Yo, what's up with game design?

 I think that an excess of information can be detrimental to the enjoyment of many games. This gets us in two ways: 

  1. Thanks to over-abundant media coverage,  we already know what the game's about, who the main character is, what kind of gameplay we'll experience way before the game is even released. Now I know that if trailers don't show the game off they won't be very successful, and if I just don't follow up on a game it'll end up being a surprise for me, but in our day and age information is hard to avoid.
  2. In-game tutorials and waypoints becoming constant annoyances rather than helpful reminders. Take Alan Wake, for example; there's never a time in that game that you're truly lost in the woods. And as we all know Final Fantasy XIII takes it's tutorial practically through the whole story.
My point is, whatever happened to the mystique of older titles, like Zelda II: The Adventure of Link? That game had no map, no tutorial, all it's story was explained in an instruction manual, it allowed the player to discover it without telling him anything extra.
 
I can perfectly understand that the industry has changed significantly in it's way of doing things, and that it's become a necessity to maintain a solid exchange of information between the game and the player, but why is it that newer games seem so unwilling to let the player simply explore and take matters into his own hands? And just a word of advice, the next time you have the chance, buy yourself a game that you know absolutely nothing about; that's how I got Chrono Cross and Persona 3, after all!
17 Comments
18 Comments
Posted by Rothbart

 I think that an excess of information can be detrimental to the enjoyment of many games. This gets us in two ways: 

  1. Thanks to over-abundant media coverage,  we already know what the game's about, who the main character is, what kind of gameplay we'll experience way before the game is even released. Now I know that if trailers don't show the game off they won't be very successful, and if I just don't follow up on a game it'll end up being a surprise for me, but in our day and age information is hard to avoid.
  2. In-game tutorials and waypoints becoming constant annoyances rather than helpful reminders. Take Alan Wake, for example; there's never a time in that game that you're truly lost in the woods. And as we all know Final Fantasy XIII takes it's tutorial practically through the whole story.
My point is, whatever happened to the mystique of older titles, like Zelda II: The Adventure of Link? That game had no map, no tutorial, all it's story was explained in an instruction manual, it allowed the player to discover it without telling him anything extra.
 
I can perfectly understand that the industry has changed significantly in it's way of doing things, and that it's become a necessity to maintain a solid exchange of information between the game and the player, but why is it that newer games seem so unwilling to let the player simply explore and take matters into his own hands? And just a word of advice, the next time you have the chance, buy yourself a game that you know absolutely nothing about; that's how I got Chrono Cross and Persona 3, after all!
Posted by trophyhunter

You really need to tighten up the graphics a little bit

Posted by kelbear
@Rothbart: Play Mount and Blade: Warband.
 
There's fuck-all for tutorial there. Defaults to a "realisitic" mode where you can't reload if you are devastated in a catastrophic battle. You get to figure out all the game mechanics for yourself the hard way (lots and lots of failure). 
 
It definitely hearkens back to an older age of game design that was far more forgiving to the game developers rather than the player. It's a fun game at the same time! Give it a shot.
Posted by Icemael
@Rothbart said:
"Thanks to over-abundant media coverage,  we already know what the game's about, who the main character is, what kind of gameplay we'll experience way before the game is even released. Now I know that if trailers don't show the game off they won't be very successful, and if I just don't follow up on a game it'll end up being a surprise for me, but in our day and age information is hard to avoid."
Games are expensive, and more often than not, picking a game at random leads to disappointment. I mean sure, I've stumbled upon a couple of gems while buying games I knew little to nothing about -- Tales of Eternia, The World Ends With You, The Darkness, Mega Man Battle Network 3, Project Zero II: Crimson Butterfly -- but when I compare them to all the crap I've waded through -- Luminous Arc 2, The Last Remnant, No More Heroes, Beyond Good & Evil, Valkyrie Profile 2, BloodRayne, Forbidden Siren 2, Kingdom Hearts; I could go on -- it's just not worth it.

Well, unless they're dirt cheap, but games that are old enough to cost less than $20 usually haven't had any media coverage for years.
 
