Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Can Video Game Accessibility Go Too Far?

Soulskill posted more than 4 years ago | from the dentures-don't-need-to-be-an-input-device dept.

Games 164

A piece at GameSetWatch questions whether modern game companies are taking accessibility a step too far in their rush to attract people who don't typically play video games. This worry was inspired, in part, by the news that Nintendo's New Super Mario Bros. Wii would have the capability to play itself in order to let a human player get past a tricky part. Quoting: "Bigger audiences finishing more games is certainly a worthy goal, and Nintendo has shown that accessibility is the servant of engagement. History has rarely — if ever — dared to disprove the wisdom of Miyamoto's foresight. History has also never disproven, however, the principle that any medium and any message degrades the wider an audience it must reach. Art was never served by generalization, nor language by addressing all denominators. Entertainment for the masses ultimately becomes empty. There must exist an absolute point beyond which greater accessibility means less engagement. Making a game so easy it can play itself for you at the push of a button just might be that point."

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Why? (3, Insightful)

hardie (716254) | more than 4 years ago | (#28480957)

"Bigger audiences finishing more games is certainly a worthy goal"

Re:Why? (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28481295)

My gaydar detects that your a macfag with full-blown AIDS. Have you been having sex with Steve Jobs lately?

Re:Why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28481559)

1.) Attract a bigger audience of people to buy your games.
2.) Ensure that bigger audience finishes more games.
3.) That audience now goes out and buys more games once they finish their current one.
4.) Profit.

Re:Why? (1)

wjousts (1529427) | more than 4 years ago | (#28481927)

I think it makes sense from a business point of view rather than from a gaming point of view. From a business point of view, does it make sense to invest money and resources in making a really great, memorable ending to an epic game, when most casual players will move on to something else before they get there? Or does it make more sense to make shorter games that can be finished in a dozen hours or so and take the time saved to make another sequel?

As a gamer who enjoys epic games, it makes me sad. But it's a reality for business of games, especially as the hardcore gamers become a less significant portion of your customer base.

Re:Why? (2, Informative)

haystor (102186) | more than 4 years ago | (#28483135)

Why should Nintendo be singled out here? So many PC games over the years have had godmode and other cheats. It doesn't detract at all from your experience if you want to play without it. Some of these companies are spending tens of millions of dollars on game production and people hear that and never get to see the end of the story. One can only wonder about future sales that are lost when someone gets fed up with only ever seeing 2/3's of each story.

Re:Why? (1)

Xaoswolf (524554) | more than 4 years ago | (#28484071)

The difference between godmode and what Nintendo is doing, is that with cheat codes, you are still playing the game. You aren't just watching a movie. Sure, maybe with the cheat you don't run out of ammo or can't die, but you are still playing. It's still a game. Once you cut out player control, it stops being a game.

Automatic discussion (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28480985)

All posts following this will be generated automatically by slashdot, so you won't need to bother posting.

What? no challenge? (1, Insightful)

Capeman (589717) | more than 4 years ago | (#28481011)

In my opinion this eliminates any kind of challenge, if you are stuck, you let the game play itself and that's it, no worries. I remember when I was a kid playing Super Mario Bros on NES, I liked it because it was a challenge, it was difficult and when I was stuck it kept me trying to play more and more to get out of that part instead of letting the game play itself and be bored.

Re:What? no challenge? (1)

PrescriptionWarning (932687) | more than 4 years ago | (#28481105)

Maybe this is more evidence of the "Here let me do that for you" society we have become.

We know who to blame: CLIPPYYYYYYY!!!!!!!!

Re:What? no challenge? (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 4 years ago | (#28481153)

Of course Super Mario Bros. got the difficulty level about right. Anyone could pick it up and play it, get pretty far, and beat it with a little practice. I think SMB is a good example of a very accessible game. If it gets much easier what's the point in playing? Other games, say, Ninja Gaiden required a lot more dedication to beat. But that's good for the right kind of game player. We need more games like Ninja Gaiden. Still other games, like say, Ghosts 'n Goblins were, in my opinion, unreasonably difficult. I'm glad we've backed off a bit from that level of difficulty.

Re:What? no challenge? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28482217)

My dad never beat the original Super Mario Bros.. I think he did get a kick out of trying though.

Re:What? no challenge? (4, Insightful)

JPLemme (106723) | more than 4 years ago | (#28481163)

"When I was a kid...I liked it because it was a challenge."

Exactly. But as an adult life has enough challenges already. Games are the only thing where I even have the option of saying "this is too hard, let's skip it."

/I'd kill for that power in the rest of my life...

Re:What? no challenge? (2, Insightful)

Draek (916851) | more than 4 years ago | (#28482513)

Well, most DVD players also have a "Fast Forward" button so you can skip all the dialogue thingie and just get to the next action scene, so games certainly aren't alone in that respect. I'd still consider that to be intelectually lazy, however.

Re:What? no challenge? (3, Insightful)

JPLemme (106723) | more than 4 years ago | (#28482619)

The purpose of a video game (for most people) is to have fun. I'd hardly call skipping the parts that aren't fun "intellectually lazy". It's more like "pragmatically efficient".

