Stop Acting Like I Have Never Played A Game

I decided to download Blur today as it was on sale for only $5 and I was in the mood for a decent racing game. I had already been told that the game was a Mario Kart hybrid and when watching the preview for it decided that it should be a nice change from other racing games. I get into the game and there is a small little tutorial. Okay that is perfectly fine, I can keep playing this is just standard. After 10 races in I am yelling at my computer screen why it thinks I do not know about essential parts of racing games and that I need to "go faster" for this race. I mean, I could go slow and enjoy the pretty graphics and just think of a Sunday drive but a typlical Sunday drive does not consist of lightening bolts falling from the sky, fireballs being shot at you, and a rando force shoving you off the track.

Too often than I would like to notice, video games are acting like everyone who plays them needs their hand held through out the entire game to get to point A to B, fire a weapon, or basic instructions incorporated into every game. I could play NES and Sega Genesis without knowing how to read when I was very young and now that I am older I start noticing first person shooters won't allow you to do random things and force you to progress through the story or I am forced to look through a hint every time I die. If I am playing the game, the game shouldn't play itself.

So, if I feel that I am too ignorant to use all the functions of a game or too lazy to look at the control scheme, there should be an optional tutorial that you can take in that situation. If I don't want to go through each and every little bit or I prefer to figure things out myself, let me. I don't want to arrive at the point of time in the future where video games end up being a hybrid between a movie and a game. Sure that might fit some people but I feel there is no reward in doing it that way.

TL:DR- I am sick of having my handheld when I play video games. I want a challenge, not a parent holding my hand, walking me across a street.

40 Comments
40 Comments
Posted by jhudson3

I decided to download Blur today as it was on sale for only $5 and I was in the mood for a decent racing game. I had already been told that the game was a Mario Kart hybrid and when watching the preview for it decided that it should be a nice change from other racing games. I get into the game and there is a small little tutorial. Okay that is perfectly fine, I can keep playing this is just standard. After 10 races in I am yelling at my computer screen why it thinks I do not know about essential parts of racing games and that I need to "go faster" for this race. I mean, I could go slow and enjoy the pretty graphics and just think of a Sunday drive but a typlical Sunday drive does not consist of lightening bolts falling from the sky, fireballs being shot at you, and a rando force shoving you off the track.

Too often than I would like to notice, video games are acting like everyone who plays them needs their hand held through out the entire game to get to point A to B, fire a weapon, or basic instructions incorporated into every game. I could play NES and Sega Genesis without knowing how to read when I was very young and now that I am older I start noticing first person shooters won't allow you to do random things and force you to progress through the story or I am forced to look through a hint every time I die. If I am playing the game, the game shouldn't play itself.

So, if I feel that I am too ignorant to use all the functions of a game or too lazy to look at the control scheme, there should be an optional tutorial that you can take in that situation. If I don't want to go through each and every little bit or I prefer to figure things out myself, let me. I don't want to arrive at the point of time in the future where video games end up being a hybrid between a movie and a game. Sure that might fit some people but I feel there is no reward in doing it that way.

TL:DR- I am sick of having my handheld when I play video games. I want a challenge, not a parent holding my hand, walking me across a street.

Posted by TheSouthernDandy

I think its a result of years of focus testing and attempts to "improve accessibility". I agree it can get pretty annoying in some games but I guess they're trying to make it work for people who are dummies when it comes to games. All games should have a "disable tutorials" option, that would fix it.

Also Blur is freaking great. GREAT.

Posted by Kierkegaard

It's a tough problem, isn't it. Every game designer, it seems, assumes that the lowest common denominator-- a person who has never played a game in this genre before--may pick up the game and the tutorials seems built for that person. I like options. But I also like the tutorial to have meaning. If you're constructing a story-driven game like Uncharted or Half-Life 2, you can't have an optional tutorial without making the world seem unreal. Real people would never say, "Hey, Drake! Do you remember how to jump?".

Blur is not one of those games. Few games are. Making tutorials and hints optional (which many games do in options screens, but maybe it should always be a prompt when you start it) is a good solution. I don't think all players should blunder until they get it, but giving players the choice makes sense.

Posted by Sooty

One of the worst examples of this is Assassin's Creed Revelations. Explaining practically everything all over again in the 4th game in the series.

Posted by Enigma777

The latest Weekend Confirmed had a great discussion about the glass box that gamers live in and how non-gamers find simple concept we're so used to that they've become ingrained annoying and confusing. You should give it a listen.

Posted by Video_Game_King

I'll just say that there's a direct correlation between the hand-holdiness of tutorials and the detail and usefulness of video game manuals over the years. This is what happens when nobody reads the manual, guys.

