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Carmack on New id Game, Game Theory

michael posted about 11 years ago | from the space-marine dept.

PC Games (Games) 484

An anonymous reader writes "CNN/Money interviewed id Software wizard John Carmack at the recently completed QuakeCon. Among the topics discussed is Nintendo's recent announcement that today's games are too complicated and hard for players. Carmack, surprisingly, agrees, saying 'I agree strongly with that point of view, but I'm in the minority in the PC space. I want a game you can sit down with, pick up and play. [Role playing games], for example, got to where they had to have a book ship with the game.'"

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butt sex (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6770746)

is what monkeys eat!

Hes right.... (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6770748)

I can't ever beat this new game I have, called 'pong'.

Today's players are too simple for the games (1, Funny)

heironymouscoward (683461) | about 11 years ago | (#6770749)

It has to be said.

After years of learning to use only four neurons, today's game players can't even pickup the basics of the current crop of games.

There should be special remedial classes for game players, so that they can find their basic game-playing skills again. Perhaps we can get Federal funding for this programme, after all it is of vital national intere...

Oh, games. Right.

Next article, please.

Re:Today's players are too simple for the games (-1, Redundant)

wedgey (700684) | about 11 years ago | (#6770770)


Re:Today's players are too simple for the games (3, Insightful)

SlashdotLemming (640272) | about 11 years ago | (#6770873)

It has to be said. After years of learning to use only four neurons, today's game players can't even pickup the basics of the current crop of games...

Now here we have a classic examples of a "the common people are so stupid" post. Its a variation of the often seen bandwagon post. In this instance, a reader sees a condescending remark about the intelligence of the average person and thinks, "You know, he's right, the common people are so stupid. Sigh". The sense of belonging and increased self-esteem are defense mechanisms. The poster posting the message and the reader agreeing with it are exhibiting subconscious methods of bravery in an uncertain world. By creating an artificial bond of perceived intellectual superiority, all involved gain a temporary confidence.

Re:Today's players are too simple for the games (4, Insightful)

HBI (604924) | about 11 years ago | (#6770938)

Now here we have a classic examples of a "the common people are so stupid" post. Its a variation of the often seen bandwagon post. In this instance, a reader sees a condescending remark about the intelligence of the average person and thinks, "You know, he's right, the common people are so stupid. Sigh". The sense of belonging and increased self-esteem are defense mechanisms. The poster posting the message and the reader agreeing with it are exhibiting subconscious methods of bravery in an uncertain world. By creating an artificial bond of perceived intellectual superiority, all involved gain a temporary confidence.

All true, but that does not negate the truthfulness of the parent poster's statement. The population is dumbed down. How it happened is more complex than just video games - the educational system played its part as well, but people are less well educated today than 25 years ago and it shows in their amusements.

Re:Today's players are too simple for the games (5, Insightful)

Politburo (640618) | about 11 years ago | (#6770982)

Very hard to say. 25 years ago the personal computer didn't exist. The game console was in its infancy. It's practically impossible to compare entertainment of 25 years ago to today, and come out with a rational conclusion on the intelligence of the people.

Re:Today's players are too simple for the games (4, Insightful)

HRbnjR (12398) | about 11 years ago | (#6770939)

By creating an artificial bond of perceived intellectual superiority, all involved gain a temporary confidence.

Oh, the irony of your post :)

Re:Today's players are too simple for the games (1)

MegaFur (79453) | about 11 years ago | (#6770945)

Gee, you're right, I agree with you. *sigh* (Does that mean we're doing the same thing as the poster that you're critiqueing?)

Re:Today's players are too simple for the games (2, Interesting)

Overly Critical Guy (663429) | about 11 years ago | (#6770955)

The parent is an example of the cynical self-aware post, in which nihilistic criticism is preferred over subjective reasoning. In such a mindset, there are no ideals or beliefs, because all is exposed as a neverending pattern.

You are quite simply wrong (5, Insightful)

LordZardoz (155141) | about 11 years ago | (#6770891)

Your comment is so painfully wrong that I cannot post my initial thoughts if I dont want to be labeled flamebait.

Todays current crop of gamers is largly composed of yester days crop of gamers. People like you, and myself, dont need to be sold on gaming as a viable hobby. The problem is that the games you and I like are not attracting any new gamers. Let me put this more plainly.

Everyone who wants to play complicated games is already doing so.

Further more, your understanding of the idea of simple games is way off. Carmack and Nintendo are not saying that we need to make games for the mentally deficient. They are saying that there is a shortage of games that you can just pick up and play for 5 or 15 minutes at a time.

As an example, take a serious look at Chu-Chu-Rocket (Dreamcast), or Super Monkey Ball (1 or 2, both on Game Cube). You dont need to play a 15 tutorial to figure out everything that you can do in the game. If your not brain damaged, you figure it out in about 3 minutes. Super Monkey Ball is especially good for this. You can literally hand it to any random person on the street and they will know basically what they are doing in 30 seconds. Can you say the same for Quake? Starcraft? Warcraft?

The Old School games that fit this are Donkey Kong, Pac Man, Asteroids, Space Invaders, and the like.

No one is going to pick up a game for the joy of feeling like an idiot.


Re:Today's players are too simple for the games (2, Insightful)

Shaklee39 (694496) | about 11 years ago | (#6770904)

Or maybe we do not like to waste time on those games. I was in to RPGs for a long time and there was a very steep learning curve compared to most games. Even if you read the manual, there is still more things that just keep gobbling up your time and without learning them, you will not have a good character. I for one enjoy a mindless game like doom or racing where almost everyone has an equal playing field without spending hours each day playing it.

I'm too smart to waste time. Gimme a simple game. (2, Interesting)

NotQuiteReal (608241) | about 11 years ago | (#6770950)

Really, I want to have some thing entertaining that I can "pick up" quickly. Despite that fact that I read /. I am not a total geek.

I like playing games, but I do have a life. I can't spend too much time getting into it. Just point, shoot, kill. Let me find new stuff to kill for 15-20 hours and I will feel I've had my money's worth.

Then I go online and play the same game I just learned against others and it doesn't matter that it doens't stay new. If it is a good game, live people as opponents will keep it interesting.