Re:What? no challenge? (5, Insightful)

Jellybob (597204) | more than 4 years ago | (#28481199)

If you want a challenge, don't use it.

Personally, while I enjoy a challenge, I don't enjoy playing the same level for hours on end, and never getting any further. I'll be using the "I'm bored, please let me play the next bit" button sometimes.

Re:What? no challenge? (1)

Bashae (1250564) | more than 4 years ago | (#28481265)

Exactly! Personally I'd never use it, but it doesn't bother me that it's there. Why would it? No one is forcing me or anyone else to use it at all. They're probably smart enough to include a "number of seconds played automatically" meter so people who truly beat the game can brag to their friends with evidence ;)

Re:What? no challenge? (5, Interesting)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 4 years ago | (#28481321)

Personally, while I enjoy a challenge, I don't enjoy playing the same level for hours on end, and never getting any further. I'll be using the "I'm bored, please let me play the next bit" button sometimes.

Exactly. There was one of the Metroid Prime games where I got to one of the bosses and I had a bitch of a time fighting it. Never did beat it. I spent several hours going through the same routine of reloading the game, skipping the cutscene, finding the boss, skipping the next cutscene, starting the battle (this process of just getting to the start of the fight took something like 7 minutes IIRC), fighting for a few minutes, getting my ass wiped all over the floor, lather, rinse, repeat. I eventually just gave up. It's a shame too, cos I really liked the game. But putting one part in there that I couldn't get passed ruined the experience for me. Honestly, I think the best approach is the one where after 3 or 5 failed attempts, the game gives you an option to scale back the difficulty for that fight.

Re:What? no challenge? (3, Informative)

sorrowsjudge (1181865) | more than 4 years ago | (#28481595)

The World Ends With You for DS does exactly that. You can change the difficulty of the game at any time (except in battles), which affects the items and XP you get from fights. If you lose a fight, you have 3 options: Quit, Retry, and Retry on Easy. Great system.

Re:What? no challenge? (2, Insightful)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 4 years ago | (#28481741)

The difficulty of some boss battles is one of the things that pisses me off about the FF games. I've heard good things about The World Ends With You. I should definitely look into it.

Re:What? no challenge? (2, Insightful)

macshit (157376) | more than 4 years ago | (#28481819)

Personally, while I enjoy a challenge, I don't enjoy playing the same level for hours on end, and never getting any further. I'll be using the "I'm bored, please let me play the next bit" button sometimes.

Exactly. There was one of the Metroid Prime games where I got to one of the bosses and I had a bitch of a time fighting it. Never did beat it. I spent several hours going through the same routine ... my ass wiped all over the floor, lather, rinse, repeat. I eventually just gave up. It's a shame too, cos I really liked the game. But putting one part in there that I couldn't get passed ruined the experience for me.

Exactly2!!

I gave up Metroid Prime 3 after attempting the same stupid boss like 50 times. No doubt it was my fault -- I just suck too much, and I'm not very good with the Wii controller -- but I play games for fun, not to brag how hard-core I am. I know it feels great to finally get past a hard bit after having honed your skills through endless attempts, but sometimes enough is enough.

Of course there are alternative approaches:

  1. Dumb down the game generally. Seems obviously worse, because it takes away the choice from the player, and you know the same people bitching in this story would go insane if they did that.
  2. Traditional (chosen at game start) difficulty levels. This gives the player some choice, but it's generally quite a clumsy approach, as it's very hard for a player to estimate beforehand what the appropriate difficulty level is.
  3. Dynamically switchable difficulty levels. This is better but no doubt this also would result in bitching by the "no challenge" crowd.

Anyway, I'm glad they're doing something, because I like games, but I'm not always very good at them!

Re:What? no challenge? (1)

secondhand_Buddah (906643) | more than 4 years ago | (#28482509)

I agree with the parent. I have at least half a dozen games sitting unfinished on my shelf because my enthusiasm exceeds my ability.
I've actually got to the point where I don't really want to buy new games because I hardly get to finish them
Admittedly I'm obviously a bit retarded when it comes to gaming abilities, but not being able to finish games has curbed my enthusiasm, and definite potential future purchases. So I am also glad that they are doing something about this.

Re:What? no challenge? (1)

AvitarX (172628) | more than 4 years ago | (#28482701)

scaled difficulty needs to be done right though.

Oblivion for example gets harder as you level up at some difficulties.

Want to beet the game, rush through the required missions before they approach impossible.

And I am not one for a level treadmill, but for a game with so much content, I really wish they required a little bit of it to complete the main quest.

Re:What? no challenge? (1)

Nukenbar (215420) | more than 4 years ago | (#28484427)

I believe God of War II had Dynamically switchable difficulty levels. Another reason that it was such a good game.

