Apparently turn based games are not fun any more.

I've just watched the trailer for Infinity Blade, and I have remembered a trend I've been noticing for a while with many other games, like Archetype, Nova, etc. The problem is that these games are designed for portable devices with a very limited control set that often comes by blocking a part of a small screen with your thumbs. Not the perfect setup for an action game. However, these are probably the most advanced games for these devices and the ones getting most funding to be made. Why? Well, I guess turn based games are not fun any more.
 
Turn based RPGs (as many JRPGs from Pokémon to Final Fantasy), tactic RPGs ( Disgaea), turn based strategy or graphic adventures do not get the same treatment. There is civilization revolution for DS with some of the crappiest graphics I've seen in a lot of time. What would happen if civilization V was to be ported to the iPhone? Would the graphics be much worse? Would the gameplay be severely influenced by the fact of being in a mobile phone and not having buttons? How would the gameplay of a game like Heavy Rain be affected by moving all the controls to a touchscreen?
 
Turn based games are not limited to puzzle games like Puzzle Quest, but for the catalog of games and the budget that seems to be devoted to these games one would think that they are, there is no intention to make any bigger turn based games for handhelds because they are not fun any more, or maybe handhelds are not meant for playing, the user base is not so active and the action games released for these devices are graphically impressive but no big deal.

23 Comments
24 Comments
Posted by Trylks

I've just watched the trailer for Infinity Blade, and I have remembered a trend I've been noticing for a while with many other games, like Archetype, Nova, etc. The problem is that these games are designed for portable devices with a very limited control set that often comes by blocking a part of a small screen with your thumbs. Not the perfect setup for an action game. However, these are probably the most advanced games for these devices and the ones getting most funding to be made. Why? Well, I guess turn based games are not fun any more.
 
Turn based RPGs (as many JRPGs from Pokémon to Final Fantasy), tactic RPGs ( Disgaea), turn based strategy or graphic adventures do not get the same treatment. There is civilization revolution for DS with some of the crappiest graphics I've seen in a lot of time. What would happen if civilization V was to be ported to the iPhone? Would the graphics be much worse? Would the gameplay be severely influenced by the fact of being in a mobile phone and not having buttons? How would the gameplay of a game like Heavy Rain be affected by moving all the controls to a touchscreen?
 
Turn based games are not limited to puzzle games like Puzzle Quest, but for the catalog of games and the budget that seems to be devoted to these games one would think that they are, there is no intention to make any bigger turn based games for handhelds because they are not fun any more, or maybe handhelds are not meant for playing, the user base is not so active and the action games released for these devices are graphically impressive but no big deal.

Posted by KaosAngel

I play Civ 5 on Strategic Hex mode due to my crappy laptop video card and if they ported that to the iPhone I would buy it in a second.

Posted by Ghostiet

Civilization is already on the iPhone. And to be honest, it's pretty much Civilization, only on the iPhone.

Posted by Malakhii

Civ is not about the graphics. They're nice to have, but it's about how fun the gameplay is. And Shogun: total war 2 is coming out, which should also help fill you're turn based strategy lull (even though it's not fully turn based. Yes, it's not a genre that sees major releases every few months ( and I don't think it does how long each damn game keeps me playing), but it's still got torchbearers keeping it moving. 

Posted by nintendoeats

I like Turn Based strategy, there just haven't been any good ones for a while (Civ excluded). Somebody really needs to push the genre into the modern age.I like TBS, but I gather you don't.
 
If I understand you correctly. Your post is kind of disjointed.

Posted by MikkaQ

I play a lot of civ rev on iPhone and iPad, works great but keeping track of the differences between than and Civ 5 can be annoying.  
 
There's also one or two turn based RPGs for the iPhone, but I haven't tried them. Could be alright. Then there's a lot of popular iPhone games like Angry Birds or Game Dev Story, or whatever that waits for your input.

Posted by jNerd

I agree, Final Fantasy 13 was the last jrpg I played & it's mind-numbingly repetitive.  
On the other hand Fallout NV & ME2 are a lot of fun.... The genre just needs an update.

