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Member since May 2011 · 2485 posts · Location: Brisbane
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Subject: It's time to advance the video games.
You know, I never really counted myself as a member of the 'video games are juvenile' contingent.  It has never bothered me that some games portrayed women in what some consider a less than ideal light.  It's never really upset me that some games are violent and occasionally someone gets his spine ripped out.  I'm nonplussed when a game is made with images and actions of some terrible war.

I don't care about these things 'cause I'm a thinking human being capable of forming my own goddamned opinions thanks very much.  I am an old man who has been playing games since childhood without ever, not even once, making a life decision based on something I saw in a game. 

Well, OK, except that one time I drove my car around a corner too fast after two hours of S.T.U.N. Runner and Daytona USA in the arcade.  Never except that one time.

But a lot of people do care and that's fine.  I don't think they're right and I don't care if they win or lose the fight, 'cause it's not important to me or the future of gaming.

What is important is the way the people making these games treat the players, not the avatars and characters within the game.  They don't matter, they're not real.  I matter.  You, gentle reader, you matter.

I have never been so incensed, so livid and righteously enraged, as I was playing Trials HD the other day, when it gave me an achievement award for completing a tutorial level that, quite honestly, I don't think is possible to fail.

This video is 20 minutes long and talks about MegaMan X, with a fair amount of time devoted to how good game design obviates the need for a tutorial.  It's hilarious, I suggest you watch it.

Modern games have tutorials so insipid that I can't be bothered to play them.  If a game cannot explain to me how the world works without stopping my game and telling me how it works, its designer has failed, and failed hard.  If a game rewards me for doing the very minimum possible, like starting a level, finding the A button or managing not to die on the first level, then it is treating me like an idiot and I am not appreciative.

Can you imagine a world where literature is made this way?  A novel that tells you what's going on and what people think would be terrible, it's the mark of amateurism.  Good books tell you how the characters react, leaving the reader to infer and create and imagine.  It should be the same with games.  Leave the player to explore and learn, stop telling him what to do all the time.

And yet here we are accepting that sort of rubbish in our games, standing by with our serious faces on, stroking our stubbly little bears and bitching about the tit content?

Game companies do not think much of you and me.  They're actively screwing us with DRM, treating us like idiots, and rewarding us for not turning their game off in disgust.  Bad design and the belief that your target audience is dimwitted is a far greater sin than twenty levels of scantily-clad women warriors jiggling across your screen.

We should be fighting for better games, my friends, but we should identify the real problems first.
This post was edited on 2012-06-08, 09:39 by NFG.
Edit reason: Rephrased the book comparison, thanks ketborad.
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