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Forums - Nintendo Discussion - The problem with modern video games summed up in one review

Game design is becoming a lost art. I think that most game developers don't even know how to make a game that actually offers good exploration, hints, etc. Their "puzzles" hit you with the subtlety of a kick to the nuts.
One popular series even gave me the answer to a puzzle when I was thinking about how to figure it out. It went like this:

Me: Okay, now we're getting somewhere. Now let me figure this out. First I'm going to.....
Game: Climb here, hit the switch, follow the cable. Press X.
Me: WTF, game!? I could have figured that out if you gave me five more seconds
Game: You're welcome, bro. Don't think. Just marvel at my graphics and be happy. I'm trying to tell a story here.

I like a cinematic game as much as the next guy but I also like the feeling of satisfaction that comes from being challenged by a puzzle and figuring it out. That feeling is becoming harder and harder to come by these days.



Twitter: @d21lewis

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leatherhat said:

http://www.gamesradar.com/3ds/the-legend-of-zelda-ocarina-of-time-3d/review/the-legend-of-zelda-ocarina-of-time-3d-review/a-20110616202423556029/g-2010061610502183083

Ocarina is particularly bad about dropping excessively vague hints (or no hints at all) as to what to do next. There are a handful of extremely important items (say, the Fire Arrows, Lens of Truth or even Epona) that are buried under a layer of riddles that don’t quite add up. Back in the day, we expected games to be mysterious and obtuse; today, we’re all accustomed to mechanics that lead us from one place to the next, even if it’s on an almost subconscious level. This isn’t about hand-holding or over-tutorializing, which is a whole other problem with games today – it’s about fundamental design, and Ocarina has always had this issue, especially compared to Wind Waker or Twilight Princess. 

 This is the problem with modern games. No mystery. No Adventure. No discovery. Its pathetic, every game now a days has waypoints and other nonsense to drag you through the game. It pisses me off. There's never any easter  eggs or sidequests or things to find. Its just mission/cutscene/ waypoint to the next mission etc. All but a few games follow this formula- and those exceptions are far and away the best games of the gen. 

And here is a mainstream reviewer complaining about a game that has these elements (with plenty of hand holding via Saria and Navi). Casual to the max, and everything wrong with modern game design. 


There isn't a problem with people being mainstream or even casual.  What I would say a problem is, is if there is a need to feel that EVERY SINGLE GAME has to appeal to MILLIONS AND MILLIONS of players, because you have to recover your development costs, then you end up with an incredibly bland product that really doesn't appeal to anyone at all.  I wonder what the heck happened to searching the Internet for when you are stuck?  

A good game designs needs to be both accessible, for its intended audience, and deep, so that the individual ends up feeling it was worth their time.  If you try to make a game to please everyone, you will end up pleasing no one.



d21lewis said:
Game design is becoming a lost art. I think that most game developers don't even know how to make a game that actually offers good exploration, hints, etc. Their "puzzles" hit you with the subtlety of a kick to the nuts.
One popular series even gave me the answer to a puzzle when I was thinking about how to figure it out. It went like this:

Me: Okay, now we're getting somewhere. Now let me figure this out. First I'm going to.....
Game: Climb here, hit the switch, follow the cable. Press X.
Me: WTF, game!? I could have figured that out if you gave me five more seconds
Game: You're welcome, bro. Don't think. Just marvel at my graphics and be happy. I'm trying to tell a story here.

I like a cinematic game as much as the next guy but I also like the feeling of satisfaction that comes from being challenged by a puzzle and figuring it out. That feeling is becoming harder and harder to come by these days.


So sad but true.



The open world game without guiding can do the guiding by the difficultly of the areas.
If you go left, you can beat up some monsters and continue onto your way, but if you go right, all the monsters there can easily kill you but you can still go that way, if you wanted to.

There may be a greater reward if you took the difficult route, i.e. stronger weapon that you can use to dominate when you go back to the left route.

Risk. Rewards. Discovery. Etc...



I like games with hints as what or where your supossed to go next if you can't figure it out...and I also don't like overly challenging games because I play games to relax and have fun, not to tear my hair out because I can't get past a part or something like that.



