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Carmack on New id Game, Game Theory 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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Carmack on New id Game, Game Theory

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 22, 2003 @11:05PM (#6770748)
    I can't ever beat this new game I have, called 'pong'.
    • Re:Hes right.... (Score:3, Insightful)

      by saden1 ( 581102 )
      Jokes aside, I like complex games because they make you think. Coming from science/engineering field I find challenging games more fun. Personally I think games are dumbed down and repetitive. I'm looking forward to Half-Life 2 because it is definitely going to be complex and entertaining. If Doom 3 is dumbed down, then it ain't for little brother will probably enjoy it though.
      • Re:Hes right.... (Score:4, Insightful)

        by blixel ( 158224 ) on Saturday August 23, 2003 @03:38AM (#6771597)
        Personally I think games are dumbed down and repetitive. I'm looking forward to Half-Life 2

        [no comment needed on my part]
      • With every game company killing themselves to sell to the people who shop at Walmart, is it any shock that this has happened? A majority of them would find "minesweeper" to be mind boggingly complex.
      • Re:Hes right.... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by snillfisk ( 111062 ) <mats AT lindh DOT no> on Saturday August 23, 2003 @06:44AM (#6772084) Homepage
        Jokes aside, I like complex games because they make you think. Coming from science/engineering field I find challenging games more fun. Personally I think games are dumbed down and repetitive. I'm looking forward to Half-Life 2 because it is definitely going to be complex and entertaining. If Doom 3 is dumbed down, then it ain't for little brother will probably enjoy it though.

        There's a huge difference in making a complex game and making a game that makes you think; i really enjoy games that make me thing and promotes some sort puzzles and brain activity -- but I really don't want to spend 8 hours reading the manual before playing (even NWN seemed a bit excessive for me :>).. There is really no problem in making a game that makes you think without making a complex game. Pikmin for the gamecube is an excellent example .. it took about 3 minutes to understand completly, but it still made me have to think. Other games in the same genre would be the old "Castle of Dr. Brain" (maybe a bit simple these days), all Lucas Arts adventure games (great humor too!) and etc.

        IE; there is no need for a complex game to make you think.
      • Re:Hes right.... (Score:3, Insightful)

        by bmorton ( 170477 )
        Simplified does not [necessarily] mean dumbed down. Chess is a very simple game with a very simple interface. It is not a dumb game, and I think you would be inclined to agree. :)

        You can still have an interesting game that doesn't require something like a driver's ed manual to play.


      • Re:Hes right.... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Sethb ( 9355 ) <> on Saturday August 23, 2003 @11:26AM (#6772889)
        Yes, but simple games can make you think too. Take Tetris as an example, it's a game that's simple to learn, but difficult to master, and quick thinking, reflexes, and strategy are all rewarded. Because it's simple, it has a lot of fans.

        While I own an Xbox, not a Gamecube, I think Nintendo is right here. Some of my favorite games of all time came out of Nintendo, and many of them are "simple". For instance, Mario Kart 64 is a masterpiece of gaming, and it is pretty easy to pick up, but hard to master, which is the hallmark of a good game.

        That said, I'm playing Star Wars Galaxies right now, which is supremely complex, and I don't even understand a lot of it, though I've been playing for nearly two months. It's still fun, but I can't hand it over to my wife or my dad for 10 minutes, and expect them to appreciate it at all.

        By comparison, my wife was hooked on Bust-A-Move in about 5 minutes, because the controls and rules are simple. My dad loves to play video games, if I play a game that has only a few buttons, he doesn't want to have to remember 40 combinations of buttons to play the game, so this is why he mostly likes racing games. Gas, Brake, Steer, Shift, okay, pretty simple, but the games certainly aren't easy.
    • Re:Hes right.... (Score:3, Interesting)

      by terrox ( 555131 )
      Since when did RPGs not have manuals?
      I mean, any good RPG has at least a little system to drive it. Text Adventure games are quite complex, you can't guess how to play one of them but you can guess how to play point-n-click rpgs.
  • by Dareth ( 47614 ) on Friday August 22, 2003 @11:06PM (#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.