Re:What? no challenge? (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 4 years ago | (#28483703)

There was one of the Metroid Prime games where I got to one of the bosses and I had a bitch of a time fighting it. Never did beat it. I spent several hours going through the same routine of reloading the game, skipping the cutscene, finding the boss, skipping the next cutscene, starting the battle (this process of just getting to the start of the fight took something like 7 minutes IIRC

I agree this sucks, but it would have been much better if it saved right before the boss. There's no reason to force someone to go through an entire level again, or even watch a cutscene twice. If they had just put in a save point, practicing against that boss would have been a lot more fun, and you probably would have beat it eventually. Letting the game play itself is the wrong solution to this problem.

Re:What? no challenge? (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 4 years ago | (#28483655)

Personally, while I enjoy a challenge, I don't enjoy playing the same level for hours on end, and never getting any further. I'll be using the "I'm bored, please let me play the next bit" button sometimes.

What you have a problem with is games being cheap. The correct solution is for game designers to design better games, not to slap a cheap fix to cover up their cheap ass level design.

Re:What? no challenge? (2, Interesting)

kalirion (728907) | more than 4 years ago | (#28481999)

You can blame Penny Arcade [penny-arcade.com] for giving them ideas. Except their version was more interactive...

So what are they? "Challenge" or "art"? (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 4 years ago | (#28482077)

Are paintings, sculptures, music, photography, cinema (and so on...) challenging? For the one who receives them. Or perhaps it's more about what was in the mind of the creator and how do you receive this particular cultural artifact? (which might include challenge)

Well...you decide that.

So - decide, let others decide, don't yell "consoles are dumbing our games!" (I can see that bs already in this thread...), you still have and will have a choice. Sure, more "mainstream" games will appear to hijack the whole show, but you should know better.

Plus it might bring some new talent. Also, I assure you - there is already enough past games which you'd love that you have things to play for the rest of your life. Sure, technical side of their visuals might be "obsolete"...but in this case who's "mainstream" now?

Michael Jackon is dead at 50 ! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28481013)

I just heard some sad news on talk radio - artist and musican Michael Jackson was found dead in his L.A. home this morning. There weren't any more details. I'm sure everyone in the Slashdot community will miss him - even if you didn't enjoy his work, there's no denying his contributions to popular culture. Truly an American icon.

Say what now? (1)

Dachannien (617929) | more than 4 years ago | (#28481037)

Is it just me, or did that quote manage to use a hundred words without actually saying anything?

It made a very clear point (2, Informative)

Piata (927858) | more than 4 years ago | (#28481165)

The more you try to gain mass appeal, the further you dilute the core qualities of the experience. This guy is saying that if you make games that can play themselves, they quickly cease to be relevant as games.

Re:It made a very clear point (1)

bwalling (195998) | more than 4 years ago | (#28482385)

This is a good thing for games and does nothing to detract from them. Everyone gets what they want out of the game, because the use of the feature is optional. This is really nothing more than adding a finer level of control to the easy/medium/hard/insane difficulty settings by allowing you to set a single scene/puzzle to easy and then go back to hard mode.

The only real loss to gaming out of this is that people will be less able to act like a snob for being so elite as to have beaten a game that others could not. They'll be reduced to leveling insults accusing others of having bypassed the uber hard parts that they, in their infinite skillz, we able to defeat without even using their hands or having the TV/monitor on.

Re:Say what now? (3, Insightful)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 4 years ago | (#28481395)

Let me translate:

Nintendo did something new. I can't praise it without being labeled a 14m3r fanboi, and I can't criticize it because it'll probably turn out make them even more pots of money and then I'll look like a doofus. So I'll just talk around the issue to fill the space between these important messages from our sponsors.

This is new? (4, Interesting)

Andruil (971627) | more than 4 years ago | (#28481045)

So... As near as I remember ever single player game used to come with a whole slew of "Cheats" to be used by whoever, whenever and for any reason. Commander Keen had things like screen clipping where you could fly through the walls in the level, or fly mode. Age of Empires had things where you could turn the birds into dragons, get babies on tricycles with shotguns or cars with heavy weaponry. Since when is this new? Heck I remember some games having an "I win" button. Can anyone tell me how this is different from the age old era of 286 and 386 video games? Heck now that I think about it, what about game sharks and other such devices designed to unlock cheats in the game? up up down down left right left right a b b a.

Re:This is new? (1)

ZombieWomble (893157) | more than 4 years ago | (#28481343)

Up Up Down Down Left Right Left Right B A [wikipedia.org] , you philistine!

Re:This is new? (2)

TaoPhoenix (980487) | more than 4 years ago | (#28481489)

No, that's DDR playing a remix of ABBA's Dancing Queen!

(DDR seems to have gotten the difficulty scale right!)

Re:This is new? (1)

Andruil (971627) | more than 4 years ago | (#28481725)

I was thinking of the one for a basketball game. By doing A B B A you got a guy who could slam dunk all the way across the map.

Re:This is new? (1)

stainless-steel-vash (1290528) | more than 4 years ago | (#28483583)

You must have played solo. Personally I always use the unabridged, family size version: Up Up Down Down Left Right Left Right B A B A Select Start. Nothing beats sucking for a level and starting to steal the other players lives.

Re:This is new? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28481473)

My main issue is that it's an advertised feature. It lowers the skill bar across the board. It makes the game more of an interactive movie than a puzzle or hand-eye coordination challenge.