New Games Not Hard! (4, Funny)

Dareth (47614) | about 11 years ago | (#6770752)

But that may be because I refuse to get rid of my rocking Voodoo3 3500!!! I install new game, it crashes... I swear a bit, then go back to coding. These new games are really improving my coding skills.

Re:New Games Not Hard! (1)

i.r.id10t (595143) | about 11 years ago | (#6770776)

Yah, I finally replaced my Voodoo3 with a high end (but way old, so it was cheap) GF2 card when I realized just how much DRI was sucking...

"QuakeWorld/Quake2 under Linux with Glide - Quake the way God meant it to be..." - some anonymous person

Re:New Games Not Hard! (1) troll (593289) | about 11 years ago | (#6770795)

I know you're joking, but theres a lot of truth to that. Ever since I got my geforce2mx400 I became much less productive. Spending 5+ hours a day learning random things just to get an idea I thought of coded became 5+ hours a day of random fragging.
It takes a lot of disciplin to be a productive gamer, and I don't think I have it.

Re:New Games Not Hard! (2, Interesting)

MulluskO (305219) | about 11 years ago | (#6770913)

After years of reading Slashdot, I am always surprised that such a high-tech community seems to have such low end graphics accelerators.

Re:New Games Not Hard! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6770869)

It's the opposite for me. I try coding, get bugs with no hope of being fixed, and go back to playing Everquest.


Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6770755)

I can't believe I got the fifth post.

Of course... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6770756)

Having the controls explained to you, etc. before hand can really eat up a lot of practice time. For example, how many of us stuffed quarter after quarter into Defender before we figured out how to move and shoot at the same time?

A New Game... (3, Funny)

Joel Carr (693662) | about 11 years ago | (#6770760)

Is it called Duke Nukem For-Never?


Oooooh I get it (0, Flamebait)

Exiler (589908) | about 11 years ago | (#6770808)

Hahahahah, it's funny, because the game hasn't come out in a long time! That's HALARIOUS! Because I've never heard a joke like that before, never!

No, you don't (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6770956)

The funny part is not in the idea, it's in the playing on words... forget about becoming an humorist, btw...

Choose your own adventure (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6770831)

"I want a game you can sit down with, pick up and play. [Role playing games], for example, got to where they had to have a book ship with the game.'"

How about a choose your own adventure book? Then they just ship you the book, no cumbersome games to deal with.

My chainsaw (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6770764)

I now play video games on my chainsaw XL+ Special Edition! I take the chainsaw, put it on top of the game, turn it on, and just start playing. In fact, the experience is similar with all games, so buy the cheap ones.

What... (3, Insightful)

soliaus (626912) | about 11 years ago | (#6770766)

This is why I still play tetris.

Fun learning curves (5, Insightful)

Empiric (675968) | about 11 years ago | (#6770768)

For me, the main question isn't whether the game is "simple", or "deep", it's how the learning curve is implemented in the game.

Going back to the original Doom, it was almost perfect in this regard. It hooked me with the first impression ("How are they *doing* this 3D perspective...?"--having messed with graphics routines in assembly *way* back, it was striking how impressive this was for the time) and kept me going with it's playability and pretty seamless introduction of the more complex aspects of the game (hidden areas, etc.). The game was fun regardless of how far you were into discovering all there was to it.

I can't really get into most games in this way. It's not that I can't learn what other games require up-front, it's that there's no real motivation for doing so when there are games like Unreal Tournament I can enjoy immediately. And games like Ultima, well... yes, you can advance your character by numerous non-adventuring methods, but it ends up being rather mundane IMHO. I may as well go to work at that point.

Personally, I think Heretic had a good feel for the right approach... there was a fair amount of depth there, but it was introduced as a natural extension of playing the game, rather than a required up-front learning curve. As an example from another game genre, Total Annihilation worked really, really well in this way too.

Surprisingly? (5, Insightful)

HalB (127906) | about 11 years ago | (#6770773)

I don't see how this is surprising. Simplicity has always been key in the id games. When everyone else was doing "action" buttons, id still had you bumping into buttons to open doors.
This simplicity and accessibility has earned them fans who don't like complicated games - they just want to play.

disagree (4, Interesting)

Billly Gates (198444) | about 11 years ago | (#6770775)

If I wanted a simple lets see how fast I can press buttons, then I would use a ps/2 or xbox and not a pc. I have console games. Zelda is the only one I like.

Pc games are better for things like complex role playing games, internet cames, and even action because the keyboard and mouse is alot more flexible then a controller pad. I can move staffe left and right quicker and create my own macro's. Try staffing left, firing a weapon, and then change to the next weapon on a controll pad at the same time? You can do it but it will take longer and your aim will not be as good when doing it.

Quake3 is pretty easy but it would suck on any other platform. For example even if it was an xbox lan enabled release, I could not download mods or new maps. Are there any and I mean any internet games for consoles?

I am sick of the arguement that pc's are for work only and a console is for real games. I consider the pc a rolls royce of gaming and I am fustrated that most game developers now only concentrate on consoles. This is why dukeNukem continues on the ps/2 and why it was killed on the pc. I think executives who only look at installed units per platform and tell the developers to use only x instead of seeing that a particular game is more suited for the pc platform.

Re:disagree (4, Interesting)

mabinogi (74033) | about 11 years ago | (#6770822)

Actually, Quake 3 was out on PS2, and it's pretty good as far as console FPS still manages to have the same frantic feeling as the PC version.

Though I'm certain that if it were possible to put console players against PC players in a multiplayer game, that the PC ones would win, since keyboard and mouse is definitely more accurate than a console controller. But that doesn't mean that the console version can't be fun too. There's a lot less black and white, one or the other things in the world than people like to think. Not everything that is a positive for one thing is a negative for another.

The whole PC vs Console thing is stupid anyway.....
Playing at a desk in front of a computer is an entirely differnt experience to sitting in your lounge room in front of your TV.
One isn't inherently better than the other....they're just different.

FWIW, the game I've spent the most time in front of in recent history is Morrowind, on XBox, and all things being equal, (which they more or less are between the PC and XBox versions of Morrowind), I'd much rather play a game I'm going to spend a long time on, sitting in comfort.

agree (3, Insightful)

trolman (648780) | about 11 years ago | (#6770826)

I have to agree that the PC is the top end platform but not for point and shoot gaming instead for simulations that require thought and this then results in the requirement for a manual and thus reading of said manual.

