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!

How Strategy Guides Affected Gaming

CmdrTaco posted more than 8 years ago | from the please-turn-to-page-124-to-win dept.

352

Heartless Gamer writes "2old2play has another great story up looking into how games have become more complicated due to strategy guides. From the article; "Strategy guides have affected gaming by making games harder for all of us. That's right, it's not a typo — strategy guides have created more difficult games. Lend me your eyes and attention spans, and I'll explain. Admittedly, it may be a rambling explanation, but bare with me and we should get there eventually." Ya know I always find a strategy guide for things like Final Fantasy just because some puzzles are just ridiculous and I have no interest in trial & erroring for an hour when I'd rather kill monsters. But there really is somethign to this.

cancel ×

352 comments

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

Follow the money? (5, Insightful)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 8 years ago | (#15996228)

strategy guides have created more difficult games.

Strategy guides have been with us for a very long time indeed, almost as long as we've had games. I did a little research, and the earliest reference I can find to what I think qualifies as an 'official' strategy guide, are the 'hintbooks' published by Infocom in support of their adventure games.

I remember those, form the early 80's. When you had to buy Invisi-Clues to solve InfoCom games. It struck me that some of these puzzles were so far from obvious you were going to fail without the booklets and their magic markers (which made the clues visible.) Why would I put this object in there? Where's the in-game hint there I should try such a thing? After all, there were probably 1.07e22 possible combinations...

I don't remember a strategy guide for Space Invaders, but one for patterns to Pac-Man was a near best seller.

Ya know I always find a strategy guide for things like Final Fantasy just because some puzzles are just ridiculous and I have no interest in trial & erroring for an hour when I'd rather kill monsters. But there really is somethign to this.

Well, you seem to have hit the nail on the head with the video games -- you're getting pretty poor return on your entertainment dollar if you beat the game the day you bought it, thanks to a guide which tells you where to get the Spear and Magic Helmet you need and where the wabbit is hiding so you can kill him. Everyone is in a big hurry these days. Some is just impatience ("I want my reward, now!") and some of it is competitive ("George has already got the magic carpet from the Genie? Crap! I need to catch up to him!") I thought a Simpson's episode did a bit of fable (complete with moral) where Bart wanted some video game incredibly bad, then when he could just about get the game, some rude kid shows up in a shop and tells his mother the game is passe and he doesn't want it, he wants something else now. There's something about traveling in the herd which makes people need to succeed and buy these things.

I'm so happy to be out of most of these newer games and having lots of fun with old games (even infocom invisiclues can now be found in the internet :-)

Re:Follow the money? (5, Insightful)

legoburner (702695) | more than 8 years ago | (#15996264)

At least nowadays we have gamefaqs [gamefaqs.com] to save money on overpriced gaming guides. Although most games are more fun without gaming guides, every now and then there is one puzzle in a game where something has been missed along the way and a little help is needed. I find gaming guides most useful if I play a game for a little while, then dont play it for a few months and cannot remember some of the smaller details needed to get past puzzles once I pick the game up again.

Re:Follow the money? (1)

dargon (105684) | more than 8 years ago | (#15996542)

Along with gamefaqs, there's also wikis, such as gamewikis.org which covers guildwars, oblivion and neverwinter nights 2 (currently)

Re:Follow the money? (5, Insightful)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 8 years ago | (#15996357)

The thing is that lots of games are fun as they are, and can be completed without finding everything, but if you want to experience certain parts of the game you'd have to be fucking insane to actually get there without help. I mean think about Vincent's ultimate weapon in FFVII... In order to even get to that quest, you have to race your chocobos enough to level them up, then feed your chocobos weird food, then get them to breed. You need to go through two generations of breeding (minimum) in order to even get the kind of chocobo you need to get to where his quest is. Or how about that place on the railroad tracks you have to just sort of spontaneously turn and go up a rock wall to get? There's no visual clue whatsoever that there is a place to climb up there. NONE. And if you go past it and don't get it the first time you're there, it's not there the next time you go by, either.

Basically, games are designed to sell strategy guides. What more proof do you need?

Re:Follow the money? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15996525)

Strategy guides are made to bring in more money without raising the price of the 'game'.

Re:Follow the money? (0, Troll)

Overly Critical Guy (663429) | more than 8 years ago | (#15996397)

This story is so old. It's been a long-held idea that games are made more difficult in order to sell strategy guides or web site banner ads. So not only is this nothing new, but "somethign" is spelled incorrectly, by our own favorite linguist, CmdrTaco.

Re:Follow the money? (4, Insightful)

packeteer (566398) | more than 8 years ago | (#15996422)

First off let me say i am a video game tester for a living and have played every single xbox and xbox 360 game to ever come onto the market (and many that never made it). Let me tell you video games are not getting harder, they are getting easier. The trend in video games is to make them into an interactive movie.

The biggest money makers in video games are sports games, second to that are the titles based on movies. I realized this one time when I was testing Ninja Gaiden. I realized that there was a single attack button that you just hit over and over during combat. The game made you do all kinds of cool looking moves including decapitations and wicked slashing combos. You as the player did nothinhg but hit 1 button and watch.

