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Author Topic: Unforgivable Sins of Game Design  (Read 55717 times)

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Zaratustra

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Re: Unforgivable Sins of Game Design
« Reply #400 on: April 03, 2011, 05:23:58 PM »

been playing a lot of Wii games right now. Some common blunders I didn't expect from 22nd generation games made by the largest companies of the world:

What Public Is This Designed For Again

Epic Mickey has little text boxes that explain how to do things. Like, every 30 seconds. The experienced player will press A to close them and then do what he knew to do all along. The novice player will try to do the fucking move and fail because he doesn't know you need to fucking press A to close the text box AND THEN do the fucking move BECAUSE everyone in game development is an idiot.

I don't know what kind of gamer is supposed to enjoy NSMBWii's multiplayer mode. Because most of my experience with it was trying to carefully coax my girlfriend across sequences of jumps while trying not to die.

The Meter Of Pointlessness

Epic Mickey has two meters that measure your paint and thinner levels. This is important because you can only use them about four times and then have to recharge by hitting, well, PRETTY MUCH ANYTHING IN THE GAME. Why not give the player infinite ammo if you're going to hide full-recharge items every ten steps?

Forget Good Ideas

Remember how Donkey Kong Country wouldn't repeat the same kind of secret twice? And how single bananas were always a hint to some secret? Yeah, neither of those happens in DKC Returns. Instead we have...

Special Things Are All Around Us

DKC Returns - HEY let's add flowers that give an item with a stomp. And let's have like FIFTY of them per level. And VERY FEW OF THEM have secret items so the players have to stomp EVERY SINGLE FUCKING FLOWER IN THE GAME to find them all. Aren't we fucking clever.

STREAMLINE THIS FUCKER

Super Paper Mario and Bowser's Inside Story both try to improve a winning formula by removing equippable items. OH HEY SUDDENLY EVERY SIDE PATH IS COMPLETELY USELESS AND THE PLAYER HAS NO MOTIVATION TO DO ANYTHING BUT FINISH THE GAME AS QUICK AS POSSIBLE.

Troll The Player: Or, Designers With A Sense Of Humor Are The Worst Thing

Super Paper Mario has a set of three nondescript blocks at a dead end. To find out what you have to do, you need to go back to the village and talk to a NPC. This NPC won't give you the solution to the puzzle until you say "please" FIVE TIMES, by TYPING IT ON THE SCREEN KEYBOARD. Oh and the solution is that you have to headbutt the blocks, TWENTY TIMES, in a certain order that the NPC asks you to WRITE DOWN.

Luckily, the next dungeon is filled with copies of that NPC you can kill for a mere cost of a hundred experience points.

The Gimmick That Destroys All Game-Balancing Elements

Sonic And The Secret Rings has a few levels where the objective is "Don't die". It also has a few levels where your objective is to "Race the goddamn ghost", which -also- means you can't die as the ghost will run way ahead of you. It -also- has time attack levels where, if you die, your time doesn't reset. Now you have about 40% of the levels in the game where you can't win without going at them in a single run, destroying the whole purpose of checkpoints and whatever.

DKC Returns has exactly the same problem with mine cart levels and the like, where checkpoints suddenly stop appearing and it's pointless to have extra health as any hit is instant death.

Thad

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Re: Unforgivable Sins of Game Design
« Reply #401 on: April 03, 2011, 05:58:53 PM »

I don't know what kind of gamer is supposed to enjoy NSMBWii's multiplayer mode. Because most of my experience with it was trying to carefully coax my girlfriend across sequences of jumps while trying not to die.

The kind who's been playing Super Mario Bros for 25 years already.

All attempts to depict it as accessible for players of all skill levels are lies.

Kirby's Epic Yarn is pretty okay for newcomers, though.
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teg

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Re: Unforgivable Sins of Game Design
« Reply #402 on: April 04, 2011, 10:10:50 AM »

Speaking as somebody without much experience in 2D Super Mario; Yes, NSMBW is hard as balls. I was having severe difficulties by World 2. It's not at all a comfortable game if you aren't already well acquainted with the mechanics of 2D Mario.
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Bal

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Re: Unforgivable Sins of Game Design
« Reply #403 on: April 04, 2011, 02:19:09 PM »

Whippersnappers, lawn, etc.
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Bongo Bill

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Re: Unforgivable Sins of Game Design
« Reply #404 on: April 04, 2011, 02:55:18 PM »

I am unable to determine if NSMBW is any more difficult than any of the old 2D Mario platformers. But anyway, difficulty isn't the turn-off for newcomers, is it? I mean, as long as A 2 is jump and B 1 is run, the rest is practice.
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...but is it art?

Beat Bandit

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Re: Unforgivable Sins of Game Design
« Reply #405 on: April 04, 2011, 02:57:03 PM »

Newcomers don't like practice.
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A≤

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Re: Unforgivable Sins of Game Design
« Reply #406 on: April 04, 2011, 03:18:13 PM »

My problem with FF12 is that it doesn't have a journal feature, so I booted up for the first time in months and had no idea what I was doing. All I remember doing last was telling people that I was Basch von Rosenberg because why wouldn't you remember doing that?

Yeah, FF12 was a game that tried hard to adopt western PC RPG conventions but missed a few important ones.  I still think it was a very large step in the right direction.

Journals are good.  Load-screen recaps aren't bad either but are better-suited for games that aren't involved enough to have journals.

Wanted to poke at this point more by pointing out I just popped in Ar Tonelico 3 and discovered that the Inn, where you Save/Load your game, has an "Objective" function. You push it, and it flat out tells you where you're supposed to be going/what you're supposed to be doing.


