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Avoiding Wasted Time With Prince of Persia

Soulskill posted more than 5 years ago | from the getting-to-the-good-stuff dept.

Input Devices 507

Zonk pointed out an interesting video presentation by Shamus Young on the importance of the new Prince of Persia, calling it the most innovative game of 2008. Young brings up the fact that many of today's games punish failure by wasting the player's time; being sent back to a check point, the beginning of a level, or sometimes even further. This cuts into the amount of time players have to enjoy the meat of the game — the current challenge they have to overcome. Unfortunately, as Young notes, modern controllers are designed for players who have been gaming since they were kids, and have evolved to be more complicated to operate than an automobile. The combination of these factors therefore limits or prevents the interest of new players; a problem Prince of Persia has addressed well through intuitive controls and the lack of punitive time sinks.

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missing the point (2, Interesting)

johncandale (1430587) | more than 5 years ago | (#26265947)

that is the worst feature, puts the game on easy mode, plus PC games have had this forever, it's called the quick save button.

Re:missing the point (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26265973)

which in most cases doesnt save. e.g. GTA 4 - i lost the yellow ferrari with the scizzor doors after the bernie mission end. couldnt get it back even with save game since he calls you randomly after the last mission.
save games dont work and end up punishing the player needlessly.
pop is a far better system.

Re:missing the point (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26266083)

Isn't what they implemented basically what was the biggest complaint against Bioshock, that dying is more of a minor inconvenience than anything else?

Re:missing the point (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26266199)

I don't play Prince of Persia, but here's my story:

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But back on topic, Ubisoft sucks ass.

Re:missing the point (-1, Offtopic)

Tatsh (893946) | more than 5 years ago | (#26266501)

Agreed.

Re:missing the point (4, Funny)

Anthony_Cargile (1336739) | more than 5 years ago | (#26266301)

pop is a far better system.

Although I find it completely useless without push, personally.

Re:missing the point (1)

amnezick (1253408) | more than 5 years ago | (#26266543)

I think 'pop' is used extensively in this type of memory that doesn't need 'push':
http://www.scribd.com/doc/8189749/Signetics-Fully-Encoded-9046-x-N-Random-Access-WriteOnlyMemory [scribd.com]

Re:missing the point (1)

GigaplexNZ (1233886) | more than 5 years ago | (#26266623)

You got that backwards. That memory has push but no pop.

Re:missing the point (4, Insightful)

Mystery00 (1100379) | more than 5 years ago | (#26265995)

If you're going to hit the quicksave button all the time, then you might as well make it automatic, like they have done here.

The game isn't easy because of this, it's less frustrating. Forcing the player to restarting huge segments at the smallest error is a very cheap way to make something "difficult".

Re:missing the point (5, Insightful)

sortius_nod (1080919) | more than 5 years ago | (#26266167)

Agreed. While Yhatzee's Zero Punctuation may be seen as somewhat abrasive, he does hit the nail on the head when reveiwing games that seem to lack this feature.

I know myself, when I play a game for a bit of fun, I want to do just that... have fun. Not be PUNISHED for a simple error, or not knowing the level.

I reccomend anyone who enjoys gaming to watch his reviews. They are abrasive, but they are also down to earth. He pretty much spells out what really sucks about modern gaming (and, yes, he does praise what's right).

Sure in MMOs and the likes you are "punished" at times, but it's not for not knowing, it's for not working together. Solo, I don't want to be punished by some want-to-be benevolent programmer with a sadistic nature, I want to have fun.

Re:missing the point (4, Insightful)

i.of.the.storm (907783) | more than 5 years ago | (#26266387)

Abrasive I will agree with, and they are also enjoyable and entertaining, but down to earth is not something Yahtzee exudes. If anything he's got one of the hugest egos of any reviewer. He does point out a lot of things that suck about modern gaming, but it seems like his reviews are more intended to be negative for the sake of being negative rather than making a decent review. I wouldn't recommend Yahtzee to find out whether a game is good, but more to find out the flaws in a game, and check other reviews to find out whether you should buy the game.

Re:missing the point (2, Interesting)

pelrun (25021) | more than 5 years ago | (#26266653)

And there's a reason for that - Yahtzee is much, much more entertaining when he's being critical, and so whilst he occasionally gives positive reviews (like Psychonauts), most of the time he gives the audience what it wants.

I disagree that Yahtzee's reviews aren't a good measure of whether a game is purchase-worthy; if a game is fun despite the flaws he delights in pointing out then he will make that very clear.

Re:missing the point (1)

Saint Gerbil (1155665) | more than 5 years ago | (#26266517)

While I agree it is annoying when it effectivly chucks you back about 30 minutes I'm finding myself not worrying about dying at all.

ie light seed hovering in the distance I can :
A: figure out how to get to it and back safely.
B: hurl myself off the cliff knowing I'm going to be saved.

While A is always an option most of the time I can't be bothered.
Elika must a "saved" me about 1000 times by now.

Yes I wont get that chevo like that I know.

Re:missing the point (1, Insightful)

jounihat (884616) | more than 5 years ago | (#26266541)

One of the main points in video games for me is the excitement and fear of failing. For example, System Shock 2 and Jagged Alliance 2 were both really good games for me, because they punished the player for too many saves (by adjusting the amount of stuff the enemies left behind). The constant fear that I have to play the whole stage again if I die makes the winning also much more satisfying. Another thing is that when you play the stage again, you can do everything better than the last time and feel more advanced. That is the case in the Mega Man series. Of course this means that the stages must have replay value (which was not the case in the last boss of Shadow of Colossus).

Re:missing the point (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26266005)

The guy doesn't sound like a very experienced gamer or else he'd know that tons of games have had this "innovative" play mechanic, not to mention quicksave/quickload ability.

Re:missing the point (4, Interesting)

grumbel (592662) | more than 5 years ago | (#26266215)

What Prince of Persia does different is that it in cooperates its reset mechanic into the game world. In other games you die, then see a game over screen, then restart the game at the last save point, in Prince of Persia on the other side you simply can't die, there is no game over screen, its all handled fluently without interruption in the game.

Re:missing the point (1)

GigaplexNZ (1233886) | more than 5 years ago | (#26266631)

Sounds a lot like what I saw of Far Cry 2. Some tough dude comes in and saves you. If he is so tough, why can't he just win the damned game for you?

Re:missing the point (4, Interesting)

erroneus (253617) | more than 5 years ago | (#26266245)

He SAID he wasn't an experienced gamer and that is precisely what qualifies him to make the statements he has made.

