Don't Assume Players Are Stupid

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Posted by patrickklepek (3069 posts) -

Super Metroid is mighty impressive in ways you may not notice, especially if you only played it as a teenager.

Before entering the room containing the destructive Plasma Beam, there’s a pile of goo requiring several shots. Samus--well, the player--enters the room, and finds the Plasma Beam waiting for them in the corner. Like almost everything in Super Metroid, once you’ve acquired the Plasma Beam, that’s it--triumphant music, and you’re back in the world. There’s no tutorial explaining why it’s useful, but the moment you leave the room, the pile of goo is back, but with a twist. The first shot from Plasma Beam freezes it, and the second one blows the whole thing up. Voila.

Today, that moment would have several minutes making totally sure players know what the Plasma Beam does.

"Lots of people applauding closure for not assuming the player is stupid,” wrote designer Tyler Glaiel on Twitter a few days after the launch of Closure, the game he’d been working on for the past three years.

The comment struck me, and I connected with him on Skype, and asked Glaiel to elaborate.

“That’s a comment that shouldn’t even need to be a comment,” he said. “It’s just sad that so many other games don’t do that, but it’s become a plus for games when it should just be expected out of them.”

Glaiel pointed to Super Metroid as an inspiration for Closure’s own design philosophy, a game that goes out of its way to avoid holding the player’s hand, while also ensuring they are completely informed.

Fez, possibly the most talked about game this year, arguably has a different game hidden inside, one that definitely doesn’t assume the player is stupid. Besides one or two pieces, the information required to put together the grand revelations within Fez are staring you in the face. You just need to piece it together. When you do, it’s gratifying.

The Flash version of the game is recognizably similar, but obviously mechanically evolved.

Closure started as a Flash game, and you can still play it on Newgrounds. Glaiel and artist Jon Schubbe decided to expand on the concept, a development path very similar to Super Meat Boy. Glaiel and Schubbe didn’t work on Closure full-time for nearly a year a half, partially explaining why the game took so long, even after winning several Independent Games Festival awards in 2010.

I wondered whether this assertion the player deserves to be challenged was a conscious invoking of the more exploratory design of the earliest video games, but Glaiel didn’t really buy that argument. Some games, like Super Metroid, communicate instructions without being frustrating, but not all of them.

“Older games just didn’t explain anything, which ended up being a problem in some situations,” he said. “You end up with games like Zelda 1, which are really, really hard to understand, even though people like that game. I’m not a huge fan of it. Older games didn’t explain anything and newer ones [like Closure] are trying to explain everything that they can without using too much text or instructions. It’s slightly different.”

Interestingly, both games are from Nintendo.

There is no text in Closure, a decision that came about for two reasons. Most importantly, adding text would require localization, and the team didn’t have time or resources for it.

“It’s something that you should usually try to do with most games, even if you end up having to fall back on text, in the end,” he said. “If you can explain your game without text, it helps a lot.”

Closure never ended up having to add text, and avoiding localization logistics forced the team to construct creative solutions to obstacles encountered during playtesting. If players didn’t understand something the game was trying to tell them, the team tried to invent visual effects to aid with communication.

When players didn’t know when they could pick up orbs, a key component to solving puzzles, an outline was added to orbs when it was possible to grab them. Solved. When it was unclear pedestals moved back to their original position after removing an orb, a light source was added to then, visually informing players of movement. Solved.

Many of these solutions came from watching players work through the tutorial stages (which aren’t even labeled as tutorial stages, it’s just how the game opens), and making sure that was perfect.

Glaiel believes Zelda doesn't explain enough, while most modern games explain too much.

But nothing can be perfect, and eventually puzzles have to leave the nest. Once the main stages in Closure are completed, a set of challenge rooms open up. Glaiel figured the rooms would be too tough for the quality assurance department, so he tasked his testers with capturing video footage to send over with the game.

Cue shock: the footage that came back showed players implementing solutions that weren't the ones Glaiel intended.

“I watched the video walkthrough that they did and they were solving puzzles the...wrong way,” he laughed. “Their solutions were ones that I didn’t even know were possible, but almost none of them were easy solutions--they were all more difficult than the actual solutions.”

