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Fizzlers

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I haven't really studied game design much, but seeing as I want to make games, I figured I had better at least pay attention to the games I play and see what I can learn from their design. I've learned a lot of things about game design and a lot of things about myself - namely, I like puzzle games, and there's a trend in puzzle games that makes them more fun for me.

I've recently been playing a lot of Portal. A lot. I've played Portal 1, Portal 2, Portal Stories: Mel, Aperture Tag, Rexaura, and many, many community maps for Portal 2. (Though I have not played anywhere near as much as this guy). One thing I have noticed consistently is that I enjoy fizzler puzzles - you know, those ones where one or more Aperture Science Material Emancipation Grills play a crucial role in the puzzle?

Fizzlers in Portal 2 allow you to pass through them, but they impose certain limitations. You cannot shoot portals through them, and when you pass through them your existing portals are…

Why do people like puzzles with multiple solutions!?

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I've asked this question before and I still want to talk about it, because I still cringe when people mention it.

I frequently notice reviewers and players complaining about puzzles with only one solution, saying they instead want puzzles with multiple solutions. I cannot wrap my head around why, as there are so many drawbacks both from the player's perspective and the designer's perspective. Why would people want this when it only subtracts from the experience?

Having multiple solutions can either make a puzzle too easy, or too confusing. For example, the player often thinks that every part of the puzzle has a purpose (this is how our brains naturally work), but with multiple solutions, some parts of a puzzle might never be used for the solution the player uses, leading to confusion - red herrings may be enjoyable in some circumstances, but puzzles are not any of those circumstances. It is also significantly more difficult to design a proper puzzle with multiple solutions…