He challenges the concept of how games are played and analyses the psychology of gaming. He supposes that a great deal of it is likely stuff that was carried over from more simple times when game systems were less complex.

He also never claims that Prince of Persia was the ONLY one doing what he believes is unique and/or innovative. What he claims is that Prince of Persia is a very good example of a departure from what quite often puts off new gamers to the scene. And I have to agree completely.

I recall my first experience with Halo3. I consider myself to be a somewhat experienced gamer though I no longer keep up with the latest anything. I was playing against my son who had been playing it for quite some time and was already very adept at it. I had played Halo2 and was reasonably comfortable with the game. However Halo3 is a different game and has some different features and different tools and weapons and of course different maps. These differences represent a learning curve. My 17 year old son was killing me left and right and I asked him to take it easier on me but he refused (though he said he would). I knew nothing of where to find any given weapon on this arena of this new game. I knew nothing of how to use many of the new tools and weapons. I was defenseless because I had no base knowledge of the environment or how to use it. This made playing with him significantly more frustrating than it needed to be. I played with my son for as long as I did attempting to learn but was effectively prevented even from learning due to the punishing nature of the game... get killed, lose everything, reset to original spawn location, meanwhile other players keep what they had, their location and everything. My response to him was to quit. After trying to play with him for at least 30 minutes, I just quit and told him I would never play against him ever again because he was brutal, unkind, and deceitful. But how many other gamers have this sort of experience with games or other gamers? Overcoming challenges, having some learning curve and some degree of difficulty is indeed part of what gaming is about...part of it...but by no means is it ALL of it. But how much is too much and for whom?

The psychology of gaming needs further analysis. Some games compensate by running you through tutorials and lessons to get you up to speed. I do not recall this in Halo3 -- my first experience with it put me off considerably. I may try again at some point in the future, but for me, I prefer games I can play alone where my only foe is the game itself because even though there are variations in complexities and learning curves and that sort of thing, at least I am granted opportunities to learn that are generally acceptable by me. But I can most certainly identify with the author's perspective on the matter and how some people have a lower tolerance for things that are too difficult to overcome and punish the player too much for failure.

Punishment. What an interesting choice of words. It brings new meaning to the old word itself and also adds new meaning to understanding gaming psychology and philosophy. Punishment can drive people to overcome or it can drive people away. I suppose the key is to moderate the degree of punishment so that it doesn't cross the line to driving people away.

Re:missing the point (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26266411)

You think you are the first man in history to be humiliated by his kid on a computer game? And because of this all modern computer games are fundamentally wrong? Shit, my dad could have told you that in 1985.

Sometime in the next decade I expect all games that are not guitar hero to be photo realistic 3D versions of "Space Ace" or "Dragon's Lair". Complete with an auto play option so "gamers" don't get upset by the hard part of having to play the game.

Re:missing the point (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26266429)

Inexperienced gamers have no place to speak about gaming since they have no prior base of knowledge to speak upon. Sorry, but that's like a janitor trying to give a lecture on astrophysics.

Secondly, getting killed a lot in a game is what drives people to become better. It certainly did for me. I used to play UT often and at first I was horrible. It seemed every corner I turned I would end up fragged. Driven by a desire to survive, I crafted techniques for staying alive and assaulting other players. Now I'm probably as good of a UT player as anyone else. It takes time and some level of dedication, but you'll slowly improve.

What is the point of a game where you can't die? Imagine playing your son at Halo 3, both of you shooting each other endlessly and nobody dies. What kind of game is that?

Re:missing the point (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26266477)

lawl, sore loser. Against a kid. Your son, none-the-less. Way to cause him troubles by calling him "brutal, deceitful and unkind" over a fucking game.

Re:missing the point (1)

Reikk (534266) | more than 5 years ago | (#26266505)

If you want to avoid wasting time, don't play video games

The secret (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26265953)

Don't buy it and don't play video games if you don't want to waste time.

Had to be said.

Re:The secret (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26266049)

This will inevitably be modded troll, but it is all too often that people forget that video games, like movies and books, are essentially toys/time wasters.

Re:The secret (5, Insightful)

Aceticon (140883) | more than 5 years ago | (#26266231)

This will inevitably be modded troll, but it is all too often that people forget that video games, like movies and books, are essentially toys/time wasters.

Not "time wasting" but instead "entertaining". Different things.

If one wants to "waste time" there are plenty of ways of doing it which are not entertaining (for example: count to 1 million in your head)

The difference between entertainment and pure time wasting is that the first is supposed to be enjoyable.

Which brings us around to the point that games (and videos and books) should be enjoyable (fun). Clearly people are using some kind of criteria to choose the games, movies and books they spend time with (otherwise why would some be great successes and others flops) and it seems logical that the main criteria would be enjoyment.

Re:The secret (1)

Myopic (18616) | more than 5 years ago | (#26266313)

Yeah. I agree with you. I think the waste of time is all the crap we do during the day that *isn't* fun.

Re:The secret (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26266437)

I find counting to 1 million in my head entertaining and enjoyable you insensitive clod!

Re:The secret (1)

Anthony_Cargile (1336739) | more than 5 years ago | (#26266317)

...movies and books, are essentially toys/time wasters

Books? Really? So reading The C Programming Language and Programming Perl were both complete wastes of precious time? My definition of wasting time would be to attempt to write useful (i.e. precious time saving) C or Perl code without having read those books or an equivalent reference.

That said, compile and run my signature (#including stdio.h, conio.h, and replacing PAUSE with main) and do not reply until you have continued.

Hint: use the 'any' key on your keyboard

Re:The secret (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26266385)

So reading The C Programming Language and Programming Perl were both complete wastes of precious time?

I'd answer that, but you seem to be having so much fun...

Re:The secret (1)

dangitman (862676) | more than 5 years ago | (#26266069)

I dunno, I play games to have fun or otherwise get enjoyment. If your definition of gaming is nothing but passing time, then I guess Desert Bus is the only game you'd ever need to own.

Punish failure? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26265957)

Young brings up the fact that many of today's games punish failure by wasting the player's time

I hear the Playstation 4 implements dual electric shock controllers, for more direct punishment of failure.

Braid (1)

Propagandhi (570791) | more than 5 years ago | (#26265965)

Braid got rid of (most) of the save/load BS. Still had to occasionally reload a room when the level had tricked you thoroughly.

Braid is also better for casuals, imho. Fewer dimensions (har har har harh ahrharharhahrahrhar) and other graphical distractions. A little patience was the only requirement, something I've found older folks (esp. former(?) parents) have in spades.