This is a very good idea.
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McDohl

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Re: Unforgivable Sins of Game Design
« Reply #407 on: April 04, 2011, 03:44:14 PM »

Rogue Galaxy did that to disguise the NOW LOADING... screen.
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JDigital

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Re: Unforgivable Sins of Game Design
« Reply #408 on: April 04, 2011, 04:30:29 PM »

I was impressed by Mass Effect 2's tutorial, which has an NPC voice guide you through basic functions under the pretense of leading you (a valuable but wounded soldier in an unfamiliar location) to safety during an attack. It took me a while to realize this was the tutorial, because Mass Effect 2 takes the immersive RPG approach of integrating it into the main story.
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BŁge

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Re: Unforgivable Sins of Game Design
« Reply #409 on: April 04, 2011, 05:48:16 PM »

I liked how Morrowind's tutorial was a way to get you used to kleptomania.
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Cthulhu-chan

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Re: Unforgivable Sins of Game Design
« Reply #410 on: April 04, 2011, 08:23:36 PM »

Hey man, money doesn't grow on trees.  It sits on people's shelves.
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Lottel

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Re: Unforgivable Sins of Game Design
« Reply #411 on: April 04, 2011, 08:40:21 PM »

*glances over at towering backlog*

You can say that again.
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Ocksi

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Re: Unforgivable Sins of Game Design
« Reply #412 on: April 05, 2011, 02:54:39 AM »

So I fired up the ol' DS for the first time in ages to play the new Poker Monster or whatever that new game where you just try to trump you opponent is, and I realized I hadn't finished the FFIV remake.  So I loaded it in for long enough to realize I didn't remember where I stopped, ages ago.

Upon looking around the moon a bit and realizing I was heavily outmatched, I just turned it off.

And realized I miss loading screens that tell you what is happening!

(this may be the wrong thread, but damnit am I frustrated by being lost in a game I've played a zillion times)

[do these remakes have a "catch up here" NPC?]
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R^2

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Re: Unforgivable Sins of Game Design
« Reply #413 on: April 05, 2011, 05:06:30 AM »

You're on the moon. You're either ready to assault the Lunar Core, or when you go back down to the Blue Planet you get to do the Giant of Babel. Is Fusoya in your party? Could he be? Do you have Bahamut?
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Shinra

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Re: Unforgivable Sins of Game Design
« Reply #414 on: April 05, 2011, 07:59:44 AM »

So I fired up the ol' DS for the first time in ages to play the new Poker Monster or whatever that new game where you just try to trump you opponent is, and I realized I hadn't finished the FFIV remake.  So I loaded it in for long enough to realize I didn't remember where I stopped, ages ago.

Upon looking around the moon a bit and realizing I was heavily outmatched, I just turned it off.

And realized I miss loading screens that tell you what is happening!

(this may be the wrong thread, but damnit am I frustrated by being lost in a game I've played a zillion times)

[do these remakes have a "catch up here" NPC?]


This is what I loved about metal gear solid. It's the first game I've ever played that had an extremely lengthy narrative adaptation of what you've done in the game, that you could pull up on the extras menu at any point upon booting up the game. Haven't played in a week and can't figure out what you're doing? Well, the narrative will tell you you're running around trying to get key cards to change color, and suddenly you can remember why you stopped playing in the first place.

...Which reminds me, dear game developers, can we please stop with the forced backtracking forever? you're getting better at it but holy shit the playstation era was a clusterfuck of constantly having to double back
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Smiler

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Re: Unforgivable Sins of Game Design
« Reply #415 on: April 05, 2011, 08:47:46 AM »

Hey man Metal Gear Solid's backtracking is a necessary throwback to the other games in the series you can't just take it out.

 :bam:
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Brentai

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Re: Unforgivable Sins of Game Design
« Reply #416 on: April 05, 2011, 02:09:10 PM »

The problem with FF4 reminding you what the hell you're supposed to be doing on the moon is that it never really tells you in the first place.
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LaserBeing

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Re: Unforgivable Sins of Game Design
« Reply #417 on: April 05, 2011, 02:17:24 PM »

There are only like two areas on the moon anyway. Go in the one that kills you slightly less.
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Thad

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Re: Unforgivable Sins of Game Design
« Reply #418 on: April 05, 2011, 04:17:21 PM »

I am unable to determine if NSMBW is any more difficult than any of the old 2D Mario platformers.

Well, it is and it isn't.

A one-player play-through certainly isn't as hard as the original SMB.  Comparisons to 3 or World aren't really apples-to-apples but I'd ballpark it around the same level of difficulty, whatever the hell that actually means.  Hell, maybe easier -- Lord knows I died a lot fewer times than I did in those games, but that fact is also certainly attributable to the fact that I DID play the hell out of those games.

(On one occasion, I was playing with an old college roomie.  We were on an airship level and came to one of those screw things from SMB3 that you have to keep jumping on to move it forward or you'll fall off it and die.  I said, "You remember what those are, right?"  He said he did.  It turned out he didn't.)

In multiplayer, you've got to worry about running into other dudes, scrolling past other dudes, grabbing powerups from other dudes, and so on.  Multiplayer is, without question, harder than single-player for all these reasons, but it's also more fun.
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patito

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Re: Unforgivable Sins of Game Design
« Reply #419 on: April 05, 2011, 05:18:49 PM »

In Multiplayer you have to worry about picking powerups before your "friends" and jumping on your "friends" to reach higher altitudes. It's not really a cooperative game.
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