Point and Kill is great if you are teaching zombies to assemble widgets at minimum wage?

Re:agree (4, Funny)

tedrek (459924) | about 11 years ago | (#6770862)

Point and kill is much better for teaching zombies to disassemble widgets...

internet games for consoles (2, Interesting)

swg101 (571879) | about 11 years ago | (#6770934)

There are several games that allow you play online. The PS2 with the network addon, and the XBox all have sports games (Madden, and FPS games (SOCOM) that allow multiplay online. You can even replace the control pad with a keyboard and mouse. The graphics resolution on the PC is still better than the on the TV

Progressive complexity in FRPGs. (2, Insightful)

Black Parrot (19622) | about 11 years ago | (#6770778)

Lots of FRPGs operate on a concept of "levels" of challenge, so it seems like it should be possible to start with low complexity at "level 1", and add in the complexity incrementally as the player enters new levels and gets opportunites to do new things.

When have games ever... (1)

hackwrench (573697) | about 11 years ago | (#6770783)

not been too hard for players? Especially those Gradius type games.

Re:When have games ever... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6770877)

That's what he's talking about, though - not actual difficulty level, but how intuitive it is. Gradius was difficult, but simple (and also happens to be one of my favorite series).

Shoot-em-ups (1)

harks (534599) | about 11 years ago | (#6770784)

Less intelligent? I'm sick of every game they make being point and shoot. Compare HL to Quake 3, or even RTCW. People don't want pure shoot-em-ups.

Re:Shoot-em-ups (3, Interesting)

tuffy (10202) | about 11 years ago | (#6770857)

People don't want pure shoot-em-ups.

Are you sure? Perhaps you want something more complicated than a pure shoot-em-up, but I'd wager there's a large number of gamers that do want something simple to get into, which is the whole point of the article.

Re:Shoot-em-ups (1)

2nd Post! (213333) | about 11 years ago | (#6770881)

Yes they do, that's why Id still makes money. No one else truly competes.

Oh, no, there was Serious Sam! And guess what, they made enough money for a sequel!

Re:Shoot-em-ups (1)

i.r.id10t (595143) | about 11 years ago | (#6770972)

You are right! I want CTF too... and maybe some Team DM, and....

Too complicated? (4, Insightful)

NanoGator (522640) | about 11 years ago | (#6770785)

Hmm I dunno if complicated is the word I'd use. I do feel, though, that not enough attention is paid to the UI in many cases. I remember when Zelda 64 came out, I was shocked that Link would jump automatically just by walking to the edge. No more jump button. *Whew* I was happy about that. No more worrying about hitting the button at the right time.

I think Nintendo is one of the few companies who watches somebody play and says "What are the common mistakes they are making? What can we do to alleviate them?"

Re:Too complicated? (4, Insightful)

startled (144833) | about 11 years ago | (#6770886)

"I remember when Zelda 64 came out, I was shocked that Link would jump automatically just by walking to the edge. No more jump button. *Whew* I was happy about that. No more worrying about hitting the button at the right time."

The correct answer is to eliminate long-distance, high penalty jumping puzzles. You know the type: jump at this exact pixel or you plummet to your death, and have to play half an hour to get back to it again (only to fail once more).

The entirely wrong answer is to create a character who loves leaping off of narrow bridges into vast pools of lava when hyper-caffeinated me slightly twitches the joystick to the right.

Good platformer: character runs up to the ledge, teeters, hangs off with his hands. If you wanted to jump, you woulda hit the jump button-- but you're no idiot and that's a giant lake of hot fucking lava.

Bad Zelda: Link runs near the ledge, preps himself, and swan dives into a lake of hot lava because Link's a giant fucking idiot.

If Nintendo wanted to get away from jump "puzzle" frustration, why'd they implement curvy narrow bridge over lava puzzles?

To bring this back OT: simplification can be good, but you always run the hazard of doing it wrong (or pleasing half of your audience, like you, and pissing off the other half).

Re:Too complicated? (1)

Maserati (8679) | about 11 years ago | (#6770905)

Jumping puzzles can reeeeeeally suck. I truly loved Kingdom Hearts because it had tough jumping puzzles and no falling damage. Well, a few falls kill you but if you can see the bottom you're usually ok. I found this to be very liberating, since it took a lot of the fear out of jumping around like a madman (you do get in some fights near bottomless drops, but towards the very end). It was also pretty cool, falling a great distance and landing safely.

Re:Too complicated? (1)

Anonvmous Coward (589068) | about 11 years ago | (#6770908)

"Bad Zelda: Link runs near the ledge, preps himself, and swan dives into a lake of hot lava because Link's a giant fucking idiot.

Actually it's not that easy to do. (I'm talking about the GameCube game, not the N64. In that case, you may be right, I don't remember.) If you got too close to the edge, you had warning he was about to jump. You could also quickly push back and he'd grip the ledge. I honestly cannot remember a single time I've had Link jump into or off of something that I didn't want him to.

They did an awesome job with his control.

Re:Too complicated? (1)

Osty (16825) | about 11 years ago | (#6770971)

I think Nintendo is one of the few companies who watches somebody play and says "What are the common mistakes they are making? What can we do to alleviate them?"

WTF were they doing with Metroid Prime, then? Also, if you liked the N64 Zelda games, you'll love Wind Waker. It's one of the few GameCube games where Nintendo actually improved on what they've done before.

Yeah, I want to return (1)

krymsin01 (700838) | about 11 years ago | (#6770786)

to spending hours trying to beat ET for the atari 2600, only to keep falling back into the pits.

Re:Yeah, I want to return (1)

gazuga (128955) | about 11 years ago | (#6770847)

heh heh, I remember that one too.

Worst... Game... Ever...

Re:Yeah, I want to return (1)

quasi_steller (539538) | about 11 years ago | (#6770874)

Ah, the memories! I guess you have to go back to playing ET for awhile before you are thankfull at how far games have come.

Re:Yeah, I want to return (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6770927)

ET was hardly a "sit down and play it" game -- I had to download the manual to figure out that you were supposed to assemble these turd-shaped pieces into a phone and bring it somewhere.