Re:Braid (4, Interesting)

theantipop (803016) | more than 5 years ago | (#26266283)

Well, what made Braid one of the best games of 2008 was the fact that it continually expanded the scope of this feature in order to never allow it to be used for exactly the same purpose level by level.

I saw it as one of the most inspired uses of current generation of hardware (speed of caching and disk storage). The insinuation that it was "for the casuals" is off-base imo because even I, an extremely seasoned gamer was enthralled by the mechanics which pushed me to expand my way of thinking about games and level design (and story telling) in order to finish.

If you can't fail, why bother playing? (5, Insightful)

Azarael (896715) | more than 5 years ago | (#26265975)

I haven't played the game, but that said, how much of the heart of great games was the thrill of just squeaking by? If you know that there isn't any way to loose, what you're left with is a empty shell. Nice to look at, and shows you some neat tricks, but nothing else later. Putting training wheels on a game isn't the future, it's just a gimmick to try and make a bland game that offends no one, and doesn't really try to solve the problem of playability. My 2c.

Monkey Island (5, Insightful)

magerquark.de (466363) | more than 5 years ago | (#26266015)

In Monkey Island, you could never die either. But it was still a lot of fun to play!

Re:Monkey Island (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26266057)

Actually... [youtube.com]

(I am expecting to be lynched by an army of Monkey Island 1+2 purists any minute now)

Re:Monkey Island (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26266093)

Actually there was a way to die in the first game, but you really had to suck (or do it intentionally). Early in the game guybrush makes claims about being able to hold his breath for 10 minutes. When you are thrown in the water tied to the idol you have 10 minutes to figure out the very easy puzzle before you drown and all your actions turn into float, bob, etc.

Re:Monkey Island (2, Interesting)

johannesg (664142) | more than 5 years ago | (#26266629)

In Monkey Island, you could never die either. But it was still a lot of fun to play!

Monkey Island was all about the puzzles, and dying just distracted from that. Even the combat was a hilarious puzzle game, nothing to do with arcade skills.

PoP has arcade-style fighting and platforming, and the thrill there comes at least in part from avoiding death. I agree with earlier posters: where is the sense of achievement without that threat?

Re:If you can't fail, why bother playing? (2, Insightful)

nithinsujir (592733) | more than 5 years ago | (#26266073)

you can still fall and you still need to complete the task. the difference is that you don't have to replay the last 5 minutes of running back to the failed challenge.

Re:If you can't fail, why bother playing? (4, Funny)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 5 years ago | (#26266117)

I know what you mean, everything is frustratingly easy these days. Back in the days of Tron, if your character died, YOU DIED*. Just squeaking by was a real adrenaline rush! Not like the pampered kids these days, with their save points and what not. Could at least build a tazer into the controller or something as punishment.

*At least, that's how it was in the 80s documentary of the same name I saw.

Re:If you can't fail, why bother playing? (1)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 5 years ago | (#26266151)

If you watch the video all the way through, it makes a good point. Besides the wii, one of the best selling platforms of all time is the gameboy of the various generations, all the way back to the original.

It's hasn't ever really gotten more complicated (two more buttons added just this generation with the DS and no changes in the previous gens since the original) and I would argue the stylus actually makes it easier. Contrast this or the Wii controller with the ever more complicated Playstation controllers. I suppose they are nice for the hard core types that love their Xbox/PS3 and argue about graphics, but I just don't feel like I've been competent at wielding those things since 3d shooter became popular, perhaps why I went to flash games with a keyboard lately.

The point about the punishment is good as well, although not novel. Perhaps just resurrected. I remember games that just start you in the same room again if you died and save points many games have just seem to be a manual version of what he is talking about. Flash Games like Robokill have short punitive strokes, taking you back 2 rooms or so usually with every death, having to reconquer them that actually acts as a strategic challenge to the whole thing since you have limited resources.

Re:If you can't fail, why bother playing? (1)

Paltin (983254) | more than 5 years ago | (#26266195)

There are games that are so breathtaking that the gameplay is almost secondary.

Did you ever play Shadow of the Colossus? The game was a pleasure in every way--- and wasn't very difficult. But that didn't matter, because the game was so beautiful and majestic that it was fun just to watch it be played.

If you want a "HARD" game, you can go play nethack. But hard isn't the end all and be all of gaming. The end all is entertainment--- and it sounds like they managed to make their game more entertaining by taking parts out that aren't fun.

Re:If you can't fail, why bother playing? (1)

kaizokuace (1082079) | more than 5 years ago | (#26266339)

SotC wasn't that easy. But is was pretty. The views and sounds pulled you into the world, which is very refreshing in the game world. SotC was an experiment though. I would like to see what they learned in making that game and incorporate it into other games. It really was boss battle: the game. If I had to climb all over a titan in the Zelda games it would be pretty awesome.

Re:If you can't fail, why bother playing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26266459)

It's been about a year since I've played it, but I'm pretty sure I remember some of the bosses in Twilight Princess being pretty massive.

Re:If you can't fail, why bother playing? (4, Insightful)

Draek (916851) | more than 5 years ago | (#26266129)

Because "not losing" isn't the same as "winning" and *that* still takes effort.

Just look at Lucasarts' adventure games for example, like Full Throttle or as the sibling post mentioned, Monkey Island. Impossible to lose there, yet they're considered classics today and rightfully so.

Re:If you can't fail, why bother playing? (1)

Azarael (896715) | more than 5 years ago | (#26266157)

So were the original X-Wing and Tie Fighter games. Either way, you can make a great game but at the end of the day there has to be a hook to keep you engaged. You can do this with a really compelling story or just fun game play. I just think that making it so it's harder to die doesn't really tackle the real problem i.e. hitting the sweet-spot difficulty wise, or coming up with something new or fun.

Re:If you can't fail, why bother playing? (4, Insightful)

grumbel (592662) | more than 5 years ago | (#26266257)

The point is not about making games easy, but about not forcing you to replay the same shit over and over again when you die. The whole reason why hard games can be annoying is because you have to play the *easy* parts of them a trillion times to reach the hard ones, then you die quickly and repeat the easy parts again. The fun part is overcoming the hard part and thats what a game needs to focus on instead of punishing the player for failure.

Re:If you can't fail, why bother playing? (1)

blahplusplus (757119) | more than 5 years ago | (#26266581)

"The fun part is overcoming the hard part and thats what a game needs to focus on instead of punishing the player for failure."