Another game that was just an interactive movie was the xbox King Kong game. The game was extremely linear and the combat was based of learning a gimmick that once you knew you would not die. There was no difficulty in finding your way around becuase the game resembled a tunnel and all the fights were so easy that as i said before, you were simply watch a movie and your controlle rwas along for the ride.

somethign (4, Funny)

User 956 (568564) | more than 8 years ago | (#15996230)

I have no interest in trial & erroring for an hour when I'd rather kill monsters. But there really is somethign to this.

Well, it's clear that you're not spending the time working on your typing skills.

Not really their problem (2, Funny)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 8 years ago | (#15996266)

Well, it's clear that you're not spending the time working on your typing skills.

Well, that's what editors are for and why their paid the big bucks, eh?

oooohh, the Official Slashdot Editor Guide Odd, doesn't look like they've sold any copies, EVER

Re:Not really their problem (1)

MrAnnoyanceToYou (654053) | more than 8 years ago | (#15996372)

Hey, at four or five rant posts per typo the, "Add random typo to inflame user interest," chapter seems to have been well read as well as put to good use.

Ah.. (1)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 8 years ago | (#15996387)

Hey, at four or five rant posts per typo the, "Add random typo to inflame user interest," chapter seems to have been well read as well as put to good use.

That would be the "More Revenue Through Typos" chapter

Re:Not really their problem (1)

poot_rootbeer (188613) | more than 8 years ago | (#15996464)

Hey, at four or five rant posts per typo the, "Add random typo to inflame user interest," chapter seems to have been well read as well as put to good use.

Please tell me you misused those commas in the interest of inflaming user interest as well.

Re:Not really their problem (0, Offtopic)

Omeger (939765) | more than 8 years ago | (#15996410)

It's "they're," not "their."

Re:somethign (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15996537)

Yet another idiot who thinks that pointing out grammatical/typing errors makes them smrt.

(And yes, if you found the misspelled word, you too can consider yourself intelligent)

Bare What? (4, Funny)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 8 years ago | (#15996234)

but bare with me...

It's hard to take someone's comments seriously when they display such an obvious lack of spelling and grammar.

Or are we supposed to be doing this naked? That's an M-Rating for sure.

pwnag3 is t3h fun (1)

Scrameustache (459504) | more than 8 years ago | (#15996299)

It's hard to take someone's comments seriously when they display such an obvious lack of spelling and grammar.
Or are we supposed to be doing this naked? That's an M-Rating for sure.


You are making it [wikipedia.org] very hard to take your comment seriously, Mr. Holier Than Thou.

Rated U (0, Offtopic)

Petersko (564140) | more than 8 years ago | (#15996313)

Or are we supposed to be doing this naked? That's an M-Rating for sure.

This is slashdot. Make that "Rated U For Unpleasant".

Re:Bare What? (1)

PenisLands (930247) | more than 8 years ago | (#15996318)

Yeah, innit! Bare safe, man.

Re:Bare What? (2, Interesting)

hotdiggitydawg (881316) | more than 8 years ago | (#15996328)

But there really is somethign to this.


It's not that hard to believe once you realise the editors can't be bothered proofreading or spell-checking their own copy, let alone any of the submitted text.

Jeez Taco, can it be that hard to run articles through a spellchecker?

Re:Bare What? (1)

rucs_hack (784150) | more than 8 years ago | (#15996435)

I imogine thot ets eisear to crotisise poor spilling thon it is to alwoes spill thongs corrictly youslif.

Re:Bare What? (0, Flamebait)

love2hateMS (588764) | more than 8 years ago | (#15996408)

It's hard to take someone's comments seriously when they display such an obvious lack of spelling and grammar.

Perhaps you could make sure your pronoun agrees with your noun. "They" is a plural pronoun which should refer to a plural noun. Try using "he" next time. I suggest the following improvement: It's hard to take someone's comments seriously when he displays such an obvious lack of spelling and grammar.

All the politically correct grammar revisionists can kiss my butt if they disagree. Please note the wonderful agreement between the noun and pronoun in the previous sentence. The gender neutral singular pronoun in the English language is "he" or "him". Have a nice day!

Re:Bare What? (2, Interesting)

starrsoft (745524) | more than 8 years ago | (#15996511)

It's hard to take someone's comments seriously when they display such an obvious lack of spelling and grammar.
Perhaps you could make sure your pronoun agrees with your noun. "They" is a plural pronoun which should refer to a plural noun. Try using "he" next time. I suggest the following improvement: It's hard to take someone's comments seriously when he displays such an obvious lack of spelling and grammar.
"Someone's" is not a noun. It's an adjective. The antecedent of "they" is not "someone's", it's "comments". The antecedent noun and pronoun agree in their original form. Your example is proper English, but the grandparent's original is as well. I love the irony! ;-)

Now I bet I made some mistake and there will be triple irony... Such is life...

(BTW, you should either change the "which" in your second sentence to a "that", or add a comma.)

Didn't need em for Monkey Island (3, Insightful)

Beuno (740018) | more than 8 years ago | (#15996236)

Something must have lost balance over the years becasue I remember playing Monkey Island and getting stuck a few times, but not enough to have to go and read a guide.
Maybe it's a mix of information availability and the wrong balance of game developers toward this issue.

No Death (4, Informative)

XanC (644172) | more than 8 years ago | (#15996329)

I think not being able to die in Monkey Island (and other Lucas adventures) was a big part of this. It limits the problem domain. In some of the Sierra adventures, if you hadn't done just the right thing early, you could literally be trapped with no way to proceed and no way of even knowing this was the case.