I'm the grumpy person on the left side of the frame [xkcd.com] . I can appreciate that this feature may make the game more fun for some people, but at the same time it feels like we're getting further from the challenging gameplay which I grew up and loved. I feel that it's just a cash grab. I feel that the art of challenging games is disappearing. I feel like they're just pandering to the masses.

But I'm just a get-off-of-my-lawn type of person. When music changed, there always were old people complaining about how the new stuff isn't as good as the old stuff. Same with cars, food, customer service, airline flights, etc... It's just human nature.

Re:This is new? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28481531)

Even with cheat codes activated, you still had to play the game yourself, and not let some AI take over for you on autopilot. Also, the only game I can remember that had an "I win" button was The Secret of Monkey Island, and that was meant more as a joke than anything (it just ended the program right then and there). It's not like the game would then display rest of the plot and ending for you. if that is what people want, then they're looking at the wrong medium for that.

As a sidenote, the difference between a game shark and other well known cheats is that the former manipulates memory addresses in order to accomplish that task for whatever desire you want, whereas the contra code is built into the game itself by the developers.

Re:This is new? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28482767)

Even with cheat codes activated, you still had to play the game yourself, and not let some AI take over for you on autopilot.

Is there really that much difference between playing on God mode and having an AI beat the game for you?

Re:This is new? (1)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 4 years ago | (#28481549)

I can see one significant difference. If you use a (heheh) "secret" cheat to get through a section, you didn't didn't learn how to play through it yourself.

If you watch the game play itself through that section, you can at least go back and attempt it yourself now that you know how.

In that respect, it's much like the walkthrough videos that YouTube is replete with. You know, an actual "trainer", rather than a God mode.

Re:This is new? (1)

fermion (181285) | more than 4 years ago | (#28482087)

And I will take you back all the way to Donkey Kong. The cheat allowed me to work out the movement up first, and then worry about dodging the barrels. Or the 'no disaster' mode in Simcity. This allowed the user to learn how to build a town without having it destroyed just as you are moving to the advanced stages. In effect, you have a sub level for each level of difficulty.

I would argue that having the game play through the really difficult parts allows the developer to add parts that would otherwise be labeled as 'too difficult' for the average consumer. As was stated in a previous game discussion, games are expensive to develop and everyone expects a huge return on their investment, be it time or money investments. This means tht games are meant to be bought and played by the largest audience, I think the niche audience that wants really hard games should be happy with this development. Just have the discipline not to use the cheat. And compete against yourself instead of complaining that others only finished faster because of the cheat.

Re:This is new? (1)

cerberusss (660701) | more than 4 years ago | (#28484039)

up up down down left right left right a b b a.

Then what? "Dancing Queen" started playing?

I'm waiting for (0, Offtopic)

Random2 (1412773) | more than 4 years ago | (#28481049)

"Mario does the weekly shopping" "Peach picks what to wear 20" "Mario house Party 52"

They're already here (0, Offtopic)

tepples (727027) | more than 4 years ago | (#28481109)

"Animal Crossing" "Animal Crossing: Wild World" "Animal Crossing: City Folk"

Finally! (3, Insightful)

JPLemme (106723) | more than 4 years ago | (#28481069)

There's nothing more frustrating (in the gaming world) than playing a game for hours just to unlock a part of the game I already paid for! Slogging through a dozen crappy songs just to unlock Anthrax and Megedeth was no fun at all. I paid for Guitar Hero. If the very first thing I want to do is play Free Bird on Expert then it's my right. (Or at least it should be.)

A lot of game companies don't seem to understand this, but a lot of gamers are adults with other interests and responsibilities. Spending hours "practicing" so that I can master a video game is not in the cards.

It's to prove you didn't rent the game (2, Funny)

tepples (727027) | more than 4 years ago | (#28481131)

There's nothing more frustrating (in the gaming world) than playing a game for hours just to unlock a part of the game I already paid for!

It's to prove you paid for it, either full price new or half price used, not 1/10 of the price rental.

Re:It's to prove you didn't rent the game (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28481457)

umm, excuse me, but who are proving this to?
anyone you invite over will see the rental sticker on the box.
also, why should it take me several hours to prove i bought a game?
i can usually do that instantaneously as i put the receipt in the jewel case in its a defect and i never lose the receipt.

Re:It's to prove you didn't rent the game (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 4 years ago | (#28482181)

umm, excuse me, but who are proving this to?

To the game. It is programmed to deny you the full enjoyment unless you buy your own copy.

Re:Finally! (1)

WDot (1286728) | more than 4 years ago | (#28481273)

One of the most frustrating things with many fighting games are the ridiculously cheap final bosses. Soul Calibur IV is a recent exception, but I remember many games that required beating the final boss several times to unlock all the game's characters. This isn't terrible except that final bosses aren't particularly smart AI, they just have lots of cheap moves that make fighting them frustrating. I don't plan on playing in fighting game tournaments, I just want to mess around in the game with friends with whichever character I choose.