It's all about choices (4, Insightful)

unfortunateson (527551) | about 11 years ago | (#6770789)

To continue the RPG complexity discussion: Final Fantasy I, on NES, was a blast: you chose characters, picked from a small selection of spells, and in general wandered wherever you wanted.

The SNES FF's were less fun: they had static plots that had to be followed, and some battles that always went the same way. Yawn.

I stopped playing them at FF7: you had a bazillion choices on how to equip your character with crystals and things, but no choice on what to do next.

Fallout was fun, Fallout 2 had some corollary problems: So many choices that the character development was tedious.

Re:It's all about choices (5, Insightful)

mabinogi (74033) | about 11 years ago | (#6770849)

The problem with the Final Fantasy series, is that the conplication went up, and they stopped being RPGs.

RPGs can sustain complication, Interactive Movies can't.....

I always cringe when someone releases a FF style game and calls it an 'RPG'.

It's an RPG if the player gets to play a role, not push someone else's character through a script, no matter how many experience points you can get.

Re:It's all about choices (1)

Drantin (569921) | about 11 years ago | (#6770930)

To me they seem more like a hybrid RPG/Adventure game...

Re:It's all about choices (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6770871)

Did you just insult Fallout 2? You SON OF A BITCH

Re:It's all about choices (1)

Black_Logic (79637) | about 11 years ago | (#6770926)

Final Fantasy I, on NES, was a blast: you chose characters, picked from a small selection of spells, and in general wandered wherever you wanted.

FF1 Had just a static plot as every other FF game. Less so, Most later FF's have lots of sidequests.

I stopped playing them at FF7: you had a bazillion choices on how to equip your character with crystals and things, but no choice on what to do next.

Here's the problem. A non-linear plotline seems like a great idea but in the end leads to hazy, confusing games. Witness Sqaure's Saga Frontier. A linear plotline allows for an involving storyline.
Also, there's only so much time and resources developers can use to make a game. So your not going to get an involved non-linear storyline. It's like those 3 options pick 2 concepts.
1. coherent, engaging storyline
2. Non-linear story
3. Quality of semi-extranous details (graphics, sound, character art, etc.)

It depends on what mood.... (3, Interesting)

TheWart (700842) | about 11 years ago | (#6770798)

I am in. Sometimes I just need to load up a quick game where I can blast anything that moves; and other times I want a game with a bit more depth. I think the industry defenitely has both genres right I fail to see what he is really griping about.

Games have gotten a bit too complex to be fun (5, Insightful)

DaLiNKz (557579) | about 11 years ago | (#6770800)

I agree. I play a MMORPG called "Legend of Mir". MIR2 was coded in delphi and operates at 800x600@8bit. Ironically, even after Mir3, which uses 3d acceleration and 16bit graphics, mir2 still holds as the top game in china. The reason really is because of the complexity. They added a large number of additions to mir3 take made the game much more difficult to play, much more to do simple tasks.. Its why only about 300,000 players in china play mir3 over the 700,000 on mir2.

Then again, mir2 totally flopped in English countries, but mir3 seems to hold promise. Maybe us americans and (the) brits rather complicated games? :) Personally I rather MIR2, but mostly because i'm lazy ;) (MIR2: (korean) - (english) MIR3: (korean) (no (official) english sites (though the server software has been leaked for months now)))

Gamez (1)

smatt-man (643849) | about 11 years ago | (#6770802)

The last game I actually 'beat' - without cheat codes - was Final Fantasy... 1... I feel old and/or stupid.

ID misspellings (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6770805)

ID spells wolfenstein wrong on their own site.

Very interesting (3, Insightful)

JediTrainer (314273) | about 11 years ago | (#6770806)

Reminds me of my recent experience learning (with everyone else) how to play Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory

This is *definitely* not a game you can just pick up and start playing. Sure, you can run around killing others, but in order to help your team complete their objectives, if you run around clueless you might actually be hindering them.

It took me quite a while to figure out where everything was, and also how to use the various player classes and their weapons/tools. Also took a long time to figure out the maps, what to construct and what to blow up. But the game was interesting, and worth learning. It took an investment of time and patience, but it paid off.

I suspect a lot of people aren't willing to make that kind of investment, or aren't able. Heck, I only get a couple of hours per week to play. So I just want to sit and play!

Not enough advertisments? (1)

Demanche (587815) | about 11 years ago | (#6770812)

Just my opinion.. I am not a game fanatic..

With the growing trend of the more advanced game playing age groups spending more time online and less time watching tv (I am one of this group) I have yet to see much online advertisment that would even incline me to click to a games website.

If I watch less TV these days, and don't see any advertisments online that are complelling - then I am left in the dark. I kid you not that I am almost 100% out of the loop these days with games.

Perhaps they should target the more advanced games to the online majority more and they will get the attention of the more tech savy people who only play good games and not Mario Kart.

Maybe some more advertisments in theaters on the big screen? I thought I saw some of them a while ago but they stopped...

I think the main problem I see is the lack of new methods of games being shown to users. TV commercials are great for some, but what percentage skips commercials - and what percentage is just online? Much Music (canadian) is good for advertisments afaik.. but I think there is a *lost* generation of gamers out there...

What happened to all those gamers TV shows that used to air weekly? I don't get any with basic cable?

Re:Not enough advertisments? (1)

Drakin (415182) | about 11 years ago | (#6770958)

The shows got bought out/so over sponsored by certain companies that they lost their viewership because of their bias. Thus the shows gotdropped.

Simple games rule. (5, Insightful)

tambo (310170) | about 11 years ago | (#6770813)

You know, when I look back at the thousands of games I've played, two distinct groups stand out.

There are the wildly ambitious ones (Star Control II, Zelda, Ultima Underworld, Alternate Reality, Castlevania: Symphony of the Night... even Dungeons of Daggorath - yeah, I'm 0ld-sk00l!), which are fun to play and revisit... but you wouldn't, y'know, sit down and play them for 20 minutes.

And then there are those simple but ridiculously fun games. Tetris, Bust-a-Move, Dance Dance Revolution, Scorched Earth, Discs of Tron, Minesweeper, Archon... really simple concepts, but you can lose frightening swaths of your life mastering your skills. It's not that they're oversimplified. They've just got a really rewarding learning curve.