    • 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
    • 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.
    • right on man!!

      it will be a cold day in hell before I buy any of that NVidia shit

      3Dfx is a company that is committed to hard core gamerz and not those OEM mommy-buy-me-a-pc pussies at NVIDIA what pansies. screw their market share

      hey dude have you heard??? 3Dfx is coming out with the Voodoo4 line this fall.

      rumor at voodooextreme has it that it will include SLI support.
      wicked ass!!!

      studip nvid0t whores i'll take my 4-way Voodoo4 Dual-SLI aany day so SUCK IT

      l33t mofo'n mast'a cira. summer '99
  • by Joel Carr ( 693662 ) on Friday August 22, 2003 @11:07PM (#6770760)
    Is it called Duke Nukem For-Never?

  • What... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by soliaus ( 626912 ) on Friday August 22, 2003 @11:08PM (#6770766) Homepage Journal
    This is why I still play tetris.
  • by Empiric ( 675968 ) * on Friday August 22, 2003 @11:08PM (#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.
    • by On Lawn ( 1073 )
      I was going to post something on how Carmack must have been talking about a simply console (as in text console) game like NetHack. But your comment really gave me pause.

      NetHack is a game you can almost pick up and play, as is BattleField 1942. By almost I mean that you can move around and shoot, but annoying things like reloading, people killing you can get in the way of having fun.

      NetHack has a really large spike in the learning curve between the first few levels, and surviving past 10 levels. 95% of my
  • Surprisingly? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by HalB ( 127906 ) on Friday August 22, 2003 @11:09PM (#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.
    • Re:Surprisingly? (Score:3, Informative)

      by VistaBoy ( 570995 )
      Um...don't you remember in Doom? You had to activate switches and open doors with the space bar. You don't just run up to the door.
    • Simplicity (Score:5, Insightful)

      by hackwrench ( 573697 ) <> on Saturday August 23, 2003 @12:05AM (#6771022) Homepage Journal
      There's simplicity and there's simplicity. A Gradius type game can have only one button for shoot and the navigation keys and still be more complicated than a game that has one button for picking up stuff, another button for opening treasure chests and another button for opening doors. There's interface complexity and then there's gameplay complexity. Both can make a game too difficult for the player.
  • disagree (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Billly Gates ( 198444 ) on Friday August 22, 2003 @11:10PM (#6770775) Journal
    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 (Score:5, Interesting)

      by mabinogi ( 74033 ) on Friday August 22, 2003 @11:17PM (#6770822) Homepage
      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 (Score:3, Insightful)

      by trolman ( 648780 ) *
      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:disagree (Score:3, Informative)

      by Osty ( 16825 )

      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.

      If you really want a game where you see how fast you can press buttons, you should try WarioWare, Inc. [].

  • by Black Parrot ( 19622 ) on Friday August 22, 2003 @11:10PM (#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.

    • Something I wish FPS games would do more of is allow you to start playing the game at the hardest level. Often, they expect you to beat the game at 'easy' before letting you play it through (again) at 'medium' and then 'hard', where there are more goals, more monsters, etc. But I usually don't like to play the game again--once I've played the basic idea of every level, I don't want to go back again (in single-player mode) and beat them again.

      I would much rather play the game at 'medium' or 'hard' to begin
      • If you're needing a gaming fix with scalable difficulty levels from the get-go, allow me to suggest Unreal Tournament 2003. If you crank the difficulty to the point where the very first match is close, you can expect pretty routine butt-whooping throughout the first couple of times in a level, and a big sigh of relief when you do win.

        I can play it through on Masterful, losing the first few (well, OK, in the case of the final deathmatch, the first 20 or so) matches before finally winning one and moving up
  • 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.
  • Too complicated? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by NanoGator ( 522640 ) on Friday August 22, 2003 @11:11PM (#6770785) Homepage Journal
    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?"
    • by startled ( 144833 ) on Friday August 22, 2003 @11:32PM (#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? (Score:4, Informative)

        by Overly Critical Guy ( 663429 ) on Saturday August 23, 2003 @12:08AM (#6771029)
        If you "slightly twitch the joystick," Link doesn't jump. He hangs off the edge. If you ram the freaking joystick, then yeah, he'll jump. It's pressure-sensitive.
        • Re:Too complicated? (Score:4, Informative)

          by _xeno_ ( 155264 ) on Saturday August 23, 2003 @01:32AM (#6771290) Homepage Journal
          He was talking about Zelda 64, where Link was a moron when it came to not jumping. There was this section in the very beginning where you could walk across this bridge to talk to some girl for no real reason (she'd teach you about first person view - yay). The bridge was just wide enough for Link to walk on. You had to walk very slowly in order to avoid triggering the auto-jump. If you did that, then Link would grab on when he inevitably fell off the bridge.

