Riddle Transfer 2 (as it was in 2012) cancelled

2012-07-04 19:21:10 by JonBro

EDIT (May 25, 2016):

Years went by, and I finally decided to make a game to finish the story.

Riddle Transfer 2


Everything below this point is now just here for posterity!



Link to all the discarded plans for the series:


I've made the difficult decision to officially discontinue the rest of the Riddle Transfer series, along with anything directly associated with the Riddle School series or its characters.

When I came up with the first Riddle Transfer game, I'd originally intended to finish all of the games at once and release them after set periods of time, because the element of surprise about the series would have remained intact and the insistent requests for sequels would already have been met. I dropped this idea when the first game took me six whole months to make, which is a longer period of time than I ever anticipated or hoped to spend working on it. I spent the next fifteen months feeling anxiety about RT2, chipping at it from time to time hoping something would come out of it, and nothing has. I wanted so much to make RT2 and finish the other three games afterward so that those who liked the previous games would see the rest of the story and be contented by the continued content, but ultimately I have decided the end product simply wouldn't be worth the pains it would take to make.

My main motivations with RT1 were simple but ambitious. I wanted to change the way Flash games and adventure games were seen. People insist the point-and-click adventure game is a dead genre, just like people insisted the side-scrolling platform game was a dead genre, but that says nothing about its still-limitless potential. I believe the reason people think point-and-click adventures are a lost cause is because they haven't been "done right" yet. Often players are either required to skew their thinking to match the logic of the game developer, or look at a walkthrough because the logic is so obtuse. Some developers compensate for this lack of clarity by dropping ten-ton hints everywhere, but when the puzzles are too reliant on hints, there's no epiphanies or sense of discovery involved. I didn't want to make a mindless or frustrating game, but one that actually made sense and encouraged players to mentally piece things together to proceed; Riddle Transfer was meant to be taken seriously as a game that was truly satisfying. And I wanted to prove that this was possible with Flash, the same program most people use just to make simple little browser games that they can pass the time with when they're bored.

But what purpose would it serve to make an entire series like this? I already know what the response to RT1 was: people still cling to Flash games as a way to temporarily escape boredom and don't see the intended artistry in a carefully designed experience because the immediate expectation of a Flash game is 'quick and easy fun', and my game hasn't changed that. I may have created a game people found interesting enough to rate high and ask to see more of, but they missed the point I was trying to make. Perhaps it was a subtly-made point, or one that's easy to disagree with or pay no attention to because it isn't commonly emphasized. But for this reason, there is no point in continuing the RT series, because I know full and well that I could butter up the remaining games as much as I want, adding new puzzles or story twists or playable characters or whatever, yet at the core, they would be the same game as RT1 and would not bring anything new to the world of Flash game development. It would just bring me a little short-lived Internet 'fame', which is a terrible primary goal.

I pondered over the reasons why I would legitimately devote the next several years of my life to this Internet series, and for the most part, it boiled down to satisfying my fanbase. But since the time I started making the series, I've discovered a few things wrong with that mindset. Fans cannot comprehend the amount of time, work, and personal sacrifice it takes to make games of this size unless they have been in a very similar position themselves. Fans go by what they know, and what they know about you and your work is always going to be significantly less than what you know. If you aren't putting yourself in the perspective of the game's creator, it might at first seem selfish for them to terminate a project because they don't want their main goal to be satisfying others, and I've thought the same thing, but that's not what it's like. It feels less like providing enjoyment and more like a form of appeasement. You can't put hours of days of months of your life struggling to finish something you see no value or substance in anymore.

Long ago, I thought that the Riddle Transfer series would be worth making because of its storyline, and how everything would come together in the end in a climactic way, but looking back on it now, the ideas I had for the story were all very weak, partly because I had a less well-developed sense of story structure than I feel I do now, and partly because the foundations of RT's story were centered around very shallow, basic characters that don't deserve any limelight. As a level-headed bald kid with two big eyes who goes to school and makes sarcastic comments, the series' main character Phil might be an easy figure to relate to, and in many ways, he might be deeper than the average Flash game protagonist, but he's not deep enough for me. He's a surface-level reflection of my most basic thoughts, and it's easy for anyone to tell what nearly his whole personality is in a matter of moments. As a storyteller, if I'm going to make an effective and captivating story that will keep my own interest after dedicating to it for months or years, I want to write for a more believable, complex character than Phil Eggtree, and I don't want that story to be way too difficult to understand, full of contradictions, or in other ways disconcertingly flimsy like the plotlines of Riddle School and Riddle Transfer are.

People have told me I ought to stop working on the series if I don't feel like it's in me anymore. And I've finally come to terms with the fact that it's not in me anymore. An online friend of mine, TheWildALK, once told me I wouldn't go through with the rest of the series, and though I sought to prove him wrong, I discovered he may have had a point. I've thought about it hard, and there are no strong reasons I know of to keep working on this series. It had a good run, I'm really happy with how it turned out, and I've learned a lot of things from it, but I don't think there is anything else it can teach me that I couldn't be taught more adequately through moving on to bigger and better things. I've poured my heart into this series for a huge portion of my life; I'd be lying if I said I didn't feel like a small part of me has gone from making this decision, but I believe this choice of abandoning the series is for the best. My perspective on art and design has changed. I've realized potential in game design that has not been sufficiently touched upon, and if I dwell on the past any more than I have, I won't be able to test my theories or fulfill my goals for the future.