Space Quest 2 was the worst offender that I can recall. In the first scene of the game, if you don't notice a particular item and grab it, then at the end of the game you're screwed, with no idea why. You have to start over. From the beginning.

The LucasArts adventures were just so well-written and well-executed. Solvable but challenging puzzles and not being able to die are both aspects of this.

Come on, LucasArts, give us more!

Re:No Death (2, Interesting)

Moofie (22272) | more than 8 years ago | (#15996382)

You've put your finger on exactly why I loathe "adventure games". It's not about puzzles or problem solving, it's about guessing what the writer thinks would be fun to have you do right now.

Bleh.

Re:No Death (1)

yahwotqa (817672) | more than 8 years ago | (#15996417)

Hey, you _were_ able to make Indy die in Indiana Jones 4: Fate of Atlantis...

Re:No Death (1)

killeroffoil (971229) | more than 8 years ago | (#15996455)

Sierra definitly knew how to frustrate me. I remember this happening to me in King's Quest VIII. I got really far in the game, had put loads of time into and had actually figured everything out on my own, only to find out I dropped an item I needed without knowing it. There was no indication that I would have needed that item later. It made me so furious and I just couldn't muster up the energy to restart and I never got to see how the game ended.

I never beat KOTOR for a similar reason. I didn't get a force power that made the end boss less than impossible to beat. Maybe I'm just a quiter.

Re:No Death (3, Interesting)

Doctor Ian (452190) | more than 8 years ago | (#15996471)

Actually you can die in the original Secret of Monkey Island. When Guybrush is under the water and just out of reach of all the sharp things, if you wait for 10 minutes, he turns all sorts of colours and dies. All the action buttons turn in to things related to being dead, and you can't get out of it.

Okay, so you'd never actually take 10 minutes to figure out that part, even if you tried anything. It's just a little joke because Guybrush says he can hold his breath for 10 minutes.

Re:No Death (1)

XanC (644172) | more than 8 years ago | (#15996487)

haha! I wondered about that when I first played the game as a kid, but I didn't have the attention span to try it out. I'll have to fire up ScummVM and give it a whirl.

Re:Didn't need em for Monkey Island (1)

kalirion (728907) | more than 8 years ago | (#15996494)

I've gotten stuck long enough (over an hour) to use a strategy guide a few times on each Monkey Island game. The danger is that the "threshhold" of frustration needed to use the guide lessens with each use.

WalkThru's are Cheating (1)

neonprimetime (528653) | more than 8 years ago | (#15996239)

Some strategy guides are ok to use, but those that contain full walk-throughs, with pictures, are cheating and just plain tick me off.

Re:WalkThru's are Cheating (1)

AuMatar (183847) | more than 8 years ago | (#15996291)

Why should you care? You're not forced to buy them and use them. So how do they effect your gameplay to tick you off?

Re:WalkThru's are Cheating (1)

neonprimetime (528653) | more than 8 years ago | (#15996307)

Have you not experienced your classmates coming in and blabbering on and on about the puzzle they solved, or they boss they beat, only to ruin that part of the game for you?

Re:WalkThru's are Cheating (1)

AuMatar (183847) | more than 8 years ago | (#15996336)

Nope. Of course its been a few years since school and a few more since I played games that were extremely popular. But even ignoring that- you're just as likely to hear that from them beating it without guides as you are from guides.

You have a point there (2, Funny)

Travoltus (110240) | more than 8 years ago | (#15996385)

They'd never be able to do that without a strategy guide/walkthrough, nosireebobski.

Re:Classmates (0)

hackwrench (573697) | more than 8 years ago | (#15996416)

No, my classmates were total strangers. There wasn't much opportunity for interaction when the classes consisted entirely of the teacher lecturing. Socialization wasn't encouraged or facilitated.

Re:WalkThru's are Cheating (1)

Sage Gaspar (688563) | more than 8 years ago | (#15996570)

Have you not experienced your classmates coming in and blabbering on and on about the puzzle they solved, or they boss they beat, only to ruin that part of the game for you?

Pop quiz: this has something to do with the discussion. True or false.

Re:WalkThru's are Cheating (1)

Moofie (22272) | more than 8 years ago | (#15996393)

It is, by definition, not possible to cheat in a single-player game.

That is part of it.. (3, Insightful)

dreamchaser (49529) | more than 8 years ago | (#15996240)

The readily available information out there, not just strategy guides but informal stuff on the Internet, has helped drive increased complexity in strategy games. However, the market has as well. People want more challenge, not rehashed games over and over. Unfortunately this has also led to many games becoming needlessly complex IMO and focused on complicated game mechanics at the expense of storyline and overall gameplay.

Games with relatively simple rulesets and execution like Chess can, after all, be extremely challenging. Just layering on complexity is in many ways a cop out.

Do they actually sell? (1)

grapeape (137008) | more than 8 years ago | (#15996270)

I've never purchased a strategy guide and cant think of anyone I know that has. Im not usually one to cheat but when im helplessly stuck and really like the game (usually the game is just average so i drop it) gamefaqs.org and dozens of other sites have all the info you need. I put strategy guides in the same category as game sharks...useless crap for kids that would rather cheat than learn to actually play.