There’s a reason those challenge rooms are so tough, too. They were designed as development wrapped, when Glaiel was simply tired. Three years in, he couldn't be sure what was interesting anymore. The mechanics had lost meaning, and he'd design half of a room, ones that shouldn’t have the tools to be solved. Then, he’d tried to make it work. If there was a way to crack the room, it went in the pile.

The real test came when it was released, and his dad played it. His father had seen the game but barely played it, and Glaiel said he didn’t play many games. His dad managed to make it through the entire game and all but the final, excruciating challenge room. But there was a good reason: a last-minute glitch made one jump absurdly hard.

“It’s the one that everybody gets stuck on,” he said. “It’s understandable, I’m surprised he got that far!”

Staff
#1 Posted by patrickklepek (3069 posts) -

Super Metroid is mighty impressive in ways you may not notice, especially if you only played it as a teenager.

Before entering the room containing the destructive Plasma Beam, there’s a pile of goo requiring several shots. Samus--well, the player--enters the room, and finds the Plasma Beam waiting for them in the corner. Like almost everything in Super Metroid, once you’ve acquired the Plasma Beam, that’s it--triumphant music, and you’re back in the world. There’s no tutorial explaining why it’s useful, but the moment you leave the room, the pile of goo is back, but with a twist. The first shot from Plasma Beam freezes it, and the second one blows the whole thing up. Voila.

Today, that moment would have several minutes making totally sure players know what the Plasma Beam does.

"Lots of people applauding closure for not assuming the player is stupid,” wrote designer Tyler Glaiel on Twitter a few days after the launch of Closure, the game he’d been working on for the past three years.

The comment struck me, and I connected with him on Skype, and asked Glaiel to elaborate.

“That’s a comment that shouldn’t even need to be a comment,” he said. “It’s just sad that so many other games don’t do that, but it’s become a plus for games when it should just be expected out of them.”

Glaiel pointed to Super Metroid as an inspiration for Closure’s own design philosophy, a game that goes out of its way to avoid holding the player’s hand, while also ensuring they are completely informed.

Fez, possibly the most talked about game this year, arguably has a different game hidden inside, one that definitely doesn’t assume the player is stupid. Besides one or two pieces, the information required to put together the grand revelations within Fez are staring you in the face. You just need to piece it together. When you do, it’s gratifying.

The Flash version of the game is recognizably similar, but obviously mechanically evolved.

Closure started as a Flash game, and you can still play it on Newgrounds. Glaiel and artist Jon Schubbe decided to expand on the concept, a development path very similar to Super Meat Boy. Glaiel and Schubbe didn’t work on Closure full-time for nearly a year a half, partially explaining why the game took so long, even after winning several Independent Games Festival awards in 2010.

I wondered whether this assertion the player deserves to be challenged was a conscious invoking of the more exploratory design of the earliest video games, but Glaiel didn’t really buy that argument. Some games, like Super Metroid, communicate instructions without being frustrating, but not all of them.

“Older games just didn’t explain anything, which ended up being a problem in some situations,” he said. “You end up with games like Zelda 1, which are really, really hard to understand, even though people like that game. I’m not a huge fan of it. Older games didn’t explain anything and newer ones [like Closure] are trying to explain everything that they can without using too much text or instructions. It’s slightly different.”

Interestingly, both games are from Nintendo.

There is no text in Closure, a decision that came about for two reasons. Most importantly, adding text would require localization, and the team didn’t have time or resources for it.

“It’s something that you should usually try to do with most games, even if you end up having to fall back on text, in the end,” he said. “If you can explain your game without text, it helps a lot.”

Closure never ended up having to add text, and avoiding localization logistics forced the team to construct creative solutions to obstacles encountered during playtesting. If players didn’t understand something the game was trying to tell them, the team tried to invent visual effects to aid with communication.

When players didn’t know when they could pick up orbs, a key component to solving puzzles, an outline was added to orbs when it was possible to grab them. Solved. When it was unclear pedestals moved back to their original position after removing an orb, a light source was added to then, visually informing players of movement. Solved.