Posted by LiquidSwords
Posted by FluxWaveZ

@Enigma777 said:

The latest Weekend Confirmed had a great discussion about the glass box that gamers live in and how non-gamers find simple concept we're so used to that they've become ingrained annoying and confusing. You should give it a listen.

The fact that many non-enthusiasts have trouble with games is nothing new. However, for those who play video games regularly, the ability to skip these needless directions would be helpful.

Posted by ESREVER

This would be true if it wasn't for the fact that Blur's campaign is BAWLS HARD.

But yea, I get ya.

Posted by jhudson3

@TheSouthernDandy: I agree it is a fantastic racing game. Its just I am now on the the third rival and I have to watch a 30 second video on power-ups and weapons. Other than that I love it. I just hope the multiplayer doesn't die down like it did before the sale.

@Enigma777: I will have to check it out. I remembers seeing a video on youtube for if Doom was made in today. It basically had everytime you went to the corner of the map it would threaten to call game over.

Posted by Enigma777

@FluxWaveZ said:

@Enigma777 said:

The latest Weekend Confirmed had a great discussion about the glass box that gamers live in and how non-gamers find simple concept we're so used to that they've become ingrained annoying and confusing. You should give it a listen.

The fact that many non-enthusiasts have trouble with games is nothing new. However, for those who play video games regularly, the ability to skip these needless directions would be helpful.

I agree, but it's a hard line to thread. You don't want to provide zero guidance because you're criticized for it, nor too much because you're also criticized for it. And if you gave people the option to skip everything, there will still be people complaining about how they didn't know they were skipping something important and how it should have been unskipable... And I've actually seen that last one happen multiple times.

Posted by Grimhild

@Sooty said:

One of the worst examples of this is Assassin's Creed Revelations. Explaining practically everything all over again in the 4th game in the series.

Yes, and also one of my main issues with that series. Not bashing on it's overall quality, per say, but more than half the game feels like a tutorial to me where they're trying to spoon-feed you all these mechanics up to the very end. F*cking hell, just let me play the damn thing... oh it's over already?

Posted by Video_Game_King

@Enigma777 said:

And if you gave people the option to skip everything, there will still be people complaining about how they didn't know they were skipping something important and how it should have been unskipable... And I've actually seen that last one happen multiple times.

Look, we've all watched the Chrono Trigger Endurance Run.

Posted by qawsed

The masses are enjoying the same games that I am. How dreadful.

Posted by Enigma777

@Video_Game_King said:

@Enigma777 said:

And if you gave people the option to skip everything, there will still be people complaining about how they didn't know they were skipping something important and how it should have been unskipable... And I've actually seen that last one happen multiple times.

Look, we've all watched the Chrono Trigger Endurance Run.

Hey, that's a great example. I'm impressed VGK.

Posted by Levio

Honestly though, if a game is so straight forward that you know how to play before playing, that's a bad sign by itself...

Posted by Draxyle

Over tutorialization is definitely getting annoying. It's getting to the point where it's actually intrusive and counter-productive; Skyward Sword is a good example of that. So much sheer handholding that I don't feel like I'm on any epic quest at all, I feel like I was lucky to make it out of bed alive with the way everyone treats me (not to mention NPC's making direct, meta references to the controls. Goodbye immersion). Nintendo has been really bad about that in general, but this whole gen is full of it.

@LiquidSwords: I was about to link that Egoraptor video coming in to this topic myself. It explains the whole situation so damn well.

Posted by jhudson3

@Draxyle: The first real time that I noticed I was inadvertently being given instructions was in Pokemon Gold. "Do you know how to use the PokeGear?" Why yes, yes I do. "Okay, don'y you just go tot he start menu and go to PokeGear. Its so simple" Or something like that. It caused a good laugh at the time but now it just seems sad.

Posted by BrockNRolla

@LiquidSwords said:

I enjoyed this video a lot. Game devs should check it out.

Posted by Jay444111

You think those tutorials are bad? Give KH2 a try? It is four hours long!

Posted by Panpipe

@Sooty said:

One of the worst examples of this is Assassin's Creed Revelations. Explaining practically everything all over again in the 4th game in the series.

As soon as I saw that, I thought, fuck it, this game is not for me. And I was a big fan of 2 and brotherhood.

Posted by Winternet

It's the Evolution, baby!

Posted by Humanity

While it's annoying for any of us regulars that stuff is a necessary evil for those younger gamers, or people who are just starting to get into games who have not played any games before. You can't abolish all tutorials just because you personally know how to play the game. I personally went through this while picking up Street Fighter X Tekken which isn't super clear on a lot of things. This is my first real fighting game experience and I wish some icons and some systems were actually shown in tutorials more. I would get severely beat down online before I figured out that crouching blocks don't protect you from jumping attacks - something I don't remember being covered anywhere but to any fighting game regular is obvious.