Thank you all for your overwhelming support to the series over the years. I deeply appreciate it.

For the sake of completeness to those who are curious, this post spoils everything that was going to happen in the series, had I opted to go through a half-decade of headaches to push it to its originally intended finish.


NOTE: Remember that I'm still the same person that I was when I made Riddle School in the first place. Even though I've left the Riddle universe behind, it's always possible I'll make another game with humor and puzzle-solving like Riddle School's always had, because I love those kinds of things.

ALSO NOTE (Updated Jan. 21, 2015)  I used to say no one had permission to continue this series, but my thoughts on that have changed and can be found here.



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2012-07-05 14:36:27

You know, some people think, if it isn't broke, do not fix it. In the case of endless game sequels, I heavily disagree. But at the same time, I think not finishing a series that needs to be finished is just as horrible. Imagine if Star Wars had no Return of the Jedi, If Portal didn't have Portal 2, or if the Series of Unfortunate events ended at book #12. It's not a series like, pikmin, or skate, where it could just end at anytime. I'm not trying to be immature and demanding a sequel like any other 10 year old NG user, but I'm saying, if you are ending it like this, it's a trash way to end it. I'm not mad, I'm just saying, this isn't logical. In some points in your post, I agree. You shouldn't continue the series just because a ton of 9 people told you to, I understand you are tired of the series, there are many things I've never finished, or that never reached my beginning intention because I didn't want to work on them or devote time in to them. If I had pushed myself to upload all the videos I got bored of and never finished, my video count would be in the hundreds. But if you are ending this, this way, through a newgrounds news post, not even making a video about it, that's just a dumb and scumbaggy way to end this series. Good Day Sir. I SAID GOOD DAY.

(Updated ) JonBro responds:

I think your theory is flawed. You can tell Star Wars: A New Hope was made with the intention of working as a standalone movie if it didn't get enough critical acclaim for any sequels. When they pressed on after finishing the original trilogy and made Episodes I and II, everyone hated them because they were completely uninspired. Portal didn't necessarily need a Portal 2, but it got a sequel because the developers felt like it could work. (It's also worth keeping in mind hundreds of people participated in making the Star Wars movies and the Portal games; it wasn't just one kid in his teens.)

Have you ever wondered why Valve never seems to make more than one sequel? They stopped at Half-Life 2, Portal 2, etc. But those sequels are incredibly well-received games. I believe the reason is similar to the reason I'm quitting this series. I've taken the series where it needs to go and there is no reason for it to continue if it's just going to be the same thing over and over again. The time it would take to make a Half-Life 3 or a Portal 3 could just as easily be spent working on something completely fresh and new from Valve's ever-maturing view of game design. Does that mean they have to make videos about the fact that they're not making threequels?

Riddle Transfer may have been intended to be a five-part series, but it stands on its own, and there is no need to bring it further than it needed to be. The cliffhanger could easily be considered an ending in which the characters escape. Perhaps not the most graceful ending, but then, neither are most series that never make it past one game, or one book, or one movie, but that's the way things are and there's no use questioning it when the future holds better things. I'm like you in that I also have a ton of projects on my computer that I've never decided to finish. But there is a good reason we never finish these projects. Quality is a more precious thing than quantity will ever be.

That said, why is this news post any less valuable than a video would be? I have sent off this series in the most heartfelt way that I knew how. I was literally shaking and close to tears before I posted this for the world to see. I sat in front of my computer for half an hour debating with myself whether or not I should click the "Submit" button. It was a heavier burden than you realize. Just as there is no reason for me to continue the series, there is no reason for me to do any more to leave this series behind than what I have done. I respect you as a fan of what I do, but your logic is badly skewed.


2012-07-05 14:38:22

But you have a right to end it how you want to because you're the developer and I'm not trying to act like an ass. I don't hate you, you're cool, I just hate the way you decided to end such a big series.


2012-07-05 17:13:19

The Half-Life 2 Episodes make up half-life 3.

JonBro responds:

Because Half-Life 2 was a two-part game? That's not the same thing.


2012-07-06 00:50:35

Wait what? HL1, then HL2. HL2 is all of HL2. The episodes ae HL3 splitup into 3 different games.

(Updated ) JonBro responds:

I might have gotten my count off, but let me put it this way. Final Fantasy 8 was a game that took four separate discs to play all the way through. Does that mean it should have been called Final Fantasy 8-11?

That doesn't even matter. The point is, I've sent off the RT series in the best way that I know how, and I'm done with it. You are, in fact, the only person so far who has shown legitimate bitterness about my choice to announce the end of the series with a news post, and that leads me to believe that perhaps you'll never understand how much this news post means to me.