Many of these solutions came from watching players work through the tutorial stages (which aren’t even labeled as tutorial stages, it’s just how the game opens), and making sure that was perfect.

Glaiel believes Zelda doesn't explain enough, while most modern games explain too much.

But nothing can be perfect, and eventually puzzles have to leave the nest. Once the main stages in Closure are completed, a set of challenge rooms open up. Glaiel figured the rooms would be too tough for the quality assurance department, so he tasked his testers with capturing video footage to send over with the game.

Cue shock: the footage that came back showed players implementing solutions that weren't the ones Glaiel intended.

“I watched the video walkthrough that they did and they were solving puzzles the...wrong way,” he laughed. “Their solutions were ones that I didn’t even know were possible, but almost none of them were easy solutions--they were all more difficult than the actual solutions.”

There’s a reason those challenge rooms are so tough, too. They were designed as development wrapped, when Glaiel was simply tired. Three years in, he couldn't be sure what was interesting anymore. The mechanics had lost meaning, and he'd design half of a room, ones that shouldn’t have the tools to be solved. Then, he’d tried to make it work. If there was a way to crack the room, it went in the pile.

The real test came when it was released, and his dad played it. His father had seen the game but barely played it, and Glaiel said he didn’t play many games. His dad managed to make it through the entire game and all but the final, excruciating challenge room. But there was a good reason: a last-minute glitch made one jump absurdly hard.

“It’s the one that everybody gets stuck on,” he said. “It’s understandable, I’m surprised he got that far!”

Staff
#2 Edited by dandead (164 posts) -

Nice article

EDIT: As a player I find it's nice not to be treated like a child who has never played a video game before and just let me get on with it!

#3 Edited by SpaceRunaway (809 posts) -

I have not played Closure, but it looks like I should give it a try

Edit: Damn it.

#4 Edited by dprabon (312 posts) -

hmm... I enjoy these articles Patrick Klepek puts up.

#5 Posted by phrosnite (3517 posts) -

When you are designing or programming something you should assume that the comsumer is stupid. That's a rule.

#6 Posted by Little_Socrates (5649 posts) -

Great story, Patrick. I really do hope to get back to Closure sometime this summer.

Also, Mr. Glaiel sounds like an interesting guy based on this interview.

#7 Posted by stinky (1545 posts) -

"stupid" is an easy way out.

when designing its not assuming that people are dumb, but the assumption that people might not be as interested in the game as the creator is. and thus how to keep them playing along until you can get them hooked.

#8 Posted by Humanity (7957 posts) -

@dprabon said:

hmm... I enjoy these articles Patrick Klepek puts up.

What else do you enjoy?

#9 Posted by mnzy (2909 posts) -
@phrosnite said:

When you are designing or programming something you should assume that the comsumer is stupid. That's a rule.

In software, yes. But video games are nothing but obstacles of different sorts to be mastered. Give me the tools, I figure out how to use them.
#10 Posted by Animasta (14460 posts) -

@Little_Socrates said:

Great story, Patrick. I really do hope to get back to Closure sometime this summer.

Also, Mr. Glaiel sounds like an interesting guy based on this interview.

would you say you hope to bring... closure?

#11 Edited by HerbieBug (3842 posts) -

Minor critique on the headline there Patrick.

Closure designer Tyler Glaiel finds the response to his own game depressing.

You extrapolate this from the quote about players expressing positive reaction to games that aren't overly handholdy. That is a good thing for Closure. The way this is written carries a negative implication that isn't what Glaiel meant in the quote. When I read that headline I assumed the fan response to Closure was negative, which is not the case.

#12 Posted by Subject2Change (2965 posts) -

It's not a thing of intelligence honestly, it's pure laziness. It's pretty obvious that everyone has become so attached to things being handed to them, as modern society has everything at their finger tips now a days. People want things now and don't want the pay off. There are a few exceptions to this, Fez seems like the current one; Demon's Souls/Dark Souls as others.

#13 Posted by matthias2437 (985 posts) -

@phrosnite said:

When you are designing or programming something you should assume that the comsumer is stupid. That's a rule.