          Part of this was exacerbated by the fact that the camera was "active" so "straight forward across the bridge" kept on moving slightly. The solution was to repeatedly "Z-target" or whatever to bring the camera back behind you so that forward remained up on the joystick and you didn't accidently find your "move forward" joystick position become "move slightly to the right and off the bridge."

          I can't recall being quite as frusterated with the Wind Waker controls, so I think they improved it for that game. But in Zelda 64, Link just loved to jump off ledges into bad places.

          In any cases, I wish game designers would remember that jumping puzzles suck. They're just frusterating, especially in third-person games when the camera likes to move and change your "run straight across the bridge" to "run straight for a bit then veer right and into the lava." In the case of the Wind Waker, this means no more stupid rope swinging puzzles. Nintendo: I'm glad you think manipulating the camera is an important skill, I find it to be a big nuisance!

          (Also annoying are FPS games where it's hard to judge when you're at the ledge so you can make your best leap across the gap, instead of falling into the lava below.)

          Any, the basic point I want to make, besides that jumping puzzles suck, is that the control in Zelda 64 and some of the puzzles were such that even moving the stick very little could accidently cause Link to jump off a cliff into the raging river below - mainly due to the camera having this annoying tendency to pan when you're moving slowly.

  • by unfortunateson ( 527551 ) on Friday August 22, 2003 @11:11PM (#6770789) Journal
    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.
    • by mabinogi ( 74033 ) on Friday August 22, 2003 @11:24PM (#6770849) Homepage
      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.
      • by LordLucless ( 582312 ) on Saturday August 23, 2003 @01:21AM (#6771261)
        Neither Japanese (Final Fantasy) nor Western (Baldur's Gate) RPGs are true RPGs. In a true RPG, you could generate a character, write your own background, description, etc, and the plot of the game would integrate and work with the character. Unfortunately, we don't have any AIs capable of doing this.

        Japanese and Western RPGs have taken different routes, and neither is inherently better or worse. In Icewind Dale, I loved writing really long, descriptive histories for the characters. The thing that annoyed me was that, in the end, these histories meant bugger all throughout the game. Even if I made my character a morose, introspective type, the game would still popup conversation options totally counter to the characters personality. Even though my little fighter was raised by orcs from childhood, he is still forced to react to an encounter with orcs the same way any other character would.

        In the opposite way, Japanese-style RPGs weave the character's background into the story very tightly. Because they do this, they limit the gamers choice. It means in Final Fantasy VI, I can't make the protagonist a 6-foot, muscled black guy. I'm stuck with Terra. On the other hand, it means that at all times, Terra acts like Terra, reacts in ways Terra would, and is generally consistent with her own character.

        Personally, I prefer the tightly woven character-plots of the Final Fantasy series. But all of these type of games offer this trade off. Consider Baldur's Gate; All your NPCs were pre-generated, your own character had much of his background specified, and, as a result, the story of the Baldur's Gate series can be more tightly woven around the protagonist.

        Until someone in AI solves the natural language problem, we're going to be stuck with this tradeoff.
        • by Sparr0 ( 451780 ) <> on Saturday August 23, 2003 @02:22AM (#6771438) Homepage Journal
          ry Elder Scrolls 3: Morrowind. with both expansions. as close to an RPG as youre going to get. the least linear story line (to the point that you can forget what story line youre on) of any RPG ever. the interworkings of the guild memberships, reputation, stats actual affects on the game, and a few other key features make the story the most diverse ever. Yes, in the end the conversation and story options are static, but they are so diverse that you might never notice it even if you play through the game 3 or 4 times (it takes hundreds, if not thousands, of hours to complete the entire game, but you can 'win' after playing only 5%).
        • In the opposite way, Japanese-style RPGs weave the character's background into the story very tightly. Because they do this, they limit the gamers choice. It means in Final Fantasy VI, I can't make the protagonist a 6-foot, muscled black guy. I'm stuck with Terra. On the other hand, it means that at all times, Terra acts like Terra, reacts in ways Terra would, and is generally consistent with her own character.

