puzzle/rhythm game. Otherwise it’s just a puzzle game with extra steps.

            For me, if the main challenge of the game is figuring out the puzzle, then it’s mainly a puzzle game. If a measure of skill is required in the actual execution of beating the game it is no longer a pure puzzle game - but it can still contain puzzle elements of course.

            EDIT: I would agree that Tetris is not a puzzle game.

            Knowing the optimal thing to do can be seen as but a higher order puzzle.

            But knowing the right strategy and item build in DotA or LoL means fuck all if you can’t mechanically execute your hero properly, which - in my opinion - disqualifies them as “puzzle games”.

            • sp3tr4l@lemmy.zipOP
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              19 days ago

              Depends on how the combo works. Is there an element of skill involved? If it’s like a rhythm game I would just call it a puzzle/rhythm game. Otherwise it’s just a puzzle game with extra steps.

              That was in my OP though, that most games can be thought of as puzzle games with extra steps.

              EDIT: I would agree that Tetris is not a puzzle game.

              This is quite interesting to me.

              My main point of this post is to highlight how the genres and categories we have for games breaks down upon examination and I guess changes over time.

              I would say that most people either have or would call Tetris basically the most popular puzzle game.

              When it came out it was basically the titular, archetypal ‘puzzle’ game.

              • TranquilTurbulence@lemmy.zip
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                17 days ago

                I think I see what’s happening here. There are some pure puzzle games that require no execution skills at all. In the opposite end of the spectrum you have games that are all about skill and execution with no puzzles included. I guess you could call them pure skill games to make the distinction clearer.

                Most games appear to be a mixture of the two extremes, so they sit somewhere on this spectrum. In order to win, you have to know what to do and execute your plan well enough. I wouldn’t call them pure puzzle games, but they do have some puzzle elements in them. If the puzzle aspects are central to the gameplay experience, it could make sense to categorize them as puzzle games of some sort, even if execution and skills matter to some extent.

              • Coelacanth@feddit.nu
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                19 days ago

                That was in my OP though, that most games can be thought of as puzzle games with extra steps.

                I just don’t get where you’re getting “most games” from. If you would have phrased it like “many games can be viewed as puzzle games if you really think about it” you would have maybe had more people agree with you.

                I understand your reductive approach - it’s just that there are so many games it doesn’t apply to that I can never agree with “most games”.

        • TranquilTurbulence@lemmy.zip
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          17 days ago

          I think that’s an important distinction to make when exploring what is or isn’t a puzzle game. There are lots of games where flawless execution matters as much as knowing what to do. For example, FPS games lean heavily towards the execution aspect while mixing in some solution identification too.

          The purest examples of each game design style are also interesting. For example, you can play chess through snail mail, so being physically able to perform specific actions isn’t really necessary for victory. In the opposite end of the spectrum you have the simplest form of darts, which is all about skill. Just throw all the darts at the center and you’ll win. There are also more complicated versions for those who want to play a game that sits somewhere in the middle of this puzzle-execution specturm. Now that I think of it, most computer games seem to be a mixture of the two styles.

      • TranquilTurbulence@lemmy.zip
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        17 days ago

        What’s the name of that mobile game where you tap to shoot an arrow at the exact perfect time so that it lands on the right spot on a spinning circle? Well, that’s the game where I fail to see any strategy. It’s all about perfect timing and tolerating the anger boiling inside your head.

        Oh, and there’s this other almost equally infuriating mobile game that I haven’t yet deleted for some strange reason. It’s called Stack, and your goal is to build the tallest stack possible by having supernatural timing abilities in your fingers. Oh, and what about Flappy Bird or the dinosaur game built into Google Chrome? Basically the same idea, but you don’t have a lot of time to prepare for what’s coming. You just need to have lightning fast reaction time and perfect timing. Now that I think of it, there are lots of games where timing takes the center stage.

  • 🇰 🔵 🇱 🇦 🇳 🇦 🇰 ℹ️@yiffit.net
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    19 days ago

    If you define “puzzle” as a problem that you must work out with hard mental effort, then no; not at all games are puzzles. Rail shooters and other mindless games that rely more on reaction speed would not constitute a puzzle since you don’t really need to even think.

    Online shooter, sure. You have to think about what the other guy is gonna do. Virtua Cop? You just need to aim and shoot fast when the bad dudes appear. I mean, you could play Counter-Strike like Virtua Cop but you probably aren’t gonna be good unless you’re posted up with an AWP all the time.

    I actually love Metal Gear Solid because its design is much like that of a puzzle game, where the puzzle is “how the fuck do I kill everyone without being seen?” Hitman is the same way, but it always felt less curated than MGS because there isn’t just 1 solution to the problem, where as MGS does. And a lot of it is only conveyed through their respective scoring systems.

    On the flip side, I tend to dislike leaderboards in most games because there is only 1 possible way to get the maximum possible score for any given level or minigame that once it’s worked out, everyone can be at the top and the only way to truly rise above everyone is to cheat.