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Ocarina of Time isn't even that vague. The next place to visit is marked with a blinking dot on the world map and you have both Navi and Saria among others to get clues about what to do next.



d21lewis said:
Game design is becoming a lost art. I think that most game developers don't even know how to make a game that actually offers good exploration, hints, etc. Their "puzzles" hit you with the subtlety of a kick to the nuts.
One popular series even gave me the answer to a puzzle when I was thinking about how to figure it out. It went like this:

Me: Okay, now we're getting somewhere. Now let me figure this out. First I'm going to.....
Game: Climb here, hit the switch, follow the cable. Press X.
Me: WTF, game!? I could have figured that out if you gave me five more seconds
Game: You're welcome, bro. Don't think. Just marvel at my graphics and be happy. I'm trying to tell a story here.

I like a cinematic game as much as the next guy but I also like the feeling of satisfaction that comes from being challenged by a puzzle and figuring it out. That feeling is becoming harder and harder to come by these days.

 

richardhutnik said:

There isn't a problem with people being mainstream or even casual.  What I would say a problem is, is if there is a need to feel that EVERY SINGLE GAME has to appeal to MILLIONS AND MILLIONS of players, because you have to recover your development costs, then you end up with an incredibly bland product that really doesn't appeal to anyone at all.  I wonder what the heck happened to searching the Internet for when you are stuck?  

A good game designs needs to be both accessible, for its intended audience, and deep, so that the individual ends up feeling it was worth their time.  If you try to make a game to please everyone, you will end up pleasing no one.

The two of you bring up some excellent points! At the end of the day a good puzzle or challenge is one that is tailored to it's audience. Even if you're a master game-designer, eventually what one player will find infuriatingly obtuse and unintuitive, another would feel is as obvious as a crowbar to the head, if their skill and experience levels are sufficiently different.

It is indeed unfortunate that as the audience for games has grown over the past decades, the amount of different experiences offered by the industry has not grown accordingly. As richardhutnik already said,  it's probably due to the fact that most games are becoming more and more expensive to produce, and the financial investment is growing faster than the audience. This leads directly to less games, as more resources have to be dedicated to a single game, and the bigger the investment is, the less uncertainty the publisher is willing to risk. Or in other words, the higher the cost, the more people the publisher has to reach in order to break even.

We need to remember this the next time we feel like crying out for better graphics or more voice-acting.

If a game could break even at a thousand sales, developers could afford to provide experiences so personal that they resonate with no more than a few thousand people.
Think about how awesome that would be!



Until you've played it, every game is a system seller!

the original trolls

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mini-games on consoles, cinematic games on handhelds, what's next? GameBoy IMAX?

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Conegamer said:
Agreed to the max. Games today are too easy, too short, and too linear.

Ocarina Of Time remains one of the greatest games even now because of its difficulty. It gives you an open world, and that's what you get. It's up to you where you want to go, mostly. Sure, it gives you a clue and eventually you're forced down one path, but it never felt linear. More games should be like this. Not like COD clones (FFXIII...)


You seriously need to play Elder Scrolls.

each time someone says something similar to the bolded, i wonder " hey why are these people not played Elder Scrolls yet?" , Elder scrolls has that and more, Zelda actually doesn't have an open world, in the same sense as Elder Scrolls games.



PullusPardus said:
Conegamer said:
Agreed to the max. Games today are too easy, too short, and too linear.

Ocarina Of Time remains one of the greatest games even now because of its difficulty. It gives you an open world, and that's what you get. It's up to you where you want to go, mostly. Sure, it gives you a clue and eventually you're forced down one path, but it never felt linear. More games should be like this. Not like COD clones (FFXIII...)


You seriously need to play Elder Scrolls.

each time someone says something similar to the bolded, i wonder " hey why are these people not played Elder Scrolls yet?" , Elder scrolls has that and more, Zelda actually doesn't have an open world, in the same sense as Elder Scrolls games.

While I agree that fallout and elder scrolls are interesting series. The overall tone of games these days is that you need a direction or else the game sucks. I would say 80-90% of gaming today is holding hands, and the challenge only comes into play if you change the setting to a harder setting. Games are pretty much become as linear as platformers (Platformers have an excuse.....other series do not). 

I could make my rant into paragraphs (for each sentence), but really let just keep the points simple. 



 

Can I get a hell yeah for Metroid Prime...