Posted by Trylks
@Ghostiet: civ rev? I know, I guess that was not a big success not to release civ V, dunno, I don't know what's the problem with this, it's like trying to push 3D into DS when 2D games are equally fun and look way better, for instance, golden sun.

@Malakhii: I know, despite of that, some graphics are just plainly painful to see.  

@nintendoeats: It's called irony. I like turn based games in general and I think they should be big in handhelds, and specially in phones. Very good games could be done for mobile phones using turn based mechanics, instead of trying to shove action games that can't simply work well there. 
Posted by GreggD

We need a new Advance Wars game.

Posted by onarum

I still like me some TBS, I have Heroes of Might and magic 4 installed in my laptop, I love that shit, get that running on a ds/3ds and I'm sold, they had a HOMM game on the ds but it was completely different, not bad though.

Posted by iam3green

i agree, they are boring to play. i never could get into them but they are boring as hell.

Posted by Doctorchimp

I have a gameboy advance and Super Nintendo emulator on my android and while the virtual pad leaves something to be desired, FFVI and the like are quite fun. 
 
I have no clue why more JRPGs aren't on the mobile phone market...also I need Game Dev Story ported to Android...somebody bootleg it for download if the company doesn't want my money...

Posted by Veektarius

I agree.  Turn-based RPGs seem ideal for the platform and I was surprised when there weren't any on the droid market.

Posted by melcene

I want my damn Puzzle Quest back on the android market.  I had it on my old non-smart-phone.  Why can't I have it on the newer better phones? 
 
Also, someone mentioned Shogun II.  I agree with them. 
 
Finally... I realize it wasn't exactly turn-based, but I kinda played Dragon Age sorta like it.  A lot of Pause and give commands, then resume.  I'm kinda hoping that DA2 is going to be the same way.

Posted by MoonlightMoth
@GreggD said:
" We need a new Advance Wars game. "
Posted by Halberdierv2

Due to my crap Laptop graphics card being unable to even process the text of Civ 5, I'd get it on iPhone.

Posted by Icadae
Posted by Trylks

I just realized why does this happen. 
 
As games become more popular and mainstream, the capability of amusement that nerds may find on turn based games (thinking, comparable to chess) is not so generalizable. In the "main stream" people like to have fun with something that is more instinctive, inmediate, thoughtless reflexes and skill.
 
And that's why turn based games are and will always be for a group of people, that were previously the gamers, but now are only a group of gamers.

Edited by crusader8463
@nintendoeats: @jNerd: @Trylks: http://www.pcgamer.com/2011/06/19/xenonauts-preview/
Posted by kingzetta
@AllIsHeresy said:
@GreggD said:
" We need a new Advance Wars game. "
Posted by Little_Socrates

@Trylks: They've been "a group of gamers" for over ten years; I know people that have always disliked Pokémon and Final Fantasy because they don't understand the concept of all the actions in a turn happening at roughly the same time; they see it as a dude standing still for six seconds, then walking up and hitting someone with a sword.

I think turn-based games could do well, but I also definitely think Civilization Revolution is more suited to the iPhone, iPad, and the DS, regardless of how they handled the graphics. A game of Civ Rev is usually around 2 or 3 hours; as you know, a game of Civ 5 can be much, much longer. Turn-based games like Angry Birds and any sort of match-game (Dungeon Raid or its more direct Bejeweled-y counterparts) do pretty well, and others (like Plants vs. Zombies or Game Dev Story) can be pretty slow-paced and calculated like a strategy game. Yes, there are also the Tiny WIngs and Robot Unicorn Attacks out there, but they're the minority on my phone, at least.