Re:Do they actually sell? (1)

irc.goatse.cx troll (593289) | more than 8 years ago | (#15996547)

While I partially agree (and grew up as one of those people, but somewhat grew out of it), Strategy guides can also be seen as someone that wants to get more out of the game - Say you're stuck on a part of the game and don't have the time to invest to put into getting past it. Why should your game be cut arbitrarily short when you could just read that you're supposed to go back to world1 and pick up an item from behind the desk in the corner.

Gamesharks even more so, though not always used for it - With a memory editor you can do a LOT to extend a games fun. Once you beat a game theres not much replay value, but a few memory rewrites can lead to a really different gameplay experience potentially. Take a look at some of the old streetfighter codes like the classic one that makes the game think you're always on the ground so you can throw midair fireballs and stuff. Lots of fun.

Also, speaking of street fighter, strategy guides for fighting games just make sense. How else are you supposed to learn all the moves let alone remember them? Back in the day when it was just 16 fighters or so they could put them in the manual or side of the arcade cabinet, but in the latest games with dozens of fighters with dozens of moves an combos, you'd practically need the guide if you want to be able to get anywhere.

Whatever (1)

Klaidas (981300) | more than 8 years ago | (#15996247)

Well, looks on the bright side.
11-year-old kids can feel cool, smart, or feel like some bankers, etc, when writing "Super ultimate guides on making money on Runescape".

A 5.8 megabyte PDF. (0, Offtopic)

Tackhead (54550) | more than 8 years ago | (#15996251)

Dugg in minus one.
Slashdotted in zero.

2 old 2 play? No, just 2 big 2 bother with. Because the "article" we're supposed to be talking about is a one-page editorial column of approximately 5 kilobytes of text.

Seriously, poster: What the figgety-fucking-fuck were you thinking, and what do you have against archive.org?

Ugh no. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15996255)

The only thing that strategy guides have done to affect my gaming experience is when I go into Electronics Boutique and the sub-human working there manages to belch out, "Do you want a strategy guide with that?"

NO, I do not want a strategy guide. I am exceptionally good at gaming; by the time I have finished this video game you will still be here selling some moron a copy of "Not Another Teen Movie" on UMD. I do not want any other products other than this game, which I will be awesome at. Good day, sir.

Re:Ugh no. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15996473)

Exceptionally good at gaming? And that makes you feel superior to a Electronics Botique clerk? I'm confused. Which is the sub-human here? The one who spends all day gaming and proclaims himself as "awesome" as if that is some level of accomplishment, or the one with the job, who unfortunetly has to execute policies that their superiors designate?

It's a good thing you are a gamer. The rest of the social world won't miss you.

In summary... (1, Insightful)

Just Some Guy (3352) | more than 8 years ago | (#15996258)

Let me guess:
  1. Our problem-solving skills are devolving because we don't have to use them, thanks to strategy guides.
  2. Authors don't worry about difficulty since they can defer complaints to the guides.
  3. Games are made harder to sell more guides through the distributions in-house publisher.

Does that about cover it?

Re:In summary... (1)

misleb (129952) | more than 8 years ago | (#15996426)

Does that about cover it?

I didn't read the article, but number 3 seems a little off. Who needs to buy a guide with so many spoilers, hints, and even straight walkthus are available on the internet for free for popular games?

-matthew

Benefit of Strategy Guides (4, Interesting)

Innova (1669) | more than 8 years ago | (#15996271)

The reason I use them is because I appreciate how much time is put into making a modern game. I want to make sure that I don't miss any parts of the game.

Usually I will play through the game once on my own, but then use the strategy guide to go through a second time and hit all the side quests.

Re:Benefit of Strategy Guides (1)

Crilen007 (922989) | more than 8 years ago | (#15996389)

An example of a game that a guide is good to use?

Wind Waker.

Who wants to go island to island every step of the way to get new clues each time?

Would have taken me forever to beat it doing that.

I did do all the dungeons without help however.

Can't write a procedure guide (5, Insightful)

w33t (978574) | more than 8 years ago | (#15996274)

This is why I would like to see more procedurally generated games.

Games where the actual story is completely different - with different characters generated for each instance.

Imagine a murder-mystery game, for instance. Which takes place in an actual-sized city. Your character waits around the precinct until the call comes in. You travel to the murder scene and it's completely random what happened and how it happened.

In this case, no strategy guide could say, "you should always look for a knife or a gun" because the murder weapon could have been any physical object - instead of a particular "murder_enabled" object. Maybe the murderer used a microwave oven to bludgeon the victim.

A procedural AI would do it's best to cover its tracks, and would learn your particular style of deduction so that the next murderer is even more thorough at cleaning-up.

With the advent of a good physics engine and procedural map-generating algorithm you would have a completely different murder scene every time, in a completely new location.

This could apply to all kinds of games. RPGs where the decision interaction between nobles and generals would dictate political climates and trickle down to direct the individual actions of the NPC AIs.

I certainly hope that Spore is going to be the "Wolfenstein 3D" of the procedurally algorithmic games of the future.

Re:Can't write a procedure guide (3, Interesting)

DaveCBio (659840) | more than 8 years ago | (#15996333)

Maps and art content as well as audio might be able to be done well procedurally, but I have yet to see anything that could even come close to pulling off what a good designer/writer could do. So, if you wanted hack and slash dungeon crawls then your idea works and has already been done. Story and design wise that ain't going to happen any time soon.