          Then again, Terra seriously rocks as an RPG character. Emotionally insecure former mass-mu

  • by TheWart ( 700842 ) on Friday August 22, 2003 @11:13PM (#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.
  • by DaLiNKz ( 557579 ) on Friday August 22, 2003 @11:14PM (#6770800) Homepage Journal
    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)))
  • Very interesting (Score:4, Insightful)

    by JediTrainer ( 314273 ) on Friday August 22, 2003 @11:14PM (#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!
  • Simple games rule. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by tambo ( 310170 ) on Friday August 22, 2003 @11:16PM (#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
  • by lostchicken ( 226656 ) on Friday August 22, 2003 @11:16PM (#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.
    • The fact that people tend to stay in a certain gaming ghetto is probably the main problem. FPS people end up reinventing RPGs, RPG people end up reinventing TBSes, and TBS people end up reinventing FPS.

      That's probably not the best way to crosspolinate ideas between the genres.;)
  • 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)
  • by FeloniousPunk ( 591389 ) on Friday August 22, 2003 @11:19PM (#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.
  • It's true. (Score:2, Interesting)

    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 n

  • 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.
  • [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?
  • maybe just me (Score:5, Interesting)

    by dollargonzo ( 519030 ) on Friday August 22, 2003 @11:26PM (#6770859) Homepage
    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.

  • by Plix ( 204304 ) on Friday August 22, 2003 @11:29PM (#6770876) Homepage
    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.
    • by Elwood P Dowd ( 16933 ) <> on Saturday August 23, 2003 @01:26AM (#6771272) Journal
      You've got it backwards, pal.

      Back then, it was essential to know the machine because otherwise you couldn't get a playable game out of it.

      Now, due to the work of Carmack and the other nuts 'n' bolts guys, we can make games like GTA3, KOTOR, etc. and the designers won't really have to worry about whether the computer can keep up. They concentrate on plots, scripts, characters, and progression.

      Anyone who thinks video games are going downhill simply isn't paying attention. And they're playing the wrong games.
  • by Ex-MislTech ( 557759 ) on Friday August 22, 2003 @11:32PM (#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 ???

  • by SharpFang ( 651121 ) on Friday August 22, 2003 @11:37PM (#6770907) Homepage Journal
    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!
  • The Rare Gem (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Trent Polack ( 622919 ) on Friday August 22, 2003 @11:43PM (#6770924) Homepage
    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?!

  • I agree too (Score:3, Interesting)

    by inaeldi ( 623679 ) on Friday August 22, 2003 @11:50PM (#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.
  • Wizard (Score:5, Funny)

    by Andy Smith ( 55346 ) on Friday August 22, 2003 @11:54PM (#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?
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Gandalf the Grey vs. John Carmack

      Came out of the West and dwelt in Middle Earth.

      Born in the West and dwelt on Earth.

      Produced wonderful fireworks and exploding rockets.

      Produces rockets which may or may not explode.

      Wields Glamdring quite handily.

      Wields a C compiler quite handily.

      Fell in battle to a Balrog, Daemon of Morgoth.

      Fragged a few cacodaemons in his time.

      Rides around on a speedy tricked out horse.

      Rides around in a
  • Better interview (Score:5, Informative)

    by trite ( 614780 ) on Saturday August 23, 2003 @12:01AM (#6770999)
    There is a much longer and more in-depth interview with the Carmack over at Gamespy []. Basically the source for the CNN article.
  • interface design (Score:5, Insightful)

    by X_Caffeine ( 451624 ) on Saturday August 23, 2003 @12:11AM (#6771038)
    3D engines aside, Carmack's real genius might be for interface design. His comments about about the game interface perfectly mirror those of people like usability guru Jakob Nielsen [], the developers of the classic Mac OS, and even industrial designer Jonathan Ives []: good design is made by simplifying and removing elements; less is more!

