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Risking Alienation

posted by wilco64256 on - last edited - Viewed by 351 users

I keep seeing comments from Telltale about how they use the model they do for games to keep from alienating players, but the more I see that concept the more I wonder about it. It seems that the more effort you put into "not" alienating players, the more players start showing up who start to get bothered by things being simplified. Back to the Future didn't alienate me because it was too difficult, it alienated me because it was far too simple.

I'm of the opinion that the best games knowingly take that risk of alienating people and accept that they're not going to please everyone. Some of the best games I've played in the last year (Demon's Souls, Resonance of Fate, Final Fantasy XIII) turned off a lot of people because of their mechanics, but I absolutely loved them.

I wonder what the balance is between not alienating people and still making a game that people enjoy playing.

58 Comments - Linear Discussion: Classic Style
  • @antoniomsg said: This all reminds me of when Squaresoft made Final Fantasy Mystic Quest for the US market, thinking it would sell better because americans wanted dumber games. It didn't work and it's a pretty much forgotten game in the FF series.

    I understand today there's a pretty big market for casual gamers, specially after the advent of Wii and Cellphone games, but I think it's a big error to try to make adventure games for this market. It'd be a smarter move, IMO, to try to attract people who don't necessarilly play video games, but are inteligent and like to flex their brains solving puzzles. I really don't think intelligent people are becoming extinct.

    So, what I'm trying to say is that adventure games shouldn't aim the Wii Party market, who'll think it's all too complicated anyway, nor the modern console gamers, who finds this genre too slow-paced. They should attract a new audience by having really funny or thought-provoking stories, great dialogue, and good puzzles. And that means not dumbing down the experience.

    What needs to go so as not to push newcomers away is the big amounts of frustration some old games used to have, and again that won't be achieved by dumbing down things, because that'll just ruin the experience, but to have logical puzzles and a good hint system. If you're getting too frustrated, it's much better to have the game giving you hints, if you want to, than stop playing and go looking for a walkthrough.



    Completely agree. There is a stigma on games that most people aren't in it for the challenge, they're in it for fun, and fun in the game industry = simple to play, shallow story or no story at all. Unfortunately the game industry is significantly wrong about this. I believe most people who specifically play adventure games are in it for the challenge and they thoroughly enjoy that. Don't forget the satisfaction of FINALLY getting past that puzzle - something that you can't get with an easy game.

    Bring back the good old days - the days that made games so successful in the first place!

  • I'm not always particularly interested in being challenged .... sometimes I just want to enjoy the story or interacting with characters or the environment in a casual manner.

    Are my expectations any less valid than the next gamer? Am I now the lowest common denominator?

  • @Irishmile said:
    Are my expectations any less valid than the next gamer? Am I now the lowest common denominator?



    Yes. lol ;) j/k

  • @Lambonius said: Yes. lol ;) j/k



    Somehow.... I've always known CRY!

    I guess the point I was trying to make is how is any one person's opinion of what the games should be like any less valid than the next?

  • It is extremely hard (and it would be very costly) to please everyone. Developers want to please the largest number of people for the smallest cost to them. It just so happens that those of us who have been playing these games for a long time are pushed out as a result. It is unfortunate to say the least, but if Telltale were my company and they were using my money, I would probably agree with dumbing things down like they have. With that being said, I also think I would do my best with KQ given it already has quite a following. Many people have said that if they screw up KQ, they will be done with Telltale. They don't want to lose customers either. We will just have to wait it out to see how it goes. I will be buying KQ for sure and if it is bad, I wont buy any future episodes/seasons. If it is good, they will continue to get my money.

  • The point is where does the majority lie? In my experience it's always seemed to me that fans of the classic adventure genre always loved a challenge. Including me. I feel like I've wasted my money when I just fly through a game with zero effort at all. That doesn't just go for adventures either. FPS's as well. And RPG's. And anything. The only way I'd remotely forgive a game being so easy is if it had a LOT of content. Like a 12+ hour experience. You can't have it short and easy. I just don't understand that. That's barely an experience.

  • @Irishmile said: I'm not always particularly interested in being challenged .... sometimes I just want to enjoy the story or interacting with characters or the environment in a casual manner.