Re:Can't write a procedure guide (4, Interesting)

w33t (978574) | more than 8 years ago | (#15996411)

That is a good point.

But a good deal of what makes a story great are the characters.

Perhaps with good enough AI the idea of writing a "story" will be less about the story-line, and more about the detailed crafting of individual personalities.

This way only half the "story" work is being done by the algoritm. The "drivers" of the story would be exquisitely crafted by writers/designers.

Think about Han Solo, for example. I think he's a fantastic character, and many many stories can stem simply from him as an entity and from the decisions he would make and thus the situations he would find himself in.

I could see then a game where you know the attitude of certain characters, and get to know them as "people". But perhaps with good enough AI, quality procedural stories can emerge simply on account of the strength of the character design.

In fact, I think in this kind of environment where individual actions and decisions affect the "story" that the players own personality would likely have a large impact on the flow of the game. This type of impact would be much subtler than choosing the A-D answers from a menu which make your character simply become more "evil" or "good". The ability to have your personality impact a story would make the game have many shades of personal depth that a human writer could only achieve if he or she knew you personally.

Writing this kind of software?...well, that's what I believe theoretical physicists refer to as, "an engineering problem" ;)

Re:Can't write a procedure guide (1)

Rude Turnip (49495) | more than 8 years ago | (#15996394)

Isn't that the "Where in the World is Carmen Sandiago" game in a nutshell?

Re:Can't write a procedure guide (1)

Yath (6378) | more than 8 years ago | (#15996398)

Game designers can hardly create static content, and you suggest procedurally generated plots? Sounds nice, now go do it.

Re:Can't write a procedure guide (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15996412)

Here's a thought: How about you PLAY Spore before deciding that all games henceforth shall be modelled after it?

That won't happen... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15996431)

This is why I would like to see more procedurally generated games.

Games where the actual story is completely different - with different characters generated for each instance.


You'ld need a very good AI to do that. We don't know how to build one. But let's suppose we did, somehow, and it's very good.

So, you now have a game AI powerful enough to auto-generate a completely engaging new story with a new and interesting murder plot on the fly.

Do you:

(a) quietly corner the murder-mystery book market, publishing hundreds or thousands of original, high-quality mystery novels under various pseudonyms,

or

(b) write one computer game, which will sell fewer titles, and tip off the competition about the AI you've got?

I know what I'd sell, and it sure wouldn't be the video game.

The problem is (3, Interesting)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 8 years ago | (#15996481)

At this point, the technology doesn't exist to do it well enough to keep it from getting repetitive. You just can't link things together with the subtlety and detail that a human can. So in games that do it (Freelancer would be an example) the variation actually makes it more rote. Sure no two missions are precisely the same, but they are all the same general thing.

It's going to take a lot more advances before there's the ability to generate compelling random missions.

strategy guide? hardly (3, Insightful)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 8 years ago | (#15996276)

Most strategy guides are misnamed. They should call them "Spoiler Books" or something.

You don't learn strategy from strategy guides, you learn how to follow a walk-through. Where's the satisfaction in that?

Maybe I'm old-school, but I've never used a strategy guide for any game. If I can't beat the game without one, either I'm not as skilled/smart as I'd like to be, or there is a design flaw in the game. Both have been true with different games, and it's only the second possibility that really bothers me... especially when I lay out cash for a game.

Re:strategy guide? hardly (1)

njug (314066) | more than 8 years ago | (#15996478)

To be fair, there are plenty of guides that are actual strategy guides, particularly when there is choice in character development.

In any party-based game, there is, I think, a solid role to be played by a guide that provides you with information about character strengths and weaknesses. It can be extremely tedious to go through every character stat screen, or to play with each secondary character and see how they level up.

In the KoTOR and KoTOR II Prima's guides (hey, I don't buy them...it was my roommate....), there are suggestions for how you might want to build your party depending on skill path and light/dark alignment.

In X-Men Legends, same deal. I really didn't want to have to spend several iterations figuring out the proper party balance or which skills it was worthwhile to upgrade.

For those roles, at least, the guide remains a side effect of the complexity of the game. Sometimes, too much choice shuts down options. I mean, I played through KoTOR about 6 times, and one can only sit through the same cut scenes for so long before losing interest.

Ye olde standby... (5, Insightful)

Dread_ed (260158) | more than 8 years ago | (#15996283)

Ok it goes like this:

1) Make a game people like to play.
2) Toss in some incredibly hard puzzles that no sane person can figure out.
3) Sell the answers in a "Strategy Guide"
4) PROFIT!

Nothing like making your own market.

Re:Ye olde standby... (1)

DaveCBio (659840) | more than 8 years ago | (#15996308)

Well, except for the fact that it's not true. Or at least I've never heard of such a thing and I've been working in games for seven years now. The lead time on glossy strategy guides is so long and deadlines are so tight there is no way any sane company would waste time on something like this.

Re:Ye olde standby... (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 8 years ago | (#15996383)

The lead time on glossy strategy guides is so long and deadlines are so tight there is no way any sane company would waste time on something like this.

That's funny; I've seen numerous new releases accompanied by the strategy guide at ye olde funcoland. I think you are full of shit.