I understand the frustration of repeating long stretches of level (i.e. no automatic saved waypoints from which to restart in case of death throughout a level).

But personally I think modern gamers are diluting gaming. You mind as well just take all the risk out of the game, and turn on the invincibility cheatcode. That's exactly what cheat codes were for back in the day - to give the people that absolutely hate challenge a way to play through the game without fear of punishment.

It seems to me they mind as well just make every game risk-less and make your character invincible going by modern gaming trends. I can't be the only one that's losing interest in modern games since there's no risk and the gameplay has been simplified so much that they hollow out what made gaming great to begin with.

Re:If you can't fail, why bother playing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26266305)

Rubber tree!

Re:If you can't fail, why bother playing? (1)

slimshadow (231789) | more than 5 years ago | (#26266133)

What the video explains is that the 'new' mechanic of not punishing the player for failure, opens up a new market of potential gamers who would otherwise shy away from the learning curve of the 100-button controllers.

Re:If you can't fail, why bother playing? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26266239)

I guess people just want instant gratification and games that are almost as passive as watching movies. If all you have to do is press right and you'll eventually win - without the possibility of failure - you might as well watch a movie and turn off your brain.

So games are becoming like TV. Yay for brain-dead consumers.

Re:If you can't fail, why bother playing? (1)

Narishma (822073) | more than 5 years ago | (#26266667)

The fact that you can't lose doesn't mean that you will automatically win.

Re:If you can't fail, why bother playing? (2, Insightful)

enryonaku (1441337) | more than 5 years ago | (#26266295)

I just started playing grand theft auto 4. The worst part of the game is exactly what the video describes -- when I get killed in a shootout, I have to go back to the start, waste a bunch of time getting across the city, only to risk more time wasting.

Why not just send me back to the start of the fight so I can give it another shot? Going across the city again is

- not fun
- doesn't teach me anything! (read: taking the tedium out doesn't make it "training wheels")

On the other hand (even if it is less work) succeeding in a shootout is fun. If this is what call a "neat trick," then I would say it's the neat tricks that are fun.

The goal of any game designer should be to make a game challenging but not tedious. Most games like GTA4 are tedious because game designers are simply not skilled -- it requires less skill to make a game challenging by simply making it more tedious.

Bad game designers ratchet up the tedium. Great game designers are able to find the sweet spot.

(Honestly, it almost feels like most games cater to obsessive compulsive traits.)

Re:If you can't fail, why bother playing? (1)

Hadlock (143607) | more than 5 years ago | (#26266535)

GTA4 is specifically a time wasting game, just like the sims or WoW. You can't really compare it to worthwhile games. This is like comparing a Schwartenager movie to a Kubric film they're totally different classes of the same medium.

Re:If you can't fail, why bother playing? (1)

CoolGuySteve (264277) | more than 5 years ago | (#26266659)

I agree with you completely about GTA 4. The worst part is that when you're driving back to a mission you've done twice before with an NPC, he'll say something along the lines of "Let's just listen to the radio" instead of repeating the mission dialogue again.

This is insane. It's an acknowledgement from Rockstar that they know there's tedium in having to repeat the same motions over and over again but they do nothing about it.

Re:If you can't fail, why bother playing? (5, Informative)

kreyg (103130) | more than 5 years ago | (#26266309)

People keep complaining about this, and having finished the game, I think they should just shut up and play the game. Let's put this simply: "Can't die" == "Auto-restore to the last safe point" You can fail, exactly the same as you would have with a death mechanic. Over and over and over until you get it right. You just don't have to quicksave/quickload every time you screw it up, and get a nice animation instead. It's a minor semantic/presentation difference, and everyone bitches like it's the end of the world.

Re:If you can't fail, why bother playing? (1)

kaizokuace (1082079) | more than 5 years ago | (#26266329)

I like what Mirror's Edge did about this. When you die you start over a little ways back, at the beginning of a section. But sections were short and timed so you could build up speed. Getting back into the game play right away without the punishment of waiting made it feel fun and exciting. You also had less fear of falling off the building which is great because then you are living like a runner. The characters in the game don't fear falling because they do this everyday. If us normal people were faced with the situation in real life most wouldn't jump off a building. Even if they knew they could make it. The risk is high in real life. In the game its more about getting thru the courses and not about having to be careful.

Re:If you can't fail, why bother playing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26266351)

Having played PoP just after having finished the kinda bleh Tomb Raider Underworld, I instantly drew comparisons. Both involve lots of climbing, jumping, and timing. The difference between the two games is that in Tomb Raider, when I missed a step, I tumbled to my death. Poor Lara died many many times, only to be placed at the last autosave, often just a few steps behind where I was. The difference between this and Prince of Persia? Instead of dying, I was placed a few steps back (often slightly closer to where I made the mistake) but without having died.

I hadn't expected this the first couple times it happened, and I'll admit I wasn't sold initially. But after playing much more, it actually helps keep the suspension of disbelief, reduces or eliminates reload times, and emphasizes story and the fun of controlling the acrobatic character.

In my experience, this really isn't that different from most modern games, from Call of Duty to to Bioshock to Guild Wars. The only difference is they added a plausible reason why you don't die permanently, which is missing in many other games, and how many steps the game penalizes you for making a mistake (generally predetermined by autosave points).

Re:If you can't fail, why bother playing? (4, Insightful)

vux984 (928602) | more than 5 years ago | (#26266383)

I haven't played the game, but that said, how much of the heart of great games was the thrill of just squeaking by? If you know that there isn't any way to loose, what you're left with is a empty shell.

I liken it to mountain biking. When I run a trail and have trouble with a section, I back up a bit and repeat the section. I don't restart the entire 10km trail. That would be stupid. Just getting to the end is satisfying.

Eventually I master a trail, and can do a clean pass, and that's even more satisfying. But I would NEVER reach that point, if, after every time I had to put a foot down, I had to go back and restart the entire trail.

Nice to look at, and shows you some neat tricks, but nothing else later.

Huh?

Putting training wheels on a game isn't the future, it's just a gimmick to try and make a bland game that offends no one, and doesn't really try to solve the problem of playability. My 2c.

Realizing that most people who want to play a game aren't aiming to prove they can do a flawless run IS the future. If they like the game enough, and want to do a flawless run, by all means, have that as one of the challenges or achievements or whatever, and those people that can and want to do that will, hell, give them a bonus cutscene or dialog or whatever even... but there is no reason for that to be how one has to play the game.