    Carmack has replaced the "use" key in Doom 3 by making the targetting reticle "context-sensitive"; when the character is within arm's reach of a switch or door and the reticle is over it, the gun drops and an open hand hovers over the object. The "fire button" does exactly what you would expect.

    This is the reason for Linux's failure to reach mainstream desktops, despite a GUI and window manager that is easily as good as Windows (and even in some ways superior to any version of the Mac OS). Rather than striving for intuitive design that doesn't need excess buttons and options, the designers of desktop software throw as much crap into the forms and menus as they can fit. LESS IS MORE

    (note that I understand that advanced users should have the options they want access to; bury stuff that doesn't need to be used constantly and by most users in an advanced options dialog somewhere!)
  • But he's no rocket scienti--

    Oh, wait.
  • by derinax ( 93566 ) on Saturday August 23, 2003 @12:34AM (#6771120)
    Typical for Carmack to agree; it's not as if depth of experience is something in which id has ever excelled. Just point and shoot, people.

    System Shock 2, Thief, Deus Ex-- these are the games that are consistently lauded as the masterpieces of the genre, and are as consistently re-played as id's mindless mousekillers. Yes, they were complex. Heretic? Please-- when did you last launch that dog?

    And yes, I do *still* play System Shock 2 and Thief.

    Game complexity, when done right, enriches and intensifies the experience without making you feel guilty for playing. id never really figured that out, even when handed to them (witness their internal schism over Doom 3 -vs- their first complex RPG). They'd rather someone else do it with their tools. id isn't gunning for the literate gamer. They're looking for the quick buck: they're the Spielberg of game design.

    Whatever makes you money, John.
  • by V.P. ( 140368 ) on Saturday August 23, 2003 @12:48AM (#6771165)
    You keep using that term. I do not think it means what you think it means.
  • by Malc ( 1751 ) on Saturday August 23, 2003 @12:54AM (#6771176)
    I bought an XBox a year ago. Some of the games are good. But I'm still waiting for FUN games I can sit down with and play with friends who aren't regular gamers. Friends who I normally have beers with who want to do something different. Well no, most of the XBox games focus on maximising technology. Solo games, perhaps made multiplayer by using XBox Live. Where are the games like Dynablaster (Super Bomberman???), or even Micro Machines that was released in Europe before last Christmas? Everybody raved about Splinter Cell, but it turned out to be a fancy graphics engine and no longevity. It wasn't *FUN*... unless you're a sad spotty teenager who gets a hard-on having more technology than the next guy. Maybe my real mistake was moving to N. America where the culture seems to focus more on less fun things, but who knows.

  • He's right (Score:5, Insightful)

    by JavaLord ( 680960 ) on Saturday August 23, 2003 @01:05AM (#6771219) Journal
    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.'"

    He's right in a sense, I don't think that PC games are too hard for players to play I think they are too had for players to *WANT* to play.

    It's not that people are stupid, it's that they don't want to be frustrated by something that should be fun. Games for the most part should follow the golden rule of "Easy to learn, difficult to master". The mastery should come from learning the game too, not just the UI. Nobody says "Hey, I finally didn't have to look at my cheat sheet/instruction book to remember the 25 key mappings for UT2020." No, they will usually say, "Hey I had my first perfect deathmatch, I won and didn't get killed once." (UT's user interface is fine BTW, I just used them as an example)

  • by gilroy ( 155262 ) on Saturday August 23, 2003 @01:08AM (#6771229) Homepage Journal
    I'm not sure if games are too "complicated" lately. But I've noticed a trend wherein the designers force you to do certain tasks in order to emphasize how clever(?) the game designers are. Two examples (although both are PS/2, at least for me):

    Enter the Matrix has fixed save points, and they aren't particularly well chosen. Too often you have to walk through meaninglessly easy -- but time-consuming -- parts of the game to get to the more challenging stuff. Then, if you fail at the challenging stuff, you die and have to walk through the boring stuff again. I personally believe that games should allow you to save whenever you want.

    A racing game called "HSX: Hypersonic Extreme". It is a so-so racing game but comes with (what looks like) a nifty Track Editor so that you can build your own physics-defying tracks. Unfortunately all of the cool track features begin "locked" and must be unlocked by playing the standard tracks and coming in third or higher. I think the game designers erred tremendously, as the editor is not linearly connected to your prowess on the standard tracks and should not have been tied to it. It's just a case of the designers insisting I pay homage to their creativity, rather than allowing me free rein to explore my own.

