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Games Entertainment

Can Video Game Accessibility Go Too Far? 164

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

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  • This is new? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Andruil (971627) on Friday June 26, 2009 @09:27AM (#28481045)
    So... As near as I remember ever single player game used to come with a whole slew of "Cheats" to be used by whoever, whenever and for any reason. Commander Keen had things like screen clipping where you could fly through the walls in the level, or fly mode. Age of Empires had things where you could turn the birds into dragons, get babies on tricycles with shotguns or cars with heavy weaponry. Since when is this new? Heck I remember some games having an "I win" button. Can anyone tell me how this is different from the age old era of 286 and 386 video games? Heck now that I think about it, what about game sharks and other such devices designed to unlock cheats in the game? up up down down left right left right a b b a.
  • by hoarier (1545701) on Friday June 26, 2009 @09:35AM (#28481191)

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

  • by gEvil (beta) (945888) on Friday June 26, 2009 @09:44AM (#28481321)
    Personally, while I enjoy a challenge, I don't enjoy playing the same level for hours on end, and never getting any further. I'll be using the "I'm bored, please let me play the next bit" button sometimes.

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

    by ThinkWeak (958195) on Friday June 26, 2009 @09:45AM (#28481349)
    Score one for the "Everyone's special" crowd. However, this could be good for the regular gamer.

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

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

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

    However, it probably will just be to assist those people that can't even handle the mediocre challenges that we currently see.
  • by kalirion (728907) on Friday June 26, 2009 @10:24AM (#28481999)

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

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