This. Just because the majority doesn't need to be treated like a child/idiot doesn't mean you shouldn't have hand holding in the game. I made a maze game once that was super simple, avoid the enemies and make it to the finish zone. I had a few people complain to me that they could not understand how to beat the game and that it was too hard.

This was a top-down maze game by the way with the finished marked with FINISH and the enemies being shown to you when you start your first game. So yes in a lot of cases it is good to assume the people using your product (software or games) are idiots.

#14 Posted by Yadilie (380 posts) -

@phrosnite said:

When you are designing or programming something you should assume that the comsumer is stupid. That's a rule.

It's a tricky situation with something like that. It's a mentality to treat the consumer like idiots because of the variety of lawsuits that started cropping over people doing stupid shit like microwaving their dog because the box didn't say 'You probably shouldn't microwave living things.' But in games, do we really need these super long tutorials just to learn how to move the camera? Is that not what manuals are for? Is that not how we learned to play games in the past? Do linear games really need a marker to tell the player to get to the next point? Not to mention, why are games that are supposedly targeted to 17 year olds and ups treat you like you're in 1st grade?

#15 Posted by Little_Socrates (5649 posts) -

@Animasta: lawl I see what you did there.

Actually, I haven't even picked up Closure yet, I just meant I hope that I remember it exists once summer rolls around so that I buy it.

#16 Posted by Dawlight (2 posts) -

To mind comes Portal 1 and 2.

#17 Edited by SpunkyHePanda (1521 posts) -

A focused 2-D puzzle game that uses one or two buttons can benefit from letting the player learn the ropes themselves. A large-scale, open-world, 3-D game like Assassin's Creed which uses every bit of that controller sometimes needs to hammer this stuff home. Games have become more complicated since Super Metroid. I can't think of a game of Closure's scale that treats me like an idiot.

#18 Posted by big_jon (5661 posts) -

As a Super Metroid fan, I approve!

#19 Posted by nmarchan (170 posts) -

@phrosnite said:

When you are designing or programming something you should assume that the comsumer is stupid. That's a rule.

Remind me never to buy anything you make.

#20 Posted by patrickklepek (3069 posts) -

@HerbieBug said:

Minor critique on the headline there Patrick.

Closure designer Tyler Glaiel finds the response to his own game depressing.

You extrapolate this from the quote about players expressing positive reaction to games that aren't overly handholdy. That is is a good thing for Closure. The way this is written carries a negative implication that isn't what Glaiel meant in the quote. When I read that headline I assumed the fan response to Closure was negative, which is not the case.

You're right. Tweaked.

Staff
#21 Posted by Autechresaint (55 posts) -

"Fez, possibly the most talked about game this year,"

By who exactly and in what light? That phrasing makes it sound like the talk is positive, like we all are sucking phil fish off, as per his twitter would suggest.

#22 Posted by HerbieBug (3842 posts) -
@patrickklepek said:

@HerbieBug said:

Minor critique on the headline there Patrick.

Closure designer Tyler Glaiel finds the response to his own game depressing.

You extrapolate this from the quote about players expressing positive reaction to games that aren't overly handholdy. That is is a good thing for Closure. The way this is written carries a negative implication that isn't what Glaiel meant in the quote. When I read that headline I assumed the fan response to Closure was negative, which is not the case.

You're right. Tweaked.

High five!  :D
#23 Posted by Video_Game_King (34612 posts) -

@patrickklepek said:

“Older games just didn’t explain anything, which ended up being a problem in some situations,” he said. “You end up with games like Zelda 1, which are really, really hard to understand, even though people like that game. I’m not a huge fan of it."

I'll just say that I've said the exact same thing in the past, and got some crap for it.

#24 Posted by Quarters (1548 posts) -

This all sounds great in theory, but then you see stuff like Ryan and Patrick getting lost endlessly in Chrono Trigger. Players, whether they like it or not, have just become far more accustomed to hand-holding, and completely removing it can absolutely cripple some. It's not that designers assume gamers are stupid, they just want it to be accessible, and not super time consuming.