    Anyway, that's my two millisovereigns and I'm sticking by 'em.

  • by silverhalide ( 584408 ) on Saturday August 23, 2003 @01:12AM (#6771238)
    The pure definition of any GREAT game: Easy to learn, difficult to master. Pong, Tetris, Mario Bros, Quake, etc. Think about it. If only every game designer stuck to this maxim.
  • by Drakonite ( 523948 ) on Saturday August 23, 2003 @01:25AM (#6771267) Homepage
    [Role playing games], for example, got to where they had to have a book ship with the game.'

    Modern games have more documents included? Riiight...

    Although not the first (video game) RPG, Final Fantasy for NES is definately among the early home video game RPG games. For those that didn't have that game or don't remember, it came with a rather thick manual, a couple of large poster charts with all of the weapons/armor/etc. listed on them, and IIRC a map.

    Move on to the SNES era and you have game manuals which may have a short reference in the back, occasionally a short walk through of the first little adventure, and if you are lucky a map is included.

    Now we are in the era of PS2 and XBOX.. All the RPGs I've played come with a small manual which explains the basic controls in a few pages (ten at most). The only exceptions are when they decide to pack the stradegy guide with the game (usually a while after the release as a marketing ploy..)

    If you ask me it looks like RPG's are getting simpler and coming with less documents.

    The problem is how RPGs used to be played by "RPG nerds" but are now being played by the "mainstream idiot" who can't figure out how to play a game without a stradegy guide which gives him step by step instructions for beating the game.

  • by DunbarTheInept ( 764 ) on Saturday August 23, 2003 @02:36AM (#6771484) Homepage
    If the game *rules* are complex, there's nothing wrong with that. Nothing at all. That makes the game better. I'll take a good strategy game like Civilization any day over some console button-masher. And I don't just mean strategy either. I'll take a good game of Thief 1 or 2 or Deus Ex any day over a speedy button mashing fest like most other 3d shooters are, because for them (Theif/Deus Ex) the complexity was inside the gameworld, not out on your keyboard. What makes games suck are on consoles when you have to know that A+B+down will let you win, but A+B+diagonally down/left will kill you. That's not fun. I don't want a dexterity challenge. I want a tactical challenge.

    Am I the only one who thinks the console-game controllers feel like they're designed for left-handed people? It takes much more manual dexterity to correctly move the stick or arrow keys the direction you want than it does to press one of four distinct buttons, so why does it put the task requiring better dexterity on the left-hand side? Why do *ALL* games do this? It makes me suck at them. On a stand-up arcade game, I do much better when I cross my arms and use the buttons with the wrong hands, since I don't need good dexterity to whap buttons but I do to move the stick. But that's not an option on console games.

    The left-handedness of console controllers make me hate any console game which contains a dexterity-related challenge.

  • by OzTech ( 524154 ) on Saturday August 23, 2003 @02:37AM (#6771488)
    I'm probably going to get flamed for this, but I think that game designers lost the plot years ago. Somewhere in the chase for ever better graphics, they forgot that gameplay, and story are the true keys to entertainment. Instead of developing novel game concepts, degsigners are now chasing reality, with blood curdling graphics, and horific images. If people want to be entertained by stuff like that, they will usually watch the nightly news, or the latest blockbuster release from Hollywood.

    I only need to look at my own children as a way of highlighting this point. My eldest is child is 14, and the youngest is 8. The kids have a PlayStation, and their own PC's, which they play games on occasionally. I have built a MAME cabinet, which has a good cross section of games in it. The kids actually enjoy playing the older MAME games, more than the newer PS games, and are forever asking me to pull out my old Atari 2600. The key to the older games was that they focused more on game-play than whizz-bang realisim. In a way the chunky graphics are more realistic though, because they exist where the sun doesn't shine, the colours are always bright, and the perspective is perfect; inside your head.

