The Dumbification of Gaming

Shamus Young

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The Dumbification of Gaming

Shamus wants us to stop fighting and get along.

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bjj hero

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The push for more sales really has made games easier and less complicated. It is the same reason instruction manuals have died a death. People don't want to have to read and learn in order to play so it has to get more simple.

RTFM used to be a staple reply online. I can't remember the last time I saw it though.
 

Traun

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You are correct(ahh...the level design of Heretic,Hexen...Dark Force), however I disagree on one of your points. I believe that the niche market is big enough to support developers, yes they aren't going to sell 10 million copies, but they can sell enough to be comfortable.
Example being Team ICO and CDProject Red - they are selling games for (relatively) small audience and they've been successful, same as the guys with Amnesia. There is a market for everyone, and I believe that sooner or later we will realize that. The market for games with "wide appeal" is over saturated, it's just a matter of time before publishers decide to be more flexible with their money.
 
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Feel this picture is appropriate:



Not sure what's sadder, the fact that FPS's have basically become hallways, or that I can run that DOOM map with my eyes closed...
 

Traun

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bjj hero said:
The push for more sales really has made games easier and less complicated. It is the same reason instruction manuals have died a death. People don't want to have to read and learn in order to play so it has to get more simple.
This is a falasity. Manuals have died because companies don't want to invest money in manuals, a game without an Ultima/Wizardry style manuals cost around 2-3$ less to the developer. Not to mention that an engaging tutorial is way better than any manual.

draythefingerless said:
I has an idea. Devs invented Hard difficulty level. They invented Very Hard difficulty level. use it.
Hard and Very Hard difficulty do nothing but crank up the numbers of health/ammo your opponents have, which doesn't really help since enemies fallow the same pattern. As long as you know what the A.I. is doing, and it doesn't take long to figure it out, you're in the safe. Challenge can come from more things than enemies.
 

FieryTrainwreck

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Playing through DA2, I really am struck dumb by how much they hold your hand these days. They honestly don't let you figure out ANYTHING for yourself anymore, which is a shame.

The side quests, for example: you pick up a random item of no particular importance - other than the nifty little arrow next to the name, indicating it is a quest item. You've now got a journal entry that tells you exactly where to deliver said item. It's also on your map. And when you happen upon the target NPC, he or she will have a giant arrow over his/her head.

This isn't an MMO. The quests aren't supposed to be an annoying race against the clock, mere obstacles between me and a max level character ready to participate in the "real" game. The quests are supposed to comprise the desired experience.

TLDR version: Damn you, WoW.
 

geizr

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The problem with trying to make a game with ever widening appeal is that very quickly it tends toward appealing to no one. It tries to do everything for everyone and ends up doing not enough of anything for anyone at all. I think it would be better for developers to have a diverse portfolio of games, where each game appeals to a specific market or demographic, as opposed to trying to make that single killer, one-size-fits-all game.

I would also throw out there that I think game developers need to get away from the triple-A game mentality. It's just not a sustainable model at this level. It was successful back in the early days of gaming because you would only get 1 or 2 out of the year. But, now with developers trying to make them like mana raining from heaven, the whole machinery of it all is overburdened and breaking down. The games are becoming too costly, the overall quality of the experience is degrading(because they're being rushed), and gamers just don't have the time and the money to invest in so many. You just can't mass-produce these things.
 

Shamus Young

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Eventually they will lay the blame at the feet of the (mostly PC based) casual crowd and their sense of entitlement.
What? That doesn't make sense. The casual crowd isn't mostly PC based, and there is no PC based casual crowd that gets the blame for games becoming easier. What are you on about.


Other than that, pretty solid point. No, not the "stop fighting and get along" point. The point where games becoming easier is a result of the success of the industry.

But good luck getting people to understand.
 
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FieryTrainwreck said:
Playing through DA2, I really am struck dumb by how much they hold your hand these days. They honestly don't let you figure out ANYTHING for yourself anymore, which is a shame.
Its most apparent(for me at least) with the items you give your companions. In the first, you had to guess who would like what. Or you would know what they liked, if you took the time to talk about them. You basically had to know stuff. Now its just "THIS ITEM IS FOR THIS COMPANION. GO THERE AND GIVE IT TO HIM/HER."

Just made me sad.
 

Worr Monger

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draythefingerless said:
I has an idea. Devs invented Hard difficulty level. They invented Very Hard difficulty level. use it.
This does work in some cases. But some games can be annoyingly hard if you crank it too far.