@Rothbart said:
"In-game tutorials and waypoints becoming constant annoyances rather than helpful reminders. Take Alan Wake, for example; there's never a time in that game that you're truly lost in the woods."
There's a very good reason for that. Alan Wake is a linear, story-driven game, not an massive open-world game with countless sidequests and secret locations to find. Being lost in the woods without any sense of direction would just be annoying.
Posted by iam3green

i think there are going to be more tutorials in game. ubisoft said that they are going to go green a little by removing game manuals. there are going to be websites and probably tutorials on how to do it.

Posted by Khann
@Icemael said:
" Beyond Good & Evil  -- it's just not worth it.

"
 
Wait.... what?
Posted by RobotHamster

Its all those damned kids these days and the old people too, thanks casual gaming, fuckers.

Posted by Icemael
@Khann said:
" @Icemael said:
" Beyond Good & Evil  -- it's just not worth it."
 Wait.... what? "
Bad combat, bad stealth, bad puzzles, bad driving, mediocre story, okay characters and soundtrack. That's four "bad", one "mediocre" and two "okay" adding up to a great total of "not worth the money, even though I bought it used."
Edited by DevWil

i don't think there's anything wrong with letting a player know what to do and/or why they're doing something wrong. 
 
i can agree to some extent on your first point, though.  i've become disgusted with movie trailers in the past couple years because of how much they influence audience expectations (which greatly influence a person's viewing of a film), but you have to let people know something about your game. 

Posted by sixghost

I think they just want to remove all possibility that a player could get stuck and not be able to enjoy the rest of the game.

Edited by EpicSteve

You're complaining about how game's have gotten better. Why would anyone spend $60 on a game when the actual gameplay or plot is a mystery? Do you really want to get lost in the woods because your game didn't have a map? Would you really like not having a segment of the game that explains mechanics? Would you go to a movie not knowing the general plot? I don't think so.

Posted by CitizenKane

Fucking game design.  How does it work?

Posted by Venatio
@EpicSteve said:
" You're complaining about how game's have gotten better. Why would anyone spend $60 on a game when the actual gameplay or plot is a mystery? Do you really want to get lost in the woods because your game didn't have a map? Would you really like not having a segment of the game that explains mechanics? Would you go to a movie not knowing the general plot? I don't think so. "
This^^ is true
 
You sound pretty damn stupid sir
Posted by DevWil
@CitizenKane said:
" Fucking game design.  How does it work? "
i don't want to hear it from no molyneux.  motherfucker's lyin', and makin' me puke.
Posted by DuhQbnSiLo

Games have been switched to easy-mode for a while now. its to get more people into gaming. They don't care what current gamers want, they want to make gamers out of non-gamers.

Posted by Rothbart
@EpicSteve said:
" You're complaining about how game's have gotten better. Why would anyone spend $60 on a game when the actual gameplay or plot is a mystery? Do you really want to get lost in the woods because your game didn't have a map? Would you really like not having a segment of the game that explains mechanics? Would you go to a movie not knowing the general plot? I don't think so. "
Of course nobody's here to argue about personal tastes, but to be honest I actually like spending money on games because they're a mystery. Same goes for movies; District 9, V for Vendetta, The Matrix, Stardust, Seven Pounds, are all movies that I knew absolutely nothing about before seeing them, just to name a few. It's the act of discovery and the sense of the unknown that I like, and to be specific I'm not really complaining that game's have changed, it's simply sad to see that games with these "outdated" ways of doing things can't be competitive anymore.
 
Also, in a way, giving less help to the player makes for greater challenge, and subsequently a greater sense of accomplishment if you succeed. That way I also know that if I get lost in the woods or I haven't really grasped the mechanics, it's because of my failing, and that with practice I can get better at it. To be fair, I'm not asking for a hypothetical ultra-difficult realistic game, just that game designers put greater trust in our gaming capabilities.
Posted by Bigandtasty

I like going into a game without knowing exactly what to do, but I also want to know that the game I just spent money on is good. The latter desire is a much higher priority for me now.

Posted by MrSnow
@kelbear: That looks way to un-action for me