#25 Posted by MrSlapHappy (172 posts) -

Really interesting, thanks for writing this Patrick!

#26 Posted by believer258 (11044 posts) -

I want to go play Super Metroid again now.

#27 Posted by Vigorousjammer (2385 posts) -

So, when's the Steam version coming out?

#28 Posted by nukesniper (1311 posts) -

The sequelitis videos on youtube demonstrate how brilliant Mega Man X was at teaching the player everything in the first level.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8FpigqfcvlM

The brilliant past of explaining by doing are being lost to the gaming world. A wall of text is a less effective teaching tool than a useful application.

#29 Posted by JazGalaxy (1577 posts) -

@nmarchan said:

@phrosnite said:

When you are designing or programming something you should assume that the comsumer is stupid. That's a rule.

Remind me never to buy anything you make.

You're absolutely right.

I think the difference comes in how you inform the player though.

You can inform the player in a way that is throrough, but not condecending.

For example, I find it unreasonable that every new game starts with a hour long tutorial level that can sometimes last for stages. That's not even the most effective way to teach a player to play the game. It would frequently be just as effective, if not MORE effective, to place a player in a tutorial room and just let them expiriment for 30 seconds while the game is loading ala Bayonetta.

#30 Posted by Dethfish (3590 posts) -

You got me to read a news story by attaching it to Super Metroid. Nice job Patrick.

#31 Posted by Nicked (237 posts) -

I've being playing Saints Row intermittently, and I find that when I come back to it, I can't remember what each button does (e.g. I jumped in a helicopter and didn't remember how to ascend/descend etc.). It's easy enough to figure out the controls and that game is really forgiving, so it doesn't matter much there, but the larger point is that if I get the Plasma Beam in Metroid and take a break for a week or two, I might not remember how that weapon works. Sometimes, it's less an issue of players being "stupid" and more that gameplay lessons are not necessarily memorable long-term.

#32 Posted by Swick (222 posts) -

Thanks Patrick.

#33 Edited by BaconGames (3130 posts) -

While I agree with the sentiment of assuming the player isn't dumb in a vacuum, I also think that it's easy for an indie dev's puzzle game to assume that position. People do forget, even on this website, how infrequently people finish games and it's not always for bad reasons. However the shift toward the assumption that a player should be able to finish a game, especially if a game sells millions of copies, has been the force behind not only tutorials but changes in game design as a whole Of course there is such a thing as too much but people forget how much the average game, not just the best known and most revered, was such a pain to play through to the end. Needlessly punishing obstalces has in some instances taken with the idea of "challenging" the player but there have been a lot of games that have maintained that tradition. However game design has had to adapt, and for good reason, to a wider and more diverse audience. The benefit to this is that, alongside the rise of smaller independent games, a game can come out and complement the nature of modern game design with something more challenging or puzzling to the player. Why not both I say.

#34 Posted by Soniking (35 posts) -

Skyward Sword ends up being the most offensives game I have ever played. I go back and play where I left of every couple of months but I always feel like the world knows how to fix itself without me, I feel like an intruder in a world that outlines every single quest, item exploitation, character and motive.

#35 Posted by AssInAss (2400 posts) -

@Nicked said:

I've being playing Saints Row intermittently, and I find that when I come back to it, I can't remember what each button does (e.g. I jumped in a helicopter and didn't remember how to ascend/descend etc.). It's easy enough to figure out the controls and that game is really forgiving, so it doesn't matter much there, but the larger point is that if I get the Plasma Beam in Metroid and take a break for a week or two, I might not remember how that weapon works. Sometimes, it's less an issue of players being "stupid" and more that gameplay lessons are not necessarily memorable long-term.

That's a good viewpoint, where 2D or minimalist art games (Journey, Dear Esther) can get away from that.

#36 Posted by HatKing (5566 posts) -

@Nicked said:

I've being playing Saints Row intermittently, and I find that when I come back to it, I can't remember what each button does (e.g. I jumped in a helicopter and didn't remember how to ascend/descend etc.). It's easy enough to figure out the controls and that game is really forgiving, so it doesn't matter much there, but the larger point is that if I get the Plasma Beam in Metroid and take a break for a week or two, I might not remember how that weapon works. Sometimes, it's less an issue of players being "stupid" and more that gameplay lessons are not necessarily memorable long-term.