    Another trend I have noticed over the years, is that the machine ends up playing more than you do. I have often watch people playing what I call the newer style games, as on the Playstation, and X-Box. If you watch them, the character always seems to do more than the input from the player would seem to warrant. With many games, it seems that once you set a sequence in motion, the game takes over and completes the move, or sequence. There is nothing entertaining about that. In a similar way, a lot of games seem to be over sensitive in the area of user-input, and take ages to get a feel for the controls. This becomes very frustrating, very quickly.
  • jesus... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by pb ( 1020 ) on Saturday August 23, 2003 @02:47AM (#6771510)
    I miss the days when all software actually came with a book. For those who haven't been using computers for 15+ years, let me give you a little back story.

    In my day, we didn't have the web, or quick installation guides, or any of that. Each and every software package came with a 'manual', which was a book that explained in detail how to use the functions of that software. This is where you get phrases such as 'man pages'--those are online (in the sense that they're on the computer) versions of print documentation, taken from these now defunct 'manuals'.

    Fast forward to today: almost no software packages come with what we'd call a 'manual' 15 years ago. Instead, they're more like pamphlets. The alternative if you want printed documentation is to also go out and buy a $50 book from a publishing house like "The Microsoft Press", or possibly print out a 200 page PDF file (if you even get that).

    Ok, so software generally doesn't come with 200 page printed manuals anymore... Does that mean that it's gotten cheaper? Well, it hasn't gotten any cheaper for me, but maybe it's cheaper for them to produce. I guess I'm just giving them extra money, or if they publish a separate book on their software, paying them twice if I buy that as well.

    So I for one would like to thank the RPGs that still produce actual manuals along with their software for continuing to provide a valuable service to me, the consumer. A service that I still seem to pay for whether or not I get a printed manual. No, I like this much better--I got a pretty, comprehensive manual for every single Ultima game I ever bought, and I got an even bigger manual for NeverWinter Nights! And you know what, the prices haven't changed that much either.
  • by rollingcalf ( 605357 ) on Saturday August 23, 2003 @03:07AM (#6771544)
    Doom's simplicity is a major part of the reasons why it maintained high popularity for so long after it was released. Almost anybody familiar with video games could sit down and start playing it within 2 minutes; they didn't have to spend 20 hours training to learn the various controls and complexities. I loved that all I had to do is run and shoot in Doom. Having to learn crazy controls and manuevers in Unreal like jump-and-crouch-in-midair-and-shoot-while-doing-a- triple-somersault-with-a-half-twist turned me off of that game immediately.

    Carmack is right. The growing complexity of modern games is what has kept me from buying recently produced games. I don't care if you call me a dumb user, because I have enough accomplishments and qualifications to know I'm not dumb. I work my brain hard enough every day at my job, so when I pick up a game I want to freaking PLAY and have fun and give the higher functions of my brain a rest, not work my brain some more. If I can't play well enough to enjoy the game in the first evening, forget it. A little puzzle here and there like in Tomb Raider is fine, but don't make me have to study some damn book and go through a bunch of skills training. I have better things to do with my time, and my brain doesn't want anything more taxing after it's already been stressed for 50 hours a week.

    If they don't want to make games for people who just want to sit down to play for an hour or two a week without much of a learning curve, it's mostly their loss. Give me something fun and simple (with a reasonable challenge) if I'm going to spend $30-$50 for a new game, otherwise I'll continue to pick up old games from eBay and bargain bins for $5-$10.
  • by Ed Avis ( 5917 ) <> on Saturday August 23, 2003 @05:00AM (#6771810) Homepage
    [Role playing games], for example, got to where they had to have a book ship with the game.

    Bah. Elite had that in 1984. Two books, in fact!

  • by Rothron the Wise ( 171030 ) on Saturday August 23, 2003 @06:39AM (#6772070)
    The best games have a small set of simple rules from which complex behavior emerges. I think the most classic example of this is Boulder Dash [] which in it's original form features only a handful different blocks yet the variation between the levels was astounding. I've always thought that the best way to create a game is to start with the basic laws of physics which may or may not be modelled after our universe, then add a few different entities with some clearly defined rules of behavior including the interaction with other entities.

    The beauty of this is that the game becomes predictable of the player. He/she will not be frustrated by seemingly arbitrary rules, like in the old Sierra On-Line adventure games where standing on the wrong pixel would get you killed, but instead will understand the action and reaction that lead to the players demise and will learn to avoid it. You want the gamer to go "aah, of course!" instead of "what the fsck?!".