One of the modern champions of the latter is PopCap, of course. I've spent ridiculous amounts of time playing Insaniquarium, to name but one.

- David Stein

Re:Simple games rule. (1)

skeptikos (220748) | about 11 years ago | (#6770935)

I would say it depends a lot on the player. I loved playing Dungeons of Daggorath.

The text command interface was well thought, considering the limitations imposed by the 16KB? of ram needed. I like "complicated" games, when the complexity comes from having to achieve conflicting goals. When complexity comes from a non-ergonomic design it is another issue. I know some gamers that did not like X-Wing/Freespace etc. simulators because they have too many keys with different functions. Well, all those keys/functions are there for a reason and add "realism". Would it be easier to play a game where there is not engine/shield/weapons energy management? Sure but it would not be as interesting to me. For the same reason I think chess is more fun than tic-tac-toe. YMMV

Games for which group of people? (2, Insightful)

lostchicken (226656) | about 11 years ago | (#6770814)

The people who play FPS games are usually not the same group of people who play RPGs (the pen and paper type) and people often forget that.

And those who do play both play them for different reasons. The FPS is designed to make you work on instinct, giving your higher-order brain functions a rest, while RPGs do the complete opposite. You want RPGs to be complex and require much thought, but if you make somebody think really hard about a FPS, you've defeated the purpose of that genre.

And the most popular computer game is... (2, Interesting)

DotDotSlasher (675502) | about 11 years ago | (#6770815)

The most popular computer game is, of course, Solitaire. It grates me to no end that so many games have come & gone, but people keep going back to Solitaire. It's a simple game.

I have given up on many games -- maybe because something didn't get me involved, but a good part of the reason was the game was too complicated. I didn't want to think that much, and left it for later. (still waiting, btw)

Games (1, Interesting)

Flingles (698457) | about 11 years ago | (#6770817)

I agree it just needs a good learning curve. Or just an optional training program. Half life's was especially well done. Special extra's should be introduced after basics are mastered though.

Virtual Sex Game Levels (1)

Basehart (633304) | about 11 years ago | (#6770821)

I wonder how many levels there will be, and what they will be called, when virtual sex games hit the shelves?

Level One - Virgin, Level Fifty - Mega Galaxia Nightstrobe

no use key? (1)

Tibor the Hun (143056) | about 11 years ago | (#6770823)

i don't think including a use key would be too much.
while i don't like to "use" a door, i found it useful in HL because it immersed me in the puzzles. it's nice when one feels a part of the game world, not just a passer by.
i know that doom3 is not supposed to be a game to rule all games, but more of the engine promo, it would still be nice if it was immersive as well as fun.
on the sidenote, this is the first time i heard of quake4. will it be using the doom3 engine, and would anyone like to bet if it would come out before DNF?

Let the market decide (4, Insightful)

FeloniousPunk (591389) | about 11 years ago | (#6770828)

Why the need for all the pseudo-intellectual debates on "whither gaming?" If Carmack and whoever else think that there's a demand for simple games, then they should build them. If there really is a strong demand for such games, he/they will make a lot of money (or even more money, in the case of Mr. Carmack). Meanwhile, other developers will make more complex games that appeal to other segments of the market, and make money that way. It's really quite simple.
Role playing games didn't "get to where you needed a book to play them." The ones he probably had in mind (I'm guessing the Baldur's Gate games) are based on a famous old pen and paper game that required MANY books to play, as far back as back in the day. There are a lot of people who like these sort of games (D&D has been around since the 70s) and sales certainly support their further development. The market for games is hardly monolithic and there is plenty of room for both simple and complex games.

Re:Let the market decide (1)

Ex-MislTech (557759) | about 11 years ago | (#6770952)

>>>Why the need for all the pseudo-intellectual debates

Easy to answer that, it is called the Cult of Personality .

Ppl that follow what ppl say due to their fame or success .

Individualism replaced by follower tendencies .

Carmack is looked at as a hero, someone who become someone
from being no one .

He has a good ratio of good products that are played worldwide .

So anything he says is weighed, as he obviously has achieved
success, and thus merits consideration .


His Genre is FPS, pretty much exclusively I believe .

RPG's are a whole different ball of twine .


It's true. (2, Interesting)

Chess_the_cat (653159) | about 11 years ago | (#6770833)

Games today, especially PC games, have way too much detail and too many variables to be any fun anymore. For example, I really admire the Simcity series and appreciate how much detail is in a game like Simcity 4. But there are so many variables that you don't have any control over the game anymore. (Not to mention the fact you need 2GB of RAM just to get the thing to run at a half decent speed.)

You might say "But that's the whole point with a city simulation; chaos. Maybe. But once you realize that no one player could possibly micromanage so many details it gets frustrating and boring. Simcity 4 should be played by a computer. I remember being a kid and picking up Simcity for the SNES and I got right into it. It was easy but that didn't mean it wasn't interesting.

Shite. Look at any game on the NES. When you were a kid you threw the manual and the box away. You didn't need a manual to figure out how to play Excitebike or Balloon Fight. Now I have to keep a library of game manuals and a separate library of strategy manuals just to play a game like Civilization III.

The only genre that hasn't been affected by this is the FPS. Once you've learned WASD you're all set. I love that feeling of loading a brand new game and just knowing how to play it. The last time I felt that way I was playing Medal of Honor.

Then of course there's the in game tutorial which has become standard. Except for the tutorial in Black and White (which doubled as an introduction) which was really well done I get so bored listening to and reading the instructions. I just want to play.

It's still not so bad on the consoles. I have a Cube and I love it. Games like Pikmin and Animal Cracker have short little manuals on the interface; the rest of the game is up to you. Miyamoto is a genius like that. One or two buttons and that's all you need to know to interface with the game. F-Zero is out Tuesday. Will I have to read the manual? No. I'll even bet I know what the manual will say: A: Accelerator. B: Boost. L/R: Hard Steer. Simple. Will I be hooked on it for months? Yes.

platform games and scrolling shooters (1)

SystematicPsycho (456042) | about 11 years ago | (#6770839)

What ever happened to platform games or scrolling shooters like Raiden? Maybe they've turned into 3D world games but scrolling shooters have completely died. I never got into the first person shooters or street fighter copy cat games. Other than that the only good games coming out are car racing games and sports... but that's just me.