2012-07-06 17:45:13

john my man don't give up im writing a BOOK and im only 13 and these games are half the reason i never stopped on it for me they show how much time somone puts into somthing but now you have given up you have ruined me and the rest of my book i have little to no motivation anymore

(Updated ) JonBro responds:

"Giving up" isn't always a bad thing, you know. Sometimes the best option is to leave something behind.

If I were to have made the rest of the Riddle Transfer series, it would have probably taken seven or eight years. That isn't an exaggeration. That is a stupidly long amount of time to waste on a plotline I wrote in about two weeks when I was 16 years old. I am 18 now. My views of art have improved. The RT series is a trash heap compared to what I believe I'm capable of doing right now, so why dwell on it any more than I need to?

You have every right to keep writing your book if you feel like it is the most valuable use for your time. I'm going to warn you, though, if you start writing a series of books right now, and you finish that first book and manage to get it published, you're going to look back on it in two years and say, "What is this crap? I could write something way better than this now. I never should have said this book was part of a series." At that point, you'll have a choice. Either you'll spend the next several years of your life begrudgingly writing the rest of this series you feel utterly ashamed of, or you'll realize it isn't worth it and take what you've learned to make something totally fresh and exciting.


2012-07-06 17:47:53

and man if anything keep the game seires going in smaller parts like rt2 part 1 and such


2012-07-06 19:58:28

its just gonna be one simple book man

(Updated ) JonBro responds:

What I said still stands. Everything we do is a learning experience. Every artist out there, whether they be making games or movies or books, is going to be ashamed of the things they made in their past.

I was 13 when I made this: http://www.newgrounds.com/portal/
And I was 13 when I made this: http://www.newgrounds.com/portal/

Nobody remembers these Flash movies. Both of these are the first parts of series that I started making, and they went the same way as the Riddle Transfer series; I realized they weren't worth finishing if I had more fun working on other things, so they're never going to be finished.

I was also 13 when I made this: http://www.newgrounds.com/portal/

I thought it was the best thing I'd ever made, back when I made it. But it's total garbage. I don't even want to look at it anymore. It's just "one simple movie", but that doesn't change the fact that I'm ashamed of it.

This might also not seem relevant at first, but it's something I think you might want to apply to your own work, and it's something I wish I knew a long time ago:

A lot of game developers will tell you that if you ever want to get into game design, never start off with a big game. The first thing you make is going to be crap. It's just a fact of life, and it's one to embrace. The occasions in which a game dev's first game actually turns out to be a good one, are extremely rare cases. You have to build new things from what you learn.


2012-07-07 20:40:06

I don't see how disgreeing is being bitter but whatever. You honestly can't tell me that you expected to make this post and no one would be upset about you canceling you're biggest series ever? That's a FUCKING JOKE.

(Updated ) JonBro responds:

Of course I expected that. But I didn't expect someone who has been so actively supportive of my work to respond profanely without any sense of understanding. At the very least, that's not something I hoped for, but it's obvious that you don't care.


2012-07-08 00:39:46

Just never mind. I've basically just been pissing in a sea of piss.


2012-07-08 00:41:41

Also I would like to point out that I did say I respected you're decision to end it because you're the developer.

(Updated ) JonBro responds:

And I would like to point out that I firmly believe this news post is the best way to end the series.

I'm not trying to make it sound like I disrespect your opinion, but I feel like more thought could have gone into the way you said it. I still think you're cool.


2012-07-08 02:35:39

No hard feelings?

JonBro responds:

*high five and handshake*


2012-07-08 02:38:12

And to be honest, there were some slight contradictions to riddle transfer, and even 5 in the first place.

JonBro responds:

Yeah, Riddle School 5 and Transfer are packed full of little contradictions and things that don't make sense. I notice more of them every time I look back at the series.


2012-07-09 04:17:53

My Graphics Card can't handle LIMBO. :(

JonBro responds:

I doubt that mine can either. Which is a shame, because I'd really like to play LIMBO at some point :(


2012-07-10 18:23:07

Tell me what graphics card you have. I have an extra key to that humble indie bundle that had it in it.


2012-07-10 20:55:13

Is that game you were talking about in Yoshi's Story and Tetris Attack still in the works?

JonBro responds:

Oh, yeah, that was the quick little game I made for SuperJeenius.


2012-07-11 15:05:42

oh. What is the difference between MX 2004 and Flash 8 Professional?

(Updated ) JonBro responds:

The main difference is that Flash 8 Professional has blur and filter effects. There are some other little things that I can't remember right now, but for those reasons, 8 is my favorite version of Flash.


2012-07-31 11:48:12

I liked your older website design better. It felt like an actual site rather then a simple blog.

(Updated ) JonBro responds:

My site's current design wasn't made recently, it's been around for a year or so. I'm redesigning my website again to hopefully feel like a website. It'll be more like my older designs.


2012-08-02 12:26:11

Yay. Maybe there could be forums cause youtube is a stingray and won't let you comment on your OWN CHANNEL

JonBro responds:

I am thinking seriously of adding a forum at some point, I just don't think it's worth making one yet.