Nobody normal puts up with that kind of nonsense in anything else they do, whether its biking, snowboarding, skiing, fishing ... hell even programming... I mean can you imagine deciding to kill an afternoon writing a few perl scripts where you would delete your project and start from scratch every time you found a bug, under the assumption that eventually you'd get good enough that you'd be able to write it flawlessly?

I don't know anyone who is that "hardcore". In fact I wouldn't call that person "hardcore"... I'd just call him stupid. ;)

Parent is not insightful, just missed the point (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26266407)

You can still *fail*, it's just that the penalty of failing is only that you have to repeat the specific obstacle you failed at - not the two / five / ten / whatever minutes before it that you've already mastered and done over, and over, and over.

I came in here to mock the video too, except that I watched it - and couldn't help but find myself agreeing with it.

The video is insightful. The parent is not. I kind of get the feeling he/she came in to comment without actually watching it first.

Re:If you can't fail, why bother playing? (1)

uhlume (597871) | more than 5 years ago | (#26266425)

I'm sure I could find a kinder way to phrase this if I cared to try, but don't be fucking retarded.

Saving my game right before I plunge into a room full of enemies with limited cover and even more limited ammo doesn't prevent me from dying once, twice, a hundred times before I develop a winning strategy. It doesn't mean that I win just for showing up. It does mean I get to focus my effort on overcoming the challenge at hand, rather than being forced to replay some arbitrary chunk of the game over and over again just to get to the bit that overwhelmed me. (Why should the penalty for failure be endless tedium? That sounds too much like real life to qualify as entertainment.)

Re:If you can't fail, why bother playing? (1)

Smoke2Joints (915787) | more than 5 years ago | (#26266463)

hi, have you ever played the Myst series? no? id suggest you do so, so that the next you feel compelled to make a comment on this topic, you have a much greater understanding of games that do not need death to be enjoyable.

Avoiding wasted time with a computer game... (1)

captainpanic (1173915) | more than 5 years ago | (#26266033)

Isn't wasting time the whole point of playing a computer game? It's not a bad thing to waste time sometimes. If you don't want to waste time, I suggest to press "quit".

Re:Avoiding wasted time with a computer game... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26266219)

Isn't wasting time the whole point of playing a computer game? It's not a bad thing to waste time sometimes. If you don't want to waste time, I suggest to press "quit".

It's never about wasting time. It's about enjoying time. Only when you're frustrated by "punitive time sinks" are you actually wasting time.

I played the game, and I enjoyed every minute of it (which wasn't that short, actually.) The whole debate stems, I think, from the spacing of challenges. You can play for 10 minutes without any difficulty, but then you will find a place so difficult you are stopped. You will then have to repeat that 10 minutes of boring easiness to get back to that hard part for your next attempt. This game innovates by saying, "we know you want to enjoy the flow of the game, and we'd rather not waste your time repeating exercises that don't challenge you; have another go at the the things that do."

Re:Avoiding wasted time with a computer game... (2, Insightful)

Wildclaw (15718) | more than 5 years ago | (#26266249)

No the whole point is to have fun.

If you think the point is to waste time, go play World of Warcraft. And no, that isn't meant as an insult to WoW. It is just WoW is built around having fun by wasting time. However, that is not the only way to have fun.

If you don't want to waste time, I suggest to press "quit".

I have a better solution. If you enjoy wasting time, restart the game every time you fail in a task. Heck, you can even give yourself three lifes before you have to restart (or any other set of rules). Real hardcore players know how to challenge themselves. It is the hardcore whiners that try to force their idea of gameplay onto others.

Re:Avoiding wasted time with a computer game... (1)

WhatAmIDoingHere (742870) | more than 5 years ago | (#26266681)

So...

"It is the hardcore whiners that try to force their idea of gameplay onto others."

"However, that is not the only way to have fun."

Also, the article was written by someone you would call a hardcore whiner.

Tell me (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26266037)

Would Mario be fun if every time you died, you would start at that same spot instead of the beginning of the level?

Add more checkpoint (1)

IDKmyBFFJill (1428815) | more than 5 years ago | (#26266055)

Unfortunately, as Young notes, modern controllers are designed for players who have been gaming since they were kids, and have evolved to be more complicated to operate than an automobile.

But that's the whole point, learning "difficult" control is part of the challenge, it's what makes it worth playing, especially to youngsters. Those who can't deal with modern controllers can stick with Solitaire.

Assassin's Creed anyone? (1)

ConanG (699649) | more than 5 years ago | (#26266059)

Prince of Persia uses basically the same retry mechanism as Assassin's Creed. Actually, I think Prince of Persia uses a LOT of the same stuff as Assassin's Creed. It's the same game engine isn't it?

Yeah, real revolutionary.

Console vs. PC (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26266063)

many of today's games punish failure by wasting the player's time; being sent back to a check point, the beginning of a level, or sometimes even further.

Not to start a flame war, but this is one of the reasons I prefer PC games. They typically allow for quicksave and/or a sane autosave.

Other Console annoyances include:

  • unskippable cutscenes:
    They're acceptable once, but not every time I want to replay the game. And ANNOYING AS HELL when they occur after before a big fight and must be replayed after dieing.
  • forced deaths:
    Where you have die to advance the story. Especially when it's non-obious, so you replay the same peice over and over before you realize there's no way to win.
  • button mashing:
    Press a button as fast as you can to save your character.
  • Landmines:
    Any situation relying on the player being telepathic to survive [youtube.com] (it's an old example, but still a formla devs use)

I didn't mind so much when these issues only affected console games, but now with all the ports that are being done, us poor PC gamers are forced to suffer through these issues as well (plus really bad controls).

Re:Console vs. PC (1)

jlar (584848) | more than 5 years ago | (#26266193)

button mashing:
Press a button as fast as you can to save your character.

Guess you weren't a big fan of Decathlon in the good old C64 days:

http://homepages.tesco.net/~parsonsp/html/decathlon.html [tesco.net]

I still remember the pain in my fingers, hand and wrist after the final event, the dreaded 1500 m run;-)

Re:Console vs. PC (4, Informative)

grumbel (592662) | more than 5 years ago | (#26266281)

Other Console annoyances include:

Those really have little to do with consoles, PC games had plenty of all of them as well and the video in the last issue isn't even a real game, its a ROM hack meant to be nearly impossible to solve.

Re:Console vs. PC (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26266635)

Any situation relying on the player being telepathic to survive [youtube.com] (it's an old example, but still a formla devs use)

That's a pretty poor example, seeing as SMB Frustration is a custom fan made level.