Posted by TruthTellah

All this talk of hand-holding has me getting some horrible flashbacks to the first twenty or so hours of Final Fantasy XIII...

Please, oh gawd, just let me play the game... T___T

(Efforts to improve accessibility are helpful, but when overdone and made non-optional, they can really hinder enjoyment and natural discovery. If they want one easy way to improve accessibility, console game developers should finally standardize allowing for remappping of all of your controller buttons, as PC games have allowed for years.)

Posted by ajamafalous

But what's the solution? They have to include that stuff for people who are, for lack of a better term, casual games that don't play games as often as us. Things have to be accessible or they'll play it for 15 minutes and quit. 
 
So then it's suggested that you should be able to turn off/skip tutorials. What happens when the game you're playing is just like most of the games in its genre except for one or two key changes that they made, that they tell you about in the tutorial, but, because you were impatient, you decided to skip through? Do you then decide the game is shit? Do you blame the game for not telling you about the mechanics? 
 
 
Just sit through the tutorials. If they removed them it would only cause problems.

Posted by SkyTown_Drifts

@ajamafalous: it used to be that you used the instruction booklet to learn how to play the game. People were too lazy back then hence why they put tutorials in games now. RE 4 did a neat idea of having the instructions in the file section of the inventory where it was completely optional to look at. Most people probably never read the first tutorial and most likely saw the 2nd one first when your ally sends it to you.

Posted by TruthTellah

@ajamafalous said:

But what's the solution? They have to include that stuff for people who are, for lack of a better term, casual games that don't play games as often as us. Things have to be accessible or they'll play it for 15 minutes and quit. So then it's suggested that you should be able to turn off/skip tutorials. What happens when the game you're playing is just like most of the games in its genre except for one or two key changes that they made, that they tell you about in the tutorial, but, because you were impatient, you decided to skip through? Do you then decide the game is shit? Do you blame the game for not telling you about the mechanics? Just sit through the tutorials. If they removed them it would only cause problems.

They could also just do something similar to what Skyward Sword did, where all tutorial information can be brought up again later or even solicited by the direct action of locking on something and then asking for help. That way, help is inherently optional and available even for those who may have accidentally skipped something useful.

Posted by kindone

@Enigma777 said:

The latest Weekend Confirmed had a great discussion about the glass box that gamers live in and how non-gamers find simple concept we're so used to that they've become ingrained annoying and confusing. You should give it a listen.
Posted by Moncole

I also got Blur and I don't like the tutorials every 5 seconds but its a fun game.

Posted by Humanity

@TruthTellah said:

All this talk of hand-holding has me getting some horrible flashbacks to the first twenty or so hours of Final Fantasy XIII...

Please, oh gawd, just let me play the game... T___T

(Efforts to improve accessibility are helpful, but when overdone and made non-optional, they can really hinder enjoyment and natural discovery. If they want one easy way to improve accessibility, console game developers should finally standardize allowing for remappping of all of your controller buttons, as PC games have allowed for years.)

I think FFXIII hand holding was somewhat justified as that battle system was kinda complex when you see it for the first time. They didn't have to dedicate entire sections to just one battle mechanic but I did appreciate the way each time I felt comfortable with a class, it switched up to a new one for me to learn.

Posted by TobbRobb

@Humanity said:

@TruthTellah said:

All this talk of hand-holding has me getting some horrible flashbacks to the first twenty or so hours of Final Fantasy XIII...

Please, oh gawd, just let me play the game... T___T

(Efforts to improve accessibility are helpful, but when overdone and made non-optional, they can really hinder enjoyment and natural discovery. If they want one easy way to improve accessibility, console game developers should finally standardize allowing for remappping of all of your controller buttons, as PC games have allowed for years.)

I think FFXIII hand holding was somewhat justified as that battle system was kinda complex when you see it for the first time. They didn't have to dedicate entire sections to just one battle mechanic but I did appreciate the way each time I felt comfortable with a class, it switched up to a new one for me to learn.

I think the tutorializing went on far too long, but I've seen other people try and play the game... Some just can't wrap their heads around the paradigm system fast enough. And I'm not even talking about people new to games, this one dude plays a loooot of Jrpgs, but he got stuck in the first few hours of 13. So I guess there was a legitimate reason for them to do this. And I personally prefer that they take a long stretch to ease you into an apparently complicated system, instead of just throwing a short text in your face and making you go.

Still.... I kinda wished that game introduced combatfeatures faster, I didn't have legitimate fun until I had all the options.