CmdrTaco exposes himself as an idiot. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15996284)

Hours after *deleting* a post from http://it.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=195199&cid= 15994144 [slashdot.org] he posts this trash:

"Ya know I always find a strategy guide for things like Final Fantasy just because some puzzles are just ridiculous and I have no interest in trial & erroring for an hour when I'd rather kill monsters. But there really is somethign to this."

CmdrTaco is either drunk or 7 years old. Face it Taco, it's time for you to move on. Perhaps you'll fit in better on Digg.com.

Re:CmdrTaco exposes himself as an idiot. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15996423)

A little bitter maybe?? you DON'T have to read slashdot, so don't complain! I recommend you stay with Digg, Slashdot may not be for you!

Having just been Dugg... (4, Funny)

Strolls (641018) | more than 8 years ago | (#15996286)

From TFA:
Having just been Dugg, our servers are buckling under the load. Sorry for the inconvenience.
2o2p Magazine Issue #5 mirrored here.
Oh, the irony!

This makes me feel old... erm... or something.

Stroller.

i'll show you strategy! (4, Funny)

jjeffries (17675) | more than 8 years ago | (#15996287)

up up down down left right left right B A select (I have a brother) start!

Re:i'll show you strategy! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15996438)

up up down down left right left right B A select (I have a brother) start!
How is this strategy?
Oh, I get it: instant 60 lives!
AKA: using your brother so you can drain his lives when you lose all of yours.
Strategy, indeed. :)

Not true (3, Insightful)

DaveCBio (659840) | more than 8 years ago | (#15996289)

I really think this is complete and utter BS. I can't remember a single designer on any game I have ever worked on even considering a strategy guide when it came to design. This just screams of another gaming site grasping at straws and posting a contrversial topic just to get hits and it worked.

No way (1)

ADRA (37398) | more than 8 years ago | (#15996290)

Adventure games of ye-olde year were not easy! I wish they had strategy guides, or maybe even an appendix of all the things you could touch, talk, get/take, look/see, etc... Frustration to no end.

Plus, there were always 'strategy'-typed guides for games ever since i remember them back in the eary console days. Many rediculous puzzles in games aren't a scale of difficulty but simply the result of bad game development. By the time a player gets to any puzzle in the game, they should be equipped with the mental ability to reason out the problem.

Take some games like the Zelda. I played though it without looking for answers. Its not that there weren't interesting puzzles to solve, its just that throughout the game, they sculplted their puzzles to 'train' you to use the tools you're given in creative ways. If a game gives you a gun and tells you to shoot enemies, it might not be evident that you can use it for other things like hitting switches or blowing up barrels hollywood-style.

Re:No way (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15996332)

s/rediculous/ridiculous/g

Re:No way (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 8 years ago | (#15996399)

Take some games like the Zelda

Sure, you can beat it without a guide, but you're going to spend literally extra days to get enough money to buy enough bombs to bomb all the possible bomb locations.

Thus Zelda is an excellent example of what strategy guides are for.

Re:No way (1)

AuMatar (183847) | more than 8 years ago | (#15996430)

Money to buy bombs? Mobs drop them, and thats why the game had saves. Use your bombs. Didn't find the opening you needed? Hit reset.

Re:No way (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 8 years ago | (#15996520)

Money to buy bombs? Mobs drop them, and thats why the game had saves. Use your bombs. Didn't find the opening you needed? Hit reset.

Mobs don't drop them very often, this tendency persisted throughout the series, bombs are the least-frequent drops.

Hit reset? Then you just have to wait for it to load again. Either way it's tedious, although I admit, that's less tedious.

I played through the first and second quests, using nintendo power for both of them, and I don't regret using them. If I wanted to play a game like that I'd be a product tester or something.

This is weird... (2, Insightful)

creimer (824291) | more than 8 years ago | (#15996296)

I always thought that games got more complex because the game designers were brilliant at what they did. The real reason is because of all these stupid gaming guides. What's next? John Carmack is not Santa Claus?

Follow the money (1)

animaal (183055) | more than 8 years ago | (#15996300)

Pfft. We've used strategy guides since the early eighties, when they were often included in computer magazines. Anybody remember Elite? The difference is that back then, games usually weren't long/complex enough to justify a full glossy book.

It's all about the money. If you write a successful game, you can also sell new "episodes", special editions, strategy games. It's the slightly more grown-up version of the Mario lunch boxes, watches, etc.

Ahem... (3, Funny)

p0 (740290) | more than 8 years ago | (#15996319)

"Having just been Dugg, our servers are buckling under the load. Sorry for the inconvenience."

My friends, they are experiencing what we all know as the "Digg Effect".

Re:Ahem... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15996446)

It's been "Digg Dugged"...is there a Strategy Guide for that?

latest /. story server already dugged. (3, Informative)

viking2000 (954894) | more than 8 years ago | (#15996330)

Hate to klikk on the last /. story only to find that the story broke on digg, and when /. comes after, the servier is dugg down.

Editors: Get fresh stories!

Dig Dug (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15996413)

That was an awesome game. And the only time I can stomach people using dig and dug in the same sentence. I'm sorry, but there is already a word for server meltdown, and that is slashdotted. There is no point in inventing new synonyms for every website that links to stuff. And to add insult to injury, http://reddit.com/ [reddit.com] is better than digg. Thank you for reading, now please mod me and parent down.

Re:latest /. story server already dugged. (1)

generic-man (33649) | more than 8 years ago | (#15996505)

I don't read Digg, so I appreciate Slashdot reporting on the topic anyway.