New PoP is awesome thanks to the lack of death. (4, Insightful)

Sarusa (104047) | more than 5 years ago | (#26266065)

I just finished this game and the lack of the death is fantastic. It makes it all about the awesome acrobatics and less about the stupid camera or dumb mini-boss killing me yet another time. Every time you fail is YOUR FAULT and not a big deal. I beat the original PoP games when they came out (and even harder games), so I can do hardcore ridiculous, but I no longer want to.

I estimate I spent about 10 hours on the game, and I would far rather have 10 AWESOME hours than 40 hours of padded frustrating crap. I'm old enough I don't want to waste my time on stupid sh@# just for the sake of being hardcore like an internet suicide.

The combat is eventually a bit tedious, yes. I'd prefer the game be even MORE stripped down. I'm perfectly willing to drop $40 for 8 hours of making you feel like a total badass.

Elika is amazing - she is never annoying (which is astounding for a companion) and the dialogue is interesting and funny. And the ending is just fantastic; it deserves a mention even separate from the lack of death. I can't say anything much without spoiling it, but I love how it asks you (and you likely comply gladly) to subvert everything you've done.

So yes, I've reached the age when I will gladly pay more money for less bullshit and more fun.

Re:New PoP is awesome thanks to the lack of death. (1)

stastuffis (632932) | more than 5 years ago | (#26266315)

I estimate I spent about 10 hours on the game, and I would far rather have 10 AWESOME hours than 40 hours of padded frustrating crap. I'm old enough I don't want to waste my time on stupid sh@# just for the sake of being hardcore like an internet suicide.

The combat is eventually a bit tedious, yes. I'd prefer the game be even MORE stripped down. I'm perfectly willing to drop $40 for 8 hours of making you feel like a total badass.

Elika is amazing - she is never annoying (which is astounding for a companion) and the dialogue is interesting and funny. And the ending is just fantastic; it deserves a mention even separate from the lack of death. I can't say anything much without spoiling it, but I love how it asks you (and you likely comply gladly) to subvert everything you've done.

I can't tell if you're talking about a movie or a game. But then again, they'll starting to slowly merge IMO. HD graphics, motion control and CPU power getting better and better. Virtual reality is on its way. Part of me is psyched and the other part worried.

Re:New PoP is awesome thanks to the lack of death. (1)

Sarusa (104047) | more than 5 years ago | (#26266367)

That's a fair point - but I think even slight involvement gives you far more emotional ownership than a movie involves. Watching Jake Gyllenhaal scale a tower gives you far less personal investment than doing it yourself by pressing 30 buttons gives you, even if those buttons are well telegraphed by the game (oh, there's a ring, better hit the extend button).

I guess I wouldn't mind movies that pull you in further even if your choice is a complete illusion.

Re:New PoP is awesome thanks to the lack of death. (5, Insightful)

Sarusa (104047) | more than 5 years ago | (#26266349)

I know it's lame to reply to my own comment, but I've been reading the other comments and they make some interesting points, even if I don't agree with some of them.

I have to say I didn't even consider collecting the light seeds a minus. There are 1001 light seeds in the game (as I found out by googling). You need 560 of them (just more than half) to beat it. This is easy for me - it's sort of like Crackdown: if you can see a light seed, the Power of Christ Compels you to grab it. I beat the game with about 800 light seeds without even really trying.

For the people who are upset about the lack of punishment, I don't know. I do sympathize to an extent, since I can remember that feeling (I beat Contra), but I guess there's a point where your time is worth more than the cost of the game. Yes, I do want to blow through a game as fast as possible these days, getting only TEH AWESUM, because my stack of games is 20 deep because other things are competing for my time. While I admire the hell out of someone who can beat Morrowind in 7.5 minutes, that's just not for me.

But this sort of meta-discussion is fascinating and one of the few slashdot threads where almost every comment is of interest to me. Unlike the predictable boring crud (windows vs linux vs osx Or ps3 vs x360 vs wii) this reveals a lot about what you value as a person.

nothing new. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26266121)

this has been done many times before;
games such as Prey and Planescape: Torment (from 1999!) used a similar system.

in Prey for example you enter a small mini-game upon death, in which you must kill flying spirits in order to regain health.

in Planescape: Torment you are immortal. every time you die you end up back in the Mortuary, ready for more action.

regarding the new PoP; sure, the "not being able to die" saves time, but the game still introduces other annoying and repetitive ways to sink time, such as collecting light seeds from a level you already cleared.

most innovative game of 2008? I don't think there is one. right now I'm playing old games and I'm having more fun enjoying them than when I play one of the newer ones, such as PoP (which is one of the most repetitive games I've ever played).

No skills? (0, Troll)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | more than 5 years ago | (#26266143)

If you don't repeat the game's content, then how are you supposed to get good at the game? You get killed, you try again, and you get better. If you're not enjoying the challenges that the game is giving, and you spend all of your time composing poorly-thought-out diatribes against the game, then the technical term for your state is "burned out", and you're better off moving to different activities in life other than video games. Trust me, you'll be happier when you're not clicking on a Skinner box [ship.edu] .

Re:No skills? (1)

Ma8thew (861741) | more than 5 years ago | (#26266201)

If you watch the video you'd se how it works. Instead of respawning at a checkpoint, you respawn at the point that your feet left the ground. This allows you to try the particular challenge you failed again without the tedium of getting there first.

Re:No skills? (1)

Sobrique (543255) | more than 5 years ago | (#26266221)

Is getting good at a game a transferrable skill then? I tend to find that the 'thinking elements' and the problem solving elements are the bits that are of most interest. They're also the bits that carry on past the game. All too often though, I find it's less about the game, and more about the interface - your 'getting killed and try again' is a substitute for a well designed game.

Re:No skills? (1)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | more than 5 years ago | (#26266267)

That's my point, man - you're not playing the game, you're sitting around criticizing it and trying to get inside the head of whoever made it. If you sit around bitching about design, then you're probably burned out and would benefit from a change of hobbies.

Re:No skills? (3, Insightful)

vux984 (928602) | more than 5 years ago | (#26266337)

If you don't repeat the game's content, then how are you supposed to get good at the game?

Agreed. But what is the point of repeating the content you already mastered?

Lets say I kill 3 guys, then jump through a window, land on the ledge, dodge the whirling blades, evade the fire trap, kill 3 more guys,...[six more minutes]... jump onto the pole before the floor collapses, all flawlessly and then mis-time my jump onto the swinging rope and fall into a pit trap and die.

What do I need to get better at?