However, turn based combat was invented for games like Chainmail, Dungeons & Dragons, and the original Warhammer, systems where having all the units operate at once did not make sense (and, also, it was invented in a format where all games took place in turns of some sort.) Final Fantasy adopted the system because, again, there was no reasonable series of inputs that would allow you to control more than one unit at any given time, and AI was not good enough to allow them to control your other characters instead. Now, in some games, AI is that good (Star Wars Republic Commando and Mass Effect 2, for example,) and games like StarCraft and Dragon Age have found reasonable ways to put the player in control of an entire party (or, hell, an entire army) without pausing the game.

That's not to say that turn-based combat can't be fun; it absolutely can be. But the need for it, the reason it helped define console experiences pretty significantly in the late 80's and through the 90's, is certainly fading. The IOS interface is still being worked on in terms of action-oriented gameplay, but the responsiveness of the hardware isn't the problem, it's simply the inability for developers to come up with new ways to present action gameplay on IOS devices. In your original post, you mention Heavy Rain; I think that's certainly a direction you could take IOS devices in, perhaps combining that with an Elite Beat Agents style of gameplay over an interactive storyline like Heavy Rain.

Edited by Tanikaze
@Trylks said:

I just realized why does this happen.  As games become more popular and mainstream, the capability of amusement that nerds may find on turn based games (thinking, comparable to chess) is not so generalizable. In the "main stream" people like to have fun with something that is more instinctive, inmediate, thoughtless reflexes and skill. And that's why turn based games are and will always be for a group of people, that were previously the gamers, but now are only a group of gamers.

Gettin vibes like  you're assuming that the nerds who played video games in the 80s all preferred turn based games. What the hell were ES: Arena or Ultima: Underworld? I also strongly oppose your use of the words "thoughtless" and "thinking". Yes, it's true, in fast-paced games, you want to think as little as possible, but that doesn't mean you aren't making decisions, sometimes very complex ones. That thinking has to be offloaded elsewhere, and that's why you have practice games. It still takes a player who is at least smart at that particular game to make whatever dozens of tiny micro-adjustments he has to make to every particular situation. Just saying "Yeah, turn-based games are thinking and are like chess and real-time games are thoughtless and instinctive" is a gross underestimation of real time games and IMO reveals a pretty lacking understanding of real time games and how the really good players are really good at them.
 
I can't be the only one who gets pretty annoyed at all these ill-conceived hypotheses people have about the normies and casuals hurting video games. Jeeze, after all, what was Everquest but a reification of the nerdy 80s gaming community? Everquest, a real time game, and a pretty "thoughtless" one. Popular with nerds. Computer nerds, in fact.
Posted by CheapPoison

Turn based game are still great for me.
 
They do have to be single player though cause playign that stuff multiplayer can be a bore. Then i will ge tdistracted by stuff and i'll miss stuff or make someone else wait to long.
In Tabletop format, might not be the most applicable on these boards , It is no problem, cause you got banter/social interaction.
 
I also have a theory that just normal turn based stuff would be great in Lan.
Civ would be great with a bunch of guy and making alliances and all that stuff right then and there.

Posted by Trylks
@Tanikaze: yeah... no, and I didn't state that the evolution of games is for the worse or that it's casuals fault. It's becoming more diverse, mainstream and I hope games could help as much people as possible to develop their full cognitive potential as in the The Lawnmower Man. So calm down and try not to make too many assumptions.
 
Consider this, as demographics for games change so does the average gamer and the taste for games. Developers are going to try to include as many people as possible, and that is good, that gives developers more money, people more options, and it's a win-win as in any free market. 
 
Despite of that, games were created by programmers, computer scientists, software engineers, etc. as they liked them, for people that would be similar to them in some sense. Now the group of gamers includes many more people, who are different. Considering the first group has high chances of being by a big difference over the average wrt IQ, what would happen if we add more and more people seeking a greater user base (revenue and other company stuff)? Try not to make assumptions but deductions. 
 
People are great for games and their industry, more people means more money and greater things done, for instance hardware, and games are good for people, or they should be. But games are changing, to some extent because of technical limitations that are overcome, as Little_Socrates points, to some extent because as any industry they try to reach a greater audience, and the average Joe is the average Joe.