    Also, since the game's complexity springs forth from the interactions between the rules rather than the rules themselves, you get what's called "emergent gaming", where the game mechanics appear between the lines through the complex interactions of those rules. This means that although the rules are simple and predictable, you have created a breeding ground for complex behavior goes beyond what the game designer himself may have envisioned.

    It's a sad fact that games were more like this before the 3D-card revolution.

    I understand why the industry want simpler games as they are trying to expand their customer base which today consist of mostly hard core gamers. Especially on the PC. There are plenty of examples of mainstream hits, but a hardcore gamer will often spend 10 times or more on games than a "causal gamer".

    Since games are usually created by gamers who invariably create games that they would like to play themselves I remain confident that there will still be games I'll want to play in 10 years from now.

    Simple, instantly playable games is the domain of handheld devices. Complex games fit better on the PC-platform. Consoles are somewhere in the middle. This is linked not only to how we use handhelds/consoles/PCs differently, but also to the technical limitations of the device.

  • by kaltkalt ( 620110 ) on Saturday August 23, 2003 @08:23AM (#6772332)
    This is all about controls. A good, fun racing game has an acceleration button, a brake button, and left-right steering (ex: Rad Racer from the NES). Maybe one button to shoot something if guns are involved. But nowadays companies compete not by the quality of the games, but by having more active buttons in the game than the competition. It's quite stupid and it really ruins the games. Ever notice that each new generation video game system's controller has about 2-4 more buttons on it than the last generation system? Is it because technology allows for more buttons to be crammed on the joypad? No. A racing game that has one button for shift-up, one button for shift-down, one button for windshield wipers, one button for emergency brake, one button for regular brake, one button to change the brake pads, one button... well you get the idea, it's not fun. It ruins the fun. The inner workings of a video game should be complex (40,000,000 polygons per second) but the controls should be as simple as possible. Just because the controller has 12 buttons on it doesn't mean all of them have to be used for the game to be "realistic" or "have good play control" (quite the opposite). Games on the PC are even worse than console games... stuff like Wing Commander, Mech Warrior, all use practically every button on the qwerty keyboard to do something different during gameplay, and each sequel uses even more buttons. Sorry but I agree with nintendo, when I have to memorize an entire keyboard layout, the programmers have done a shitty job at making this game. It's not that i'm not smart enough to memorize what 40+ buttons do. I don't have the time and I don't care. up down left right a, b. That's all I feel like learning to play a fucking video game. No game should need more than 6 buttons, EVER (and Street Fighter 2 is the ONLY one).
  • by phorm ( 591458 ) on Monday August 25, 2003 @11:16AM (#6784201) Journal
    As it is immediate playabillity, or "hookability" (i.e. the ability of the game to get somebody to pick up a controller, play, and not toss it away in disgust immediately).

    Now, in this aspect games have been getting both more complex and more simple. Instruction manuals have often been replaced by increasingly fancy "walkthrough" or "tutorial" modes. At one point we had training missions, now you have a training mission wherein it pretty much points out (and often even dictates audibly) what you are supposed to do.

    In games like Starcraft, Warcraft, etc each level was was not only often a ramp-up of skill, but of what you could do. By not overwhelming the player with too many things at once, you allow them to advance along and learn things level-by-level.

    This isn't quite the same for FPS games, although it could be. Start with basic pistol shooting, add later levels with neato weapons, items etc, until the player gets used to the controls and past the babysitting stage. In RPG's, it runs both ways: FFX as an examplew with its "Sphere Grid" being a bit complicated, but giving you a step-through example at first that can be onerous to the experienced gamer.

    Really, back in the day you'd get kids who player "Street Fighter" and just knew how to jump, punch, and kick. Eventually they graduated to special moves, maybe combos. Quite often people would read the manual looking up moves. How many people do read the manual nowadays? Perhaps the whole idea of just playing a game out-of-the-box is because of a laziness that has perpetrated on the part of the player, or is it because gaming has been infiltrated by a different crowd than the geeks that used to dominate it?

Fear is the greatest salesman. -- Robert Klein