"make the jump onto the swinging rope"

or

"kill 3 guys, then jump through a window, land on the ledge, dodge the whirling blades, evade the fire trap, kill 3 more guys,...[6 more minutes]... jump onto the pole before the floor collapses, then make the jump onto the swinging rope."
???

Making me repeat the lengthy sequence of stuff I already figured out and beat just to take another shot at jumping the rope is just more annoying than anything. I've played games where I couldn't figure out the boss, but had completely mastered the 6 minute level to reach him... WASTING 6 minutes between each attempt to try a different attack pattern on the boss is just annoying.

People who want to prove their skills should have difficulty mode with one life/ no respawns/ etc. But while learning the game or the first time through... What's the point?

You get killed, you try again, and you get better.

You try again to get past what killed you. Why exactly do you need to re-do several minutes worth of stuff you've already mastered?

If you're not enjoying the challenges that the game is giving...

The primary challenge in such games is simply one of my patience. The enjoyment comes from beating the parts you got stuck on, not on replaying the parts you were good at. I don't mind taking several tries to figure out a boss or a jump or a puzzle, but I do get pissed if I have to spend hours replaying the parts I've mastered just to retry the parts I'm stuck on.

When I go mountain biking and have trouble with a section I'll back up a 100 meters and take another run at it, I don't go back and restart the entire fucking 10km trail. And sure, there is definitely a feeling of satisfaction upon reaching the level that I can do a given trail in one clean pass... but I certainly don't want to get to that level by restarting the entire fucking trail every time I have to put my foot down.

then the technical term for your state is "burned out"

No. That's the state I get to when I have to restart.

Re:No skills? (1)

WhatAmIDoingHere (742870) | more than 5 years ago | (#26266617)

"WASTING 6 minutes between each attempt to try a different attack pattern on the boss is just annoying."

You should not be playing games with that attitude. If you go in looking to use time wisely, you're not PLAYING a game. Unless you get paid to review games, stop caring about the time wasted, because that's what games are FOR. Wasting time.

Needs work (1)

dmelchio (27732) | more than 5 years ago | (#26266163)

Takes a long time to make his point. I think it should have been a 5 minute video. Also seems to ignore the existence of casual games and talks as if ALL games have the punitive restart problem when it really applies to specific types of games.

No punishment, no point. (0)

NEOGEOman (155470) | more than 5 years ago | (#26266185)

It's funny, but a friend was telling me not half an hour ago how he picked up this game today, and he just hates it. It's impossible to die: "if you miss a jump, your magic friend saves you and brings you back to the previous piece of ground you were on. And if you're in combat and you lose, your magic friend pulls you out of harm's way"

That's not FUN. Why try hard if you never fail? Stupid design is stupid.

Re:No punishment, no point. (2, Interesting)

TurboNed (1370389) | more than 5 years ago | (#26266263)

Anybody play Prey? "Death" was a mechanic used to get more ammo. That's a really good way to cheapen what's supposed to be a rather major mechanic of gameplay. In my opinion, Half-Life 2 got the perfect balance. *VERY* frequent auto-saves (and it keeps 2 of them) with the capability to quick save anywhere you want. Obviously things are different for a console game, but I feel that Half-Life 2 hit the sweet spot where you wanted to avoid death, but weren't frustrated by it.

Why was this posted? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26266187)

Is it just me, or was this a complete waste of electrons? Sure, PoP avoids "wasted time", but it doesn't say how, nor the fact that such "punishment" causes the player to evaluate risks, much like real life. If dying means nothing, then why do they even have dying in the game? Stupid article, and I think stupid idea to put into a game.

Not Wasted Time (1)

Tirno (923929) | more than 5 years ago | (#26266197)

Young brings up the fact that many of today's games punish failure by wasting the player's time; being sent back to a check point, the beginning of a level, or sometimes even further. This cuts into the amount of time players have to enjoy the meat of the game - the current challenge they have to overcome.

Calling it a waste of time is quite subjective. For those whose idea of playing a game is simply to burn through it as quickly as possible, sure, it's a waste of time. But for some, it's not, especially if the game is a platformer. Could you imagine if every time you fell into a hole in a Mario game you simply respawned right next to it? There goes the joy of learning to skillfully navigate the levels.

Unfortunately, as Young notes, modern controllers are designed for players who have been gaming since they were kids, and have evolved to be more complicated to operate than an automobile.

Uh, perhaps because many games simulate things as complicated as driving a car? If you ask me, leaping from wall to wall to triple backflip somersault, etc. should require at least some skill to perform. Don't get me wrong, I like it easy now and then (I do own a Wii, haha), but if all one looks for in games is cheap thrills, then yeah, all games should be beautiful walks in the park. I was surprised by PoP's direction in this game, and the amount of forgiveness it has for errors turns me off a bit. And it's not as if making your game easier and improving the controls is some new, unheard of "innovation."

It's a good question, but the wrong perspective (2, Insightful)

holophrastic (221104) | more than 5 years ago | (#26266253)

The question as to whether time-punishing is a good part of the game is really posed very well here. But I imagine it's more a measure of the player than of the game. Two games come to mind, as radically diametrically opposed examples.

"The Curse of Monkey Island" (Monkey Island 3) is one of the old-school Lucas Arts adventure games where you can't die. The "puzzles" are simple combination-of-action puzzles. The game is extraordinary. Not because it's anything special, and not because it's particularly good in any capacity, but simply because it's very funny, and a smooth ride the whole way through. It's very much like a movie, and yo,u're never punished for anything.

"Left 4 Dead" is the big, huge, enormous time penalties. Die at the end of a thirty-minute attempt, and you get to start all over again -- with your three friends too. Play it on expert, and you'll likely be retrying levels dozens of times. Is it frustrating? Not in the least. You get the action of "ooooh, so close!" And it becomes a strategy game of how the next attempt could be done differently, what else can we try, and where else can we go.

It's important to note that the time-penalties discussed in the article, do more than simply force the player to redo things. It grants the player another opportunity to do something completely different. Now, when a game is completely linear -- as with super mario brothers the first -- then it's nohting more than a "do it again" concept, presented well by the article. However, when a game has many many many many freedoms provided to the player, and the player fails a challenge along the way, having the opportunity to change the past is a good thing. And being forced to do so gives the decision-making process some level of importance.

Is it a waste of time? That's the whole purpose of the game. Does it matter if you're wasting time at the beginning of the game doing the same thing over and over again, or wasting time at the end of the game going through the whole thing once? If it's different every time, then there's no difference -- except for the potential to have more game to play, which is a good thing.