Posted by Humanity

@TobbRobb: I agree that it went on a little TOO long. I haven't played a JRPG in a long time before picking up XIII so I welcomed the slow pace at first. Honestly it did feel a bit tedious in some parts. Mostly when I was playing characters that I didn't enjoy too much - and I mean their combat roles and not their personalities. In the beginning of the game playing with Hope was annoying on both a personality as well as battle system level. First time you get dumped with just Snow and Hope and the Sentinel class was introduced I couldn't wrap myself around the playstyle and basic enemies were beating me up. Like I said - I think the main problem was that they explained the mechanics of a class and then had you run with it for entire areas at a time before introducing a new class.

Posted by Shivoa

I'll live with tutorials, I love games that have AI (to whatever degree you apply that term) to give a tutorial only on the things I haven't already shown a competence in (this can't be perfect, maybe I'm not doing X because I prefer not to rather than don't understand how it fits into the full option range I have and is beneficial). I'd much rather that than a game built around allowing the significant complete percentage modern games expect without making full use of the controls while still alienating any new gamers who have not tried this game before. Everyone has their first game in a genre, that is universal, so games either need to come with a sticker saying "don't bother if you're not already grounded in the tropes of this gameplay system" or be able to teach a new user what most people take for granted. Without manuals that means tutorial and as everyone lies, sometimes you have to weigh up skippable vs people not realising they have stuff to learn. A smart system is best, no tutorial at all is worst, so I'll gladly live through a speedy unskippable tutorial (it could be worse, imagine if it was unskippable cutscenes or in-character dialogue where there is no potential for learning something to improve your ability to interact with the game world and potentially this isn't the first time you've seen/heard/read it).

Posted by Willin

If you really want a game that doesn't hold your hand then you need to play Dark Souls. An extremely basic 15 minute tutorial and a shitty manual and that's it. There are things in there you won't realise for hours.

Posted by Sooty

The problem is now too many games have the tutorial stuff integrated into how that game plays out, which is really annoying for people already familiar with that series. It should be an optional tutorial, not forced on you.

Assassin's Creed is probably the worst for this. I think all of them games start off with you doing basic missions in order to teach you the controls and some of your moves again. It's fine if the first game is doing this, but it's ridiculous that the second, third and fourth games in that series all do it as well, without the tutorials being skippable.

Posted by Ravenlight

There's a time and place for tutorials but they should almost always be optional. Maybe a good solution would be to drop the tutorial on higher difficulty levels. I'm playing Hard because I want a challenge, it's fair to assume that I know what I'm doing.

Posted by Daiphyer

@Sooty said:

One of the worst examples of this is Assassin's Creed Revelations. Explaining practically everything all over again in the 4th game in the series.

God I fucking hated that! About the first 3 - 4 hours of the game is just tutorials!

Posted by Fozimuth

Skyward Sword took it to the point where it was a real problem.  I do not need to be told to do everything, or have the answers I figured out from observing something given away because Fi won't shut the hell up.  I felt like it was made for people who had never played a video game before.  Tutorials need to be integrated into the game, not exposition.  Plenty of games have done this right, yet Nintendo is going backwards.  Everyone knows how to play a Mario game.  Super Mario Galaxy didn't have a tutorial, it just had an open area with no enemies, a cutscene, then told you to catch rabbits.  A Luma didn't have to jump out of Mario's hat and explain that pressing A jumps, have Mario jump up a ledge, then explain that jumping three times in a row makes a super jump, THEN explaining that a super jump can reach higher elevations than a regular jump.  Good lord.

Posted by Ekaje

I really don't get why more just don't give you options (Have you played a video game before Y/N), or just put tutorial material off in some "how to play" section.

Posted by xxizzypop

@Enigma777 said:

@FluxWaveZ said:

@Enigma777 said:

The latest Weekend Confirmed had a great discussion about the glass box that gamers live in and how non-gamers find simple concept we're so used to that they've become ingrained annoying and confusing. You should give it a listen.

The fact that many non-enthusiasts have trouble with games is nothing new. However, for those who play video games regularly, the ability to skip these needless directions would be helpful.

I agree, but it's a hard line to thread. You don't want to provide zero guidance because you're criticized for it, nor too much because you're also criticized for it. And if you gave people the option to skip everything, there will still be people complaining about how they didn't know they were skipping something important and how it should have been unskipable... And I've actually seen that last one happen multiple times.

See: Demon's/Dark Souls.

Whereby people forego the series thinking IT'S SO HARD WHY WOULD I DO THAT.

Play cautiously. Experiment a little. Find what you like. Accept mortality. Continue. I suddenly understand how enthusiasts of Dead Rising feel when they have to scream 'YOU DON'T HAVE TO PLAY THE INTRO CHAPTERS THREE TIMES TO PROGRESS, ARGH.'

Although I'm in the other camp on that argument. I'm just not that good at Dead Rising I suppose.