Honestly, I'd play a few bucks for DLC that simply unlocked all the possible unlockable content: characters, stages, modes, and other goodies instantly. I remember Guild Wars' PVP component allowed you to pay $10 to unlock all the spells and items instantly. This worked because Guild Wars PVP was more about skill and strategy than having the "BEST EVER" gear. Something similar for other games I think would be reasonable. I wouldn't always pay for it, but in some games I would.

Re:Finally! (1)

JPLemme (106723) | more than 4 years ago | (#28481381)

Interesting. GTA 3 could be $49.99, and a "100%" save game file could be an additional $19.99. I'd consider it. And it's not like you can't just get one for free off of the Internet anyway. (They'd need to add some extra bonuses beside just the normal 100% completion bonuses.)

Which brings up a related design flaw which would have made this unworkable with GTA 3. If I really enjoy a mission I should be able to replay it over and over again without using an old save game. Going back to the early missions with later weapons would be fun, which IIRC is the whole point.

Re:Finally! (1)

Logical Zebra (1423045) | more than 4 years ago | (#28481657)

Need for Speed Prostreet already allows you to do just that. You can play through the entire game to unlock all the cars, or you can pay an extra fee to unlock all the cars at the start.

Re:Finally! (1)

Fallingcow (213461) | more than 4 years ago | (#28483707)

God, that sounds... horrible.

I dislike the huge amounts of locked content in some games, but the option to pay to unlock it seems even worse than DLC, which is already killing gaming IMO.

if you win, you get to see (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28481353)

"You... Are... Fags!" [wikipedia.org]

Re:Finally! (1)

onion2k (203094) | more than 4 years ago | (#28481375)

Likewise though, there aren't many things as frustrating as paying a fair amount for a game only to get a few hours of entertainment for it. There's a balance to be struck, and a delicate one at that. If a game is too hard or too easy you'll feel you didn't get value for money.

I think the 'auto-complete' idea is a good one, but it needs to come with a penalty. Spending a "life" to progress, or some points, or simply being branded a "cheat" on the end screen would be enough to make you try to play through again without the help. People without the time to invest would be able to access everything they've bought while people wanting the challenge would still have a reason to put in the required effort.

Re:Finally! (2, Insightful)

subsonic (173806) | more than 4 years ago | (#28481609)

I think TFA cuts to the heart of my problem with Nintendo- their grab for marketshare seems to be at the expense of what makes videogames special. They are making the system and software more and more commodified. The game is a pacifier, rather than engager. And that's the point of games, to engage the player. I would never sit through a ten hour movie, but I've sat in front of Fallout 3 for nights on end, and blinked by dry eyes realizing I had been wandering the wastelands for hours on end.

The ironic thing is that at least in the past, Nintendo (or its close developer counterparts) have been very adept at balancing challenge and accessibility. Mario Bros. wouldn't have originally been so successful if it was just hard (go play Defender or Robotron if you want an old school ass whooping). This is the lazy approach to game design.

Re:Finally! (1)

pgbrandao (1499895) | more than 4 years ago | (#28482083)

'Bro, that's what cheats are for.

Some people, including myself, enjoy to actually experience the game. That certainly includes the challenge (and sometimes frustration) of having to unlock parts of the game.

Re:Finally! (1)

Freetardo Jones (1574733) | more than 4 years ago | (#28483679)

Some people, including myself, enjoy to actually experience the game. That certainly includes the challenge (and sometimes frustration) of having to unlock parts of the game.

Then I guess it's a good thing that this feature is entirely voluntary to use, 'bro.

Re:Finally! (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 4 years ago | (#28483775)

Is it really though? If everyone is encouraged to use the cheat button whenever they get stuck, what incentive does the game designer have to make a well balanced game?

Re:Finally! (1)

Freetardo Jones (1574733) | more than 4 years ago | (#28484253)

Is it really though?

Yes, it really is.

If a player gets stuck, they'll have the option to pause play and allow the game to take over and play itself through any rough patches.

If everyone is encouraged to use the cheat button whenever they get stuck, what incentive does the game designer have to make a well balanced game?

This same statement could be said for the numerous cheats that have existed in PC and console games for ages and yet they haven't stopped game designers from making well-balanced games.

Interest in video games is waning... (0, Flamebait)

QuietLagoon (813062) | more than 4 years ago | (#28481085)

... the game companies need to do something in order to continue selling their wares.

Re:Interest in video games is waning... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28481631)

[Citation needed]

Re:Interest in video games is waning... (1)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 4 years ago | (#28481649)

Interest in video games is waning

Citation needed [google.co.uk] .

Are you using a sample size of 1, perchance?

Re:Interest in video games is waning... (1)

brkello (642429) | more than 4 years ago | (#28483641)

I agree with you. As long as you agree that Democracy is alive and well in Iran.

Good Idea (3, Insightful)

arthurpaliden (939626) | more than 4 years ago | (#28481097)

Just because the option is there does not mean you have to use it. Nothing is makeing you turn it on. You want the extreem chalenge never use it. However, if because you have a problem pushing the buttons fast enough due to a disability then this feature enables you to enjoy the game.

