Thoughts on Supplementary Material/Copy Protection Puzzles?

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Dec 24, 2020 at 11:46 PM
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So when I say "Copy protection," I'm not referring to the historic reason behind its use in games, but rather its use as a game mechanic. To be specific, I'm referring to the idea of using a game's supplementary materials as a mandatory part of an in-game puzzle, like those in most Sierra and LucasArts titles released throughout the early to mid-90's.
In Metal Gear 2 for the MSX2, there's a puzzle wherein the player finds a radio frequency required for progression through deciphering prison tap codes. If the player doesn't already understand this method of encryption, they have to refer to the chart and explanation given in the game's instruction manual.
I'm aware that copy protection puzzles' popularity declined as a result of lack of further necessity, however I'm curious about what people generally think of them as a gameplay mechanic, (for this purpose, I usually refer to them as "Supplementary material puzzles" when they come up in conversation.) and so I'd just like your thoughts on their proper execution, possible applications, or overall effect on a player's experience with a game. Personally, I find them an interesting way of engaging the player, and I find they can even help to expand the world of the game (like in my previous example, the fact a Soviet roboticist would be familiar form of communication most known for its use in Vietnamese POW camps helps detail Pettrovich's past and the world in which Metal Gear takes place).
 
Dec 25, 2020 at 1:09 PM
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Physically? Risky, if you get the game digitally or second-hand you might lack the materials that it is possibly expecting you to use
And if you run into a case like that nowadays chances are people will look up the answer and the magic of it have been totally missed as a result. (Not to mention the purpose of the copyportectuon would be demolished)
Digitally things are safer and also interesting (or at least as far as supplementary material goes, copy protection puzzles on digital games are pretty weak now). Looking at cases like a mysterious locked zip file that come with the game and stuff, it messes with the fourth wall but it also has a charm for me.
 
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