Games where you can dispose of useless items - an IFDB Poll

by Andrew Schultz
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Mike Spivey's A Beauty Cold and Austere had a gray lady guarding a storage bin, where you could ask her if something had served its purpose. If it did, in the bin it went. If it didn't, you may've gotten a vague hint what to do with it.

So this got me thinking, what other games had such a mechanism? It could be an NPC, an item, or (as in BCaA) a combination of both.

This seems particularly useful for games with lots of items. I know a lot of games manage to destroy items once they're no longer useful, which seems like good player-time-saving design for less ambitious games e.g. in a comedy, the stuff you're done with blows up or something, so you aren't confused about a wacky item.

BCaA had several really good reasons not to destroy everything once it was used, since it had some alternate-solution items and also some that could reset a puzzle, so the player knew they weren't missing anything. And I suspect other games have different items/mechanics & I'd love to know of them.

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David Welbourn, January 18, 2023 - Reply
When I saw the poll title, I immediately thought of A Beauty Cold and Austere; it's the only obvious game I can think of with any sort of testing item for continued usefulness. Normally if a game wants to minimize inventory bloat, items will disappear immediately after use, or the game will wait for a scene/venue change and do an inventory culling then.
Andrew Schultz, January 19, 2023 - Reply
I agree, those seem like the most sensible way. But I did like the interaction with the gray lady who's willing to give you hints as you want. I think it fits in with the whole "general exploration" theme of the game ... it wants to feed you the info but give you a chance to say "do I really need this bit of knowledge/tool any more?"

This wouldn't work in a more fast-paced game (or maybe it would, with--say, a precinct captain who takes evidence of crimes as you find them) but I really liked this unusual case of having a bit of ambiguity over whether I needed something any more. It can't be forced, though!
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