It's just ONE GAME...don't sound the alarms yet... (2, Insightful)

VinylRecords (1292374) | more than 4 years ago | (#28481149)

If you want a challenge then pick up Starcraft II (when it comes out) or Virua Fighter 5. Learning to be competitive in either of those games will require hundreds of hours of practicing the games, reading about games, watching tournaments and taking notes, or learning maps or matches. Of course the video game 'journalists' are not willing to learn how to get good at RTS or FGs so they instead complain about a game of low difficulty (like Mario Brothers) being made easier. If you want to play games to be challenged try getting good at Starcraft or Virtua Fighter.

This new Mario Brothers with its auto-level completion (tm) or whatever is not a hardcore game and it's not even a hardcore genre. If you want more difficult platforming try Ratchet & Clank, God of War, or perhaps even Nintendo's own Mario Galaxy. But don't say it's the end of the world for hard games. I doubt those 'journalists' who complain about games not being hard enough for them haven't touched competitive Starcraft or Virtua Fighter or Counter Strike.

Re:It's just ONE GAME...don't sound the alarms yet (1)

hibiki_r (649814) | more than 4 years ago | (#28482917)

God of war for difficult platforming??!
Mario Galaxy, the easiest 3D Mario game by a longshot?
Did you really play those games?

You seem to like to use words like hardcore game and hardcore genre, but that's all a bunch of bologna. There's no such thing as a hardcore genre. The concept of hardcore game is meaningless, and only a way for stupid teens to claim that other games don't have enough childish violence to appeal to them.

Re:It's just ONE GAME...don't sound the alarms yet (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28483039)

Are you saying that God of War I and II on Titan difficulty are easy? Please.

Braid? (1)

2obvious4u (871996) | more than 4 years ago | (#28481177)

How is this different than everyone's beloved game Braid? I mean if you messed up you just rewinded and tried again. Isn't this just the next step?

I also understand that Braid used it in a unique way that didn't solve the puzzle for you, but at least it kept you from having to start over every time you failed.

Re:Braid? (1)

gzearfoss (829360) | more than 4 years ago | (#28481303)

You said what the major difference is: Braid doesn't solve the puzzle for you.

Yes, both methods allow you to avoid the 'grind' to the point of difficulty, but there's a significant difference between letting a person learn from their mistakes (and then trying something new), and letting a person 'give up' (and then watching the computer do it for you).

All very conventional, it seems (2, Interesting)

hoarier (1545701) | more than 4 years ago | (#28481191)

Conway's "Life" [dmoz.org] plays itself, player pianos play themselves, soccer matches on the TV play themselves (as far as we're concerned) — what's new here?

Win button (1)

hansamurai (907719) | more than 4 years ago | (#28481205)

I can't for the life of me find the image right now, but there's a classic photoshop of a Gamecube controller with all the buttons on the right side replaced with a giant, green WIN button. This reminds me of that.

Have we forgotten the Game Genie? (1)

xjmrufinix (1022551) | more than 4 years ago | (#28481231)

This masochistic mentality about how challenging video games should be is new to me. As has been mentioned, there have been cheats as long as there have been difficult games. Who really beat Contra without the code? And considering how many weeks of allowance were sunk into those things, is it really so horrible for a kid to want to see all the levels? All Nintendo is doing is saving kids the trouble of buying Game Genies and typing in the damn codes.

To prevent warez (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 4 years ago | (#28483129)

All Nintendo is doing is saving kids the trouble of buying Game Genies and typing in the damn codes.

Almost the same software (Bannerbomb + Homebrew Channel) can be used to run homemade games, to apply Game Genie-style cheat codes (Gecko OS), and to run infringing copies of game discs. By including built-in cheats, Nintendo reduces demand for Gecko OS and thus for Bannerbomb + Homebrew Channel, making it less likely that players will learn about warez.

Not everyone wants to beat their head on the wall (1)

rotide (1015173) | more than 4 years ago | (#28481235)

Not everyone pays for a game to sit there for hours on little overly difficult segments of the game.

Yes, there is something to be said for overcoming a challenge, but not everyone buys games to be challenged. Some people buy them to merely have fun with friends and/or family!

In my opinion there is more than enough room for both camps.

So we got an interactive move for a game (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28481323)

Seems like it is full circle. It now becomes a book, movie, show what ever you want to call it. You interact with it at some parts but then when you want the story to move along and you do not want to be stuck you let the game play. It is not a bad thing for games it is also not something I would want to use. The fun would definitely be gone for me and other gamers I am sure however the folks that want to have the story over the play would definitely enjoy it. I foresee this leading to many "choose your own adventure" games. Developers would love that as less time would be needed for game control programming. One could reach other "non-traditional" gamers. Replay values would be high but still the play through would be quicker than other games I would think.

Everyone's Special (3, Interesting)

ThinkWeak (958195) | more than 4 years ago | (#28481349)

Score one for the "Everyone's special" crowd. However, this could be good for the regular gamer.

We have an entire generation of employees entering the workforce that can't think for themselves. A step like this in the video game world is not that surprising.