Evolution... (1)

SharpFang (651121) | about 11 years ago | (#6770922)

Scrolling shooters -> FPP shooters
Text adventures -> Adventure (Sierra) -> cRPG
Labyrinth -> 3PP adventures (Tomb Rider)

Any other examples?

The game of Life (1)

RetroGeek (206522) | about 11 years ago | (#6770850)

[Role playing games], for example, got to where they had to have a book ship with the game.

And a good role playing game should emulate life in some aspect. If you are a General, then you should know something about being a General.

I can proudly state that after being alive for a number of years, I am actually good at being myself.

Now a game to play my role, would NEED to be shipped with a book. How else would you know how to play my role?

I hope his was misquoted (1)

Torgo's Pizza (547926) | about 11 years ago | (#6770851)

[Role-Playing Games] for example, got to where they had to have a book ship with the game.

I'll be the first to say I love John's work and I've got a lot of friends at id Software. But I have to say this is *the* stupidest thing that I have heard him say. I hope that it was taken out of context or something, because it takes a real meathead to say this.

I mean, c'mon. For 25 years RPGs have always been about the books, the manuals, the spellbooks, the monster compendiums. If my RPG didn't come with a book, I'd be a little worried. In fact, when I purchased a used Wizardry 8 without the manual, I nearly lost it.

John, tell me that we're just misunderstanding you. Tell me that CNN is pulling a NYT stunt. You can't be serious. Can you?

Re:I hope his was misquoted (1)

trolman (648780) | about 11 years ago | (#6770882)

Damn right on!

And to whom ever has my 1979 Monster Manual as denoted by 'Owned by Trolman' on the inside cover; give it back or be damned to roll a one sided die for eternity.

The Trolman aka 'greatful dead'

Re:I hope his was misquoted (3, Insightful)

tuffy (10202) | about 11 years ago | (#6770902)

I mean, c'mon. For 25 years RPGs have always been about the books, the manuals, the spellbooks, the monster compendiums. If my RPG didn't come with a book, I'd be a little worried. In fact, when I purchased a used Wizardry 8 without the manual, I nearly lost it.

Why must a computer RPG require a large manual? While memorizing the importance of "tiltowait" from a book might be nice and satisfying, why can't I simply ask the game for this information? And if a game has a complicated battle system, why not include a basic tutorial so the player can experience how things work and why. Even relatively complicated console titles like "Advance Wars" have these sorts of features, so I don't see why a modern computer game shouldn't.

Re:I hope his was misquoted (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6770917)

I think it comes down to the split between 'RPGs' and 'adventure games.' 'Adventure games' were meant to be fun on a computer; 'RPGs' were meant to be playable without one.

That said, RPGs (of the hack'n'slash, level-up, and now buy-and-sell-items) seem to be stealing the attention away from the genre(s) that actually required computers for play. I think this is because we're still getting used to the idea of 'massively multiplayer' gaming at all, and it's the one form of realtime-interactive game that *benefits* from scaling across thousands of players.

Still, as the novelty wears off and the bills begin to pile up (*how* much does it cost to be on Everquest for a month?), I'd expect to see the 'serious gamers' move on to greener pastures, and the people with some sort of emotional attachment to their character move on to 'freeform' - and free as in not-charging-a-monthly-fee - environments. On the other hand, who thought anyone would pay to watch ads on cable TV?

Map reading used to be required knowledge (1)

Mongoose (8480) | about 11 years ago | (#6770977)

I paid like $10 for Morrowind on eBay, but I then found out why it was so cheap -- the bundle had no map or manuals. I had to print out a map from the web and I was fine however.

I like games like that -- in real life you'd want to have a nice map of a huge island to really get around on it.

I think Morrowind is the best RPG since Arena: The Elder Scrolls so I may be a litte bias. =)

You know a game is good when it requires Windows or WineX, and crashes from time to time you still keep loading it up. Btw, I was playing with all the patches -- it's just a mem leak or something from playing 2hrs at a time. ;)

New genre (2, Insightful)

RealRav (607677) | about 11 years ago | (#6770856)

Guys, don't get me wrong, I love FPS and can sit there for hours, but its time for something new. What ever happened to creativity in games? Marble Madness. Tempest. Hell even Pacman was original. It's time for a new genre. I'd even be happier if the word genre was never used in terms of video games today. Make something new and interesting, I'll buy it. I'm sure there are plenty of others that feel the same way.

Dreams are better as dreams than reality.

maybe just me (4, Interesting)

dollargonzo (519030) | about 11 years ago | (#6770859)

but i always liked games where you were actually led through the game. obviously, there are games that offer virtually unlimited complexity like chess and go, but computer games are quite different. obviously, it is harder to guide a player instead of just creating a bunch of levels he has to get through (which isn't easy either), and arguing about controls is not the right way to go, here.

although a lot of games *do* include tuturials and training missions, etc, it can be difficult to pick up a game because of it. arguably, what a game needs is that each mission/level require a limited subset of skills, and as the game progresses, combine those learned skills, instead of just throwing more monsters at you.

probably my favorite computer game of all time was freespace 2. sure, i like simulations better than FPS and many other genres, but at the same time, it really gave you the feeling of being a part of a "war", mission by mission. the only thing it lacked was cooperative campaigns.

anywho, a lot of modern games lack fantasy: innovation in game play. RPGs have lots of spells, FPSs get you to shoot lots of people, etc. if someone has been playing FPSs or RPGs for a long time, they can get into a new game of the same genre easily. however, when i see a new FPS, i think of it as just that: a new FPS. i want something original!

look at it another way: you are marketting to tech geeks a lot of the time. tech geeks like to build things (like carmack and his rockets) why not translate this kind of interest into a game? mindrover was great for this reason. you actually had to think a little to be good at this new type of game.