Like he said about New Vegas. I jumped into that game on hardcore cause I liked the mechanics and it created a greater challenge. To me it seems a lot of Hard & Very Hard modes do nothing but make enemies stronger, and make you die faster.... which seems like a lazy way to create a bigger challenge..
 

razorangelwings

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When it takes millions of dollars to produce a game, developers want to make sure that the game sells as well as possible. Thus most big-budget games have difficulties and complexities averaged down to the lowest denominator. I feel like the last, and thankfully growing, bastion of more involved gameplay and more risk-taking lies with smaller indie developers. They don't have millions to lose on a badly received game, and are able to work with smaller, more coordinated teams. Hopefully as the indie market grows and more talented people turn to indie gaming, classics in the same vein as System Shock, XCom, or Ultima Underworld will start appearing again.
 

Shamus Young

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I played PoP [ The Cell-shaded ] one but I didn't feel it was casual at all.

I enjoyed the narrative/scenery/dialogue/characters so much, I was simply having fun doing it all. Experiencing connection with Elika since she is the only soul left.

At any rate, I enjoy the depth and customization of the X3 franchise. I like both spectrum but sometimes, a bit tweaking and removing the fluff that isn't needed can be a good thing too!
 

Cipher1

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I would have to agree about Civilization 5 it didn't feel simpler or easier to play than Vanilla Civilization 4 just different but I guess the great thing about Civilization is if you dont like something about it just mod it XD
 

Traun

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poiumty said:
Eventually they will lay the blame at the feet of the (mostly PC based) casual crowd and their sense of entitlement.
What? That doesn't make sense. The casual crowd isn't mostly PC based, and there is no PC based casual crowd that gets the blame for games becoming easier. What are you on about.
He has a point. PC games haven't been mechanicly challenging...ever...Wizardry, Might and Magic and Ultima are hard if you don't know what to do, but as long as you figure it out you are fine.

On the other hand knowledge won't get you through Contra or Ninja Guiden.
 

BioTox

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This is what happened to WoW in the long run. They wanted more people to be able to enjoy MMORPGs but didn't want players to think they had to sink countless hours to get anywhere. They also managed to keep the 'hardcore' players entertained by making the very difficult raids and achievements for doing crazy things in those raids.

I am sure a lot of people are going to hate that I said WoW but you can't deny their numbers. They have figured something out and it is working.
 

Shamus Young

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Traun said:
poiumty said:
Eventually they will lay the blame at the feet of the (mostly PC based) casual crowd and their sense of entitlement.
What? That doesn't make sense. The casual crowd isn't mostly PC based, and there is no PC based casual crowd that gets the blame for games becoming easier. What are you on about.
He has a point. PC games haven't been mechanicly challenging...ever...Wizardry, Might and Magic and Ultima are hard if you don't know what to do, but as long as you figure it out you are fine.

On the other hand knowledge won't get you through Contra or Ninja Guiden.
First off, you're comparing RPGs to action games, which is just dumb.

Second, I never argued anything about how easy PC games are. I argued against the apparent "pc-based casual crowd" that gets the blame for games becoming easy, which is unheard of for me.
 

manythings

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bjj hero said:
The push for more sales really has made games easier and less complicated. It is the same reason instruction manuals have died a death. People don't want to have to read and learn in order to play so it has to get more simple.

RTFM used to be a staple reply online. I can't remember the last time I saw it though.
That extra credits episode about tutorials is right though; people DON'T want to read about a game, they bought it to play it. When it's done right the instruction manual is unnecessary.
 

Wolfram23

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Well, I mostly agree except for one thing. I'm not saying it's the "console's fault" BUT! The technical limitations of the platform do force certain changes in game design. Primarily less opennes. I don't have the link now but the Crytek CEO once said (it's on youtube somewhere) that to go to consoles they would have to greatly reduce the playable area because there's not enough system resources to stream in all the data for a large environment. A game like STALKER just wouldn't really work well on console.

Although I'd like to make a caveat to that! We do get some open games like GTA 4 and Red Dead and Fallout, etc. How? Well, they have to sacrifice some graphics quality. I think it's a great sacrifice to make for gameplay, but with the caveat that only so long as they include high detail settings for PC gamers.

Crysis 2 had to look good, so they were forced to sacrifice. Fallout NV definitely doesn't look remotely as nice as C2, but it's nice enough and has a great environment. Actually in my PC version with a few mods it probably looks about as good... HD textures, enhanced bump mapping, of course lots of AA. Yeah baby.
 

Slycne

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poiumty said:
Eventually they will lay the blame at the feet of the (mostly PC based) casual crowd and their sense of entitlement.
What? That doesn't make sense. The casual crowd isn't mostly PC based, and there is no PC based casual crowd that gets the blame for games becoming easier. What are you on about.
Where do you see the casual crowd coming from then if not the PC?

The PC will always have one of if not the biggest concentration of casual gamers because of its near nonexistent barrier of entry. Almost everyone already owns a PC, where as the simply act of needing to go out an purchase say a Wii puts a gap between interest and acquisition.