It USED to be that you had to think to solve puzzles, complex puzzles, to continue a story - not just finish the game. This has been diluted over the years to give the end-user more flashy graphics without really challenging them.

Now imagine if a developer could create mind-bending puzzles that would cause even the most experienced gamer problems - but not alienate the "I'm special" crowd. It COULD be a great step in the evolution of gaming.

However, it probably will just be to assist those people that can't even handle the mediocre challenges that we currently see.

Re:Everyone's Special (1)

mashuren (886791) | more than 4 years ago | (#28481481)

Man, Gabe and Tycho were prescient. [penny-arcade.com]

Re:Everyone's Special (1)

mashuren (886791) | more than 4 years ago | (#28481589)

Oops. I meant for that to be a reply to the OP. My apologies.

Well done for missing the point (5, Insightful)

DavidR1991 (1047748) | more than 4 years ago | (#28481449)

"Making a game so easy it can play itself for you at the push of a button just might be that point."

No no and no. If anything, this is the [b]reverse[/b] - it means more difficult sections can be added to the game, without endangering less experienced players (by showing them "how it's done" and letting them skip the harder bits completely if they want to).

This means each demographic gets what it wants - hardcores get a game with some nice tricky sections, and casual gamers get a fun game where they skim over the bits they find too difficult/tedious.

The quoted article is just alarmist turd, and skims over the fact this is, effectively, difficulty levels on crack. There's absolutely no difference between this and selecting Easy/Medium/Hard - this is just a clever hybrid.

Re:Well done for missing the point (2, Funny)

DavidR1991 (1047748) | more than 4 years ago | (#28481469)

Crud, for some reason I used a mish-mash of BB code bold and HTML. Please excuse my stupidity.

Re:Well done for missing the point (1)

BrotherBeal (1100283) | more than 4 years ago | (#28484129)

That's okay - next time, just click the auto-comment button and let Slashdot post the tricky stuff for you.

Just about the most pretentious quote ever (3, Funny)

SageinaRage (966293) | more than 4 years ago | (#28481485)

A statement that somehow the message of art 'degrades' as it reaches more people is something I assumed to hear from some art snob complaining about reproductions of the Mona Lisa, not about a video game starring Mario. The whole notion is insanely elitist, and I'm frankly flabbergasted that someone saw fit to print it.

Especially considering that they got the whole idea wrong - it's only a demo mode that shows you how to beat a section. In order to progress through the game, you still have to play it yourself!

Re:Just about the most pretentious quote ever (1)

cowscows (103644) | more than 4 years ago | (#28483173)

There's been a lot of this sort of attitude towards Nintendo and the Wii coming from the tradition gaming culture for a few years now. Rather than just accept the fact that Nintendo has decided to target a broader marker that doesn't exactly overlap with the "hardcore" gamers, some people have decided to be offended by it, and have been complaining almost non-stop.

The fact that we're still consistently seeing articles from various gaming outlets about whether or not casual gaming is killing real gaming is almost laughable at this point.

Re:Just about the most pretentious quote ever (1)

0xdeadbeef (28836) | more than 4 years ago | (#28484131)

For some people, being good at video games is the only accomplishment they have to be proud of. When these "casuals" come along and popularize video games that don't require obsessive repetition and the mastery of trial and error game mechanics, it cheapens their only achievement. It forces them to recognize the failure of their lives, so it is understandable that they'd put on an airs and whine.

Performance vs. Learning (1)

eagee (1308589) | more than 4 years ago | (#28481537)

It's really all about the goals of the player. Personally I'm glad they added this feature - I've always liked the traditional style of mario genre - but because they're so frustrating the only one I ever finished was SMB2/Galaxy. The performance goals were always so steep and never gave me a measure of how I was improving. This is a nice compromise between the two that'll keep players playing longer. It's better than putting down the controller and giving up - which is what I would normally do by the third "Game Over". Miyamoto made a good call IMHO.

God Mode (2, Informative)

Mr. Underbridge (666784) | more than 4 years ago | (#28481575)

This is no different than old-school games (ie, the ones I played growing up) like Wolfenstein or Doom, each of which had a "God mode" which everybody knew. Those codes would give you invulnerability and/or unlimited ammo.

Sometimes it was fun just to use them and just go berserk, but one of the main uses of them was to get through portions of the game that you simply couldn't beat. I used them occasionally when I was just unable to beat some monster. As such, those codes (which have been used in many games by many gamers) are no different than the current feature in Mario, except that it's more interactive.

I've favored games that automatically level the difficulty level so the user still does all the action rather than watching it. That's easier with combat style games than it is for platform-style games. Maybe they need ways of making the *physics* more forgiving as well - say make Mario jump farther/higher, have something rescue you if you fall, etc.

It is the new easy mode. (3, Insightful)

vortoxin (213064) | more than 4 years ago | (#28481677)

It is how I look at most games. I like a challenge, but I do not want to have to allocate project management, tons of research, and bringing my A game every time I play it. This is just a new easy mode, same as a cheat for God mode, or turning down difficulty a ton like a combat slider in Oblivion.