I think you actually got that backwards. As evident in real life, lessons learnt first hand are deeper ingrained than something simply told to you. You can explain to somebody in great detail all the components on a computer, but that would probably be mostly forgotten in a week. If your computer breaks though, and you have to open it up and figure out for yourself that the power supply went bad and how to replace it, that sticks with you forever. It applies to games too. The Witcher has a great tutorial that explains what all the components of fighting in the game do. That's fine. But I didn't really 'get it' until I used the traps or bombs in a real situation for the first time.

Online
#37 Posted by HerbieBug (3842 posts) -
@Quarters said:

This all sounds great in theory, but then you see stuff like Ryan and Patrick getting lost endlessly in Chrono Trigger. Players, whether they like it or not, have just become far more accustomed to hand-holding, and completely removing it can absolutely cripple some. It's not that designers assume gamers are stupid, they just want it to be accessible, and not super time consuming.

I think it's a matter of making a conscious effort not to be obtuse in places where there is no benefit for the player in discovery.  So, things like minor quirks in game mechanics that are not immediately obvious should be clearly explained by the developer.  When developers say "assume the player is stupid" (or things to that effect) what they often mean is that they must be very careful not to design their game in such a way that it only makes sense to them, with their knowledge of the game born from working on it every day full-time for years.  
 
A good example of a slight nod to accessibility is Trials Evo vs. Trials HD.  Trials Evo gives you a diagram on how to perform some of the more difficult maneuvers in its license tests and ask you to perform them once.  The player then knows, okay that's the general idea behind getting over an obstacle at the top of a steep incline, for example.  Short tutorial, to the point, does not patronize, does not condescend.  That's the way to tutorialize.  You just need to make a clear distinction in early development between things you want the player to know and things you want them to figure out for themselves. 
#38 Edited by MordeaniisChaos (5730 posts) -

Odd, coming from someone who had an issue with Witcher 2 not holding your hand.

@SpunkyHePanda said:

A focused 2-D puzzle game that uses one or two buttons can benefit from letting the player learn the ropes themselves. A large-scale, open-world, 3-D game like Assassin's Creed which uses every bit of that controller sometimes needs to hammer this stuff home. Games have become more complicated since Super Metroid. I can't think of a game of Closure's scale that treats me like an idiot.

Well, it needs more help, but so often it feels like baby steps. Rather than making a super easy target to try out your new weapon on to show you the effect, why not show you the kinds of challenges that the new weapons will be useful in to show you how to deal with a difficult encounter with that weapon, not just super basic bullshit. I like how MW2 explained it's gameplay, it just walked you through the controls, and let you figure out the rest. I don't want to be told how exactly to make use of a move, I want to get it and figure out how it can work towards my strengths and help me where I'm weak. I do not need to get the same tutorial bullshit three times in a row to understand something that is 90% mechanics you should already know and 10% twist. More explanation is usually good, but "hammering it in" is maybe too much. I don't need to be clearly tutorialized like a baby three times before the game knows I'm good. It should let me go on and just play the game and assume I can figure things out, because that's more fun than just being told anyway.

#39 Posted by Brodehouse (9370 posts) -

I don't think teaching players how to use your game is bad. The 'game' part isn't in the 'how am I supposed to use this?' part it's in the 'how do I use this best?' I don't find pressing every button a controller to figure out what they all do enriching.

Bad tutorials are bad, good tutorials are good. The answer isn't No Tutorial, just like it isn't "put instructions in separate booklet from actual game".

I thought Dead Space 2 actually had a great tutorial, because it didn't hold up the narrative. It made Isaac acquiring his basic gameplay mechanics (telekinesis, stasis, GUN) a part of the story progression, it made sure you used them properly before letting you move on. The worst are games that explain something that isn't immediately necessary and expect you'll remember it later when you actually do need to use it.