This is Carmack we're talking about here. (5, Interesting)

Plix (204304) | about 11 years ago | (#6770876)

Carmack has traditionally taken the stance of environment and fast-paced action over character development and gameplay. This is nothing new.

id has long followed the idea that a game should be build around the technology and not the other way around which is simply not the way to create a game, it's the way you create a technology demo or benchmarking software. At one point in time games had plots, scripts, characters, and progression laid out before the engine was written (or incorporated in the case of licensed code). At that point in time it was simply unrealistic to try and write a game completely for the "wow" factor because graphics technology was simply to primitive to impress anyone enough in that regard to buy the game.

games are too online (1)

Kidentropy (548495) | about 11 years ago | (#6770883)

Robotron is hard and yet an addicting experience that keeps you pushing wave to wave... you die... and you continue... and you progressively get better... FPS multiplayer games are frustrating to me because I don't have six hours a day at work to spend honing my mouse aiming skills against a human opponent that logs more man hours than it takes to fly a commercial plane in one week. I play games to relieve stress... not to be beat into submission at entry level... thats why I find the multiplayer experience to be more and more what I can't deal with. I don't mind leisurely putting an hour or two in a week on something like Neverwinter Nights. Because I use it as an escape from the real world. Playing online you have to deal with the exact same attitudes you deal in the real world... if not worse because of the fourth wall and the ids gone wild. at least with a complicated single player experience you can save face.

First person shooters (4, Insightful)

Ex-MislTech (557759) | about 11 years ago | (#6770885)

Well AFAIK , Carmack just makes first person shooters .

So he has been thinking mostly in one box .

RPG's are following a layout similar to paper
ADnD that was laid out close to 30 years ago .

RPG's are suppose to be somewhat thought prevoking
instead of a simple trigger happy gore fests .

Trigger happy gore fests have their place, but the
other genre by no means should be displaced, or
disrespected because it takes grey matter to play it .

The eccentricity of alternate worlds, and solving
the social and spatial puzzle is part of the endearing
quality of RPGers .

since when were books or PDF's/readme's a bad thing ???

Have we gotten too lazy to read to have fun ???


Master of Orion (1)

toddestan (632714) | about 11 years ago | (#6770897)

I always liked the first one the best. The more complicated it got, the more I seemed distracted from the ultimate goal of conquering the universe. I seen got tired of having to micromanage all the colonies in the second game, especially towards the end when I had dozens of colonies. It was tedious, and seemed pointless. The original just had little sliders to adjust, it took seconds to do and did not even take me away from the main screen. Other good things included limiting the ship designs to six, and stacking the same ships together to simplify battles. It also kept me from having to constantly redesign ships, because with the 6 design limit, once you hit 6 you couldn't create a new design without scrapping an old one. And with a maximum of 6 possible stacks ships you'd have to command in battle, battles went a lot more quicker than the 80+ ship battles of MOO2 that would take a half hour it seemed.

Also, in general, computers are stupid. The simplier the game is, the easier it is to program a good AI for it. Programming a computer to play you in checkers is far easier than chess, for example. The original Master of Orion's AI did have some huge faults, but it was pretty decent. The second game's AI was just a moron, and cheated massively in order to stay competitive beyond the easiest setting. I didn't get a good feel for the third game's AI however. With internet gaming this is not as much of an issue, but when I do have to play a computer, the computer is generally much better at playing simpler games. And it is much more enjoyable to play an AI that has some skill, instead of one that cheats to make up for it's massive stupidity.

What I find scary... (1)

SharpFang (651121) | about 11 years ago | (#6770898) when as the strongest points of the game they mention:

"There are many expansion packs expected"...

In short that means you get bare bones, a game engine with barely playable content and unless you pay more for selected "expansion pack", playablity is just enough to encourage you to pay for more.

More and more newly released games are more "demo products" than real games.

Well, that's not terribly surprising (0, Troll)

Gay Nigger (676904) | about 11 years ago | (#6770906)

Carmack's games aren't exactly known for their intricate plots or gameplay.

You don't need a book! (3, Funny)

SharpFang (651121) | about 11 years ago | (#6770907)

You don't need a book to play RPG games! It's lame to count lines and words on given page anyway! Just get a crack instead!

One of these days (1)

DrSkwid (118965) | about 11 years ago | (#6770923)

one of these interviews with will be worth reading

Re:One of these days (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6770983)

Don't count on it.

The Rare Gem (5, Interesting)

Trent Polack (622919) | about 11 years ago | (#6770924)

I totally agree with John in some of what he says. Games these days are too complex at times. The average MMORPG takes a few weeks, at the least, to really get the hang of. Some RPGs are even rather complex in terms of play mechanics, character advancement, UI manipulation, etc. However, while games may have a steep learning curve, they REALLY are lacking in the depth and difficulty of the games of yester-year.

I remember playing a game called Star Tropics back on my NES when I was 5-6. That game made me absolutely stretch the limits of my fresh-out-of-the-oven mind. Some of the puzzles in the game were so difficult that, at times, the game became a family affair, with both of my parents trying to help me figure out the puzzles necessary to advance in the game. Speed ahead a couple years to Land Stalker on the Genesis. A game in a very similar vein to the previously mentioned Star Tropics. Only 3 buttons were required to play, the menus were, at most, 1 level deep, and the gameplay was fueled by a sword, a jump button, and a special item. There were some puzzles in that game that, literally, took me WEEKS to figure out.

These games weren't difficult in the "cheap" sense that a lot of today's games are. Land Stalker and Star Tropics both presented the answer to a puzzle, but it really took some brainpower. Recent RPGs (final fantasy, Baldur's Gate, NWN, etc.) just don't give that complexity. THey give you hard enemies that take a high level to beat. Whoop-dee-fucking-doo. I don't want to spend hours leveling up in mind-numbingly simple battles! I WANT TO USE MY BRAIN!

Every now and then (maybe twice a year, if we're lucky), a game is released that really dwells in the roots of gaming. My recent favorite games that are hard in the sense that they require brainpower are Big Huge Games' Rise of Nations (which is complex in that it has a HELL of a lot of stuff to do) and the recently released Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic (Bioware), both of which greatly surprised me with their depth and challenge. KOTOR really surprised me, in that it was an RPG... And it was based on the D&D ruleset... But the game was totally open-ended (left things up to the player), had some tough little puzzles, was action-packed while still staying true to RPG roots, didn't take weeks to get over the learning curve (it didn't even take a day, just a mere hour or two until you really knew what was going on) and didn't try to take up 100+ hours of the player's life.