I want to be involved in the game story, get some enjoyment out of it, and not miss some part of the game because a different minority wants me to suffer through a game to get the best items or game play experience just because they had to.

I give Progress Quest as an example of the game will play itself, you will watch it, and you will be amused as an example of this. http://www.progressquest.com/ [progressquest.com] It has a following, so maybe there is some truth in the matter.

More users allow for further segmentation (1)

jayme0227 (1558821) | more than 4 years ago | (#28481691)

As far as art goes, there's art for everyone. There are extremely simple drawings in children's books and highly abstract pieces for the intellectuals among us, and everything in between. Because the market for art is so large, everyone can find SOMETHING that they like. Hopefully, with a broader audience, video games can achieve the same segmentation. The larger the audience as a whole, the larger the market for niche or fringe type games that wouldn't otherwise stand a chance.

My only fear is that this will further indoctrinate children that there should always be an easy button. As it is right now, too many kids quit when things get difficult, and this may end exacerbating that trend.

Been There, Done That? (3, Insightful)

Logical Zebra (1423045) | more than 4 years ago | (#28481719)

How is this different from the difficulty slider in The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion? If I get to a part that is particularly pissing me off, I drop the slider all the way down to easy and kill those pesky Dremoras with one swipe of my Sword of the Divine Crusader.

There are those of us that do not want to be overly frustrated with video games; we simply want to have fun. While I enjoy a bit of a challenge, it's nice to know that if I fail at something 5, 10, or 25 times, I can just click a button and make it easier (or skip it).

There's no difference (1)

hellfire (86129) | more than 4 years ago | (#28483909)

But it also points to a problem in our society... the need for instant gratification rather than trying to put some effort into it.

First, I don't discount Nintendo or Elder scrolls for putting in options to make things easier for some people, like a difficulty slider. A difficulty slider allows people to have fun at their own pace and own skill level, as not everyone is the same. I do however, take slight exception to the idea that you give yourself a cheat to get past a hard part. Either you are too lazy to try getting past the hard part yourself, or the game wasn't designed well enough and this is just a "workaround" to that problem.

This "play the level" for me feature is just stupid. Instead of a player trying to improve their skill, just let them hit the cheat and enjoy the game playing itself? Lame! It's indicative of trying to garner a greater audience to buy the game. They'll buy the game, play it a few times, use the cheats, then finish the game in a couple of hours and move on. Nintendo still got their $50 for selling the game. That's the insipid part... that a game maker would try to push and advertise a feature which will potentially make the game be less fun in the long run. It's hard to get interested in a game you feel is too hard and then cheat past every level and then try to work yourself up into playing again after you cheated all that time to beat it.

I approve of using a difficulty slider for most of the game, but I think being able to use the difficulty slider to get past a hard part denotes a problem, in my book.

For the children? (1)

readin (838620) | more than 4 years ago | (#28482533)

As a parent, these things bother me because I don't see the kids getting an opportunity to be challenged and learn to overcome. Legos. We go bowling, and the kids whine if they don't get to use the rails on the side the prevent gutter balls. We play Legos Star Wars, and they make little effort to avoid the toons getting killed because there is almost no penalty.

How are they supposed to learn to overcome the frustrations of life if their games offer no frustration?

Spore, anyone? (1)

odin84gk (1162545) | more than 4 years ago | (#28482721)

"...taking accessibility a step too far in their rush to attract people who don't typically play video games..." Reminds me of a game called Spore. While it may have sold a lot of units, many people here would agree with me when I say this: I want my money back!

They should just make a movie ... (1)

sammyF70 (1154563) | more than 4 years ago | (#28482965)

and get rid of that pesky "game" thing. It was just getting in the way anyway.

Online play (2, Insightful)

alain_delon (1361705) | more than 4 years ago | (#28483097)

This is more symptomatic of the rising ubiquity of on-line play than the degradation of the medium. In the past, beating the game was the only verifiable accomplishment and source for bragging rights. These days, with XBox achievements, PS3 trophies and whatnot - there is much more fine structure to what you accomplish in a game. It is fine if there is a self-play option for the first-time gamers, as long as there are hard modes and special challenges for experienced gamers to show off their skills with.

Is it religion? ;-) (1)

Quiet_Desperation (858215) | more than 4 years ago | (#28484401)

Stuff like this makes me think of really religious people.

"Someone, somewhere is having fun? We can't have that!"

I'm surprised they don't have mass burnings of official strategy guides. These are the folks who write reviews like "The game made me want to smash the controller into a puppy's skull! My blood pressure peaked to the point where my eyes were bleeding. Score: 10++!"

"It was never meant to be a game! -- Line from Rollerball

Content locked out is a rip-off (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28484409)

In Zelda Wind Waker, I got to a point where I had to swing on ropes and land on barrels. I tried for hours and couldn't do it. So, I couldn't get past that point, and I traded in the game. So I don't consider that a good game. I didn't get to see much of the content THAT I PAID FOR.

The worst is driving games where you are only allowed to drive a junk car and have to win dozens of almost-impossible races against computer cars, in order to unlock content THAT YOU PAID FOR. Personally, I think that's consumer fraud.

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?