#40 Posted by EmuLeader (556 posts) -

@Autechresaint said:

"Fez, possibly the most talked about game this year,"

By who exactly and in what light? That phrasing makes it sound like the talk is positive, like we all are sucking phil fish off, as per his twitter would suggest.

Not necessarily. I actually think ME3 is the most talked about game of the year, but most of that was negative. Lots of talk is a good way to get people interested in finding out what all the "talk" is all about, whether good or bad. So many people who have never heard of the game can get reached.

#41 Posted by leejunfan83 (901 posts) -

Jeff likes hand holding

#42 Posted by hershelgeorgelives (78 posts) -

I think people forget that most gamers are very dumb.

#43 Posted by nick_verissimo (1373 posts) -

If you haven't done it, go watch egoraptor's "sequelitis" series on YouTube. He does a great job discussing this very topic in those videos.

#44 Posted by Alphazero (1530 posts) -

No game does the learn, apply, master cycle better than Portal 1.

#45 Posted by JazGalaxy (1577 posts) -

@stinky said:

"stupid" is an easy way out.

when designing its not assuming that people are dumb, but the assumption that people might not be as interested in the game as the creator is. and thus how to keep them playing along until you can get them hooked.

The problem with that thought process is the assumption that somehow the designer can keep the player entertained by throwing stuff at the player "until they can get them hooked".

As a gamer, I'm not having fun until I have direct, full control over my avatar. (and honestly, not until I'm facing challengers) I have literally quit playing games that have protracted tutorial sections because I'm not having any fun, and my time is too valuable to spend an hour of my "enjoyment time" not having any fun. I'll just go download a rom of one of the old games that didn't treat me like I'm stupid and have immediate fun instead.

#46 Posted by clstirens (846 posts) -

@MordeaniisChaos said:

Odd, coming from someone who had an issue with Witcher 2 not holding your hand.

It also didn't teach you using game mechanics (for many things) either. Hence the problem.

#47 Posted by Autechresaint (55 posts) -

@EmuLeader said:

@Autechresaint said:

"Fez, possibly the most talked about game this year,"

By who exactly and in what light? That phrasing makes it sound like the talk is positive, like we all are sucking phil fish off, as per his twitter would suggest.

Not necessarily. I actually think ME3 is the most talked about game of the year, but most of that was negative. Lots of talk is a good way to get people interested in finding out what all the "talk" is all about, whether good or bad. So many people who have never heard of the game can get reached.

I guess the thing that bothers me about his phrase is it's a downright falsehood passed along as truth. Mass Effect's ending is by far the biggest gaming story this year, more so than the weeks of fez coverage.

#48 Posted by Solid_Snack (1 posts) -

Really love this article, agree with the guy 100%. Obviously this doesn't apply to every game, for example if Shogun 2 lacked text nobody would ever figure it out, but I think all games can take something from this. Shogun 2 could do more to teach the player through contrived experiences rather than voice acted text bubbles.

#49 Posted by Nadafinga (953 posts) -

Closure is a really fantastic game. Its not hand-holdy, but its not like it has some crazy bizarre difficulty curve either. I felt the game did a great job of laying out the ground rules, and the levels became very intuitive as you're figuring them out. One of my favorite downloadable titles so far this year.

#50 Posted by JazGalaxy (1577 posts) -

I don't like the random jab at Zelda.

It's true that Zelda didn't fill the player in on everything that was able to be done in the game, but I think that was entirely intentional.

Zelda was, largely, a game about mystery, puzzle and adventure. It was important, as the bombcast keeps saying in Fez discussions, to make sure you could never draw a box around the game. That way, nothing was ever TOO crazy a solution to a roadblock.

I remember being at a lunch table in kindergarten, maybe, and a kid told us a story about how he found a hidden dungeon in the game. He found an area of the map that he'd never been to before and then he climbed a tree. A bird came and flew him to a nest where he found a special key. They key opened a door to a new dungeon none of us had ever seen before.

NONE of that sounded anything like the Zelda game that I had been playing, but the point of Zelda 1 was that anything was possible. WHen you can lie about a game and nobody can tell you you're wrong... that's a special game.

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