Games designers really need to quit trying to make "sure bets", and try to innovate genres (like KOTOR and Rise of Nations)! I've had my fill of games like Unreal 2k3, Tomb Raider, Final Fantasy, and other cookie-cutter games. Let's see some INNOVATION AND CHALLENGE! Challenge and depth can, very easily in fact, be presented in a simple and easy-to-pick up manner. If an 8-bit NES game, that had a two-button controller, can make a game that stretches the minds of its players, then why can't a PC or an XBox game?!

Re:The Rare Gem (1)

SharpFang (651121) | about 11 years ago | (#6770962)

Recent RPGs (final fantasy, Baldur's Gate, NWN, etc.) just don't give that complexity.

Don't confuse beat'em up games disguised as RPG with real RPGs.

Nethack (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6770943)

OK, yeah, Nethack is becoming the "Beowulf cluster of these" and the "BSD is dying" of role playing games on Slashdot. But it definitely has the best learning curve, especially if you use vi (which came first, anyway?). It's easily the most complex of any game I've ever played. Things like:
1) Stepping on a water trap turns some of your scrolls into blank paper.
2) Dipping a rusty sword in oil can remove some of the rust.
3) Scratching rocks on gems can help you determine the gem type.

That's complexity.
There's no graphics to speak of, but it's almost eerie how a '&' on the other side of a wall can make you nervous.

Complex games that worked BIG TIME (1)

Travoltus (110240) | about 11 years ago | (#6770947)

System Shock 1/2
Deus EX
Freespace 1/2
to name a few

One of the biggest most effective things they have done with complex games, is include in-game training manual missions. Those training missions are fragging invaluable.

Morrowind would have been an even better game with more trainer mission build-up (especially for alchemy).

An especially complex game does well by having training missions that come in stages, as the game gets progressively harder and you need to access the more complex features. See: Freespace 2.

I cannot overemphasize this enough: proper training missions can make any complex game very enjoyable.

I agree too (2, Interesting)

inaeldi (623679) | about 11 years ago | (#6770949)

I really miss the days of side scrolling games such as Super Mario Bros, Sonic, EWJ, etc. That's the main reason why I bought a Gameboy Advance, because it's the only real source of those games left.

Books with roleplaying games? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6770965)

Of course. How else does one know the rules?

To date, I have yet to see a computerized roleplaying game released by a commercial entity.

Roleplaying has nothing to do with levels, hit points, experience points, what have you. Roleplaying is about the story - specifically, what you choose to do with your specific character with regard to that story. (And if your character is killed, well, that sucks - but the story, like the world, continues on without you.)

Almost everything under the label 'RPG' to date, on console or computer, has been nothing more than a linear plot with hyped up mini-games. Your choices do not affect the story whatsoever. Oh, sure, some games have dialogue options, some have a 'good ending' and a 'bad ending', but in the end, you're stuck fighting Bob the Good Guy Boss or Fred the Bad Guy Boss, and then watching the credits roll.

That ain't roleplaying. Playing an interactive novel, sure.

There's two exceptions I've seen so far, and one isn't under the genre of RPG.

The first? Grand Theft Auto 3. Yes, that's right. GTA3, you can say, "Screw the plotline.", and simply murder, steal, et cetera until your heart's content. Yet even that isn't open ended. (Can't kill Asuka, after all.)

The second? Neverwinter Nights. I'd say that it's possible to achieve actual roleplaying with that game - however, you'd need one hell of a DM. And still, NWN even has its limits..

I don't really think it's feasible for a true roleplaying game to be released on a console/PC right now. Hardware is still quite insufficient to provide the open-endedness that roleplaying requires. NWN is a step in the right direction... And I do hope Bioware is still around in say, twenty or so years. ;)

Wizard (4, Funny)

Andy Smith (55346) | about 11 years ago | (#6770967)

CNN/Money interviewed id Software wizard John Carmack
Coding wizard, games wizard, and now just plain-old wizard. Is that a promotion or demotion?

too big a canvas to paint with one stroke (1)

_|()|\| (159991) | about 11 years ago | (#6770978)

I play console-style games like Madden, Spider-Man, and Tony Hawk. I play first-person shooters, like Half-Life and Unreal Tournament. I love hopping into Grand Theft Auto 3 for a taxi mission, but please don't take away the games that make the PC gaming experience so much richer than a console. I would be very sad without Falcon 4.0, Grand Prix Legends, Morrowind, and Civilization 3. These are truly escapist games that exercise more than your thumbs.

Clearly there's a market for both. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6770979)

I started writing code in the 80's because I wanted to write games. These days, I don't even play them. I'd love to go out right now and drop $50 on some state of the art game -- if I could pick it up and start playing it and have fun within a few minutes.

The last game I really enjoyed was "Wolfenstein 3D" -- I guess that marks my age -- played with a damn mouse. It was simple, it was amazingly fast (for its time) and any idiot could figure it out pretty quickly. I have no time to invest hours learning the games just to have fun.

I have work to do, code to write -- and any minute the Motorola Minitor IV could beep and I might just have a fire to put out! (And that's WAY more fun than any game).

if you like new games, play them. if not, don't (2, Insightful)

turnermatt44 (700837) | about 11 years ago | (#6770980)

When you're talking about computer games, you must understand that the new generation of games is being directed towards the new generation of gamers. Being one of them, and going to school with many other hard-core gamers, I can tell you that today's generation is looking for something they can get into, something they can talk about with there friends for hours. Personally, I have heard more about the new Star Wars Galaxies, in the last several months, than I have any other game, (and I don't even own the game). This is because SWG is offering, literally, a whole universe of options. In this game, role playing is a very key concept in creating the best player you can, and this is what is keeping people interest. Role playing even takes place outside of the game itself, trust me, I've seen it. There always talking about where the best place to buy what is and things like that, but that's all beside the point. If you're looking for a PC game you can sit down and play with out having to think too much, just play Half-Live Counterstrike. I have several games that are newer, have better graphics, and whatever else, but CS is the game I frequently find myself coming back to. Its interactive action game and the only thing you have to "think" about, is what gun to buy at the start of every round.
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