The article uses a great example, that I felt was perfect. If people learned to drive the way they learn to play games, it wouldn't be by backing out of the driveway, it would be by driving a stick-shift in a rally race, and requiring many many humiliating failures before winning a single race.

I agreed with this example at the time. Now, I'm thinking it better serves my perspective. Sure, if you're learning to drive your grandmother's car to go to the movies, backing out of the driveway and not being time-punished for mistakes is the way to do it. But if you designed and built the rally car, and are trying to develop a car to win races, having the chance to make design changes between failed races is precisely what you want. What didn't work, what did work, what can be tuned to work better.

I'm thinkin', if you want to develop a car to win races, backing out of the driveway will get you no-where.

So, when I play a video game, am I developing a playing strategy of a grand quality to pass the level, or am I enjoying the progression of an in-line story? The answer is a fairly simple and direct mapping.

If the game is a comedy, then I want a straight story with no chance to fail. If the game is an action-adventure, then I want failure. Failure is a big part of action, challenge, and adventure -- it's all about the risk-taking. Failure is not a part of successful comedy. Actually, I guess that's slapstick. And I'm not a big fan of slapstick. But you know, if you could play a nice comedy, slip on a banana peel and die in a vat of goo, it could be funny.

shooting hoops != playing a video game (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26266285)

The initial comparison is flawed:
Shooting hoops = tutorial
Playing a match = playing a video game.

In a basketbal game, when you miss a shot, there is no instant retry, you *do* need to do all the work to get another shot again and again. And that's what makes games interesting: actual consequences.

Anyone else remember ... (1)

skegg (666571) | more than 5 years ago | (#26266319)

prince megahit

Failure mechanics (2, Insightful)

Aexia (517457) | more than 5 years ago | (#26266331)

One of the things I like about Puzzle Quest and Castle Crashers is that failure doesn't have much penalty. Certainly, you have to restart a level or boss fight, but any XP/gold/etc you've acquired stays with you so the "time penalty" is minimized. You may have lost but you've bettered your character in the process and can make another try incrementally better.

Same thing was said about Oddworld (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26266511)

Oddworld was one of the early console games that actually had "no lives" listed as a bullet-point feature. PoP just takes it one step further with an instant respawn.

PoP's incremental progression on this front is more about adding substance and immediacy to the concept.

And let's face it: the only reason characters can die in the first place is a holdover from the long-gone days of the arcade platform, where you have to give reasons to make players insert more quarters. On the home console there's really no point to it. So instead of killing the player over and over with highly-tuned hardcore difficulty, just make sure they are entertained for a good 10+ hours.

If you want to offer a way for the hardcore players to distinguish themselves, you can easily do so: the age-old High Score table (which inexplicably has disappeared), other forms of grading performance, and optional goals like unlockable extras.

Don't forget (1)

Tatsh (893946) | more than 5 years ago | (#26266523)

This is the game that Ubisoft was like 'We are selling this game with no DRM on PC. Let's see if these people really will put their money where their mouth is', meaning that now more people will buy it simply because there is no DRM.

This is NOT the reason I buy games. I buy games if they are good. Ubisoft thinks they might even get those people who are thinking to support Ubisoft in their effort to set an industry example. As IF.

But regardless, I refuse to buy EA and Take2 games. EA because of SecuROM and activation limitations and Take2 after the GTA IV fiasco that affected both legitimate users greatly (the game was bugged to hell!) and pirated users (do we care? Well, if security of the Windows system gets screwed up and leads to viruses spreading in the Windows world, then MS cares).

Why God gave us "skill level" (1)

Siriaan (615378) | more than 5 years ago | (#26266527)

You know, that thing at the start where you tune the difficulty to suit your level of ability? I tried the new PoP and was offended by the lack of challenge. The Sands of Time trilogy hit near-perfection with the timebending-mixed-with-checkpoints gameplay; all defense of the new mechanic can be boiled down to "I suck at gaming and wish all games to treat all players as though they suck too."

What? (1)

WhatAmIDoingHere (742870) | more than 5 years ago | (#26266557)

"and the lack of punitive time sinks."

You mean punishment for failure, right? Because that's what going back to the last checkpoint is. The game saying "No, you're an idiot, try again." If there was no punishment for your failure you wouldn't be concerned about not dying as much.

Avoiding Wasted Time With Prince of Persia (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26266601)

by not playing it.

What is a "controller"? (1)

Bromskloss (750445) | more than 5 years ago | (#26266665)

Is it a physical device or the mapping of keys to actions in the game?

huh (1)

JimboFBX (1097277) | more than 5 years ago | (#26266677)

I have this but haven't opened it yet. I still got other games to enjoy, but I might put this in for my girlfriend who enjoys laura croft but hates how laura loves to re-enact scenes from "the happening"

The video misses the whole point really that the fun from a game at its core comes from being presented with a challenge, not being able to beat/solve it, then overcoming that challenge. Sure there is story line and there is fun in knowing your so awesome that what is supposed to be challenging isn't for you, but at its core thats what games are about and that is how they are entertaining. Thats why games have had multiple difficulty levels for a long time. If its too easy, its boring. If its too hard, its frustrating.

The wasted time as he put it is the idea that you get punished for failing, and helps create tension and a moderate amount of stress. Some people don't like that, some do. In many cases, there is a game mechanic that the player should be learning that they may not need to if the game is too easy. Either way, the punishment serves as a means of heightening the reward, but only if the punishment / reward is balanced properly. Its simple learning.

In fact, his basketball example is terrible. If your shooting hoops and you miss, the ball could bounce far away from you. You have to go get it. If you make it, it will fall underneath the hoop. Thats a punishment/reward system that is a lot like most video games. If someone has a bunch of balls and there are a bunch of people getting the balls for you and throwing them to you while you stay in the same spot then that is simply practicing. You'll learn quicker (for that spot) but it isn't necessarily a game with dynamic challenges. It'll also get boring very quickly if all you do is the same thing for an extended period of time, and it teaches you absolutely nothing about the game mechanic of shooting when someone is trying to steal the ball or block the ball while you shoot it.

Another thing he doesn't consider is that many games teach you a concept in an area where you can learn it without punishment, then put you in an area where you apply what you learned with punishment. Going back to basketball, you practice shooting free throws, then in a real game you only have select, spaced out moments where you get to shoot them. If you make it under pressure, its rewarding. If everyone just stared at you until you inevitably made your free throws then there is no reward.
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