What a surprise. (3, Funny)

The MAZZTer (911996) | more than 8 years ago | (#15996351)

* Business meeting *

Suit 1: Hmm, not enough people are buying our strategy guides for our games. How can we make more money?

Suit 2: We could invest more time and money in our games to make a higher-quality product.

Suit 3: Shut up Tom, that idea is horrible.

Suit 1: Let's up the games' difficulty so people will be FORCED to buy our strategy guides! Brilliant!

* Act Two *

Suit 1: OK apparently our customers are starting to use an "Internet" to download FREE, unauthorized guides made by other customers. What's worse, the legal department informed me that what they are doing is completely legal. Now, we need to either find a way to take down this "Internet" thing or figure out how to change the legality of these guides. Ideas?

Suit 2: I think...

Suit 1: ...from anyone EXCEPT Tom?

----

Etc. OK it's a bit of a Dilbert spin, especially near the end, but I bet the first act happened for real SOMEWHERE.

They remove responsibility from developers (2, Insightful)

Yath (6378) | more than 8 years ago | (#15996352)

Strategy guides could also contribute to laziness among game developers. It's hard to make a puzzle that is challenging, yet not too difficult. This is evident in all kinds of puzzle/adventure games. The Zork trilogy had some puzzles that even some very smart people I knew just couldn't crack. And in Final Fantasy VII, the developers made no attempt to put enough clues in the game to perform chocobo breeding. So if a game developer knows that a strategy guide is going to come out in a month or two, why put in the extra effort to tune all the puzzles? Someone else will release the guide, and players who are having trouble will just use it. It's a shame, though.

Re:They remove responsibility from developers (1)

ameoba (173803) | more than 8 years ago | (#15996421)

It's not a matter of strategy guides coming out "in a month or two". The publishers are obviously working with the strategy guide authors since most new games have guides available at launch date.

Re:They remove responsibility from developers (4, Informative)

2nd Post! (213333) | more than 8 years ago | (#15996445)

What? There was the Chocobo Sage plus the girl/boy at the Chocobo ranch to give you hints and clues. As per the actual locations of WHERE to find the various Chocobos, that wasn't hard at all. Capturing chocobos was easy if your party was high enough level!

Strategy Guides have killed the Manual (5, Insightful)

joinder (658925) | more than 8 years ago | (#15996368)

I don't necessarily have anything against strategy guides, (in fact I find most I've gone through to be very enjoyable reads with high production values), I do fear they've had a direct effect at cheapening the actual content in game manuals. It seems like most pack-in manuals with games are not much more than installation guides/or control layouts. I know there are exceptions to the rule, but the days of comprehensive pack-in manuals seem in the past.

True... (1)

bigtimepie (947401) | more than 8 years ago | (#15996377)

I'll agree that strategy guides have made strategy games harder.

A guide to a game like final fantasy doesn't affect much, because the game is the same every time. But a strategy guide for a game like WoW or AoE allows any dim wit to jump towards the top. Not that this is necessarily bad; competition is fun and can make those of us who can think up our own strageties better.

Slashdot beaten by Digg... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15996388)

"Having just been Dugg, our servers are buckling under the load. Sorry for the inconvenience." Swish, three pointer to Digg.

Gamesguides killed the adventure games imo. (1)

88NoSoup4U88 (721233) | more than 8 years ago | (#15996429)

The abundance of gameguides on the Net is one of the bigger reasons why the adventure, or point-and-click games died.

For me this only became painfully obvious when I was playing Dreamfall: The longest journey, the other day.
This game, on multiple occasions, left me clueless on what to do. Instead of (as in the good ol' days) trying every possibility for hours, I just gave up after five minutes and went for a quick browse to gamefaqs; thus solving the problem at hand but not really getting any satisfaction out of it.

And then to think I had to freaking call a -very- expensive (Nintendo-sponsored) Hotline back in the days everytime I encountered an 'unsolvable' NES problem :)

Re:Gamesguides killed the adventure games imo. (3, Interesting)

grumbel (592662) | more than 8 years ago | (#15996549)

For me this only became painfully obvious when I was playing Dreamfall: The longest journey, the other day. This game, on multiple occasions, left me clueless on what to do. Instead of (as in the good ol' days) trying every possibility for hours, I just gave up after five minutes and went for a quick browse to gamefaqs; thus solving the problem at hand but not really getting any satisfaction out of it.

Dreamfall is a bad example, since its actually by far one of the easiest adventure games around, only difficult part is the cave in chapter 5, but thats more due to the invincible trolls then due to the nature of the puzzle, rest of the game is more like an audio-book, then a normal adventure game since there simply aren't really much puzzles worth to talk about.

However I doubt that strategie guides had anything to do with the death of adventure games, for one simple reason getting stuck *SUCKS*. Its simply no fun, plain and simple. If I get stuck there is a very good chance that I simply drop the game and go do something else, especially when its the "I don't even know what I am doing wrong" kind of being stuck, which in adventure games it often ends up being. Strategie guides on the other side resolve the stuckiness and allow me to actually enjoy the game, so if anything they should have increased the enjoyment of adventure games. There is of course a danger of getting more out of a strategie guide then you want to, spoilers ain't no fun, but compared to being frustrated for days or weeks, its really a small payoff. Beside I had a strategie guide for every adventure since ZakMcKracken, so those aren't really anything new either.