    I think I agree with how you feel, although I would phrase it slightly differently. I want to be part of a stimulating interactive story. The challenge does not have to be a logistical or intellectual one, and in fact, one day I hope many adventure games will be made that do not have puzzles in the current sense. I want the challenge to be on other levels and about something deeper.

    When I last played the original version of the first King's Quest, I was charmed by the love of nature evident in the game. You get a different message for drinking water on every screen featuring water. Grass is everywhere. Trees have variety. The mythical creatures and fairy tale characters are themselves like magic mirrors that are sufficient stimulation by themselves. The logistics of solving the intellectual puzzles took a back seat to appreciative absorption in a beautiful little world.

    Interactive stories can have the profound appeal of what Brian Moriarty calls the sublime arts, but the reliance on puzzles (defined as obstacles to the progression of the living experience of the story) may be holding them back.

  • @MusicallyInspired said: The point is where does the majority lie? In my experience it's always seemed to me that fans of the classic adventure genre always loved a challenge. Including me. I feel like I've wasted my money when I just fly through a game with zero effort at all. That doesn't just go for adventures either. FPS's as well. And RPG's. And anything. The only way I'd remotely forgive a game being so easy is if it had a LOT of content. Like a 12+ hour experience. You can't have it short and easy. I just don't understand that. That's barely an experience.



    MI I totally feel the same way about games that I have played. I also agree that the "fans of classic adventure genre always loved a challenge." The problem is that this group is small compared to the number of people who actually buy and play games. I think TT is trying so hard to bring in those who are not fans of classical adventure games that they are losing the original fanbase in the process. If they had any form of legitimate competition, who knows where they would stand. That is one of the reasons I am really looking forward to Himalaya's "Mage's Initiation." If sucessful, it could show people around here what games could and should be and it could turn some heads over here within Telltale.

  • @Irishmile said: I'm not always particularly interested in being challenged .... sometimes I just want to enjoy the story or interacting with characters or the environment in a casual manner.

    Are my expectations any less valid than the next gamer? Am I now the lowest common denominator?



    All you have to do is complete the game once and you know everything about how to complete the game. That's what multiple playthroughs are for.

    The game becomes easy once you complete it. Take King's Quest 6 for example. Back in the day, I first encountered KQ6 at my neighbor's house who had the game on diskette. It took us quite a long time indeed to finally complete the game, but we enjoyed it. Sometime shortly after that, I obtained KQ6CD, which I can beat in just a few short hours, even without skipping much voice dialog. Does that mean I get bored with the game now since it's lost its challenge? No; absolutely not. I can say, however, that the initial challenge is part of the fun. I want the opportunity to get stuck.

    I don't even like hint systems making things so easy that all I have to do is turn it up a few notches and let the game tell me what to do next. If I have to consult a walkthrough, then I have to consult a walkthrough. I don't see why that's so terrible to have to do if I get stuck.

    KQ games should be hard on the first playthrough. The old games made you think; made you explore; made you experiment. They made you "save early and save often." They made you try using everything you have with everything else you have and then everything else on the screen. Why is that such a bad thing? We're gamers. We adapt. King's Quest was fun because it was hard, not in spite of it.

    I understand what you're saying, Irishmile, but really... if you want the game to be easy so you can just enjoy the story, why can't you just play the game more than once? The second time is bound to be easy once you know what you're doing.


    EDIT: Come to think of it, I think the replayablility for Telltale's games would be a lot higher for me if they were compiled on disc in a fashion that forced me to start at the beginning of a season; that is to say, made to play as one continuous game. I know Telltale isn't going to do what I'm suggesting, but let me just say that I greatly disliked the fact that even KQ7 gives the opportunity to start a new game by skipping ahead to whatever chapter I want to start at. I want to be made to start the game at the beginning. I want to have to experience the whole story. For that matter, I also don't like having to watch 3 minutes worth of credits after every chapter's end when my intent is to play the entire game all the way through.

    Sure, Sam & Max are designed to be somewhat self-contained episodes, but ToMI is not. Sometimes I really do just want to play ToMI all the way through without seeing any credits until the very end, and I would pay full retail price for such a game. Seriously, I would pay $50 to buy it today if that was available.

  • Dont get me wrong I love being challenged too.... I just think its ok for some games to be a little more chill... that is why I am completely OK with BttF being a little easier...

    Kings Quest obviously I want to be a little harder... I think they know that.. I think that KQ will be more challenging than BttF.

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