  • zero_spelled_with_an_ecks@programming.dev
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    20 days ago

    Yep, going through the first part of the ff7 remake and the combat is a puzzle. Don’t do it right and get your ass kicked. MMO combat is the same: stack or die/spread or die, memories this dance, etc.

    • sp3tr4l@lemmy.zipOP
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      20 days ago

      MMOs are probably the most notorious genre at this point for being extremely overproduced puzzle games.

      Sure, there are different builds and strats… but its all very formulaic and boring once you find something that works.

      Not to mention a huge, huge amount of them are basically just pay to win, to varying degrees, these days.

      Although you could argue they do not actually have a goal… hrm.

      Like obviously there are quests and goals and story arcs but technically, there probably are some mmos where you could just make your personal goal something wildly unconventional.

      I haven’t played many mmos in a while, but that kind of spirit seems to just only be further and further dying out, I just hope theres still some mmo it exists somewhere.

  • Ephera@lemmy.ml
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    20 days ago

    Yeah, I’ve considered, whether you could boil all games down to three aspects:

    • puzzle
    • reaction
    • flavor

    But yeah, still really reductive and I’m not sure, this is useful in any way. 🙃

    • sp3tr4l@lemmy.zipOP
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      20 days ago

      Is Portal a… First Person Shooter with Puzzle Gameplay? A First Person Puzzle Game?

      Is Elden Ring an extremely difficult Action RPG, or is it really just an easy Action RPG hiding behind an opaque and complex system of weapons and armor and enemy types and stats that becomes simple once a viable solution to the puzzle of stats and weapons becomes apparent after either reading a guide or just brute forcing through tens or hundreds of hours of bad solutions?

      (For that matter, what even is an RPG?

      Role Playing Game?

      If that just means that you play a character, ie role, and it is an immersive and or compelling story and world, ok, thats a loooot of games.

      Does it mean you can customize your character’s appearance or weapons or stat-build? Ok tons of non RPGs allow for that, and tons of classic RPGs do not allow you to alter your character’s appearance.

      If it means you have the ability to put yourself into the game, make choices and do things differently in a way that meaningfully changes how the world of the game responds, then a whole lot of ‘RPGs’ are hardly RPGs at all, as many develop your character(s) as part of their story line to the point that many decisions presented seem entirely out of the established character’s likely responses, or give the player few if any impactful choices, having a mostly or entirely linear storyline.

      By that metric most immersive sims are more RPG than many ‘RPGs’, anything with a branching storyline or highly reactive world is as well.)

      • Ephera@lemmy.ml
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        19 days ago

        Basically anything that has to do with:

        • story telling / plot
        • world building / lore
        • pacing, cinematics
        • art style, music selection
        • atmosphere, jump scares
  • olafurp@lemmy.world
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    19 days ago

    I’m going to provide a counter-example to disprove. A slot machine is a video game that is not a puzzle since there is no solution.

    I agree with “Most video games are puzzle games” though. There are exceptions like Rail Shooter. Button mash only game. Bullet hell games don’t really have a puzzle element since solution is already shown by areas having no bullets in them.

    I feel like this statement also hinges on “all video game strategy is a puzzle” people might disagree with.

    • Klear@lemmy.world
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      19 days ago

      This reminds me of an exhibiton I once saw called “No Pain, No Game”. The idea being that any sort of game has some failure state, some obstacle to overcome, that’s what makes it a game. So of course I started thinking of counter-examples. Your slot machine idea is a good one, what I eventually came up with is Cookie Clicker. That game is nothing but positive reinforcement. There’s no way to lose progress or mess anything up, any action you take makes you “win more”. Not taking an action also makes you “win more”, just more slowly.

      This showerthought is an idea adjacent to that all. Interesting stuff, even though it’s not too deep.

      • olafurp@lemmy.world
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        19 days ago

        The cookie clicker could still be a puzzle as long as you make it impossible to win without using some power-ups because you’ll die sooner of old age. That’s assuming there is a win condition in it. Other clickers are genuinely not puzzles since they’re infinite and not winnable. Not winnable makes them not solvable so they can’t be a puzzle.

        • Klear@lemmy.world
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          19 days ago

          I’m pretty sure cookie clicker has no victory condition, it just goes on and on. At least it was that way last time I played it. Things might have changed since.

          • Passerby6497@lemmy.world
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            19 days ago

            There’s some kind of stock market mini game in there now, so you can play and lose at something in the game, but no overall win conditions im aware of.

  • VirtualOdour@sh.itjust.works
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    20 days ago

    Putting the pieces in a puzzle is an action, sliding blocks is an action, moving in maze is an action, every game is action.

    We wouldn’t play a game that wasn’t exciting or interesting to us so they’re all adventures too. If there’s more than one player or a time limit of any kind it’s a race, we by definition are controlling a character and playing its role so everything is an RPG…