The truth why adventure games died almost out (still rather alive over here in europe) is plain and simple: LucasArts stopped making them and there was nobody to step into their shoes. There simply weren't much great games around after LucasArts, there where still plenty of good ones, but almost nothing great, nothing that would drive the non-adventure crowed into the genre. And there of course also was no innovation. While every genre moved forward, the adventure game had its last jump back when ManiacMansion was released, after that almost 20 years of nothing, little jump again with Myst, but that was more a sidestep then a leap forward. Only recently Fahrenheit tried something new again, something that wasn't the same old point&click which most people got already tired of 10 years ago. And a lot of the good aspects of adventure games of course also got absorbed into other genres, each FPS now has some kind of puzzles and most RPGs tell more interesting stories then the average adventure game.

Gamesguides killed the Schizm. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15996555)

Try Schizm:Mysterious Journey [schizm.com] without a guide. You'll be bald in no time.

i disagree (3, Interesting)

Wiarumas (919682) | more than 8 years ago | (#15996442)

I personally thought games were getting extremely easy nowadays. I, for one, welcome more challenging games.

Isn't that a good thing? (1)

perpetuate (998446) | more than 8 years ago | (#15996448)

Isn't it a good thing strategy guides pushed developers to create more challenging or complex games?

The Read Difference Is In the Included Docs. (1)

sker (467551) | more than 8 years ago | (#15996453)

I don't think strategy guides have affected the games as much as they have affected the *included documentation*. Back in the day, you could be The Mack on your block just by reading the booklet - since 80% of your opponents never did. Docs now reflect the fact that few eyeballs ever fall on them are are much less detailed. There were very basic instructions in the Madden 06 Strategy Guide that just weren't in the included booklet.

BULLSHIT (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15996479)

This is bullshit. Really. Games are not harder than it used to be. Arcade games made you spend your money, they had to be tough but cool enough to make you spend quarter after quarter. Many NES games were harder than SNES ones. Many Sega Master/Genenis were harder than NES ones. Yet I bet the crap out of the young pals with their shiny new 399.99$ console and I'm not even that good. Betcha most old timers here do the same with the little lads.

In a corporate world as it is now where franchise is the hot word to have in mouth, there is no doubt they have to come up with gimmicks and silly mazes only to pretend they have pondered about something. And what the hell with mini games anyway? Design a good game and mini games will be useless!

Manuals are $20 extra (1)

Facekhan (445017) | more than 8 years ago | (#15996491)

In the early days of unnofficial strategy guides, they were actually really cool and helpful. I stopped buying them a few years ago because effectively they became the manual that should be included with the game and they lost the point of view of the player and became much more manual-ish. If I played RPG's I would probably still buy them but for RTS and FPS games, they stopped being worth the money and I hate to reward the complete absence of a good manual by sending the publisher an extra $20.

I don't like 'em (1)

steveo777 (183629) | more than 8 years ago | (#15996503)

I agree. They seem to make games a bit tougher. Especially if game creators are sitting there trying to write puzzles, or incorporate some mechanics of a game and they know that the players can easily grab a book and find out exactly what to do. I find it pretty frusterating too. Because that's when the designers increase the grind. Now you have to defeat ultra bosses or grind for hours to get an upgrade that really won't be usefull at that point.

I usually stay away from any strategy guides unless I've really messed something up or it's my second or third time through a game. Mostly because at that point they help you find the things that you'd never think to look for. A lot of the time there will be obscure hints about an extra, but often there aren't even hints.

Toy Story 2 (2, Interesting)

Iron Condor (964856) | more than 8 years ago | (#15996527)

Y'now: pixar made a movie about how you had to buy the book to beat Zurg. Since when is something news that was mainsteam entertainment years ago?

Strategy guides are a source of profit (2, Interesting)

Astarica (986098) | more than 8 years ago | (#15996531)

Final Fantasy 9, which was released in Japan with no strategy guides because Square was experimenting with their PlayOnline system which is basically a strategy guide online for FF9 at that point, and later Square blamed the lack of strategy guides as the reason for poor sales of FF9. Now of course there could be any number of reasons why FF9 sold less than any other FF, but this is about as close you can get to a controlled sample (most FFs sold awfully similar numbers) since it just isn't possible to release the game without a strategy guide, observe what happens, and then do over.

Developers didn't really catch on the fact that strategy guides help sell games while generating a tidy profit themselves, but once they do, it is obvious that you must make your game hard/obscure enough for people to be buying the strategy guides. I don't like this game design because it's introducing complexity/difficulty for the sake of just doing it (to the players, anyway). Though with the availability of sites such as gamefaqs.com, at least you have a free way out of this mess.

Oblivion (1)

MrWhitefolkz (751859) | more than 8 years ago | (#15996535)

Only time in my life I've bought a Strategy Guide. Yes you can use gamefaqs.com, but its much easier to have everything you need in one guide when it comes to games as complex as Oblivion...

Nice going, bastards (0)

diamondsw (685967) | more than 8 years ago | (#15996548)

Instead of coralizing the link or otherwise using a service that's designed to mirror a page and handle huge load, you just sent all of your traffic to the Web Archive Project, and used a freaking PDF to boot. Thanks for killing off a useful service for your damn article.
Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?